Every job I've ever had: part 9.
Welcome back. Last week I wrote about my first “real” job out of college, one that took me far away from my liberal arts studies and into the weird world of finance. As you might imagine, I was a fish out of water. The work was fine, my coworkers were lovely, and it was more money than I’ve previously made, but it wasn’t doing much for my career aspirations – whatever those were at the time. Recognizing this, I started applying for a new gig shortly after starting full-time, figuring it would be easier to get another job now that I had one. Of course, this was mid-recession and hiring was shall we say, a little slow. Nevertheless, I persisted and landed this next beaut.
Job #15 - Hair expert.
Age at time of employment: 24-26
Qualifications: Journalism degree and social media experience (thanks, Friendster).
Application process: Cover letter + resume, followed by in-person interview.
Pay rate: $37,500 to start, then bumped up to $42,000/year a few months in.
Another reason I wanted a new job was my commute. Riding NJ Transit into the city day after day was tiring and time-consuming and took a big chunk out of my weekly pay. So I did what any logical job seeker would do in 2008 and turned to Craigslist. That led me to Folica.com, an e-commerce company that wanted to be the Sephora of hair products. My official role was copywriter, supporting a fledgling marketing team run by the company’s tech lead. All that changed about three months later when they brought in a new CEO and team of execs, who decided first-off to move the HQ to the city – so much for my short drive to work.
I also got a new boss. She gave me a title change along with a cost of living raise to offset my commuting costs. I liked her immediately though the feeling wouldn’t last long. The team grew and grew and took over an office space across from Grand Central.
Already deep into my graduate studies, I would get in early and leave just in time to make class, doing all of my reading on the train home. Slowly but surely I started to get comments from my boss about my work ethic: comparing me to coworkers, telling me to check email on weekends and shutting me (and everyone else) down during meetings. That sort of thing. I decided maybe I should look into getting my doctorate and getting the hell out that toxic workplace. But before I had the chance, I got fired.
The official reason was that my position was being eliminated and replaced by two new roles that I “didn’t fit.” But oh, could I stay on for THREE WEEKS and train my replacements? Otherwise, no severance. That day, I talked to an employment lawyer, bought an overpriced pack of cigarettes in midtown and got drunk at a Charlie Brown's. Dark days, indeed. To make up for it, the merchandising team sent me home with a giant bag of styling tools and products every day for the rest of my tenure. I still have that overpriced hair dryer to this day. And hey, leaving there inspired me to start this blog.
As for that heinous witch I worked for? She got ousted within a year. Hair today, gone tomorrow, I suppose.
Next up: things get harrier.
Image via Element5 Digital.