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Friday, October 12, 2007

Sunday Scribblings 80: First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

I have had a number of jobs over the year. My first job was as a bag boy at the local grocery store near my home. I was 16, and looking forward to having my own money for the first time. I started the week after my sophomore year of high school. It was the busiest time that I would ever remember in the grocery business. I was scheduled to work until 11 at night, but we weren't getting out until 12:30 most nights. I learned how to "swab the decks" mopping the aisles at night. My boss was Mr. Hedgepeth, who is still one of the best people that I have worked for. He worked hard at his job and it showed. He was fair to us and in turn we worked hard for him.
I worked hard at that job and after a few months, I was promoted to stock helper. I would stock the front end of the store in addition to bagging when I was needed. A few months after that Mr. Hedgepeth came to me and told me that he was allowed to give three workers a raise and that I was going to be one of the three. I was blown away. I never figured that I would be one of the people chosen. It was only a 30 cent raise, but I was still pretty proud. Of course, the minimum wage was increased two months later and wiped out my raise. Such is life. At least, that is the way that it has been with my life.
I have had a couple of "worst jobs". I was the manager of a campsite for R.V.'s one summer. Terrible job. It was 98% on the job training and learn as you go. Nobody knew anything. I would get chastised for doing the wrong thing when no one had told me what the right thing to do was. Dealing with the Board of Directors of the camp was hard too. They were jerks, to put it simply. At the end of the summer, after I had worked my butt off for three months, they promised me that I could have the job again the next summer. Then the next February, they advertised for the job again and didn't even tell me. I found out that they were doing that and I begged for a job interview again. I should have taken the hint. The day came and I dressed up in my best shirt and tie and headed out to be interviewed by the same group of people that I had butted heads with the year before. Was I a glutton for punishment or what?
I was not the only applicant for the job. There was an applicant already inside interviewing when I arrived. From the sound of the interview, I knew that she was probably going to get the job (which she eventually did). I had given my word that I was going to be there for the interview and I was determined to see it through. At the conclusion of the first applicant's interview, she was walked out to her car by the liaison to the camp (it was a Methodist church based camp), both of them laughing all the way. My stomach started churning. As they were walking out, a couple who were the third applicants arrived. I should stop here and say that the place where they were having the interviews was a double wide trailer that was converted into an office/waiting area/meeting room with a small apartment space in the back. The apartment space was where I had lived the previous summer, so I knew the ins and outs of the whole building.
One of the things I learned about the apartment is that in certain spots, you can hear everything that happens in the waiting area. The waiting area is where the applicants were held until the interview. So I heard everything that was said about me. They spent about 10 minutes putting me and everything that I had done the previous summer down. Some of the criticisms were just, there were things that I had done wrong and that I had intended not to do again. Some of the things were not warranted, there were things that had happened that were out of my hands. I hate criticism, but it is one of the things that you have to deal with in this world. The thing that I didn't like is that the board didn't address these concerns directly to me and also that the other applicants heard everything that was said. The whole thing could not have lasted more than 10 minutes but I felt like it was going on forever. My face was getting redder and redder, my cheeks were two spots of fire. Even the couple sitting on the couch across from me looked uncomfortable. I tried to make light of the whole situation but it didn't help much.
The interview was a disaster. They didn't really ask me any questions. I had to explain all of my actions from the previous summer. I was on the defensive the whole time. I felt like I was swimming in quicksand. I wanted to shout at them, "Why didn't you have the guts to say all of those things to my face?" but of course I didn't. And I didn't get the job, of course. There was one more thing that happened that I thought was very strange. A week or so later, my pastor who was on the board and was one of my two defenders in the meeting, gave me a call and apologized. He said that the liaison had said some things about me to some people in the conference that our church was a part of. That was the thing that stuck with me even to this day. Some of the people on the board I could see having a problem with me. Since I didn't get the job I figured I would never see them again so I didn't worry myself with them. I have never looked at the liaison the same way again though.
My dream job would be to be a writer. Getting paid to write and express my ideas with others sounds like heaven to me though. I did have a security job a couple of years ago at another college campus where I would be at a post on one side of campus. My first 3 hours would be pretty busy with rounds and securing building for the night. It would quiet down about 2 o'clock and the campus would get real quiet. Deer would wander onto campus in groups of 10 or more and walk across campus. There would be a chill in the air this time of year. Sitting in my car with a cup of coffee, listening to the radio or writing in my journal. Those were some good times.
Thanks for letting me ramble.

6 comments:

ana said...

Most of the scribblers want to be writers...hmmm...I need t rethink my plans for life, there is just too much competition..:)

well, it was a wonderful post, pursue your dreams, for you can only get as far as you can dare to dream....

tumblewords said...

Oh, golly! There must be a slew of bad jobs out there - I've had my share, as well! Enjoyed your writing and I feel like repeating: love the Super Mario scene - makes me smile!

paisley said...

that was a bad job all the way around... stick with the dream job....

gautami tripathy said...

I do not dream of being a writer but someday I plan to publish my poetry.

Does that count?

Robin said...

Working for the wrong people can turn even a dream job into a nightmare, and it definitely sounds like you were working for the wrong people.

Patois said...

Goodness, that sounded like the worst job ever. I wonder if there's an award for that this week?