Monday, July 28, 2008

Dirty Jobs

You'd be amazed at how many people choose to go through the drive through naked. Would you like fries with that? My first job was at Burger King.

A job in the Pathology department of the local hospital was actually fun. Aside from handling vials of gross stuff, I filed extremely gruesome photos of dead folks. One guy buried an axe halfway in the ground and threw himself on it. Very dramatic. Mind you, I couldn't get into R-rated movies at the time. But this was somehow OK for me to see. Anyway, I'm one of the few folks who loves hospitals and dead folks (they have no issues - other than being dead). Too bad math and science weren't my forte.

Then, I moved into a South Street apartment I couldn't afford. I spent an ill-fated month working at Uno's Pizzaria. Aside from the fact that the chef did crack in the alley and unusual items ended up in the pizzas, I was a HORRIBLE waitress. I quit before they could fire me.

I put toilet paper and cat food on my credit card until I went on to check i.d.'s at a night club in Society Hill. The bouncers were all Temple U. football players who should have been resting up for the big game. They almost always lost, but they were winners at the door as they pocketed underage entry fees. I also worked as a shooter girl which involved wearing a black bodysuit and a holster of shot glasses, a gin bottle and, if memory serves, 7 Up. I would bang the concoction on the back of an inebriated patron until it fizzed and down their hatch it went. I felt like a vampire going to bed at 5 every morning and the homeless man who slept in my foyer didn't approve of my hours.

Finally, the best pre-career job ever...I scheduled appointments at a swanky beauty salon, where I received free services. My hair and nails never looked so good. The angels had smiled upon me. Good pay and even better stories. One involves the F.B.I. and another a patron's bondage festish. I'll tell you about both over a fizzy 7 Up and gin.

Somehow, I managed to fit 20 credits a semester into two days. I actually enjoyed classes and would love to be a professor when I have gray hair and wisdom. I love those elbow patches on tweed jackets. Cerebral is sexy.

While studying Radio-Television-Film at Temple University, my 35mm camera became an appendage. After graduating I took a freelance gig photographing an engagement party for a family who I'm fairly certain inspired the Sopranos. With that short-lived career behind me, I was introduced to a newspaper editor who was looking for a sections editor. I showed him my Temple News clippings and the next thing I knew, I was a journalist. I had been writing my whole life, but it had never occured to me that it could be a job. Do what you bleed!

Another defining moment happened when I left the newspaper biz to freelance. A large pharmaceutical company offered me a fabulous communications position with equally fabulous pay and the opportunity to travel frequently to London. It was tempting. But, it wasn’t me. I have no regrets. A trip to London would be nice, though.

Good luck to all you graduates looking for jobs. Hope your perks are better than nude drive-thru.

What was your first job? If you've just graduated, tell me about your search.


Anonymous said...

My dirtiest job was frying chicken at the KFC.

Actually, not frying the chicken itself, but cleaning the walk in refrig each night.

Cases upon cases of chicken parts that leaked various unidentifiable liquids on the floor.

All had to be hosed out, mopped and squeegied to spick and span.

I tried to wash my clothes and boots, but could never get the smell out.

I think I burned them all at the end of the summer.

susan matthews said...

That is pretty bad. I'm sentimental and still have my Burger King uniform and name tag. I can smell the rancid fry memories.

Anonymous said...

I have so many good job stories...but my first job was at SuperFresh (my Dad made me). He thought that by working at a place where he knew the management and could "watch" me.

Unfortunately for him, there were tons of guys - cute guys - that worked there and took me "under their wings." Staying out of trouble just wasn't going to happen...

On a positive note, my arms got totally cut because I was pushing so many carts every day that I built up all kinds of muscle tone!

But that only lasted one summer before I jumped ship to the place where I belonged...the Willow Grove Mall. Anyone remember B. Altman and Co.??? That's where I cut my teeth in retail AND more importantly, learned the ins and outs of customer service. That seems to have paid off for me...

susan matthews said...

Remember when I stopped by during one of your SuperFresh shifts. Clean up in aisle nine. I loved seeing you hustle with that mop. Soda sure is sticky. Hee Hee. (-:

Even more fondly, I remember access to your clothing discounts at Altmans and what was that other clothing store???

Active Integrated Marketing said...

Yes, of course I remember your visits to my many jobs...I needed a partner in crime and had to get someone else into trouble with me!

Gee...other jobs? Ahhh...the discounts! Ups-n-Downs, The Limited, some jewelry store I can't remember the name of, The Custom Shop (oh how I loved measuring cute men's necks!). I think that covers it...any others?

susan matthews said...

Ah yes, Ups and Downs. Didn't you work the coat closet at Beverly Hills Bar and Grill a couple of times, while I worked the door?

Active Integrated Marketing said...

Oh...right...the bars. First I was the "coat girl" at BH...then the coat girl and occasional cocktail waitress at Chaser's... those were the days. The only thing I worried about back then was that it was going to be cold enough for people to wear lots of coats and they'd get drunk enough to leave lots of tips. Anybody hiring coat girls this winter???