I was updating my resume the other day and thought, “What if I were just completely honest about what I actually did at all my previous jobs?” Here’s how that version of my resume would read:
Paper girl, age 15: Ah, my first “real” job. You know that old trope where the paperboy bikes down the suburban street blithely flinging papers onto lawns? My route was so long–and the papers so heavy–that biking was completely out of the question. There was 85 pounds of me and 50 pounds of newspapers. My parents had to buy me a metal pushcart to wheel down to the beginning of the paper route. Halfway through, I’d go back and pick up another batch of papers. The whole thing took way too long for the meager pay, AND I had to get up at 5am. It was horrible. Because of the hours and physical labor, my dad eventually took the route over for me until we could find someone else to do it.
Grocery store cashier, age 16: My ego swelled out of proportion when I got this job. While all of my friends started out as baggers at other grocery stores, I was a bagger AND a cashier all wrapped into one. Of course I got paid the same amount as my bagger friends, but that was beside the point.
The store was in a lower income neighborhood, so we got lots of people coming in with WIC checks and food stamps. Figuring those out was kind of a pain. Also, even when it was dead, the manager didn’t let us sit down, which seemed irrational to me. If no one was in the store, who would see me sitting?
The one good thing about the job? Josh. Since I was 16 and as innocent as they come–not only was I a boyfriend-less virgin, but I’d barely kissed anyone–the slightly older nerds I worked with were infinitely appealing to me. Of course, because of Josh’s girlfriend and the fact that I was painfully shy and awkward, our nonexistent romance was never consummated. Still, on many nights, I’d wear only my little pink grocery store apron and prance around in front of my bedroom mirror, pretending I was seducing him.
Sales associate in a department store, age 17-18: I was one of the youngest workers in the misses department. My boss was a towering Scandinavian woman with ice blue eyes, who would dominate the cash register and steal most of our sales. I was more intimidated by her than I was angry about the commission theft. I could recognize all of the undercover loss prevention workers, which made me feel special (Yes, back then department stores actually had undercover security guards, who pretended to be shoppers. Maybe they still do.). On slow nights, I’d sit in one of the dressings rooms for a spell, since this job also forced employees to stand for their entire eight-hour shift. What’s so wrong with sitting now and then?
Red Lobster hostess, age 18. This job only lasted for the summer. By then, I’d become quite the stoner and was pretty spaced out. I’d always get the daily specials wrong, and, on more than one occasion, promised customers a deal that didn’t exist, which led to a member of the waitstaff yelling at me. I’m pretty sure everyone mistook my apathy and high-ness for stupidity. Everyone except for Bryce. He was a year younger than I and always jumped to my defense when I didn’t understand that 2-for-1 shrimp didn’t refer to the $12.95 shrimp plate, but to the happy hour variety. I think he had a crush on me. Probably because I was still painfully shy, awkward, and virginal, nothing ever happened between us.
The restaurant also made hosts and hostesses wear these ridiculous patterned fish shirts, and I once had to pick up a piece of poop left on the floor of the women’s bathroom.
Waitress at an Italian restaurant, age 19-20. The majority of the customers at this neighborhood mainstay had white hair. They couldn’t taste the cloying amount of sugar in the tomato sauce or how stale the bread was. Once you got them their gimlet, Manhattan, or brandy old-fashioned sweet, they were easy enough to deal with. Sure, there was Roxanne, the former prostitute and heroin addict waitress who loved to talk about how she was HIV-positive and diabetic, which we could never be sure of, since she was also a pathological liar. I didn’t mind Roxanne, but all the stuffy older waitresses hated working with her.
Also, because this restaurant was near the stadium, we got slammed during football games. I still remember when one of the regular bar flies broke down in tears after Ron Dayne won the Heisman Trophy. It was pretty awkward.
To be continued