Here is a chapter out of my book: Casualties of a Normal Girl
THE INFINITE LAND OF JOBBIES
So there are a few things in my life that I have been short of. I am short of self-confidence, short on having a lot of relationship experience, and short on patience. But one thing I am not short on, is jobs. See, the thing is I collect jobs like Taylor Swift collects boyfriends. I have had 17 jobs and I am 22 years old. I have worked in everything from a movie theater, a hotel, pushing carts and bagging people’s groceries, selling a $3000 vacuum, selling windows, monitoring an outdoor recycling plant, working in a lot of chain restaurants, selling jeans at American Eagle and DJing weddings. I toldya I have had a lot of jobs!
I have learned different lessons at every job I have had. The thing with me is, most of the jobs I have had I only kept for 4 months or less. For instance, in 2012 I had had 4 jobs in 5 months. I quit because I got really bored and restless and I didn’t want to work at those places anymore. I would always find a reason to quit. Some common excuses I use “my manager doesn’t like me” or “everyone hates me” “I have to focus on school” or simply “I really hate this place and I don’t want to work here anymore.”
I’m not even gonna lie and say I haven’t been fired from jobs. I think at last count it was 4 jobs. I was fir
ed from a hotel for having a negative attitude (fuck that!) I was fired from Chillis because I always forgot to ring in orders (which, believe it or not, is kinda important) and lastly a window place for missing too much work. The most devastating blow was when I got fired from bonefish grill after a year of working there. A new general manager came in, and it only took a week for him to snuff me out and realize I was a miasma.
His reason for firing me was “fluctuating attitude and performance.” What the fuck, right? Hello, I have bipolar. Of course my mood and attitude is going to be inconsistent. Some days I would be UP, taking orders like a champ, running food to tables and smiling all the while. Other days I would hate my existence and complain all day and move slowly or even cry. However, I kept that job for a whole year and nobody said boo. (I realize that to some, a year may seem minuscule, but when you hop around from job to job like I do, you appreciate staying put in one place for an extended amount of time.) So clearly he didn’t understand me, which is fine. However in the end, mental illness or not, doesn’t EVERYONE have fluctuating attitude and performance? With that being said, I think it is shitty I got fired for such a baseless reason.
You see I am really good at getting jobs, just not so great at keeping them. I can nail any job interview. I know this because I have not not been hired after an interview. If getting jobs could be a job, then I would be really good at that job. I give great first impressions but, I guess the thing is I always feel that I don’t fit in at jobs or I was bullied by co-workers. This usually ends up derailing me and getting in the way of my success at work. It’s always hit or miss, either everyone hates me and thinks I’m annoying and rude, OR everyone loves me and thinks I’m funny and fun to be around. I guess I have learned hate me or love me, I’m a person people are gonna talk about. I don’t mean this to be conceited; I don’t think I’m this amazingly fascinating person. I guess my personality can be a lot to handle and people will react negatively or positively to my boundless energy.
I would say the worst job I had was working at a local grocery store the summer of my sweet 16. It was my first job and my title was a U.C which stands for utility clerk-why it’s called that I don’t know. A more appropriate title would be cleaning-up-peoples-shit-and-bagging-groceries-for- $7.25 –an- hour clerk. My duties involved bagging groceries, mopping the floors, cleaning up diarrhea in the men’s bathrooms and pushing carts.One thing to note about Wisconsin summers- they can be super fucking hot. We may have some awful winters of below zero weather BUT, we can also have melt-in-the-sun, burn-your-face off heat. I quickly learned that pushing carts in the scorching sun makes you want to shoot yourself in the face. Just like the guy working at Wal-Mart, hating his existence while pushing carts, I was the official cart wrangler. There is nothing that will make you hate your life more than pushing sixteen, ten pound carts up the incline of a hill. This is stupid. It hot as hot as a whore in church out here and I am getting $7.25 an hour. Fuuuuck me! I remember I used to challenge myself to push more carts so I could make less trips. Note to self: pushing more carts is a stupid idea- you will just get sweatier and delevop blisters.
I think the grossest thing that ever happened to me at the store was when I had to clean up shit in the men’s bathroom. I had to do hourly checks on the bathroom to ensure there was enough soap, that there was ample paper towel, and that there wasn’t shit smeared on the walls. One day I walked in to find there was a plethora of poop in the toilet. It was clogged with toilet paper and smelled pretty rank. Naturally, I tried plunging it, (so gross) but when that didn’t work I tried flushing it. Worst. Idea. Ever. The toilet waster rose like a tsunami waiting to destroy a city. The poop bubbled under the seat causing it to rise up while the turds collapsed to the ground. My shoes got soaked, with the runny diarrhea of some strange man.
I ran in a panic to get my manager because I didn’t know what to do.”Theres.Poop.All over. The. place. Help!!” She instructed me to try to clean it up. Yeah okay lady, like it’s that simple. The smell was so bad my coworker started dry heaving into the trash can. At this point I was in hysterics, cursing the day I was born. We assembled our own versions of hazmat suits, equipped with gloves and plastic baggies on our feet. The rest of it is foggy. After my coworker started wreching into the trash can, my mind blanked. However, I do know that I quit shortly after.
The field that I have worked in the most would be the service industry. I have worked as a waitress at 5 different restaurants. For the most part it is easy work, and the pay can be really good. The shitty thing about Wisconsin, besides having a really short summers and freezing winters is, waitresses make $2.33 and hour plus tips. When I worked at bonefish, I was pulling in about $1000 a month. Since there was a $26 sea bass, and I am a smooth saleswoman, I sold those frequently.
I think there needs to be a sitcom about working in the service industry. So much drama is associated with restaurants. People are constantly dating and breaking up, cooks are always harassing you, you get hit on my creepy dishwashers with broken English and you get shitty tips from douche bags. One of the worst things about working in the service industry is the snotty people you have to deal with. Please, please, don’t ever thrust a drink, plate or a basket of bread at a server. There is nothing ruder than people shoving things in your face, including penises. Also, raising a drink in the air because you need a refill, or ignoring me when I clear you table is just fuckin rude.
Now, this is suuuper fucking racist, so beware, but in the service industry, African American folk are notoriously known for being bad tippers. This is a generalization and I hate serotypes, but after working a lot of jobs, I can affirm this stereotype as true. I worked at dave and busters for a total of three seconds because every day you would get stiffed on tips. The restaurant was kind of in the hood, and the clientele as predominantly African American. Sick of the shit, I promptly quit.
The day Whiney Huston died was a day that will forever stand out my memory. With this being said, a big African American family came in around 9:00. Since I was closing I took the table, there were probably about 15 people all together, they we all dressed in their Sunday best, complete with ridiculous hats. I took their orders and brought them their drinks in a timely fashion and I suggested fishes and wine pairings. There was a kids table with three 8-13 year olds. I remember one of the girls was being such a fuckin snot. I wanted to rip the weave right outta her damn hair. She kept bossing me about and I remember at one time I was called “the help.” Yup!
The end of the meal came and I suggested a dessert, perhaps a chocolate brownie, or some ice-cream. We were out of crème brûlée so I didn’t suggest that. I asked the woman at the head of the table what type of dessert she wanted. She told me would like a crème brûlée, I politely informed her we were out. The look of disbelief on her face is a sight that is singed in my mind. Her mouth fell into an o and she looked around at the table. She rose her finger in the air and retorted “ You ain’t got no crème brulee? You aint got no Crème brûlée? WHITNEY HUSTON JUST DIIIIED AND YOU AINT GOT NO CRÈME BRÛLÉE?? Yo, shaquanda, you hear this? She ain’t got no Crème brûlée!!.”
I still laugh whenever I think of this night because I have no idea what the connection between Whitney Houston and crème brûlée is. Perhaps they wanted to celebrate her life with a decadent dessert? Maybe it was Whitney’s favorite food? Or maybe they are just a buncha crazy assholes! Either way, I stifled my laughs and informed the woman that I would go talk to my manager, and see what I could do for them. My manger refused to go talk to them so instead she gave them her business card, and wrote “free crème brûlée” on about 8 business cards. After running around like a child and reenacting the scene to all of my coworkers I delivered their free crème brûlée cards They left without a fuss but I remember one of the little bitches from the kids table tried giving me $1.60. With my dignity in tact I kindly refused her money, “No, no, you can keep that. Thank you though!” I’ma shove that money down your throat you little creation. Fuck off!
Don’t even get me started about how many times I have been straight up fucked out of tips. I know recently at buffalo wild wings I got a $3 tip on a $75 bill. Some of my friends tell me “Well Allie, some people can’t afford to tip 20%” or “Why don’t you just find a new job?” To that I said, A) if you can’t at least 15% you have no reason to be at a restaurant. Wisconsin, unlike California where servers get $8 and hour plus tips, and chiago where they get $5 plus tips, we make a living on out tips. So when people are stingy and don’t tip properly it screw duo your finances. A buffalo wild wings I remember I made $8.75 and I was there for 5 hours. The service industry is a tough biz and it isn’t for everyone.
Wanna know another tough business? Sales! Besides acting, sales is the hardest job I have ever had. I worked as a door-to-door vacuum saleswoman (smell the dream!) I found the job on craigslist (red flag right there) and got hired immediately. My job was to set up 90 minuet appointment in stranger’s homes and do a demonstration of our “air purifier.” 45 minutes into the demonstration, the homeowner would be astonished to find that out air purifier was actually a $3000vacuum cleaner- SURPRIIISE MOTHER TRUCKER! YOU JUST GOT DUPED!!
It was a tough racket though. I would make my appointments based on referrals and I didn’t like how I had to go about making appointments because it was skuzzy. I started with my family and family friends and would then ask them to whore out their friends so I could go their homes and pimp out their friends- it was a viscous cycle. The most ridiculous thing about all of this: I wasn’t getting paid. I would drive halfway across America (okay, the farthest I had to drive was an hour away, but still!) to appointments where I wouldn’t sell anything. Oh, did I mention the vacuum was THREE THOUSAND dollars?! Yep! Based on the fact that a $3000 vacuum was not a necessity, it made it damn near impossible to make a sale. I was paid on commission, $300 per sale. I would spend long days in the office cold-calling people. I would literally open the phone book and start dialing phone numbers. Not only was that illegal it was also dangerous. What if I called a serial killer and went to their home only to be murdered and then chopped into tiny little pieces and scattered across town! (Too far? Yeah, I figured, I chalk up my morbidity to a creative imagination.)
The one sale I did make was to my parents. That was the day I realized my family was rich. The fact that that they could afford the vacuum opened my eyes. I also realized we were rich when my dad gave each of us $500 for Christmas. Money aside, I hated that job. My parents could have handed me $300 and said go buy some shoes and a pizza. I mean they pretty much gave me $300 since they bought the $3000 vacuum and $300 went to me. Since I wasn’t making any money and I had to drive all over the place, it didn’t make sense for me to stay at the job. I was literally spending double the amount of money that I was making. It was less than ideal, and after a month I got sick of the bullshit, so I quit.