Archive for the 'my job sucks' Category

Assistant Nature Lady

I’m what you would call a girly girl. I like fashion and shopping and cleanliness. Last summer I needed a job, so I applied to a bunch of local retail shops thinking how awesome it would be to use the 50% discounts. And it would have been really awesome…But I didn’t get any of those jobs. So last minute my mom pulled some strings and got me an interview at a day camp nearby. I assumed I would be a counselor, which is not my ideal job, but kids are fine as long as they don’t expect me to make mudpiles with them. Anyways, when I got there I was told that the only position they still had open was for the Assistant Nature Lady. I had my interview, told them I’d talk it over with my parents and get back to them tomorrow, and walked out of there laughing. Me, a nature lady? Nuh uh. Had to be polite, though, and make it seem as if I wasn’t scoffing at their camp. Don’t want to offend anyone. I got home and told my mom expecting her to share in the hilarity of the experience. Nope. “Jenna Smith, you will call that camp director right now and tell them you will take that position gladly. I had to call up my friend who had to call up her friend who had to ask the owner of the camp to pull in a favor just to get you that interview. You will not embarass me by turning it down. Plus, you are not doing nothing this summer.” So I ended up being the Asst. Nature Lady that summer. It was terrible. We had to trek around the woods and hug trees and dig up dirt and bugs. And the heat. OMG the heat! There was no A/C in our nature hut and it was about 150 degrees in there. During lunch time I would curl up in the corner and take naps. People say excessive sleepiness is the beginning signs of heat stroke. Oh well. I survived. If the Assistant Nature Lady died in her nature hut that would have been kinda sad. My friends and family still make fun of me for having that job.


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Tuna on Robert down

Tuna on Robert down; Burgers a pair in the well, one takes cheese. Who knew that you had to learn a new language in order to work at the HoJo’s on 52nd St. and 8th Ave. The thing was that, if you did not already know the restaurant ordering lingo, no one would cook your order. You had to wait at the grill, looking pathetic, until one of the hard-boiled waitresses or kitchen workers would take the time to tell you how to order a tuna on toasted rye, or 2 burgers, well-done, one of them a cheese burger. They would reluctantly help, all the while rolling their eyes as if you should be born knowing short order slang.

That wasn’t the shittiest part of the job, though. I worked a 7:30 to 3:30 shift one summer there before graduating from college. I would wait on 70 to 80 tables a day, every patron in a mad rush. HoJo’s is right in the middle of the theater district, so customers all waited until the last possible minute to come in for a quick bite before curtain time. Now, if you are taking the time and money to go to NYC to see a Broadway show, wouldn’t you try to make a nice meal part of the experience? I would think most people should be willing to shell out a little more for a lunch nicely prepared in a restaurant that offers atmosphere. HoJo’s was pretty much the opposite of that dining experience, and people tended to take out their disappointment on the waitstaff. They expected champagne treatment on a cheap beer budget! I was between a rock and a hard place- the nasty kitchen help and grumpy customers! The other waitresses pretty much treated me like Cinderella, too, passing all of the French Canadian customers my way. Apparently, tipping is not customary north of our border…

Of course, there was that one manager who had some kind of weirdo crush on me. He kept complimenting me on how I looked in my mustard and brown checked HoJo’s uniform. He would follow me in and out of the kitchen staring longingly as I refilled ketchup bottles. The summer finally ended and I prepared to go back to finish my final semester of college. I actually made a friend go in and quit for me- returning my uniform, hand washed one last time. I won’t ever forget that shitty job. Every day I left with pockets full of quarters, covered in french fry grease, tired to the bone! There were even a few times I delivered a meal with tears running down my cheeks. Now I overtip waitstaff, even crappy ones. I know what they may be facing. I am forever connected to them- like soldiers in a foxhole. I understand!


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a real “shitty” job

Immediately following graduate school, I worked for several years with individuals who had been moved from huge institutions and were being reintegrated into  communities in small group homes. Most were of adult age- but without adult-level self-care skills. In other words, one of the major parts of our day revolved around trying to toilet train grown-ups who had no idea what a toilet was all about. Our students (or clients) wore great big diapers, which was a good thing because they took great big shits. That was, without a doubt, a shitty job. Oh, in other ways, I loved my job. It was rewarding. I felt like I was doing important work. I met caring, like-minded idealistic people at these jobs.

But, oh, those shitty diapers. There was no getting around them. Put eight or so adults in a classroom and imagine each of them taking a rather large crap at some point during the day. You just could not get the smell out of your nose. I would leave at day’s end, certain that I would stink up the subway or bus on my way home. It was a smell with a life of its own.

I remember most clearly one young man, Ronald, who had a habit of ingesting string of any sort. You could not leave any unsupervised sneakers within eyeshot of Ronald. Lickety-split, he would rip out the shoelaces and swallow them whole. That wasn’t even the worst part. When he shitted them out, he would use his feces to finger paint on walls. The shoelaces gave it an interesting texture. If shoelaces were not available, Ronald would attempt to unravel carpets or his own clothing. I’m not sure what happened to him. I heard he had a gallery in Soho for performance art. I remember those jobs fondly. I spent ten or so years working with individuals for whom toileting was a major developmental milestone. I teach elementary school now. When other teachers complain about the kids, I just smile. It could be a lot shittier!


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Pee monsters

I used to think kids were really ridiculously cute. That’s why I became a preschool teacher. I wanted to have 10 children in my class: 5 boys and 5 girls. Now, I’d prefer zero.

I don’t know if it’s worse because I happen to teach a bunch of poor kids or what, but every day is a nightmare. A daymare. One kid cries constantly — it amazes me how many tears can come out of that little body — while other boys fight over who gets to rub Barbie’s smooth private parts. Worse yet, this one kid, Jamarcus, always “accidentally” grazes against my boobs. And honestly, he looks a little too old to be in preschool to begin with. I swear I saw him sitting behind the wheel of an old Camaro idling outside my house. Creepy shit.

Still, the absolute worst part about my job is getting peed on. Happens at least once a day. These kids aren’t allowed in the bathroom by themselves yet, and they can’t seem to control their peeing organs. Although their moms always assure me they’re all perfectly potty-trained…

Anyway, I’ve resorted to getting all my clothes from the Salvation Army now, because I know I’ll be throwing them out in a matter of a few weeks anyway. At first I would throw out a peed-on article of clothing right away, but now I don’t throw anything out until it’s been peed on 5 times. And that’s disgusting, I know, but I really just don’t like going to the Salvation Army anymore. One of the homeless men who hangs out there asked me out, and I’m afraid I’ll get stabbed or something if I turn him down.

The flaw in this system, of course, was that the peed-on clothing made my whole apartment smell like piss. My roomates thought we had a cat or raccoon or some mysterious nighttime peeing animal problem. I even chipped in to pay for one of those pest control guys to come and set up a trap. I wasn’t about to admit that it was human kid pee–and it was on my clothes. The woefully imperfect solution I’ve come up with is to throw the peed-on pieces of clothing in one of those big ass ziploc plastic airtight bags. That way only I smell like piss. And that’s all a preschool teacher can hope for, right?


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Plus, I get free gloves.

I’m a proctologist. So of course my job is shittier than yours. Seriously, though, I make $300K a year and I make my own hours. I get to put my finger in the asses of some of the most beautiful women in Central Alabama. You do the math.


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“A Dog Walk To Remember”

First of all, I’d like to thank Hollywood for putting the delusional idea in my head that becoming a dog-walker was a good idea. Special thanks go to classics 101 Dalmations, In Her Shoes (a slutty depressed illiterate Cameron Diaz.. so convincing.. the acting job of a lifetime), and Must Love Dogs.

It could be that I started out biting off way more than I could chew. There is definitely no lack of opportunity for a dog walker in NYC. The first day I put my sign up in the local coffee shop advertising “A Dog Walk To Remember”, I got around 50 calls. One New Yorker, who must have really been in a hurry, missed the “Dog” part of my sign and called asking when and where the showing was so he could come and watch the only movie that can make him cry.  Some of the callers requested references. Of course I have none… who would think you would need to have references to walk someone’s dogs. Well, I lost those clients. Good riddance, I thought.

Maybe those snobby callers were right, though. Maybe I’m not even fit to walk dogs. My second week on the job, tragedy kind of struck. Ruffles, the bijoun freeze (that is totally the wrong spelling.. I really should know how to spell my clients’ names–just writing this is showing I need to retire my dogwalking leashes pronto) stepped on a nail! She started howling and moaning and I had NO idea what was wrong. I thought she was having a heart attack, or something! She just slumped down and started making those terrible noises. I had no idea what to do. I acted on instinct, jumped in a cab with all 5 dogs, told the driver to rush me to the nearest hospital and 5 minutes later I’m running into the emergency room holding 4 leashes in one hand and Ruffles scooped up in my other arm. I was ridiculously out of place and I looked pretty damn stupid. People were staring me and the 5 dogs up and down, and I felt like I’m sure those people who have the ‘naked in school’ dreams feel. It didn’t help that one little girl squealed, “Look mommy, Cruella Deville.”   “First of all, little girl, these are NOT dalmations. Second of all, are you color blind? Because my hair may have some bad roots right now, but it is not half white and half black, thankyouverymuch.”  I didn’t actually say that, but rather came up with it that night in bed as I went over and over the terribly embarrassing moments of the day.

Anyways, soon a doctor came over with one of those disapproving father-like looks to see what the hell I was doing with 5 dogs in his emergency room. He must have felt really bad for me or something, because instead of kicking me out, he calmed me down, found the nail in her paw, extracted it, and told me next time to go to a vet. Damn, just writing this makes my cheeks flare up red again. I’m still so embarrassed! And Ruffles’ mom wasn’t so happy about having her “baby in the hospital without her knowing.” So yeah, it was a good idea while it lasted, but I don’t think I’m cut out for being a dogwalker. More stressful than I thought. I’m going to start applying for a nice, boring, relaxing desk job.


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Save money. Live better.

I work at this store called Walmart. Maybe you’ve heard of it? They sell TVs and vegetables and stuff. And ya know what? It’s not that bad. I mean, sure, the pay is pretty awful, and the fluorescent lighting makes my head hurt after a while, but I can handle that. I’m only seventeen, for crying out loud — I don’t need a 401k yet. I don’t think.

What I really don’t like is how people make me feel for working at Walmart. Whenever one of my teachers or one of my friends’ parents walks through the checkout line, they act like I’m putting down animals for the pound. “My gosh, Billy,” they’ll say, “I didn’t know you were working here. Is everything okay at home? How are you holding up?” My English teacher even gave me a “tip,” which I told him I really didn’t want or need: “Come on, Billy, I know how Walmart treats its employees. Take the money. God knows you deserve it for putting up with this place.” “It’s not so bad,” I said. “You put on a brave face, Billy, and I admire that. Take the money.”

I don’t get it — what kind of job do these people expect me to get? I’m seventeen, I have no job experience, and no real skills. Unless there’s a company that wants to hire me as resident skateboarder / frozen-pizza chef, I’m gonna be working at a place like Walmart. And it’s not that bad, damn it! That is, as long as everyone’s not trying to convince me how pathetic and unfortunate I am for working there.


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