4/12/2015

(J)obs

My first job was at CiCi's Pizza during my senior year of high school in 2006. One of my friends from high school, who I am still friends with now, put in a good word for me. I actually screwed up and missed the first interview. At the moment I can't remember what kept me from making it; maybe I was exhausted because I was a high school student in band class during marching season. I ended up calling the manager back and apologizing profusely; the only reason he let me come in was because my friend was a great employee of his and I came highly recommended. At the time, I had my robot baby for child growth and development class, so I had to figure out what to do with it during my interview; I think I took it in there with me. The interview was pretty standard, and I walked out with a job. I started as a cashier around Thanksgiving, and spent half of that holiday memorizing pizza toppings. I spent the week after that training, and was told that if I didn't get it that quickly that they couldn't use me; I learned everything I needed to within that week. I started as a cashier, ringing people up, answering phones, cleaning the front and salad bar, folding boxes (I was the box folding champion), and stacking cups. Then I learned how to stock the buffet, putting fresh pizzas in place of older ones, keeping track of how many we needed at any given time. I learned to bus tables shortly after that, grossed out by the piles of discarded food and random sauces on plates. Cutting pizzas came after that; I am to this dayy the designated pizza cutter in my house. I was thrown into the kitchen with two of my coworkers, none of us knowing what they were doing, since we didn't have a cook one day; one of our regulars complained, and none of us were in the kitchen after that. I did dishes for less than an hour once, and learned how to prep the pizzas even though I didn't actually do it - you need more body strength to do that than what I had at the time. There was much drama in this place since all of us were teenagers and dating amongst each other; there was this really cute guy that I took home once and ended up making out with in my car, getting caught by his dad bringing the phone out to him - he was fired shortly after that and would come in with his friends, and it was so very awkward. There was this girl who strung along this poor guy for a little bit. There were two managers who dated the same girl, one of them her boyfriend before they started working there, but they were regular employees when she started dating them; one of them is now her husband. There were good memories too - building an archway out of boxes, having a "BBQ" for fourth of July, drawing on balloons, eating free food on lunches, signing terribly to people on their birthdays. There was a girl who ate an entire bowl of onions on breaks. One time while I was taking back the trash from the salad bar, I slipped and fell completely backward like in the cartoons, landing on my back with trash all over me. I put myself through one semester of college while working here, taking a break during my second semester. I hung out with my coworkers outside of work - dressing nice for one of the girl's birthday parties, running through the sprinklers at my old high school and convincing one of the cook ladies that my friend's car went into a ditch, going to a concert with some of them, going to a manager meeting even though I wasn't a manager. We were a tight knit team of people, and I truly miss it. I worked at this job until 2008 until they closed down; we all reported to work, the closers (I included) were there to clean up, and we were told after closing for an hour that this was our last shift and that the owner (it was a franchise store) had to close. It reopened eight months later, but I didn't ask for my job back. It has since closed again, opened again, changed to a different pizza place, closed, and reopened as something completely different.

In the same month that I lost my job at CiCi's, I got a job at Michael's Arts and Crafts. My aunt actually put in a good word for me and told me to go to apply. I ran up there and filled out the application, receiving an interview on the spot with the charasmatic store manager, who gave me advice on how to fill out the personality/ethics quiz thing. I walked out of there with a job due to my cashier and customer service experience. Within a week I was dubbed as Peter Parker, shortened to Peter because my co-workers were weird. I was a cashier for awhile, then learned how to stock the merchandise - the beads and scrapbook stickers were the worst sections in that entire store, followed closely by homecoming when that happened, then Halloween stuff because dear god I hate the creepy Halloween decorations. We had to pick up all of the merchandise that was out of place, starting two hours before we closed, and start putting everything back; the faster we did this, the earlier we got to leave - the more merchandise we had at the end of the night, the longer we were there after closing. We were forced to go over the loudspeaker and announce closing in ten, five, then now minutes; despite this, I remember this one lady being there for almost thirty minutes after we closed. We had a section of sharpies and people liked to decorate the display in front of it; we had a section of spray paint and people liked to spray our shelves in order to see what color it was actually going to be. I was part of the truck crew for a little while. I dated one of my coworkers for two weeks only to have him go back to his ex-girlfriend and get me sick with a cold. There were crushes from me to others, and others to others. I saw my ex one time and hid behind some shelving in order to avoid him. I worked holidays and weekends; one year we had inventory on Christmas Eve and I was there until twelve thirty in the morning, I had to watch fireworks from the front of the store one Fourth of July, took care of customers instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, got there at 6 a.m. on Black Friday instead of spending the night at my grandma's after Thanksgiving. I was eventually promoted to a Front End Supervisor after I was there for about a year. I was in charge of stocking everything for the front end and making everything look pretty in between customers. The manager that hired me, and his assistant manager, got walked out during one of my shifts; the old assistant manager came back as the store manager. I was there for a little while after that. I started practicing Judaism and had a hard time getting Saturday (the shabbat) off. This one shift, our cash registers went out and the patrons of the store gave us cash in order to complete their puchases because they didn't want to wait for them to come back; my manager handed me cards with money loaded onto it and had me do the transactions after that - I wish I would have said no. A couple of months later I got a phone call from corporate telling me that they had video footage of me stealing money from them and that they have been watching me for a long time; I got angry because they accused me of stealing and there was no possible way that I did. I yelled at them and told them that it seemed like they already made up their mind about me and that they may as well do what they feel like they have to do. In retrospect, I should have asked them to see the video, and accused them of harrassment; I was there to work, and they were literally yelling at me about stealing no matter how many times I said that I didn't. The next time I returned to work, I was immediately walked out. I went to my ex's and celebrated Hanukkah, then started looking for another job. I miss those people, but have had the pleasure of seeing them during a couple of get togethers. I have most of them on Facebook to this day so that I can keep up with them.

I was out of work for a long time, getting grants to put myself through school. I wanted to focus on graduating and didn't get another job until my last semester of college; I graduated in 2011 while working there, shortly after I started, and though I opted to walk across the stage I didn't actually show up. This time, I had the absolute pleasure of working at a private preschool teaching two and three year olds. I went through two weeks of training, went to a CPR and first aid class, got fingerprinted, underwent a background check, and did a lot of paperwork. I worked with an older woman, who was the head teacher, and another assistant teacher around my age that had a son a little older than the kids that we taught. I came in during naptime, around 1 a.m., and stayed until closing time; I worked on arts and crafts for the kids to do after snack time. I closed the room every night that I worked, sometimes having kids until ten, twenty minutes past closing time, having to wait until after they left to start. The other assistant teacher left after getting a job at another preschool, so someone that was in my high school graduating class took her place. On her first day, one of the kids fingerpainted a bookshelf with poop during nap time. There were sweet kids and kids with more problems than others. I loved each of them for their own personalities, even though the ones that gave me trouble were upsetting. I have more stories, but I don't want to bring up a lot of them; that is personal to the parents, teachers and children at the school. Most of the women that I worked with were very amazing and supportive. The children were surprising and smart, like tiny drunk adults (as quoted on the internet somewhere). Their parents were cooperative and wanted what was best for their children, having us implement things that they wanted to begin at home. I helped potty train numerous children, feeling happy for each one once they finally got it. I went to teacher in-service days, staff meetings, and a meet the teacher night. I got into trouble one time for being rude to a child after he had an accident, mimicking the head teacher's behavior, got a talking to from the Director about proper ways to handle that, and made it a point to apologize to the child in question. I was diagnosed with depression during this time, was put on paxel then Zoloft, and did speak to some teachers about how my mind reacted to the first medication; it got misconstrued to them thinking I wanted to kill myself, and I got pulled into the Director's office once again - this was after my ex broke up with me so they were genuinely worried that me offing myself might be a legitimate issue. After that, I didn't speak to those teachers unless I had to, learning my lesson about how quickly and horribly gossip could spread and ruin reputations. I went into a very bad depression, only barely held together by job and medication, and wasn't as kind as I should have been to the kids. I got talked to shortly before I decided to leave, sad that I couldn't do better for them. I put in my two weeks notice, went through my last Valentine's day, and was told that they didn't want me to say something wrong to a parent so I didn't have to finish my two weeks there. I went back to visit once, two years ago, and haven't let myself go back since, despite how much I miss the kids. I was entirely too embarrassed to go back too many times, and think about going back a lot to see the kids; some truly loved me, and I loved them, and miss them every day.

I briefly worked at an optometrist's office. It was the worst job that I had so far. This woman was very... challenging, and... full of herself. I was her receptionist and booked appointments, stocking contact lenses, did pre-screenings, processed insurance claims, and eventually put in charge of making all of her paper files digital. I was allowed to go Bridesmaid dress shopping for my friend's wedding, but not allowed to go the next weekend to my future neice's birthday party. She did not pay me for all of the hours that I worked, stating that unless I worked for a full 30 minutes at any give time that she was not able to pay me for it. She could not understand that I had a sister dating a female, and that I wasn't a Christian (Or jewish, by this point). I put in my two weeks notice as I was searching for a job; I accidentally made an appointment for an interview while I was in front of a client, warranting me a firm discussion. I scheduled the interview for a day that I worked for her, thinking that I would be done in time to make it. I did the application, the group interview, the geography test, and was hired that day, the whole process taking 3 hours, making me two hours late to work. I did show up for work that day, because at this point I had another week left, but I found that the office was locked and found her in the store that her office was attached to. She said goodbye to who she was talking to, walked with me back to the office, and told me that she no longer needed me to work for her starting that day. I was all too happy to get out of there, just not happy with how I handled things and how we left things; I'm pretty sure she's the reason I haven't gotten a better job (if they called her to get a general idea of how my work effort is), and have since taken that mess off of my resume.

I started my current job shortly after I was kicked out of the previous one. I work in a call center. I started doing roadside assistance for a rental car company. There are so many stories here - one guy called in saying that his butt was on fire but it was just the heated seats being too warm, all four tires getting stolen in certain cities, cars left on the side of the road, one lady's car was stolen and she called in as it was being recovered by the police, one car was full of drugs and impounded by the police, people calling in as part of a 12 car pileup, one person not wanting to leave their car in the middle of a winter storm and choosing to sleep in their car and freeze instead, one guy calling in through OnSTAR and another guy starting to fight him as he was talking to us, someone's baby getting locked in their car, etc. I left that campaign to work in the quality department grading their calls, and there were even more weird stories to hear now that I could listen to anyone's calls ever. Grading these calls was difficult, and ruined my relationship with a few of the agents. It was during this time that some girl decided to choke me as a "joke," landing me in the campaign manager's office, and going to HR two weeks later due to my PTSD about it; I did not grade that girl's calls again. My boss was a self-centered peice of work and we bumped heads often; she did come through for me a couple of times, though. The campaign that I graded calls for shut down, putting me in a month of limbo trying to figure out what I and another person was going to do for a job. They wouldn't leave us in the quality department, so we had a meeting with the head of the department and her boss, talking about how we needed to switch campaigns. They waited too late for me to get training for anything, so I was thrown into sidejacking with people for three days, taking calls on my fourth day in that campaign. I like my current campaign because I don't have to talk to the customers often, so I don't deal with their attitudes nearly as much as I have in the past. I like being able to read books, several a month, in between calls. I like the people I work with, but the company I work for seems to be going under and can't support it's current employees and are currently hiring more. I am attempting to look for another job, but have gotten picky about what I am willing to do since I have experienced food, retail, teaching, and optometry. I would be willing to work in another call center with actual benefits, a better PTO and attendance system, and with higher pay.

There you have it - my job history. If you have any crazy job stories, feel free to share.

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