A Series of Unfortunate Employments

This is an informal record of my past and current professions. Think of it as an exposé. The good, the bad, and the ugly of teen employment. Making a Living: A Cautionary Tale. Everything you didn’t know and didn’t care to know about the hustle and grind.

My employment record, though short and unimpressive, has been tumultuous. Not to say I’ve had bad jobs; I’ve loved almost every job I’ve had. Well, in my opinion, I’ve never been paid enough for anything I’ve done, but that’s a whole other article. I just mean to say that I’ve either stumbled into the job through an odd chain of events or the job itself has been unusual.

I got my first job when I was fourteen at the nearest McDonald’s to my house. I lasted a week, through no fault of my own. Technically, I was kind-of sort-of fired, but you could also see it as me quitting. It’s been about three years and I still haven’t decided which is worse. The interpretation is unique to the reader. Why did I want a job at fourteen years old? The short answer is ‘I love my parents’. Don’t worry about the long answer. Anyway, I applied online and they called me after a week. I remember it was Tax Day because I was in the backseat of my dad’s car while he broke the speed limit to get to Wicker Park before closing time for Palamino Tax Services. I was wearing blue eye shadow and a big sweater and I ended up eating a breakfast skillet later that night at Hollywood Grill. I skipped school the next day to go to the interview. The following week was the most embarrassing of my life, I think. (I’m not going to sit here and consider all of the other idiotic things I’ve done and that have happened to me. I write for fun, okay.)

So, I went there the next day, a Saturday, for an information session. It was me and two other girls. I filled out paperwork and stuff for a few hours and then went home. I’m not going to name my boss, but I will tell you that she was a really pretty black Albino woman and I was impressed with her. She still works there, I see her often. After that, they didn’t call me for a few days. I got worried and ended up calling them, which ended up being a huge blow to my 14 year old ego because no one had any recollection of who I was. They finally got a hold of the woman who had hired me and set up a date for me to come in. Once again, when I got there nobody had any idea who I was and no one had any knowledge of a new trainee coming in. They put me on drive through duty immediately, which a lot of people were surprised by, probably because I was basically an infant and that’s the hardest station. This went on for about a week until they ‘found out’ how young I was. I didn’t know it was a secret. This song and dance went on long enough; the person who hired me was never there to fill out my work permit request (eventually they told me she went on vacation, in the middle of winter), and I kept having to call each night to find out when to come back. I can take a hint, alright. Eventually I just stopped showing up.

I’m going to keep the rest of this pretty short, since that was my most interesting job story, in my opinion.

My second job was on an in urban farm in Bridgeport. I still technically have it, I guess, in the sense that the position is 100% mine if I ask for it. I interviewed with a woman at their Grant Park location in downtown Chicago. I wore a checkered skirt, white Keds, sunglasses, and gray tshirt with camels on it. We sat under a tree and I kept my sunglasses on throughout the entire interview (by accident). It was love at first sight, honestly. The interview location was kind of misleading since this was a beautiful garden area, where no actual farming went on. I ended up working at the huge location way closer to my house where the Grant Park place got all its compost from. The job was, um, amazing. Even when it sucked, it was great. I never consumed more water in one summer in my entire life. We shoveled woodchips and beer mesh the entire summer [We, as blog writers, literally talk about this all the time]. We were constantly weeding, cleaning, feeding goats, and sifting. People harvested but I somehow never got around to trying that out. I don’t know if this description translates as good or bad on paper, but it kind of changed my life. So take from that what you will.

My third job… I don’t know if everyone would say it was a ‘job’ in the most basic sense. But I got paid, so it counts. It’s not very hilarious, so I won’t spend too much time on it. Have you ever seen Wet Hot American Summer? It was exactly like that.

I spent my summer at UIUC doing this research based agriculture thing, blah, blah, blah, whatever. I interviewed in the same checkered skirt from the farm interview, but this time I wore suede black flats and a white blouse. I had actually gone straight to the interview as soon I finished work at the farm that day. I lived in a dorm room with this girl from Belmont-Cragin who’s going to be my future wife. By the third week, she had broken up with her boyfriend and gotten a new boyfriend in the span of, like, two days. I’m actually  a little too paranoid to write in depth about everything else that went on there. Fue muy escandaloso. All the interesting stuff has to do with people and my relationships with them, and as I said, I happen to be a coward. Plus, I wrote my college essay on the whole experience. It was cute, that’s all I have to say. (I have a published research paper, hmu if you want to know a lot about strawberry crops and how they grow in a closed system under Illinois climate.)

My fourth job, the one that I have now, is as a receptionist at my high school. It’s a work-study thing, kind of. I feel like I’ve gotten the most practical experience from it. Who are people more likely to hire, the day laborer or the desk jockey? (This is a real question. Please answer in the comments, because I would really like to know.) What are the pros? I’m friends with all of the maintenance, security, and engineer staff. I’ve also developed a pretty good professional, on-the-phone voice. Lastly… I didn’t have to transfer to public school. I don’t know if I’ve ever explicitly stated where I go to school on this website, but if you’re able to piece it together feel free to call from 3-6pm on Tuesdays and Thursday and some Saturdays from 8-1pm if you ever want to chat with me. Call any other time if you feel like talking to my boss, because she’s great and my idol.

I don’t know if any of this was helpful or even entertaining in some way, shape, or form. If there’s a moral to this to this/these story/stories, I’d say it’s ‘stay in school’ or ‘get enough fiber’, something like that. Since I want to make sure you get something out of reading this to the end, if you’re ever applying for a job, feel free to put down ‘head writer at No Youths’ and cite me as you’re reference.


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