November 14, 2016

Working Girl

A few weeks ago I was talking to someone about work and it led me to thinking about the various jobs I’ve had. Not just my professional ones, but all of them. Of course this led to blog fodder and here we are. Let’s walk through my work history.

All throughout high school I never worked (unless you count the 2 weeks when I delivered papers at 5am for my neighbor). This wasn’t because I didn’t have  to work, or because I didn’t want to work – I used to fantasize about where I’d work and how awesome it would be. No, it was because my “job” was to babysit my younger siblings every day. We’ll skip over the resentment, anger, and general asshatery of this time. The only things I got from this job were spite and a deep seeded desire to not have kids.

I obtained my first real job the summer before college. I worked as a cashier at a supply store. You guys, I was beyond ecstatic to work here. For one, I didn’t have to be home. That in itself was like a paycheck. Two, someone was giving me money to do things. Three, it was actually kind of fun. I would walk the Carhardt aisle sniffing that farm scent and wondering if it would be lame if I bought a women’s one for myself, you know, because they’re warm AF.

Once I was in college it stopped working out. Not because I didn’t have the time, but because my manager kept scheduling me on days I told him I couldn’t work. Example: On some day that ends in Y I told him I was unable to work on another day that ends in Y because that night was a final exam for class. When I ran home during a 2 hour break my mom questioned me on why they had been calling asking where I was. Umm, school?  Turns out, my manager had still scheduled me even though I told him I couldn’t work that day. I went in the following week to pick up my paycheck, checked the schedule for the next week, saw I wasn’t on it, and went about my business. I never called them, they never called me. 

From there it was on to the wonderful world of waiting tables. I don’t even remember how I got the job. I had never held a tray in my life. This job intimidated the shit out of me. Add to that I started maybe 2-3 weeks before Lent and I was scared. Turns out, I’m a natural server. I’m quick, efficient, and I thrive in the face-paced environment. Plus, my boss was amazing. Any man that will quote First Wive’s Club to me is okay in my book. On the flip side, coming home smelling like fish and grease wasn’t fun. The restaurant owners closed and sold so I moved onto a another restaurant owned by a family friend. Ironically enough, my dad had worked there years prior. I loathed working here. Like, absolutely hated it. The coworkers were fun. The dishwasher was creepy as he would hit on me every chance he got, but my boss, she was on a power trip of epic proportions.

I finally had enough and went to work at the call center in town. Hi, I’m now that annoying person that calls you at dinner hour to politely ask you to come current on your MCI phone bill, thanks. Truth is, for as lame and boring as this job was, it was an absolute blast. See, this was basically the highest paying job in town for college students. I think minimum wage was $5.15 then… they were paying $8/hr. Then factor in that I worked with about 8 of my friends and it was always a good time. AND they gave OT. Like, as much OT as you wanted. 

You guys, this is soooo accurate

In hindsight, I was a dumb, dumb girl. I settled in with the wrong crowd of friends while working here and every night became a party. Go to class, go to work, go home, party, repeat. It was all well and good until one day I decided I just wasn’t into it anymore and I quit. I didn’t have anything new lined up and for whatever reason, I also wasn’t concerned about it. Eventually I entered the world of retail, which I also thrive in.

It was the Aladdin to my Jasmine (a whole new world in case you’re not following). I didn’t worry about spilling food, I didn’t come home smelling like grease, I could essentially window shop all day. I was working in the mall (this made me feel very “grown up and cool”) And the discount?! I think it was here that I truly became a bargain shopper.

Enter some guy who is now no longer part of my life and I did the single most brazen, scary, fearless thing I have ever done: I went to NJ for a weekend to visit, came home with a new job, and gave notice. 


In hind sight, I think I’d do it all over again. I mean, I was 20, why the hell not. But that reads correct. I went to NJ to visit a guy and came home with a new job. Obviously I moved two weeks later and entered the cult of designer shoes. It was by far the most ‘I don’t fit in here’ job I’ve ever had. I felt like I was playing dress up every day. I realized very quickly that commission based sales were not for me. I hated it and asked to be moved to a cashier position. They were a bit unsure but the things was, I was good. So good that my department let go of two of the four cashiers it had and I replaced them. The thing about retail? It’s soul sucking. You lose all concept of time, days, and worst of all – your weekend. It was time to say good bye. 

I stepped in it when I took my next job. I started working at a legal secretary for someone I knew. I don’t even have words for this job. It’s what has started my professional career. It’s what spurred me into finally going back – and finishing – school. Yet it also caused me years of financial headaches. I’ve blogged about it a long time ago so I’m not going to get into it again but the short of it is, I appreciate my time here, but dear God I’m glad I moved on.

It was at this point that every childhood fascination came true. Not because I was doing all the things I dreamed of, but one single desire was manifested in its own way – I was working in New York City. I always envisioned living in the city in some fabulous loft apartment with some pseudo-important job. Hey, ½ the dream isn’t bad – I’ll take it!

NYC was my playground for 3 fast years. I’m not sure where the time went but I started to feel stuck and felt it was time to go home (NJ) and take away some of the stress I dealt with daily (I’m looking at you NJT). I went back to NJ for a spell but ultimately went back to the city. I love the closeness of boutique firms, but let’s be honest, the NYC firms make it rain.

And here we are. Still working in NYC. Still be irritated by NJT and tourists. I have a myriad of job experience under my belt, and even more life experience beyond that.


  1. Oh man, lots of variety in there, haha! For some reason (probably because we had 7-hour drives on 2 back-to-back days) I started telling David this weekend about my work history and all the different places I've worked and things I'd done. It's fun to think back.
    I have always firmly believed that every human should spend time working in retail and/or food service. It's one of the only life experiences I think that really anyone can have that shows you what people beyond your bubble are really like. Hopefully in the end it breeds compassion, but I could definitely see it breeding contempt instead...

  2. haha i love the work history post, i may steal this idea from you...hope that's ok?

    working in call centers and retail should be reflected in everyone's resume - they're tough jobs! dealing with customers isn't easy and these two really give you some hair on your also makes you understand how NOT to treat people because some customers are down right nasty!

  3. This was a fun read, I love hearing about the jobs people have held. Almost all of my jobs have involved working with kids and only two have been in a profit environment verses a non-profit, I learned quickly those are two very different worlds!

  4. My work history is actually pretty dull when I think about it. I didn't work in high school either, although I wasn't taking of siblings. My parents never pushed me to work because my big brother worked too much and didn't spend enough time on school. :) But I did work in college in fast food, so I absolutely did my time. The people, though, made it pretty fun.

  5. I did retail all through college.. and boy it is soul sucking!
    I give you props for being in restaurant business... I never attemtped!

  6. What a fun walk down memory lane! I used to work at Ruby Tuesdays and I LOVED it! Made bank too! I also did retail for a bit too.

  7. These posts are fun to see the variety of jobs we've all held. I have worked in restaurants and retail as well. I don't think I could ever work in a call center, so my hat's off to you for doing that. I laughed at your mention of getting irritated by tourists. One of the things I actually enjoy about Sydney is all the tourists. haha