(Hey, if you missed part ONE, just click HERE)
Speaking of jobs that suck, I am currently sucking down a therapeutic, and rare week-day rye and cola (F.Y.I, it was Tuesday Evening when I started writing this, not Thursday morning as it is now) . It's been a particularly long day, which included some fairly severe 6 year old anxiety, a few "I hate you Mum"s, a 3 year old looking at her dinner plate of portobello mushroom-stuffed ravioli and saying; "THIS is dinner?!?" and then; "I don't like YUCKY ravioli!" complete with an emphatic "pleh!" as she spat it back onto her plate, and somewhere in there was a nap that didn't make one lick of difference. Lousy, idiot of a thyroid.
Don't panic about the whisky people (no "e" in Canadian whisky, so don't think DRINKY here forgot how to spell), it was only 2, and I'm not going to be on the Oprah show anytime soon, sobbing about how alcohol helped me get through my mommy day.
Anyhoo, I believe I left off, on my list of sucky jobs, at my hotel room cleaning stint. The only good thing I can say about it is that I made good money, the girls (once I got to know them) were great, and I lost A LOT of weight every summer, and became SUPA SEXAY. And so, let us continue...
Sucko Job #3- Sunglass Store Sales Associate
First of all, if he's reading this, my faithful blog sympathizer, Matt, will be saying, "Aw!" because he told me this job was available at that time. Sorry Matt. Don't take it personally, but it BIT.
I was 24 and fresh out of University. Oh how naive I was. When I graduated, with my grossly FLUSHABLE BA in English Literature (no, don't try to comfort me and say it's a good degree. I spent a lot of money for some fancy book learnin' but it's really only a step up from a Sociology or Philosophy degree. OH COME ON, don't get all hurt and offended. You KNOW you're not a "philosopher" right now. You're probably in an office sorting mail, or making sure the spread-sheet numbers match up, so shut it), I was extremely idealistic, and actually believed that my degree would render me irresistable to the job world. Silly moi. I literally sat down with a list of different publishing houses, and writing-related businesses, and phoned them up looking for jobs. Well, I think we all see where this is going...no job. And then I ended up at the sunglass store. It's a well-known chain that shall go nameless forthwith...
Retail. Shudder. I was working at THE MALL. Do you know what it's like to work at the Mall, my friends? It's like being in FREAKING HIGHSCHOOL again. The "cool" store cashiers, actually sneer at the somehow-determined less cool cashiers in the mall. The girls who become managers of these stores don't put a dime in the bank, but rather spend it all on super cool clothes, and a very flashy car. So that was a bit brutal. Also, try convincing someone that the $200 pair of sunglasses in our store is so much better than that $20 pair of sunglasses they saw somewhere else. I didn't really buy it myself, but it was my job to sell these things. It was also my job to adjust any random dork's sunglasses, if the arms were loose, or too tight or whatever, even if they never bought them from the store. Good for customer service. And if there were no customers in the store, I was supposed to keep busy at all times, so this meant circling round and round the store, cleaning the fingerprints off the freaking sunglasses. I also got paid minimum wage, but it was retail, so I was expected to WANT to be available at all times, AND love the company, AND sell, sell, sell as many of those stupid sunglasses as I could. I even had to give up a Sunday to drive to Toronto with the other "associates" (euphemism, of course, for "cashier") for this horrid pep-talk/new products meeting.
The highlights of this job were few, but the most memorable thing that happened was an encounter with a very special customer:
Man: "I need the darkest pair of sunglasses you have" (he is squinting against the store lighting, and has slightly watery looking eyes)
I showed him a few different brands, which he tried on, but was disatisfied with, so I showed him these gargantuan things that fit OVERTOP regular glasses, and were, incidentally, quite popular with old people for some reason.
Man: "No, I don't think these will do it. I have a rare form of parasite that's EATING MY EYE." I don't remember a lot after that little exclamation. He was still talking, and I was still nodding, but my brain was making this "EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE!" sound like when Janet Leigh got stabbed in that infamous shower scene from "Psycho."
Sucko Job #4 - Slot Cashier, CasinoYee-haw, a new casino was opening up in town! Time to get the rock out of the sunglass store. I was excited to be going for an interview. I got asked a lot of customer service type questions, and of course, I told the interviewer exactly what he wanted to hear. If only I had at that time said; "I actually don't like people very much, and would greatly prefer a 'behind the scenes' type job." Oh, if only.
The construction of the casino wasn't completed yet, so I, along with many, many other new hirees, would be training at a local school. I had to learn the value of the various poker chips, which I have since forgotten, except still remember that the purple chips are $500 each, so if you see someone in a casino with a lot of purple chips...well, they're spending some big money. I had to learn how to stack them properly when patrons would cash them in. I had to learn how to count and stack everything properly for my cash counter, because I would be under camera surveillance at all times. I would be responsible for cashing in slot machine tokens, changing American money into Canadian (but not vicey versa, which p*ssed off, oh, approximately a zillion American customers), selling tokens, and cashing in a small amount of poker chips.
The training was kind of fun--a lot of cameraderie was built during that time. Then the casino construction was complete, so we go to train at the new site, in our coin "redemptions" (essentially, a CAGE where cashiers were trapped to deal with lousy people all day). And then they went and spoiled it all by letting real people come in and gamble.
* Redemption #1 was a total pit of hell, that was ALWAYS BUSY. I once had a stand-off with a very beyotchy afternoon shift supervisor, at the end of my very, very long day, about not moving my zillion bags of tokens to the back counter with the rest of the cash I had counted post-shift. I asserted that one of the Impressment guys could move them. She wanted to play a little "I'm the boss and you're the pee-on" game. But I won, and I didn't move those bags. She had a mild hissy and threw them all against the back counter herself in a huff.
$$ this calls for a little explanation: you know that exciting *CHING CHING CHING CHING CHING!* sound that comes from slot machine tokens falling like rain? Well, all those tokens would come to US, so we could pour them through a machine called a "jet sort." The jet sort would sort the tokens into their appropriate denominations into $500 bags. So, figure that's 2000 "quarter" tokens in a bag, and $1000 fifty cent tokens in another, etc, etc. Those bags were not light. Redemption #1 was right near the front entrance/exit, so when everybody was cashing out, guess where they went??? The "Impressment" team, were mostly men, with a few good, hardy gals, who had to hoist those bags of coin all day, bring it to their little machine over to the side, pour the coin through, and the machine would turn the loose tokens back into sellable rolls. Y'dig?
* apparently only 1% of the gambling population were actually happy. The rest were MISERABLE
* smoking was allowed then throughout the upper floor of the casino. I think I sucked down more cigarettes, second-hand style, then I care to even think about.
* in the "high rollers section," karen once made the mistake of paying out the equivalent of one extra slot machine token to a customer. This would normally be no big deal, except it was a THOUSAND DOLLAR TOKEN. Yes, they had a few thousand dollar slot machines. How pathetic is that?!? If I had a few extra thou, I'd be in Mexico, not throwing it away in a slot machine. That little mistake earned karen a couple of unpaid days off work.
* there was a rumour floating around, that certain "patrons" who played the slot machines ALL DAY, AND ALL NIGHT, and who feared that as soon as they left their machine, it would give up its jackpot to the next customer, wore diapers. Interesting thought.
* patrons who roamed around the casino looking for missed tokens in the bottom of the slot machine trays were known as "fleas"
* I once had an argument with an American lady, trying to scrounge all the loose change she had to buy tokens, that a Canadian penny was NOT a Canadian dime. She insisted it was a dime. Nevermind that I freaking live in Canada. Nevermind as well, that aside from our $1 and $2 coins, our change is EXACTLY THE SAME on both sides of the border....it was a very deflating moment.
* some of the regular patrons were the most horrid of all. There was the infamous "man with no hands," who would shuffle up in his cowboy boots to the counter, and shove his wallet forward with his, er, stumps. The cashier at the counter was then obliged to peel the always greasy and dank feeling bill from his wallet for his $5 worth of quarter tokens. NOBODY liked getting him at their window. He smelled terrible and was always a dick. The story floating around was that he went to the window of a particularly nice, demure cashier, and dumped some change on her counter. Among the coins was an unopened condom, which she shoved back at him with disgust. This may sound very insensitive in the retelling, but whatever...this guy was RANK.
* St. Patrick's Day was one of THE busiest days of the year. The place would be crammed with gaudy people, all decked out in green, homemade buttons proclaiming their Irish-ness, ridiculous hats and other baubles. Our uniform shirts were green back then, so I got to hear "I see ya got YOUR green on, hyuk, hyuk" ALL * DAY * LONG. Mostly, they were happy on this day. Go figure.
*Christmas day was another super busy day, starting somewhere around the time that everybody must have said; "well, we opened all them presents, now what should we do???" However, on Christmas day, they were MISERABLE, and extremely rude (or even ruder, I should say). Standing there at my window, missing my first Christmas ever, while the customers verbally abused us, and while my own family was at home enjoying that special spirit, was where a great chunk of my Christmas spirit was killed off, never to return.
*A mild mannered, likeable fellow cashier once said to me about the patrons;
"karen, I just hate them all--even the nice ones." That has always stuck with me.
*I used to be able to count clips of money SO FAST, the customers who watched used to say; "she's like a MACHINE!" Awesome!
* my knees are now fairly wrecked, thanks to all that bending down to change the bags on the jet sort machine as they'd fill.
* there was NO sitting on that job. 8 hours of standing, yo.
* I still have this recurring nightmare, that I've fallen on hard times and am forced to go back to my old job at the casino. Shudder!
Sucko Job #5 - Data EntryI had just moved to Suburban Hell, and thought I was happy to find a job. It was data entry for a company that imputted school library information into the computers. I was responsible for inputting book bar codes and ISBN numbers into the computer. All day. Every day.
Highlights of THIS job:
*are there any???
* it was interesting to watch my fellow coworkers fight sleep for a while, and then nod off for a bit right there at their computers
* I managed to impart some of my bad attitude onto some of the others around me, and they too became malcontents! Hooray!
* I spent a lot of time drawing comic strips about my suffering
Sucko Job # 6 - What the hell was I, anyway? Advertising Associate???So I got another job at a company who placed help wanted ads for other companies in our local newspapers. My job was to cut help wanted ads out of all the different papers, count how many lines were in each ad, and calculate how much they probably spent. Then, I'd tape them onto these flyers we had that said: "IF YOU'D PLACED YOUR AD WITH US, YOU WOULD HAVE SAVED $X.XX" Is this really even a real job??? I guess I could call this job: "Profferer of JUNK MAIL".
* The 'bosses' were a husband and wife team who had started the company. They were morons--especially the wife, who was so daffy, it's a wonder she accomplished anything at all.
* I was working there that horrible, unforgettable 9/11. The radio station we listened to in the office interrupted their broadcast to tell the shocking, still unfolding events. I remember how my stomach felt like it nearly dropped out, and then Wife Boss, kind of clucked her tongue, and went back to what she was doing. I felt appalled, truly appalled that while the horror in New York was going on, her attitude was basically "oh well, I'd better keep researching for this big ad I'm placing," when really the work day should have ended right there, if for no other reason than COMPASSION.
* I eventually was laid off thanks to dwindling sales about three months before my wedding. Very stressful.
Tolerable Job #7 - Administrative Assistant, Cocoa Factory
Okay, so it was an admin job. I had to answer the phone, send out and receive faxes, file stuff, blah, blah, blah, and input orders for cocoa powder. It was decent enough. I worked in an office with two other women in our devision, and one nice enough but LOUD AND CLUELESS older man who worked in the "specialty ingredients" (ie;, useful as well as nasty food additives and preservatives) division. We were just a small speck in a huge food-related corporation. I got along great with the women I worked with, who were very understanding and very relaxed.
*I'm pretty sure the Fed-ex guy hotboxed himself in his delivery truck all day with his cigarettes, and wore the same shirt all week. That guy REEEEEEEKED.
* working in a place that smells like hot chocolate powder is NOT BAD AT ALL
* one time a customer balked at the quality of a block of chocolate they'd received. There was nothing wrong with the chocolate, but they were playing some sort of buyer/seller game. So, the block came back to our office. My boss, however, didn't want it, so I, karen, walked out of there with a TEN POUND BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE. The Man and I still look back fondly on this as one of the greatest times of our lives. What does ten pounds of chocolate look like, you may ask? Well, it's the size of a large cookie sheet, and about an inch and a half thick. HELLZ YAH. We left that thing on the counter, and every time we walked by we'd chisel off a little chunk to munch on. Damn, that was good times.
* My Mother was so pleased; "you must not mind THIS job," she said; "you don't complain NEARLY as much about it as your other jobs." Yay me.
* I eventually had to resign because I'd had little baby Jack. When he was 1 year old, I returned for about 12 hours a week, but little Jack was a HANDFUL, and while she never admitted it, I'm fairly certain he burnt out my mother-in-law, who was his babysitter. Sometime not long after he walked right off the five foot high slide platform at the park...yeah, that was around when the babysitting gig started going downhill for her I think.
And that, my friends, is the last time I wore nice clothes during any times other than special occasions, for now I am STAY AT HOME MOM, and the burnout is LEGENDARY. Yes, we all love our children, but this is the hardest job. Well, don't take my word for it. All y'all other stay at home moms, tell me what YOU think.
Thus we end our look back over my handful of yucky sucky jobs. So like I said, when the time comes that I must immerse myself into the work world again, what the HECK am I going to do?!? ALL JOBS SUCK!!!