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.