Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jobs that I didn't like--Part 2

After I got all caught up with my school work, I decided to get another part-time job. I went into the mall thinking that God would lead me to the right job. That sounds a little weird, but that's how I looked at it. I wasn't looking for the fun job or the interesting job or the job where I could flirt with cute guys, I was just looking for the job that would work with my school schedule.

God lead me to the food court. I got a job at Corn Dog On A Stick. This was the last place that I would ever have wanted to work. I didn't want to work in food service at all. And if I was going to work in food service, I would have looked for a job at a place that I liked to eat, like maybe a pizza place. But, I went in with a good attitude, and it turned out great. I wouldn't want to work there now, but at the time it was just the perfect job for me.

Free sodas and free food came with the job. I didn't particularly like corn dogs at the time, but right out of the fryer they're pretty good. And free corn dogs with free nacho cheese and a free coke and a free pretzel is really good. And at the time I needed to gain weight. I gained five pounds. Sugar and fried food are not the healthy way to do that, but at the time it made me very happy.

I did not care for the clothes I had to wear on the job, but looking back, that was okay too. If I got grease on my bright yellow sweatpants, who cares? If I'd gotten grease on my favorite pair of jeans, that would have upset me.

I often had to close the place by myself. My mom didn't like that, but at the time I thought nothing of it. I was not much afraid of the dark empty parking lot or driving home at night. Seems strange to think about now. And back then I didn't even have an emergency cell phone.

During spring break that year, I got a job being the Easter Bunny. Really. I put on a furry costume while some other girl sold Polaroids of me with little kids. Some of the little kids were really scared. It was boring just sitting there, and the costume was hot and uncomfortable, but they let me have a Walkman inside the costume. So I kind of got paid to sit around listening to music all day.

Right after that I lost my job at Corn Dog On A Stick. When sales are bad they cut our hours, and they kept cutting our hours, and finally the manager thought it would be best to let one of us go. So, it got to be me. I was the youngest, I didn't have a family to support, and other stuff like that. And I'd just made all that extra money from being the Easter Bunny, so it wasn't like I even needed any money right away.

I had never wanted to work at a fast food place, but that place was such a positive experience that I tried a couple of times to recreate it. The first place I tried was Captain Ds. I pictured it being just like the other place, only with free fish instead of free corn dogs, and I liked fish better anyway. It turned out not to be as good.

At the time I had just dropped a couple of my classes, so that all I had left were art labs. I knew what my projects were, I just had to go in and do the work. But, for the most part, I didn't see why that should actually have to be done during the time class was scheduled. So when I went in to ask about the job, I told them that a certain schedule was preferred, but not actually necessary. I was hired, and the first week I worked thirty or forty hours.

I should have realized there was a problem. The guys all worked in the back, cooking the food. The guys made like twenty-five or fifty cents more a hour than the girls, because they supposedly did more work. The girls worked in the front on the cash registers and serving sodas and such. But they also mopped the floors and cleaned the bathrooms and stuff like that, so maybe the guys didn't really do more work. But I didn't care, and I wasn't going to argue about it. The thing was that a new woman was hired to be in charge of the girls, and no one liked her, and so girls kept quiting and that's when I was hired.

That first week, I was trying to learn the register, but she didn't really have time to show me how to do it, cause she kept having to go interview people and stuff like that. So I spent a lot of time cleaning stuff. I didn't really care that much. It was a paycheck. Then a couple of girls called in sick, and she had a fit. The manager came out and tried to get her calmed down. He said not to worry, just do your best. And he pointed out that not everyone had called in sick, I was there. She said that I didn't count, because I didn't know how to do anything.

I wonder why I didn't know how to do anything?

Something happens a lot at fast food restaurants. You might be scheduled to work from say 10am to 5pm, but you are often sent home early when business is slow. So, even though the schedule says 10am to 5pm, after the lunch rush is over and you've cleaned up the place, they might start sending people home, so you might only get paid for five hours instead of seven. So, she didn't have to time show me how to do anything, and she sent everyone else home, so I couldn't learn from watching anyone else either. So I was really mad when she said I didn't count.

There was also this odd thing on the schedule. It said on call, or something like that. So Friday, there were no hours on my schedule, so I was finally going to go to school and get some work done. Just as I was about to leave, she calls me and says that someone called in sick and I have to come in to work for her. I tell her that I can't, that I have almost a whole week of school work to catch up on. She said that I was the one on call, and that means I have to come in. Sorry, it's not my day to work, and I have school. If I had known you were expecting me to come in, I would have told you sooner that I couldn't. That was really an odd thing to do. Did they expect people to just sit at home and do nothing and wait for the phone to ring when they're not even being paid for it? I flat out said that I would not do that. I wondered why the other girls put up with it. They had just sort of made a game of it. If the person scheduled calls in sick, the on call person is called. The on call person is the one in trouble if the shift isn't covered, not the girl who was actually scheduled to work. So they all knew that they had to work if they were on call. They took turns calling in sick. Weird.

So, after that, my schedule was really bad. I only worked during the lunch rush. I still had to miss class to go to work, but I wasn't even making half of the money I had been. And going to work there, even for just two hours, left me tired and cranky and it was really no use going to an art lab afterwards. I either didn't get enough work done to bother with it, or worse, I actually made mistakes that cost me time later.

I think I gave notice on my third week there. It just wasn't worth the effort. I had to work a five day week for like ten or fifteen hours, and my art was suffering. The manager seemed to understand, but the lady who hired me had a fit. Sorry, what do you expect? She made a big deal about needing me to stay for a week or two, but then the next time I was scheduled to work, she came out and told me that my presence was no longer necessary. She could have called. I missed that morning's class for nothing.

A couple of weeks later, I went in to get my check, and the girls told me that woman had been demoted. I think that she was fired about a month after that.

I waited until summer break to get another job. A new Arby's opened a few blocks from my house. I worked there for a while. It was better than Captain Ds, but not as good as Corn Dog On A Stick. But my mom was happier cause it was closer to home and I rarely worked after dark.

I don't think that I could ever work there again. I heard horror stories about the slicer. They never asked me to operate the thing, but after a while I even had trouble working the toaster just because it was next to the slicer. I'm sure that most of those stories were nonsense, but every once in a while you'd meet a district manager or someone like that who had been with the company for a long time, and maybe he'd be missing the tip of his thumb or something like that.

I once had a costumer there who was trying to explain to me that she had diverticulitis. I'm afraid I didn't get most of what she was saying, only that she didn't want anything with a sesame seed bun. Fine. I sold her something on an onion bun. But onion buns also have seeds, maybe poppy seeds, which are much smaller and hard to notice. Turns out what the woman was trying to tell me was that she had a medical condition, and she wasn't allowed to eat seeds or nuts, or they might get stuck in her intestines and she'd have to go to the hospital. So I'm always worried that this woman ate something she wasn't supposed to because of me and her stomach exploded or something.

I found out that I would not be going back to school in the fall like I thought. The rule in my parents house was either go to school full time or have a full time job and pay for your own insurance and stuff. Then they tell me at the last minute that I either have to change majors or pay for college myself. They don't give me a clue what I should be changing my major to, just to change it. A.) I did not save up enough money in one summer to pay for even a semester of college, much less enough to finish college with, B.) it doesn't seem possible to just change to a different major like that, even if I knew what to change to (and it was not possible at the time to change to English as a full time student, since at the time I was lacking one sophomore English course), and C. I did not make enough money at Arby's to pay for my own insurance and stuff. The only thing my part time job paid for was art supplies and gas and the occasional lunch or a movie. So, I was looking for a new job.

My next job was at a wildlife park. I know some of you came to read this post specifically for the wildlife park incident, but you will have to wait. I have decided that the wildlife park deserves it's own separate post.

I started working at the wildlife park at the end of the summer. At the beginning of the spring, the park flooded. The park had to be closed for at least two weeks, and they really couldn't say for sure when or even if they would re-open. While I was waiting for that to be sorted out, I got a job at General Cinema.

Now, I had a lot of fun, and I made a little bit of money there too. And I saw a lot of movies for free. When I watched the Academy awards that year, I'd actually seen most of the movies. Funny, but when I applied for the job, I wasn't even thinking about seeing movies. I was just thinking about the schedule, and how if the park re-opened I might be able to work both jobs.

Again, my mom did not really like me having this job. I usually worked the evening shift, and I got home after midnight. I just don't think that I could do that now, but I the time I didn't mind it that much.

Except, that once in a great while, there is a movie that they want to show a special early show and a special late night show, just for the opening weekend. The manager just wrote the schedule, and didn't check to see if people could come in three hours early or stay three hours late. We were just expected to be there. We were not asked. A lot of the kids who worked there did not have their own cars, and how were they even supposed to get to work at a different time. And even if you've gotten into the habit of eating dinner at midnight, waiting til three in the morning is a bit unreasonable.

And, it wasn't just the kids who got an unreasonable schedule. The guy that was assistant manager was getting married. It was going to be one of these big catholic weddings that you plan for a year and a half. Anyway, he lived in one city, and the woman he was going to marry lived about three hundred miles away. They had to discuss some things about the wedding, and sometimes it was stuff that was hard to do over the phone. So they would drive to see each other once in a while, and everyone knew that he was going to see her a certain week. And it ended up being the same week that we had one of these special shows. But, he still has drive out of town to talk to his fiance. They had some deadline the next week. So, he's thinking that if he works Friday morning and Saturday night, it won't be a problem. He'll be tired from driving, but he's done it before. But instead of getting the schedule he asked for, the manager made him work Friday night and Saturday morning. But, the assistant manager still has to see his fiance, even if the manager won't be reasonable. He kept thinking that the manager would see reason and change something on the schedule, but he didn't. So the fiance drove most of the way here instead, and they met at a Denny's or something in Waco. The assistant manager tried to get just an hour's sleep before he went back to work, but the alarm didn't wake him. So the scheduled early morning show did not happen, even with everyone else there, because the assistant manager wasn't there in time to unlock.

So everyone knew that happened because the manager was being an ass. Even if he didn't already know that the assistant manager had to go out of town, why did he schedule people to work both the extra late shift one night and then the extra early shift the next morning? Especially since he wasn't willing to work either one himself. Another girl who worked there actually went around with a petition to have the manager fired. I didn't think it would do any good, but I signed the thing anyway. The manager was replaced a few weeks later, but I can't say for sure why. They might have wanted to get rid of the guy before all this stuff happened anyway.

I worked at both the movie theater and the wildlife park for most of the summer, but I decided that I'd try to go to school part-time, and I didn't think I could do that and two jobs. I ended up keeping the job at General Cinema, because I was up for a promotion. I didn't get it, but there was still a possibility of it happening later, but nothing like that would happen at the wildlife park. The assistant manager transferred to a different theater. The other theater was a lot closer to school, so a few weeks later I went to work there instead. After almost a year of hearing that I might get promoted, I got a job at a different movie theater company. I didn't even ask about getting a promotion there. I was totally sick of the whole thing. Just people ask you to do stuff that you don't want to do, and when you say you don't want to do it, someone reminds you about the promotion, but then somehow going along with it doesn't get you the promotion. And there really wasn't that much point to trying to get the promotion. It just puts you in line the next time they need an assistant manager. And I really didn't plan to stay there forever and me a manager, I just thought that it would be nice to say I'd been a supervisor or even an assistant manager.

I stayed at the other movie theater for about a year, and even briefly went to work for a third movie theater company. But no one offered me a promotion without me doing a lot of extra work first, and I didn't want to get into that again. Just let me do my job and leave me alone.

For a while I worked at a movie theater and another arcade that was in the movie theater. That worked okay for a while, but then the movie theater got a new manager. It was weird working at the same place, but for two different companies. One guy would be my boss one day, and then that evening or the next day I'd have a different boss. The new theater manager didn't get along well with the guy running the arcade. I was making slightly more money at the arcade, so when there was a conflict I chose the arcade. But the arcade wasn't really worth doing by itself. I ended up quiting that too.

I didn't mean to just quit working. I meant to look for another job. But my husband suggested that I not go back to work. He worked nights for a while, and the different schedules were getting annoying. So a quit looking for work, and I didn't get another job for like five years.

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