Several of my friends have done a meme where they list their work history. I thought it was really interesting to read other peoples’ histories and I want to participate too! Unfortunately, I have worked so many jobs over the years, often simultaneously, that I had trouble remembering them all. I realized after typing for about 30 minutes that I still hadn’t even gotten past college. So this will be a two-parter.
Part 1 – all the jobs I held before and during college(s)
1st job – probably babysitting. I took a Red Cross CPR course when I was 12 and started babysitting at around 13 for younger kids at our church. I did this up until shortly after started college in addition to whatever other jobs I held. I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid even though I was way too old for it, so if the kids went to bed I would watch that movie on VHS.
1st real withholding-paycheck job – Golden Corral in Kilgore, TX. I was just 16 so they wouldn’t let me be a waitress (you have to be 18 I guess?). So I was Salad Bar Girl, which meant I restocked the salad bar and ran the cash register. The Golden Corral closed suddenly for no apparent reason. I was so unimportant that they actually forgot to call and tell me. The only way I knew was that someone at school mentioned it and I was like “What? I was supposed to be working tonight!”.
Mazzio’s Pizza – salad bar stocker and cashier again. They wouldn’t let me near the pizza oven much. In retrospect, I kind of think that my extraordinary clumsiness was a factor in me not being allowed near dangerous things. My weirdest memory from this job is how one night we had an after-hours employee meeting and the manager had one of the shift leaders stand up and she described how this shift leader had dropped out of school to work at Mazzio’s and we should all strive to be like her. My best friend and I were like, “WHAT?! Did she just tell us to drop out of high school to work at Mazzio’s?!”. Yes, yes she did. A week later that “star employee” had a huge fight with her boyfriend on the Mazzio’s premises and quit under suspicious circumstances. Sure is a good thing she dropped out of high school for that. What a role model.
Law Office intern – over the summer after my senior year of high school and before college, I worked as peon at a family law office. I did a lot of xeroxing and answering phones and taking messages. I got really bored sometimes and used the typewriter to write funny poetry.
Allstate Insurance in Kilgore – receptionist and sales. This was a real job in that I was the only employee other than the agent. I was 18 by then and I could take payments, print ID cards, and make policy changes. My boss was a chain-smoking good old guy who listened to conservative talk radio all day. Being forced to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Doctor Laura all day made me realize that I completely disagreed with everything they said. It was the first time I recognized that I was not politically conservative like everyone around me. I immediately hid that fact because, hello, I was living in East Texas. My boss would disappear for hours and leave me in charge, but he would bring me back Dairy Queen blizzards, which was super nice of him. I used the typewriter there while he was gone to write funny poetry about how people were stupid, and sometimes poetry about being bitter about living in East Texas. Still, the insurance agent was a very nice guy and when he died of lung cancer (all the chain smoking) a few years ago and my parents told me about it, I was really sad.
Music library at Kilgore College – At the same time as Allstate. This job consisted of me sitting in a room full of CD’s and LP’s up at the community college so that if one of the music majors came in and wanted to listen to music or check out something to take home, they could. I slept a lot and studied. Once a dead bird flew into the window* and its body decomposed on the ledge where maintenance couldn’t reach it (or didn’t try). Noting the decomposition of this bird was a major activity for me and one of my friends for quite a while.
Barista at local coffee shop – At the same time as Allstate and the music library. I have actually forgotten the name of the shop. It was run by a couple who also lived above it. All my friends and I hung out there and some of us also worked there. The lines were blurry. I don’t think I was super great at making coffee but I was good at drinking it, and I loved hanging out there. They had live music on weekends.
Hastings Music – Also at the same time as Allstate, the music library, and being a barista. I was going to school full time during all of this as well. Hastings lasted all of a week because I had a breakdown from too much working after they left me at a cash register for 8 hours straight without a bathroom break. It was the week before Christmas, sure, but I kept asking to leave and they kept putting me off. I had to go straight to my next job at the coffee shop. When I got to the coffee shop, my boss there was so mad at Hastings that he called and griped them out. Obviously, I had to quit after that. I didn’t really mind. From this job at Hastings I learned just how many albums Linda Ronstadt actually made. It is unbelievable, really.
Allstate Insurance in Nacogdoches – Sales Representative. I actually did a lot of similar things at this office, only there was a lady who was above me but still reported to the insurance agent. So the office was 1 person larger. No chain smoking and no talk radio, thank goodness. I had to be more professional. This was during my weed-smoking and drinking years. I had to hold myself together for work and for college, which is probably why I didn’t become a complete pot head at that time. I quit after 2 years but then there was a scandal with the other lady and the insurance agent called me back after she had been spontaneously fired, so I came back to work for them for a few months while they looked for a replacement. I really enjoyed working there, aside from the fact that I had to sell insurance. This job taught me 1) how to deal with insane people, 2) how to talk to someone without promising or committing to anything, and 3) that I hate Sales and should avoid all jobs that require sales or operate on commission.
Waitress at Casa Tomas, Huntsville TX – I lived in Huntsville for 3 months one summer with a crazy assortment of random people I had met in the past few years. The original plan was to get a summer internship in nearby Houston, but when that didn’t work out I just fell back on waitressing. I actually made pretty good money, since this was the “nicest” restaurant in Huntsville. Huntsville, where they execute criminals in Texas. They killed someone accused of a hate crime while I was there, and most ordinary people in the town sort of go on lockdown in case of riots. Eventually they let me train to be a cocktail waitress in the bar part of the restaurant, which is where you make all the money. Also, they would give you shots sometimes.
Waitress at Casa Tomas, Nacogdoches TX – I went back to Nacogdoches for the school year, and there was a branch of Casa Tomas there too so I just transferred. The bar in Nacogdoches was smaller so I got to cocktail a whole lot more. Much better money, and they also let me have drinks a lot more frequently. I believe this is also where I learned how to swear in Spanish. The only words I know in Spanish are swear words. Which is actually very helpful in a restaurant environment.
SFA newspaper web master – At the same time as Casa Tomas in Nacogdoches. My job was go in to the school paper offices late at night the night before the paper was published and put all the content from the newspaper onto the web site. I was their first webmaster, they’d never been online before. I created a discussion forum on the web site as well, which immediately got controversial. The editor loved that. I really enjoyed hanging out with the journalists, they had the best sense of humor. I also got to work on a Mac computer for the first time ever.
That takes us through the college years. I left out the time my best friend and I cleaned houses, but who cares about that? Also, I was doing freelance web site design off and on for several years in Nacogdoches. But that’s difficult to quantify.
Tune in tomorrow for more of my ridiculously complicated work history!
* at first this was a typo but I left it because this is actually how we referred to the bird. See note in the comments