For some inexplicable reason I woke up this morning thinking of the jobs I’ve had during my stint on Mother Earth and I laughed at the varied past I’ve had. Oh, I’m sure I’m not alone in the vastness of my experiences. But at the same time I feel quite sure, in fact, all those jobs were put on my life’s path to make sure I was well equipped to be able to do the things I needed to do as they presented themselves during my life so far. Such as ...
My first job was pretty poopie. Seriously, I picked up poop. Yep, for 50 cents a day I would go over to this lady’s house and with a shovel and a sack I would pick up the nuggets her dog left on the small lawn. Looking back now I was harangued into taking over that job from a friend. Just as in the Mark Twain story where one kid convinced his friend it was sooooo much fun to paint the fence so his friend would paint the fence for him? Well I too was suckered in by those oh-so-shiny 50-cent pieces that my friend had every day. Soon I found myself picking up poop for my own shiny half dollar! That lasted about a week, I think. One day I just stopped going — I bet the dog didn’t stop going. I’m a good pooper scooper to this day!
I’m a girl so of course I was a waitress for a spell. I was put to work in a small Chinese restaurant for my first stab at “slinging hash.” I was told I would be assigned a work mate to show me the ropes. Great, since I didn’t know any Chinese. I showed up on time, bussed tables and waited for my teacher to show this grasshopper the tricks of the trade. A week went by and I still hadn’t taken an order from a customer. I wasn’t even sure what I was doing there every day. I felt I was just taking up space. Well, apparently so did the owner/head cook as the next week my name wasn’t even on the schedule. I didn’t go back the next week, and as I think about it now I didn’t even get paid for the week I was there! Don’t suppose my paycheck got lost in the mail do you? No, me neither.
I did go onto be a waitress/short order cook at a small casino. There I was self-taught — somewhat. First thing I learned wasn’t to leave an empty glass coffee pot on the hotplate then put it under the faucet to rinse it out. FYI: Hot glass and cold water don’t mix. Man, those things really explode! That day I learned the older woman who was the manager had been in the business for like a zillion years and could run off a line of words that would make a sailor blush! But she also taught me how to make eggs over easy, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and create a perfect cup of iced coffee all at the same time. Oh, and the way to walk away from a table to ensure you get a little bit bigger tip! She would say something like, “To wish you gotta swish.”
I’m a bit envious of someone who has yet to experience a first, second and even third job. I was lucky to have some amazing bosses. When I messed up they told me so, in no uncertain terms. That’s how I learned a new coffee carafe was 15 bucks, or about a days’ worth of tips! But at the same time, to the man or woman, they took the time to show me the ropes — uh, except for that gal in the Chinese restaurant. But to her side of the story she was just a kid too. I don’t think, however, she went onto become management material. I did hear though she went onto work as a guard at a prison. Ya just never know do you?
There are all sorts of jobs to choose from when you’re just starting out. Yes, some are kind of poopie and you might get a boss that’s a stinker. But some jobs are so neat getting paid made me feel like I was robbing the place, like it was jobbery. Best advice I know is, if you aren’t happy in your work, quit and move on. There’s work to work, pay to get paid. Might not be a 50k-plus job, but really, how much is enough? There’s no set price on “happy” I’ve noticed.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share with her at email@example.com.