Growing up when ever I would barrel head first through the front door of my house with my arms flailing, desperate to keep up with all my excuses for quitting another job, my dad would stop me by saying “Cut the shit.” Regardless of his judgmental tone I would continue through his disapproving glare, pretending I didn’t hear my mother’s foot slapping as she peered in on us from the other room. I was always adamant it was somebody else’s fault. “I was treated poorly!”, “The management sucked!”, “I’m the victim!” I would say straight faced and stern.
I remember when I got a job at Kitchen Stuff Plus…on my first day my new manager was telling me all about his diarrhea. He was balding and through straggles of hair and his olive complexion I could see his pores were full of oil, beading out, contributing to his greasy mess of a head. Later on that shift he tried to make small talk, raising the topic of computers mainly but also spoke a little of his family… I couldn’t tell you for sure, I was too busy looking up at this shrew of man. He was tall and fat but his neck was thin and his face was long, I remember thinking “This is fucking bullshit!” so loudly I could have sworn I spoke it. I pressed on, during my second shift he shadowed me and while following behind as I approached customers he would mouth the store script to me like I was fucking stupid or something. I restocked candles for three hours that day then walked out, I didn’t bother telling anyone. I couldn’t have cared less.
I worked for Staples too, I was always drunk, hung over or stoned. I was three hours late one day and figured I would beat them to the punch by dropping off my name badge, they would have fired me anyway. When I was fifteen I worked at a greenhouse, I always smoked a joint with an older girl before our shift and one day while sitting in her car she told me they had suspicions of me stealing as there was always two dollars missing from my till. I was terrified, I had been stealing two dollars a shift for chips for months and had no choice but walk out. A touch bittersweet as there was a guy from my high school who worked across the parking lot in the bowling alley that I was in love with. I would go on my lunch break and if he was working at the snack bar I would order fries and try to make conversation. I probably came off as a mute, as no words could escape my mouth… but this seemed like an easier tactic, at school he was popular and too intimidating to talk too.
Oh, there was Wal-Mart too! That’s right, you’re reading the words of the department manager of seasonal people! I would quit constantly and the store manager, bless his heart, would send me packing… back to my lonely and desolate department every time. I sold pool tables, worked reception, tried to sell cars and worked at a call center for debt collection. I dabbled in data entry and even landed a management job at a triple banner clothing store at the mall. My all time favourite was the sex store, “ Let me put some batteries in there so you can see how powerful it is!” I’ve quit all of these jobs and now years older and sort of wiser I know that it was all me, but I still don’t care. I’m still the same girl who loses focus, is uninterested and doesn’t like to be told what to do.
At twenty three my boyfriend Jason and I decided to buy a house in a small town, far away from the city and it’s noise. Keeping with the natural order of things, I had no problem quitting my job to move, but once I found myself in a house with the weight of bills and the unwavering fear of failure I never wanted a job more. I remember looking at the classified section of the town paper and feeling pretty intimidated. I was used to a large city with transit and endless employment opportunities. Now I was in a town with fifteen thousand people, where everyone commuted to work and I didn’t even have a god damned license.
I remember my father always telling me to waitress. I would brush it off, almost like I was too good for it, but that didn’t stop me from standing in the line of a SJ’s job fair a few months after moving… I was desperate. When I registered and told a women my name she said “Great! A name I can pronounce” while swishing a piece of gum in her mouth so animated you could have sworn there was an ocean in there. I held my resume so loosely that it kept slipping from my fingers, fumbling as I tried to catch it, totally distracted by all the other people who were there. I’ve always been really good at watching and summing people up, ironic because I haven’t the slightest clue who the fuck I actually am. My parents once told me if I put half the energy into myself as I do gossip, I could be really successful.
Anyway, by the time I got called my resume was looking just a grim as my future but with my charm and bullshit I landed the job! I was now what the guy from head office called a “server.” With all my paperwork and employment books in tow I walked home, unaware of all the events that would unfold in the next seven years, just hoping I could make it through orientation.
* To be continued *