~my thoughts about life~

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First Job - TBT

I am a person who has not had too many jobs, but the story of my very first job is kind of funny.

I was always good with computer design work, even when the only programs available were laughable.  It seems like the first graphic design program I used was called something like Wizard.  It did very little, but I was advanced in it.

The summer before my Junior year, a job came available for a beginner graphic artist at a local advertising company.  I thought that fit me perfectly.  The job also included making those giant banners that you see hanging across the street or tied to a fence around a baseball field.  They put decals on vehicles and made other promotional items.  I love that kind of stuff.

The bad news is that the job was full time.  I interviewed with the owner of the company, a morbidly obese man who was extremely grouchy and smoked like a chimney.  I explained that I could work full time over the summer but would need to go part time once school started.  He said that could be arranged.  I was offered the job right away.

It seems like the job paid around $5 an hour.  This was 1992, so that wasn't bad for a kid my age.  I showed up for work the first day to a literal sweatshop.  It was a garage attached to an office with no windows and no A/C.  The other person who started the same day was a 40-year old man.  I was embarrassed for him that he was doing the same job as me, a high school student.

The old dude could not get the hang of the job.  I caught on right away and was left to work alone.  He needed constant coaching and supervision.  The old dude and the supervisor (the only two people there) both chain smoked.  Smoking was only allowed in the garage, so the two of them took regular breaks to fill their lungs with tar.  Since I didn't smoke, I ended up working about twice as much as they did.

The job was exhausting.  I had never worked before, so 8 hours in a sweatbox was physically draining.  I remember when I took my lunch break, everything in my lunch was warm and my chocolate cookies were melted.  I was too hot to eat anyway.  When I got home, my mom realized the job was too much for me.  She called the supervisor and asked if I could reduce my hours.  After all, 8 hours was a bit much for a high school student. The supervisor said she'd talk to the owner and get back with me.

Me- bottom row, second from the left
We had tickets to a concert that night and were staying overnight in a hotel.  I needed to know what time to be at work in the morning, so we called home to check our messages.  Remember those days?  You used a pay phone, called home, then pushed a certain number to access your answering machine.  There was a message that they didn't need me to come in at all.  I was fired.  The owner thought I was a Junior in college, not a Junior in high school.  Even though I worked harder and better than the other employee, even though I advanced in the first day and they were starting me on computers the next day, and even though I was the best person for the job, they fired me.

Looking back, I certainly could have done something about that.  I was legally old enough to work.  I didn't want the job back though.  I was embarrassed to have to tell people I was fired after my first day.  Now, I think it's funny.  Back then, not so much.  I cried.  The next day, I dropped off the computer manuals they sent me home with and picked up an envelope of cash.

I didn't get another job that summer.  In fact, I didn't get another job until I graduated high school.  It was a job I kept until I started my student teaching.  After graduation, I had two other teaching jobs.  That's it for me with work experience.  I've been a mom now for over 14 years.  I'm very happy with my unemployed status and really enjoy owning my photo booth.  The good thing about being the boss is that I know no one can fire me for a stupid reason.

1 comment:

Lisa (aka Mollie's mom) said...

Hi She. It's been a while. I hope everything is okay.