Monday, October 20, 2008

Seven things about work

Date: Oct. 19
Mileage: 32.0
October mileage: 285.0

Recent discussions on my and Geoff's blog gave me idea for how to respond to the ever-circulating "Seven Random Things About Me" blog game, of which I was recently tagged by Carrot Quinn. So here's: "Seven Random Things About My Work History."

1. My first job was at Wendy's. I tried unsuccessfully for most of my sophomore year to land a job as a 15-year-old. So the day after I turned 16, I went into Wendy's under the recommendation of a friend and filled out an application. I told the interviewer that I appreciated that "Wendy's makes quality hamburgers, not crappy ones like McDonalds." (Oh yes I did say that.) I was employed within a week of my 16th birthday. I made $6.25 an hour.

2. I hated that job - not because it was a crappy fast food job, but because an unapologetic sexist hierarchy chained me to salad bar duty, which I despised. I wanted to work the cash register, and expressed that desire numerous times. My manager told me in so many words that he didn't want a girly handling the money. I quit and applied at Albertsons - gladly taking a $2-an-hour wage cut to work as a bagger for minimum wage. It was the first indication of one of my personality flaws: I don't really care about money, but I do like to work.

3. I worked two part-time jobs throughout college, logging about 45 hours a week on top of my classes. One of those jobs was a bagel baker at Einstein's Bagels, working Saturdays and Sundays from 4 a.m. to noon. Since I didn't want to miss out completely on the college experience, I often pulled all-nighters at friends' parties and clubs. When 4 a.m. rolled around, I'd leave the party and stumble sleepless into work, pulling an apron around the clothing I had worn the night before. I still think of baking at Einstein's Bagels as my first "endurance" sport.

4. My claim to fame at Einsteins was the creation of the "cinnamon twist," in which I braided raw bagel dough and drenched the sticks in cinnamon and sugar before baking. It was essentially a thick-coated cinnamon sugar bagel, but I stuck them on the counter and charged three times what a bagel cost. Those things flew out the door. I couldn't bake them fast enough. I was eventually reprimanded by the corporate managers for making something that wasn't part of the established menu. I could never forgive them for quashing my creativity.

5. I have been fired. In one of my second jobs in college, I worked a short stint as a film processor at a one-hour photo place called MotoPhoto. One night, I mistook a bottle of film cleaner for the bottle of water we usually used to clean the inside of the film processing machine. Overnight, the film cleaner combined with other chemicals corroded the plastic inside the processing machine, causing several hundred dollars in damage. For that I was fired. I was completely devastated about it.

6. Although I studied journalism and literature at the University of Utah, my first jobs out of college were as a graphic designer, a profession for which I had not taken a single class in school. I taught myself Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator in order to design a catalog for an art supply company I had worked for in retail customer service, but had been promoted upon receiving my degree. After that, graphic design pretty much stuck. I eventually found my way back into newspapers, but almost always as an editor/designer.

7. I have a strong work ethic but little ambition. It probably means I'll never belong to a high or even average tax bracket, but I hope it means I'll always have the time and energy to pursue the things I love.


  1. I would have liked to eat your baggels... A baggel is something sweet, isn't it?

  2. That is a perfect way to put it - A strong work ethic but little ambition. I hear you there sister!

    I have always worked, but I don't care for how much, just enough to cover my expenses and let me have fun riding or running!

    Enjoy your time with Geoff!

  3. That twist sounds awesome. Here is a revelation: I worked for Taco Bell my freshman year in college for exactly 3 weeks. It was the worst job I ever had. The manager was lousy, the people were demeaning and I was horribly unhappy. I was so upset that after I left I could not go back to collect my paycheck.

    Two weeks later I worked for the University meal services washing dishes and cleaning up tables. One of the best jobs I ever had because the people were wonderful.


  4. If you're even remotely serious about it being the "twilight" time in AK and if UT is at all a possibility, you ought to check out this writing job:

    I'd totally give you a recommendation.

  5. I may still this meme, Jill and do it on my blog!

    Love that you worked at Wendy's...I was a BK Lounge girl myself.

  6. I would have gobbled up those cinammon twists. Fascists.

  7. Pt.7 - I am right there with you.

    Some people will understand and others will never understand.

    Kazimer - "Kaz"

  8. The thing is, whatever your experience has been so far will probably shape how you feel about work in the future, and the choices you make. It's all one pot of stew in the making....

    Thanks for the thought-provoking posts on life and work.

  9. In case you're thinking you have to justify your lifestyle, you don't. At least not to anyone but yourself (As I type the above I am SURE that bit of wisdom has been on a Hallmark card somewhere). But, thanks anyway- it was an interesting window into the author's history.

  10. Maybe I shouldn't be commenting at 6:40 am...I meant to write "steal" not "still" !!

  11. "Craig, The Flanders Fat Cat said...
    In case you're thinking you have to justify your lifestyle, you don't."

    There's nothing to "justify". She worked her way through college, has a decent job, pays the bills puts money away for savings, and pursues her hobbies in her leisure time. I'd say that's a well balanced life and she pretty much has her act together.

    I worked at a photography shop too for awhile. I never put film cleaner in the processing tank like Jill did, because that'd not only ruin the machine but also throw off the daily plots for it too. My only incident was accidently pulling the drain valve hose off the bottom of the developer tank on the film processing machine, and dumping about a gallon of developer on the floor.

    I worked with a girl at the store who was talking about going to college to be a photographer. I basically told her the low down on photography is a shit business, it's hard to make a living at, has limited job openings outside of running your own studio, and is an expensive business to start up. She eventually switched majors to graphic design after seeing for herself what I told her, and now she works as a graphic designer and does wedding photography on the side.

    Oh, and to you people out there that never worked in a photo lab.....we DO look at your pictures. All of them !. Whenever you drop off a roll of film and act nervous or claim you don't know what's on the film that's when we KNEW there was something good on them. The drunken party shots, the nudity, and sex shots....we saw them ALL. However, there were some things we wished we DIDN'T see, like the shots of your 250lb girlfriend posing nude. For those people I'm glad they have digital cameras and home printers now !. ;)

    " "

  12. Jill...I give you all the credit in the world for doing things the way you are.

    Many of us would love to live the life you are now, but are to damn insecure and afraid to give up our salaries, security,retirement plans, and the lifestyle we've chosen.

    I'm a're a doer and I love it!

    Although I wish it were the other way around, but too late. I'm 5o and counting on that retirement plan, which shrinks daily :) Oh well, I'm still having fun!

  13. Interesting back and forth and job and passion. I think it may have touched a nerve because of the general angst that is out there right now given what's happening to our economy. Unfortunately, because of my job, I follow it too closely. I sent this to Jack as well, thought it was appropriate, someone from my industry changing course (gets a bit wacky at the end but the point is there):

  14. that's a pretty impressive resume, jill! good on ya! :)

  15. I remember the cinnamon twists! You always have been cleaver and creative. Maybe the corporate guys should have considered putting them on the menu. I mean they were making three times what it was worth. Idiots.

  16. Working at Wendy's brought back some memories from High School - not all of them good...but I can empathize with fast food jobs, been there done that and never want to look back.


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