Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't Forget to List Your Loser Jobs, Part Two

Back, from Open House (D#1 is starting kindergarten on Monday) and dinner and bedtime routine. (Want more about the bedtime routine? Read this.)

At the end of the interview, we walked through the building to the large open room low-walled, two-sided cubicles (apparently called cubbies) where the people who are already doing this job work. Some of them had two screens, the better to manage data! A few of them looked up at me with what I chose to interpret as curiousity: as a longterm zoo animal might view a visiting one, if prospective zoo animals had the opportunity to shop for zoos.

My interviewer had given me two pages on which to fill in those gaps (six slots available) and a pen. After thanking her for the interview (gag), I sat down in the lobby of the building with a clipboard and began to take myself back to the nineties.

I filled all six squares and the sad thing is, I can think of three jobs I left out. I had at least nine jobs between 1993 and 1999. Is that sad? Or the acquisition of interesting life experience? What exactly is the standard for number of jobs in a six year period? And who sets that standard?

Job 1: Fresh out of college (I did a lit major in three years, thank you very much), I took a job as a middle school English teacher at the private school where my mom worked (and still does). I was woefully unprepared, since I had decided an education major was beneath me (or maybe I was hung up on the idea that I couldn't do it in three years). My enthusiasm for literature was not matched by any ability to manage a classroom or deal with moody adolescent girls. Frankly, I was relieved when it didn't look like they were going to ask me back. And then when they did, I said no. Ha! (10 months)

Job 2: Bookseller at Not-Barnes-and-Noble. I had coworkers my own age! I experienced an unrequited crush again! Prepared me for working at Barnes and Noble. (10 months) Then I moved out of my parents' house and to another state. For the adventure of it all.

Job 3: Temp receptionist at hospital turned into permanent receptionist at hospital (when one of the permanent secretaries has fatal heart attack!). Worst. Job. Ever. Typing from dictation (on tape, not live) gives me TMJ. Listening to grown women call their boss "Doctor" (not Dr. X or First Name) but "Doctor" as in "Doctor likes all of the charts facing the same way so he doesn't have to turn them around when he's initialing the notes you just typed" gives me the heebie jeebies. Also attending a new employee seminar about 401K benefits at age 23 filled me with a sense of suffocating dread as if I could see rising up ahead of me like steep concrete stairs the years of servitude in a job like that one. This is not why I went to college. (Not surprisingly my view of 401Ks is now more favorable. Also the benefits were awesome, but I didn't really need them then.) Quit after crying to my surprised supervisor that I just couldn't take it anymore. (Temp: 2 months; Permanent: almost 6 months) Oh, and the cute surgeons? All married.

Job 4: (Not included on State addendum) Substitute teacher. Not much better. My sole experience in the elementary school involved a field trip to a Mexican restaurant with 2nd graders. I think I know why the teacher took the day off. 7-year-olds don't like to try new foods! Knowing names is very helpful in 2nd grade! I was not any better at classroom management. A few high school gigs, including one during a power outage, and one where students in the back of the science classroom poisoned the fish with soap powder. (2 months. End of school year. Thank God.)

Job 5: (not included on State addendum) Secretary at a church. Better. More independence. Less pressure. Learned how to do layouts for church bulletin and newsletter with MS Publisher. Had unrequited crush on the Fed Ex guy. (slightly over a year, overlapped for a few months with Job 6)

Job 6: Barnes and Noble. Finally, a keeper (by my standards). I was making $5/hour when I started. I remember making a half-hearted effort to start at, I don't know, $5.50, by talking about my freaking year of experience. Manager: No, that's the starting salary. But I was good at shelving books, a crack cashier, and I walked almost as fast I talked, so I got promoted. Also I met some friends with whom I still talk. Oh, and my husband. (3 1/2 years, overlapped for four months with Job 7)

Job 7: Teacher Assistant/Intervention teacher. I did this while at grad school for my M.Ed. Yep. For some reason, I decided to give teaching another try. Didn't so much like the teacher assistant thing (I do not like being told what to do!), but I thought the intervention (one-on-one reading tutorials) might be like what I would be doing when I got my degree. Sort of true. (10 months, 1 school year)

Job 8: (Not included on the State addendum) Census Taker. My second census. My first one was when I was 18 (also not included on my state app). The first time my partner was an old lady who packed sandwiches for us to share. Unfortunately her sandwiches were Wonder Bread with potted meat (I didn't even know meat came in a can before that. Well, except for tunafish and Spam). The second time, census takers worked solo, but I took the class with my fiance. I talked it up big, like it would be so much fun. He had already quit his job in anticipation of starting an MBA program (in four months!) and pretty disinterested, but I talked him into it. He hated it, and I didn't find it much fun this time around either. (2 months)

Job 9: (Not included on the State addendum because it overlapped with first post-Master's teaching job, so it didn't cover any gaps. Plus I'd run out of room.) Research Assistant. This one was fun. Also it was the first job I'd gotten solely by applying over the internet. Unfortunately, it was designed to be temporary. I was trained to administer assessments to kindergartners for a state readiness initiative. I had to score them and send them by Fed Ex to the university. (They sent them back if I'd made errors or left blanks!) The kindergartners were cute and it turns out I like administering tests almost as much as I like taking them. I should keep this in mind. (2 months)

Random thought. I just had one of those weird post-mommy moments when I wrote that the kindergartners were cute: I thought, What did I do with D#1 when I was driving all over town? . . . of course she wasn't born yet and wouldn't be for 3 years! (Also, for some reason I knew D#2 wasn't around yet. The mind is a weird thing. At least mine is.)

In conclusion. The years between 1993 and 1999 (actually my musings took me to 2000) were eventful. Maybe I am being too harsh to call them my loser jobs. I would like to be the kind of person (someday) who considers all her experiences worthwhile for what they taught her and just for the life they represent. It's not the destination, it's the journey and so on.

So, the State job? This one I interviewed for today? Suck it.

1 comment:

MrsSpock said...

I would love all the employers who looked askance at my "job-hopping" to get the "journey is the destination" bit.