Five Things Monday: Jobs I Had Whilst At Uni Edition

Hello Blogstalkers.

I will not say "Happy Monday" because in most cases that is a ridiculous thing to say.  What I will offer instead, is this: If you, like much of the population, are sad that it is Monday, I have a solution for your problem - have a sandwich for lunch but instead of bread use waffles.

But moving on.

To support myself though college, before I landed a very impressive internship in an investment bank and started wearing impressive bottom-cladders or 'slacks', I worked a number of odd jobs including but not limited to: cashier at a grocery store, fitting room specialist at Banana Republic, daycare attendant, person in charge of taking all of the school ID pictures, and tutor.

The fact that I had so many jobs over such a short period of time might suggest to some of you that I am flighty, but that is decidedly not so.  For one, I've tried lots of times to jump off things whilst flapping my arms frantically and have yet to achieve lift-off. (Ryan says I'm more droppy than flighty). Secondly, of these numerous positions, some were summer jobs, others I worked simultaneously and a few were work study positions that I sadly had to give up after graduation.*

*Because apparently it is unseemly for a grown-up member of the workforce, no matter how newly minted, to call up varsity basketball players, no matter that they are 12 days older than said workforce grown-ups, and say things like "Hi Andrew? This is Lauren from the Campus Card Office, I notice you have an appointment to get your ID picture retaken today?  Great! Well I just wanted to let you know that a few things have changed since you were last in.  Bathing suits are now totally appropriate attire as are just the pants to a tuxedo with an untied bow tie hanging around your shirtless neck. OK! See you soon!"

All of that is to say that today, I thought I would give you a Five Things Friday post (anything to create the illusion that it's not Monday after all...)  So hold on to your britches Blogstalkers.  Or if you're a former varsity athlete of an appropriate age maybe don't.  Whichever.**

**Note to self: Remember to stop showering JUST BEFORE you write a blog post.  It makes you much too fresh.

FIVE THINGS MONDAY - JOBS I HAD WHILST AT UNIVERSITY EDITION

1. Campus Card Office Worker - As mentioned above this job entailed me sitting behind a computer taking ID photos for all enrolled students.  It was an excellent way for someone that is naturally an introvert to meet literally everyone on campus.  And then promptly forget all of their names.  And then be befuddled when everyone still seems to remember you and sort of freak out, for example, when someone shouts "Hey Picture Girl! across campus or when a random student approaches you at the cafeteria ice cream stand on the second day of school and says "I know you from somewhere!" and so blurt out the first thing that comes to your head which is "Probably from offering to buy me a popsicle the next time you saw me."  At which point the student is all, "Well either that or from being your cousin your entire life you ding-a-ling."  At which point you are all, "So....no popsicle then?"

Here is a picture of my cousin and me (in white) in college.  It was Halloween which explains the red lipstick and black corset.

2. Daycare attendant - This was by far the most difficult job I've ever had and to this day makes me have a pretty much unending amount of respect for teachers of young children.  This was another work study job. It was  the on campus daycare and was full of professors' offspring ages 2-5.  My two years there were hilarious and full of adorable and hugs and bubbles.  My time there was also full of tears and urine and a feeling of being somewhat defiled after a four year old said, "I can tell you're having three babies, one, two, three." to me as she squeezed first one boob then the other and finally my stomach when I was reading her a story during quiet time.      

3. Grocery Store Cashier during the summers at your uncle's grocery store - This was a pretty straightforward job.  Scan groceries, bag groceries, wish customer "many happy returns", explain how "many happy returns" is a phrase from Winnie-The-Pooh which basically means much the same thing as "have a nice day" and no I am not suggesting that I hope their food is spoiled and they have to return it later.  There was one little old man customer that came in every single day and purchased one or two random things and tried to sneak a third small item out under his coat.  He seemed sweet and told me his wife was dead, so I figured he was probably also lonely.  From time to time I just paid for his gum or beans or whatever and winked at him and said "The tiny bottle of shampoo in your front coat pocket is on me today sir." But there comes a day when I find out that his wife is NOT DEAD and he just tells people that so they will give him free things and also that one time he spit at the lady in the deli.  So I started saying things like "Cans of ham aren't free today MARVIN" instead.

One long-lasting benefit of working at the grocery store is that I still remember all of the produce codes.  And so instead of spelling out extremely long items like 'the purple kind of cabbage" and 'pea' I can just write a long series of numbers on my grocery list.  At one point I thought it would be helpful to also teach Ryan the numbers so we could finally have our own language and he could say things to me like "You are the 222 of my eye" but it turns out Ryan is a terrible memorizer.  I'll ask him to throw me a '419' from the fruit bowl and the next thing I know there is a cantaloupe whizzing toward my person.

4. Fitting Room Specialist at Banana Republic - This is just shorthand for saying: I sat in a tiny room and folded discarded clothes all the livelong day.  The shiny-haired sales floor associates called us fitting room folk "Closet People" but it bothered me not one bit.  I loved my tiny folding room and putting everything back in order.  Plus I played a game with myself to make the day go faster.  It was called "Lauren Folds Five" and it entailed me playing a Ben Folds Five song on my iPod and then attempting to fold five button down shirts perfectly before it ended.  Ryan is still impressed by how neatly I fold things.  I caught him showing OJ his drawers once.  And one other time I saw him showing OJ the contents of his dresser. Haha, OH SELF, you kill me.

5. Tutor - I did this off and on throughout all of college to earn some extra cash.  The tutoring money was my mad money - the only money I allowed myself to spend on non-school nonsense like vacations and shoes and tweezers.  I tutored mostly middle school/junior high aged students who I found through Craigslist.  Taking the subway after dark to new neighborhoods in a big city was probably not the safest thing for a 19 year old girl to spend her time doing, but it paid for Disney World so I kept doing it. Plus, I actually LOVED tutoring.  Which is why I'm actually exploring going back to doing it, through a reputable company this time, for a couple of hours a week while I'm at home.  The process to be accepted as a tutor is extremely thorough.  So far I've had to take three one hour tests, fill out a huge application and undergo a phone interview.  I've just been notified today that the next step is conducting a mock tutoring session via Skype.  So I dug out my old box of learning material to see what lesson I could come up with.

It turns out that unless I want to reprise my grammar lesson about gerunds by telling the story of how "Ger und the direct object of his affections go to a party-to-ciple some apple juice together" I'm going to have to start from scratch.  What is wrong with me?

Tell me about a job you've had?

P.S. Ryan and I are off to California this weekend for a whole eight days! And we're going to Disneyland! And I'm not going to lose my camera or my mind this time! Maybe!  SO many books to pack! Higitus Figitus!



34 comments:

  1. I went to college at College of the Ozarks, where you're *required* to work. They don't call it "Hard Work U." for nothin'. I was lucky, most freshmen ended up working in the laundry or the cafeteria, but because my dad had connections with another prison guard who had a father-in-law who was on the security detail at CofO, I somehow wound up working in the Center for Writing and Thinking, which ended up being more like the Center for Goofing Off, Playing on the Internet, and Listening to Nelly until the professor in charge was caught sleeping with a student. Um, I transferred out of there the following semester. I got to go to the Ralph Foster Museum, which was one of my favorite jobs. The next semester I transferred to the landscaping crew because my minor was horticulture. I sustained multiple injuries on that job: tripping over a speaker while carrying a giant fern out of an auditorium. Spraining an ankle jumping over a ditch, and popping out a rib when they made four girls lift a huge 300 lb elephant ear plant and carry it down a flight of stairs. It was awful. My last semester, I went back to the museum, because you could sleep while you were in the security booth and my curator didn't care if I read while I was on the floor. Plus, I worked at an 1880s theme park during the summers, which was my favorite job ever, even to this day.

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    1. Oh I SO want to work at an 1880s theme park. The costumes alone would make my year...

      Also, that landscaping job sounds dangerous. I'm not actually allowed to landscape things. Ryan thinks I'd cause myself grievous harm. He's so overprotective sometimes. On the other hand, I did one time slam a shovel down to try to dig a hole on my foot.

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  2. Laurie8/19/2013

    So my first "real" job (meaning something besides babysitting) was at a fast food restaurant. Where I stood outside as a milkshake luring in customers. Did I mention I live in AZ, the land of a thousand suns? Amazingly, I lasted there for 3 years (not all spent as a milkshake, sometimes I was fries). On to my next job in college where I worked at a very popular sports bar. Where one of my jobs was dressing up as the Molson Girl or the St. Pauli Girl (I knew nothing about sexual harrassment in those days!). Do you sense a trend? So then I got a job working at another local restaurant that was well known for their delicious ribs. One day the manager came to me and asked if I wouldn't mind dressing up as a 1/2 rack of ribs and standing outside. Turns out this guy who knew of my past put him up to it. I ended up marrying the guy who ratted me out and one of his MANY nicknames for me is "half rack."

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  3. For the record, I always eat my breakfast sandwiches on waffles.

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  4. I once had a job (well, internship) that involved long hours of cutting up straw into one-inch pieces using a machete. Seriously.

    Jealous of your Disney trip! Have oodles of fun!

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  5. In college, I worked at a "press." I was so naive: I believed my boss when I was told we collected information about various institutions (libraries, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, fire departments, etc.) for a directory that would be available for residents of a given town, in case they just moved there and had questions. ACTUALLY, we were selling this information to third parties for solicitation purposes. When I finally wised up, I would offer to take a place off our list if someone on the phone exhibited the slightest hesitation.

    When I transferred to another school, I worked at a doctors' clinic in the medical records department. I was not a glamorous Med Recs girl. No, no. I was a "microfilm technician." Meaning I sat in a room and pulled staples out of papers and organized files of patients who hadn't been to the doctor in 4+ years, so their files could be sent off to be microfilmed. I met my VBFF there, so it wasn't a total loss. However, our boss would do things like send all the other people home early and "forget" to tell us until she was turning the lights out on us. She also gave me a terrible evaluation, saying things such as "Tracy doesn't get along with anyone," so she didn't have to give me a raise. Also, my friends at work (the people I didn't "get along with") and I formed a gang, complete with our own sign and color. At my current job, I get great reviews and am usually tempted to copy one to send to her!

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  6. Katie K.8/19/2013

    In order starting in the 80's: Waitress, house painter, telemarketer (only job I was ever fired from because I refused to lie to people), survey taker, Learning Disabilities Teacher, AOL Homework Help Teacher, secret shopper, ChaCha Guide, baby sitter, early morning stocker in the Plumbing Department at Menard's.

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  7. I worked at an ice cream kiosk in the food court of the local mall. My buddy Dave worked at a Bavarian Pretzel a little down the ways. We would swap freebies--a soft pretzel for me a peanut butter milk shake for him. The worst part of the job though was making the waffle cones and dishes. I still can't eat stand the smell of vanilla and won't even go into a Cold Stone. And when my mom took me shopping after a shift one day, we wandered into a Lane Bryant store and the women there said "mmm, mmm, something sure smells good." I thought they might try to eat me! Perhaps that's why I still loathe Lane Bryant and am working so hard to get out of their sizes so I can never ever go into one of those stores again! But seriously, I loved that job and worked there for three years.

    An aside, I do like regular waffles, just not waffle cones. And one of my favorite portable breakfast ideas is two eggo waffles, a slather of peanut butter, and a handful of craisins all smashed together. Perfection!

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  8. I don't have any good college stories, unless you want to hear about the time the kitchen sink backed up. Gross! We will be in Disneyland in 13 days, maybe I will try and stalk you if we are there at the same time.

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  9. Worked at a tube rental place on the river for one summer when I was fifteen. Not a bad way for a hormonal teenage boy to spend his summer vacation.
    I've sold and delievered beds and bed frames. That was an interesting job that afforded me a believable excuse to fall asleep at work, and I got to see some really cool houses.
    Worked at a car wash...and those stories won't go on the internet until I'm rich, famous and retired.
    Worked at Blockbuster Video. Does anyone else remember when Netflix wasn't a thing...I do! One of my favorite jobs of all time. I got to watch movies for FREE!

    ...and about a dozen more jobs over my life, most were pretty normal though.

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  10. I've had some good jobs (hired girl on a farm, for example,where I got to make sandwich spread out of mountain oysters) but I never talk about them any more after being thoroughly trumped by another woman in my office among whose jobs had been quality control at a tampon factory. No, I am not kidding and it was an actual job.

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  11. My first job was at Strawbridge's a (they are out of business now) it was ok the most exciting thing to happen was during our weekend sales someone would grab a bunch of clothing, pile it into the dressing room and pee on it. Totally gross but all we had to do was call our janitorial section to clean it up.

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  12. I worked concessions in a movie theater. It was my first job ever. I wish I could say that knowing the "butter" for the popcorn was in fact flavored coconut oil put me off, but I still eat the stuff. Whenever I'd work to close, I'd go home and promptly dream about having to sweep up mountains of popcorn.

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  13. I'm still in college and during the year I work in my school's tutoring center. Our supervisor tries to make us write weekly essays on the philosophy of tutoring or something, which people stop doing after like week 3 because there's only so much you can say about not mocking freshmen for using commas incorrectly, and then she sends us hilariously passive-aggressive emails about how nobody appreciates how hard she works. At least my mad grammar Nazi skillz finally have an outlet.

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  14. My first "real" job was pollinating corn in the Texas A&M research fields (my grandfather was a professor in the Agronomy department). I was 14 and had to live with my grandparents for 2 months... that wasn't the best.
    When I was in college, I worked in the USDA Cotton Pathology Research labs tracking the transfer of bacteria across generations of cotton plants. I actually didn't do any of the data analysis, but I did get to pour agar in petri dishes which was kinda neat. And I washed about a billion test tubes each week. That wasn't so fun. But I did get all my best friends jobs there too, so the work environment was pretty great!

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  15. I used to work at a grocery store too and the only thing I took from that was child labor laws lol. Working with RGIS, the inventory company, taught me to look at things on tags and shelves to see what the markup was. Yeah the cereal and painkillers will make you pass out they are so marked up. But it did teach me how to use a ten key machine which came in handy when I was typing in information for my dissertation. But the job that stuck with me the most is working at an American Airlines call center. I still know most of the airport codes so I type those in and feel special when I am looking for flights.

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  16. After a mandatory two years in the dining hall, I relied on babysitting and housecleaning for my college income. The latter got quite interesting. I had one affluent client who bought his children - who didn't even make their own beds, mind you - chicks for Easter. Somehow they ended up living in the bathtub of one of the spare rooms. Seriously? Handling feral birds and cleaning chicken poop out of bathtubs was not in my job description.

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  17. Anonymous8/19/2013

    Easiest job I ever had, life-guarding a condo pool where no kids were allowed without parents and no parents were home during the day when I was on duty. In essence they paid me to do minor pool maintenance then lounge by the pool all day. They even provided a TV for me to watch.
    On the other end of the spectrum, the worst job I had was the summer I spent as a lab assistant in an Arabidopsis lab. Picture a hot Michigan summer now add in spending hours laying face down on a piece of plywood weeding weeds inside a green house. Or spending hours, again laying on plywood sticking your face into the weeds to count the number of stems. Cured me of any desire I might ever had to be a botanist.

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  18. My first job was leading pony rides at a zoo (among other things -- it was totally glamorous, as all zoo jobs are). A foal was born while I was there, and about 10 years later I took my daughter to that zoo for the first time and she happened to ride on that all-grown-up foal. It was bittersweet...and made me feel really old.

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  19. My very first job ever was working as a server at the local American Legion hall. We served at weddings. Horrible job. I just loved getting yelled at for not bringing a bowl of green beans (when I did bring them) by people who were drunk and entitled.

    After that, there was a job at the movie theater where I not only sold tickets and worked concessions, but I painted a store room and popped corn upstairs in the big machine (which I had to climb into to take apart and clean).

    I worked as a hostess at a Bennigan's which was one of the worst jobs ever, but where I met people who are still my friends today. There were a few retail jobs, a gig as an assistant manager of a 9 West (shoe discount? Yes, please!), and a stint at a used clothing store (we sold uniform shirts and pants to the guys who worked in the mills nearby). That job taught me how to look at a man and guess what size he wore including pant length.

    I have many weird talents that are almost always useless.

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  20. Lauren you do make me laugh - waffle sandwiches - is this a baby craving or an American thing? Being in the Uk we are boring when it comes to breakfast fare.

    My worst job was the first job after I left school. I was the book keeper for a bread factory. As it was expanding the office was in a portacabin which was ok but the bosses son used to bring his bulldog to work. He didn't believe in feeding it normal dog food instead preferring to feed it whatever he ate; pizzas, burgers, chilli etc. I needed a peg on my nose as his human diet caused him to fart all day! On top of that he was a very friendly dog and by friendly I mean he humped my leg all day long!

    It was no wonder I was so happy to go and work for the Government!

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  21. Leslie The Imp8/20/2013

    At university, I had a few day-care work-study jobs, which we referred to as "The Very Best Form of Birth Control." :) In all fairness, though, I loved those jobs because they were all with babies from 6 months-3 years!

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  22. Anonymous8/20/2013

    The absolute worst summer job I ever had the misfortune to have was in housekeeping at a resort in Hersey, PA. Now, you would think working in a town that centered around chocolate would be sweet (pun intended), it just sucked. I don't mind hard work and don't really completely hate cleaning, but people can be real a$$hats sometimes. Even though this was many years ago, I still remember a couple of guests I had to clean up after. One was a girl that was with the band that was playing in the lounge of the hotel, she had the longest hair I have ever seen, like almost down to her knees. You have no idea how hard it is to get all that hair out of the bathtub. The other that sticks in my mind was a random woman who stayed there several days and EVERY SINGLE DAY I would have to clean multiple lipstick kiss prints off the mirror. Disgusting!

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  23. I hope you have a great time!
    My first job was as a waitress at a local "country store/restaurant". I was 16, and had no idea how to do anything, which is probably why I only worked there a month. I was fired for not having "the personality for a waitress" and I didn't "smile enough". My mother agreed with them, and sent me to the doctor. It turns out that I had contracted Mono and didn't know it.
    Best job ever.

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  24. Anonymous8/20/2013

    All of my jobs have been boring but, I wanted to let you know that I made your salsa from your last post and my husband is a very happy man! Thanks!
    Glenda

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    1. OH! I'm so glad he liked it!

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  25. Kathleen8/20/2013

    I was lucky to work as a Supplemental Student Instructor (read: tutor) for my entire three years of my undergrad. The instructor was awesome and we're still friends today (although he's retiring). I also worked at a movie theater where we were allowed to have those small cups that people use for water filled with popcorn whenever we took a break. Popcorn with butter. And that really yummy salt they use in the popcorn machine but never use enough of....Needless to say, we often filled trays full of cups to basically get a free small or medium popcorn for breaks. And we also got to see movies for free - either because of free passes or because it was a slow night and we'd sneak in to certain theaters to "check out noise complaints/find cell phone users, etc)".

    The worst job I ever had was as a cleaning lady at a bar. The owners were friends of my parents and it was a small town which is why I was allowed to have this job at the tender age of 12. After some rowdy Friday nights that bar was disgusting. Especially the bathrooms.

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  26. Silly, everyone knows that the way to fly is to throw oneself at the ground and miss....Douglas Adams said so. (oops, my geek is showing, hang on let me tuck that back in)

    Super jealous of your Disney & California trip. Love CA, they put avocado on EVERYTHING. Make sure you get some Sees chocolates while you're there. They are the best chocolates in the world.

    Wow this ended up being the most random comment I have ever written....how appropriate.

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  27. When I worked at CVS I had a regular who came by whenever he knew I was on shift to show me his most recent injury. And his model ships.

    The best injury he ever had was when he thought he needed to go to the ER because he made chicken soup and then he got scared by a barking dog outside his house and dropped the spoon in his soup, where it catapulted soup up up and away right into his eye. I told him that I thought he would live. He still wasn't confident.

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  28. Hmm...I was a Flight Attendant for a while. Right before I got laid off, I got thrown into the ceiling during a flight to Nowhere, Minnesota. True story. Another time, my fellow FA and I got on the intercom and sang 'don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me.' Sadly, another true story.

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  29. Brooke8/21/2013

    I think my most interesting job was doing a survey for a prairie restoration project. Basically, I spend 10 hours a summer day in the middle of a shade-less prairie in either Iowa or Minnesota, squatting down and estimating the percentage of various species of plants in each plot. There is not a sunscreen in the world strong enough for that. I ended up wearing pants, long-sleeved shirts, a bucket hat and gardening gloves because otherwise I was ending up with a mitten tan. We had to drink gallons of water and Gatorade, and I usually crashed hard each day when we finally got back to our hotel. I also got married that summer and spent a lot of time on the phone finalizing details. Oddly enough, I kind of enjoyed myself.

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  31. I am an introvert too and I was let go from so many temp jobs because my efficiency caused me to run out of work and I would spend hours just sitting around. People find it odd that I love jobs like filing medical charts at a doctor's office but I do. If they could only have enough sick people coming in to keep me busy, I would probably still be there. Lesson I learned was that slackers keep temp jobs longer.

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  32. I spent one summer doing banquet serving at the largest hotel in my college town. Two weeks into the job, I turned 21, and the manager decided that he wanted me to start working the bars at large events, despite having zero bartending experience. I spend the entire summer making things while he whispered in my ear what to do. Soooo...he was pretty much the bartender, and I was just the front...the front with boobs, which I'm 90% certain is why I got the job. *sigh*

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