Sunday, June 1, 2008

Just Doin' My Jobs: A List

Lately, much of my energy is focused on something entirely too practical for my tastes -- employment. And I do mean finding it. As a freelance writer, my professional life is, almost by definition, completely unsettled. Also, I know this will surprise you considering the copious amount of talent on display here, but I'm not exactly raking in the big bucks.

I have spent the last year or so, then, substitute teaching, writing for various blogs and local publications, and -- the highlight -- scoring fourth grade reading ISATS online. It's glamorous, I know.

I hate it when writers write about writing (redundant, yes?) so I will not be doing that. However, I will write about existential crises, and while I'm not sure uncertain career paths qualify, I'm feeling flexible today. My pseudo-crisis is this: I have many many changes going on in my life right now which will require me to get off my indecisive ass and figure out what I'm doing next. And I do mean how I'm going to make money. Which, one might argue, at this juncture in life I should have probably already figured out. And you would be correct. Good thinking.

However, as I always like to say, it is what it is. I do like to say that. Just ask my friend Sarah; she finds it highly annoying.

Anyway, as I mull over my Next Big Career Move, I've gotten to thinking about some of the stupid/annoying jobs I've held in the past. My top three:

3. Men's Clothing Salesperson. This sounds fairly innocuous, but I was 19, working in a men's clothing store in a strip mall in a Detroit suburb run by a this manic guy named Surin who drank tea and strawberry milkshakes. I remember this because I used to serve him those when I worked at the ice cream/sandwich shop next door, but I digress . . . Anyway, part of my job was to mark up pants (while they were actually on the 68-year-old guys) to be tailored. I think I only ever did the hem and maybe the waist, mercifully, but I never had any flippin' idea what I was doing. Those must have been some messed up pant legs, I can tell you. The biggest compliment I ever received from my boss? That I wasn't very good at any of it, but at least he could count on me to show up. Gee, thanks.

2. Yogurt Sensations. That was the actual name of the place, I swear. In a mall food court. It's not such a bad college job, really, but good lord -- Yogurt Sensations? There, I learned to cut up a whole pineapple in 12.8 seconds flat and make a perfect soft-serve swirl with the little curly thing on top. It's really quite impressive. Also, my boss was, like, 20 and the owner's son, and a complete and total waste-case. I ended up sharing an apartment with his girlfriend, and after they broke up he called one night and since she wasn't home, I got to spend an hour on the phone with him while he cried and threatened to off himself. Then, go to work the next day where he acted like nothing happened. All this for just slightly more than minimum wage. Nice!

1. Kmart Shoe Department. This is the first job I held after receiving my newly-minted psychology degree from Michigan State University. Seriously. Stocking shoes. At Kmart. The best part -- wait for it -- I have actually run a Blue Light Special. Over the intercom. At Kmart. Seriously. The upside? Dude, there's really nowhere to go but up from there.

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