My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I've had 23 jobs in 26 years

I have spent -- don't ask me why, I blame Natalie -- the last hour or so trying to figure out how many jobs I've had in my life. This is no easy task. If the Gauntlet career counts as one, I've held 23. I'm 26. (If it counts as three, well... do the math.) Let's count them down, shall we?

1- Working for my mom My mom had a second-hand children's clothing store (second hand clothes, not children, tho there's clearly more money in the latter) which I worked in from four pm until six pm every day after school, starting in junior high. She paid me like, $4.50 an hour. Child labour, I tells ya.

2- Subway Realising my labour was worth more on the open market, I ditched my mom (I actually felt bad about it at the time, like I was selling out on my mom for $2/hour) and became a sandwich artist. This was back in the day of V-cut bread, which actually held all the shit in. And yes, shit is the right word. Don't ever eat a meatball sandwich. Really.

3- The Lake The summer after I graduated high school, I left my art behind me to work at the food stands at Lake Sicome, aka poo pond, for a couple summers. Okay, I'm not sure anyone ever called it that before I just did right there, but diapers were found in it. And, the second summer I worked there, it was shut down temporarily because there was too much bird shit in it.

But I digress. This was honestly one of the most stressful jobs I've had -- in the second summer, I managed 40-odd teenagers at three locations on my own. I used to find them making out in the freezer. They got more action than I did at that age... or any age. Later that summer, I got accused of theft, freaked out at my evil boss, and told her to never come back while I was there. She didn't. I'm scary when I'm angry.

4 - Esprit The first Christmas break of university, I worked at Esprit in Southcentre mall for one shift. They told me I had to make a certain dollar amount of sales each hour... regardless of whether anyone actually came in the store. I explained math to them and then never came back.
5- The Body Shop I shouldn't do retail. Here, I lined up bottles, so the labels all faced the same way. I wasn't supposed to do sales, just bottle alignment, but ended up helping a very nice lady who was buying skin care stuff for her dying-of-cancer friend -- "oh no, just the small bottles will do, she won't live that long". Then, one of the sales people swiped the sale. I quit shortly after. Fuckers. I still don't shop there, but I eat at Subway -- go figure.

6- Gauntlet May as well chuck this in here. I'm not sure it counts as work, as it was barely paid, and I would have done it for free. Some of the best years of my life, where I met some of my bestest everest friendests. Yeah, it was good times. There -- and it's the student newspaper, for those of you who haven't a clue what I'm on about -- I was the entertainment (Buzz! hahaha) editor, as well as features and web. I'll just count that as one, m'kay?

7- Liquor Barn The local liquor store, down in Deer Valley. I started work there the day after a rather infamous frat party -- the one and only I've ever been to. I was rather hungover, and the first thing that happened when I got to work was some idiot knocked over the vodka stack, sending Smirnoff all over the floor. The smell of alcohol when you're that hungover... I'm amazed I lasted the next ten minutes, let alone the next several weeks over Christmas working there. It was a boring, but okay job. No discounts, sadly. But I did get to turn away make-up coated teenagers for not having proper ID. They'll never learn: blue eyeshadow and four pounds of mascara do not make you look like an adult.

8- City of Calgary Call Centre This was fun, because I was good at it, and got to work with Kris and Nat and Mike and Bailey. We would make calls, trying to get people to agree to do a transportation survey. They would have to write down everywhere (ie, addresses) they and everyone else in their house went on a given day and how long it took them to get there. It was massive. And then, we'd call them, and they'd tell it all back to us over the phone. The highlights of this job were the voice-mail induced giggle fest with Natalie -- I still laugh when I hear that tone -- and a lady who included her husband in the study... even though he was dead. She drove him to the funeral home the day she took part. That was weird. We didn't have a code for that one.

It was a good company to work for tho, and I ended up doing a lot of adhoc stuff for them over the next little while.

9- Some random garbage company I did market research for a garbage company the next summer. I wish I was kidding. I had to go door-to-door to different small companies, and ask about their garbage pickup. I got paid based on how much information I got for each one. I hated that job so much. One day, a guy screamed at me -- little, young, blonde sweet me -- to get the fuck out of his store. I slipped escaping, scraped my knee, and totally gave up. I went to walmart and bought the first two harry potters (I think it was one and two, anyway) and sat reading them in my mom's Saturn in the parking lot, with the AirCon on... which totally drained the car battery.

Thankfully, Saturns are magic, and it regained power (I have no idea why I wasn't driving my mustang, other than it was probably getting a new engine or something.) I freaked and called my dad, crying into the phone about how much I hated my job.

His response was something along these lines: "Then why don't you quit? It's not like you're going to starve or something. You don't need this job. Why would you keep a job that makes you cry?"

That's bloody good advice, that is.

10- Some random adult learning charity I think I went from garbage-picking to this job, but I can't really remember. I can't really remember the name of it, either. But they let me do some cool stuff and paid me alright. And, during the G8 stuff in Kananaskis, the let me skip out to go watch the protests. I went with one of the older ladies who worked there to one of them, and on the way back, a homeless guy made a gesture and some comments suggesting we were lesbians. The older lady had no idea what he was on about. It was awesome.

11- Puralator Courier I worked there one Christmas, trying not to get crushed under falling boxes. I can't remember what Christmas it was though, which is rather frightening. A package came for a guy named Peter Pan. He was a tiny, old chinese man. So cute.

12- Social Sciences Call Centre Like the above call centre, but shitter. Rather than have to convince people to do a useful, interesting survey, I had to get people to do a boring, crap one written by stupid-ass social sciences students. As a social science student myself, these people made me hate my faculty.

13- Call-us-info I worked here with Natalie. It was horrible. Possibly even worse than canvassing about garbage pickup. The call centre we worked at was the only non-prison based one the company ran. Murderers did my job. Fair punishment, now that I think of it. But no, I was paid $8/hour to do marketing surveys. I often skipped questions out of boredom, but even if a supervisor was listening in I never got a performance mark below about 98%.

A dork that worked there asked me out. He started by asking if I'd seen the latest Star Wars film. I said I had, and that I hated it. He then asked -- via a poem on a piece of scrap paper -- if I'd go see it with him. I said no, because I'd seen it, hated it, and he was retarded. He kind of harrassed me a bit after that.

I was working shifts at the Social Sciences call centre, then coming to this one for a shift. I had a few 12 hour days. Natalie also worked at this hell-hole, and she was driving me home once when I flipped. I just lost it. Started yelling out the window at people from the car, sticking post it notes everywhere.

I eventually stole a mug, left and never came back. Three weeks later, after not showing up for any of my shifts, they asked me to come back. I said no.

14- Random un-named educational publisher From there, I ended up at an educational publishing house in Calgary, which I shall not name, as the owner is probably the litigious sort. And, a bitch. I was basically her personal assistant. I booked her hotels, her cars, and her son's classes for university. She started to appreciated me after I got the retard into a full class (I had mad skills dealing with assistant deans). When I quit, they had to hire two people to replace me. Bwahahah.

15- Freelancing for my dad I've done my fair share of freelance stuff on the side, but this one covered about a year, so I'll include it. I helped write and edit e-learning shit for my dad's company. It was a cool project, but a bit awkward when your boss' boss is your dad, y'know? Especially when you're a slacker.

16- CMHA I then got a part-time job at a mental health charity as a communications coordinator. I actually rather liked this job, but we got a new editorial director, who decided my role should be full-time (yay!) and go to someone with a minimum of ten years' experience (doh!) so I started looking for another... At this point, I knew I was going to go away for my MA, so I just needed something for the summer.

17- Northern Horse Review I actually forgot I worked there until I looked at an old CV in my email. I part-timed here while working at CMHA for a bit, writing a bit, but mostly formatting stuff for the magazine.

18- The Track I ended up, on a whim, sending an email to the racetrack secretary at Stampede Park, explaining I'd never worked as a groom but had horsey experience. He replied within the hour, asking if I wanted a job. I got offered one with one of the top trainers (tho ended up working for his lovely brother instead). This was by far one of the best jobs I ever had -- and keep in mind I started at 6am every single day and shoveled poop. I would work there in the mornings, and then change in my car -- spray some perfume -- and go to my office job at CMHA.
I eventually (rather tearfully, actually) made the decision to go to Edmonton when the meet moved up there, and ended up living half at my grandparents' house and half of the time in my room in the barn. I loved every minute of it. I don't think I could have spent my life doing that work, but I loved that summer. And, I ate donuts for breakfast every freaking day, and was about 30 pounds lighter and in awesome shape. Wicked awesome, I tells ya.

19- Greyhound I did some temp work the first year I came back from London at Christmas. I had a month off school. I think I worked about a week. It was for a bus-based parcel delivery company, and I took the complaint calls.

People would actually call me, asking why their parcel hadn't arrived in Calgary from Halifax, even though it was sent overnight the day before. I would then explain to them that it was not possible for a bus to cross Canada in a day. Good times. I worked there a week, and called in sick one day to shop with my sister. So hardworking.

20/21- Internships Maybe these shouldn't count, but I got paid at both (booya! I hate working for free) so I'm gonna count them. First up, a Corporate Social Responsibility magazine, which I wish I still wrote for, but kinda burned that bridge by not handing copy in, and disappearing. Second, New Statesman, where I crapped out blog posts and a hilarious game and even managed to pull. Yay me.

22- Handelsblatt My first job after my MA. I was so desperate for work, that this actually sounded good. I got a good title out of it, and they paid alright, and the people were nice enough, but OH MY GOD it was so boring. For a play-by-play of my last day, click here.

23- IT PRO Hahahah like I'm going to say anything bad about the place I currently work, when they all read this shit. Actually, I like it most days. I don't sleep in late in the mornings the way I used to -- it's hard to get out of bed when you hate your job -- and enjoy most of the work I do, which comes as a bit of a surprise to me, given how often I hate my jobs (see above). I hit the point last year -- about 6 to 8 months -- where I start to get really bored of what I'm doing, and I didn't get bored. It was a weird sensation, to like a job -- well, one that didn't involve horse shit, anyway.

If you think this took effort to read, realise how much brain scraping it took to write. I honestly had to refer to CVs and Natalie to get this right, and I think I missing something from 2002. My brain is gone. Thanks, beer. I thought you were my friend...

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