Every job I've ever had: part 3.
Welcome to part three of…many. I’m writing this from the “Imperial Boardroom” at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where I’m working the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference. We’ll get to that part in the journey at some point.
For now, let’s go back to this teenage years when I made the jump from food service to retail and (spoiler alert) back. The two jobs below were both relatively short-lived, so I’m lumping them together for the sake of expediency. Here goes:
Job #4 - Retail rebel
Age at time of employment: 15-ish
Qualifications: a friend on the inside
Application process: Paper.
Onboarding: Probably a video in the break room.
Training: On the job ON BLACK FRIDAY
Pay rate: $5.35/hour
After jumping ship on McDonald’s, lured away by the promise of an extra 20 cents an hour and an employee discount, I decided to give retail a shot. My employer, TJMaxx, decided I should start the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Now mind you, this predates the rise of online ordering, so all shopping happened in person, in stores. How horrifying.
The job had a few perks, including my pick of the racks while I straightened up. I seem to remember finding a fantastic pair of zebra print Rocket Dog sneakers on clearance and a few other gems. Most of the work was routine and boring, and I spent a good amount of time out on the floor versus at the register. My 15-minute breaks included a quick smoke or a trip to the pizza place a few stores down for mozzarella sticks. The routine of retail got old quickly, and I realized I was bored. At least McDonald’s wasn’t boring.
Job #5 - Hostess with the most-ess
Age at time of employment: 17
Qualifications: previous experience, boyfriend on staff
Application process. Paper forms, brief interview with manager.
Onboarding: I’m sure there was a food safety video involved.
Training: Job shadowing.
Pay rate: $7/hour
I’m jumping out of order a bit here but for good reason: the majority of the work I did in high school didn’t matter to me. I had no interest in my employers, the hours sucked and so did the pay. Take my time hosting at Chili’s, for instance. Now, in my small hometown when I worked there, this Chili’s was a big deal. Like 45 minutes to an hour wait on weekends. My high school boyfriend worked there too, and on a good night he would bring home a couple of hundred bucks in tips. As a host, I saw none of those. That’s right — we didn’t get tipped out. We made a standard hourly rate, slightly above minimum wage and were expected to put up with all of the servers’ demands, all of the guests’ demands and everything else that popped up along the way. Being too young to serve alcohol, I didn’t have many options other than quit or wait things out. I chose the former. Shocking.
At this point in the story, I had learned a few things about myself and the world of work. I knew I liked a fast-paced environment, but that I didn’t necessarily want to deal with customers directly. I didn’t mind jumping around. It kept life interesting. Food service was preferable to babysitting or retail so it seemed like the right path at the time. And what I’ll talk about in the next edition is the seasonal gig I took in between TJMaxx and Chili’s that remains to this day, my favorite job of all time. Stay tuned to find out why.
Image by Hannah Morgan.