Hello, friends! This morning, I was watching a video by one of my favorite YouTube vloggers, Louise Pentland (aka SprinkleofGlitter), and she shared a detailed history of all of the past jobs she held before starting her career as a YouTuber. It made me laugh, and made me a bit nostalgic. I thought it might be fun to share with you guys my own career history (I use that term very loosely), so you can laugh at my many failures!
Strap in, folks. This is going to be along one. Here we go!
1) The first “job” that I was ever paid to do was filling the sugar shakers at a small restaurant in my hometown, called Twin City Cafe. I was very young, maybe 5 or 6 years old (maybe older, I can’t remember that well), but it was my first experience making money outside of my allowance at home, and I loved it. My grandmother used to go to this restaurant every morning for breakfast, right up until she passed away. My mom and I would often go with her, and the entire staff knew us. The waitress that paid me to do it was a lovely woman named Dotty, who was actually an old friend of my mother. It was one of those little places that closed before lunch, and was really only patronized by the local elderly. I would always get home fried potatoes, buttered toast, and hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, no matter the season! I only made $1 a day. Just a bit of fun, child labor!
2) My first real job was actually a summer internship through the Upward Bound program, which I was a part of for my entire high school career. This was the first of three, fantastic internships that I was able to land, where we learned stipends for doing several hours of work, four days a week. This first internship, which I did the summer before my sophomore year of high school, was at the Alumni Relations Office at the University of Southern Maine. It was not my first choice, by any means, but as one of the youngest students in the program, who had no idea what career path I wanted to take in life, I got the leftovers. It wasn’t so bad, though! Basically, I spent my days in the attic of a small building on campus, sorting and cataloguing about a hundred years worth of yearbooks from the school. It was boring, and very hot in the building, but I liked the quiet atmosphere. The campus was beautiful!
3) The second internship that I had through the Upward Bound program was probably the coolest, and my second favorite job that I ever had. The summer before my junior year, I worked at Binax Inc., a serious cool laboratory that developed and researched various test solutions and test strips for just about every disease and virus that you can test for (Influenza A + B, Malaria, etc.). My boss was a total nerd, who played World of Warcraft, and we would often bond over that. Sometimes, I actually had to remind him that we had jobs to do, haha. I had to wear a labcoat and protective equipment, and had my own keycard to get into the building, and into the lab.
It. Was. So. Cool.
I had quite a few jobs that I did around the lab. I would help with cleaning and organizing beakers and equipment, I would help sterilize solutions in these large, heating machines (please excuse me, I can’t remember any of the terminology), and I was allowed to help cut test strips under direct supervision. However, my main job wasn’t quite as… fun. Several years back, there had been a flood, and hundreds of research journals were badly waterlogged. My job was to take all of the salvageable journals, and put them into a massive catalog on the computer. I had to wear special equipment, because some of the journals had really bad mold damage. I had to organize them by year, author, and subject. Sometimes, I had to really dig into the books to figure out all that information. It was really interesting, but incredibly dull. I still loved my job, though.
4) My third, and final, internship was possibly my favorite, and took place the summer before my senior year. Once again, I was working on the University of Southern Maine campus, but this time, it was in the biology department on campus as a laboratory aid. my main responsibility was to care for the hundreds of Manduca sexta caterpillars that we were studying. Every day, my boss would take small tobacco plants out of a large cage, where we were housing the fully grown moths (I was too short, and if they fly at your face, you can have an allergic reaction to their dust), and I would begin my work.
Basically, I would scrape the eggs from the moths off of the plants, and place them into small containers, with a bit of special food that I would also make in the lab. Then, I would take the hatched larvae the day before, and more them into other containers, with a bit more food. Then I’d take the slightly larger ones from a few days prior, and more them into large containers. Then, once they were super fat, I put them in special, wooden logs with holes drilled in them, where they would make cocoons. Then, We put the logs into the cage after a few days, where they would hatch, and turn into moths. Then, repeat it all. I did this every day. And I loved it. I also had a special journal where I wrote down details about their growth and development. It was amazing.
The best part of the job was my boss. He was a Harry Potter fanatic, like myself at the time, and he would read us various passages from whichever book he was reading at the time. I loved it!
5) I had a hard time finding a job after I was finished with Upward Bound. I applied for a job a small, corner store called West Street Market, which was a few miles from my house. My mom had worked a few years prior, and put in a good word for me. This would have been my first “real” job, had it worked out, that is. After I was hired for the job, we experienced an insane heatwave. Summers in Maine were usually pretty mild, and I didn’t take the weather as seriously as I should have. For my first day of work, I wore jeans and a black polo shirt, and walked two miles to the store, in 95 degree weather. By the time I got there, I was suffering from heat stroke, and didn’t even know.
I was under the impression that I was going to be cashiering, but apparently, I was going to be working in the kitchen. I had zero experience in a kitchen. The older woman that was training me was very mean to me. She kept telling me I shouldn’t be working there, and that I was slowing her down, and that I had no business working in a kitchen without experience. All of which I was very aware of. She had me peeling potatoes, something I had never done, when I suddenly started feeling dizzy. I made it to the bathroom just in time to throw up in the toilet, before fainting on the bathroom floor.
I woke up several minutes later, and informed the woman what had happened. She just scoffed, and told me to go home. My mom came to get me, and I cried. They never called me back to go in, and eventually hired someone else.
6) I didn’t get my first REAL, real job until I was 19. Long story short, after dropping out of college, and moving back to the United States, I was somewhat homeless, and living on my friend’s couch. After a hundred failed job applications, he was able to get me a job working at McDonald’s with him. I worked there for about a year, mostly as a frontline cashier or drive-thru, but was later moved to prep, after our old prep girl got pregnant and left. I was one of the oldest, non-managers working there, and half of my superiors were still in high school.
But, I was really good at my job. I had regular customers, who knew my name, and I knew their orders by heart. I was always friendly and accommodating, and didn’t always hate my job. I dealt with my share of grumps, but only ever had a few really bad experiences. Once when a homeless woman spit on me because it was an hour after we stopped serving breakfast, another where a man waited for me outside of the building after we closed, and harassed me until I called the police, and another when two guys were hitting on me while I was cleaning the lobby, and got verbally abusive when I asked them to stop. They had to be kicked out.
Then, there was the day I was fired. A woman had come through drive-thru, and her order was wrong. She came inside, and threw her bag down on my counter, just as I was clocking out for lunch, and began yelling at me. I had nothing to do with her order, and was hopelessly confused, and tried to calm her down to ask what the problem was. Her husband chimed in, and began calling us all “retards” and saying that we were all a waste of air, etc. Ya know, being super classy. I called my manager over, because I was off the clock, and she tried to talk to them. Then, as I was turning away, the husband called me a “fat cunt” for walking away. Furious and shaking, I turned around and called him an ignorant piece of shit. That shut him up.
But, yep. I was fired. Fired for calling an asshole an ignorant piece of shit, after he and his wife verbally attacked me for NO reason. Oh, well. That’s life.
7) After I lost my job at McDonald’s, I was at a really low point in my life. I was dealing with a controlling relationship, was close to losing my apartment, hated everything about myself, and now I was jobless. Getting a job at the Target across the street from my old McDonald’s literally saved my life. To this day, Target is still my go-to job whenever I really need something. I worked at this location for a year, and loved it. Every minute of it. I was trained in every department, had earned a raise, made some amazing friends, and was on track to get promoted… and then I was forced to move 4 hours away, to help my then-boyfriend’s family.
8) When I was 21, after struggling to find a job for several months, and getting kicked out of my house, I found a job within walking distances of my new apartment. It was a small, family owned hardware store, called Do It Best. The job was boring, but it paid the bills, and I made friends with the sweet, older women who worked there. We had an ancient cash register, which made my job 10 times harder than it needed to be, and we had business accounts that were all documented by hand, but I learned a lot at that job.
9) I found that I needed a second job while working at the hardware store, just to make ends meet, and managed to get a job at the Dollar General next door. Often, I would get off from one, and go straight to the other. I was working 60-70 hours a week, and it was killing me. The job was your basic retail job though, and the building was small. I would cashier, stock shelves, etc. It was pretty simple. I ended up getting promoted to a shift manager, which came with a pay raise, and more hours, and kept going at both jobs until my boyfriend left me and kicked me out. Despite needing the money, I quit my job at the hardware store, so that I could get more hours at Dollar General, and have time to look for a new place.
Things worked out for a while. I made some amazing friends, had a decent paying job, had my own place, and met my now-fiance, who worked there as well. Then, it all ended.
My store started selling tobacco products, and we had a VERY strict card policy. We had to card everyone who was buying tobacco, even if we could see that they were 100 years old. We couldn’t just ask for their birthday. We even had cameras installed right above the registers to make sure we did our job. The customers were not happy about this, and it made our lives hell. One day, a few weeks after our store got a new store manager, an elderly woman came in for cigarettes. I asked for her ID, and she gave me a hard time. I explained the policy and apologized, but she only grew more and more irate, demanding I sell them to her without checking her ID. My line was getting backed up, and I was flustered, so I just asked her for her birthday and let her get them.
Well, our new store manager, who was hated by all, and who hated us all, was watching from an aisle away, and immediately got on the phone with our district manager. He told her to fire me immediately. Just like that. I later found out that she blatantly lied to him about what happened, just to get rid of me, because she had wanted to bring in all her own people. But, I lost my job. Luckily, I was able to go back to the hardware store, where they welcomed me with open arms.
10) When I was 23, I went back to Target again. It was a different Target than before, but pretty much the same. I still remembered all of the ins and outs, and I like to think that I was really good at my job. And just like last time, I really did love my job. I was cross-trained in most departments, and made a lot of friends. For the 6th or so time in as many years, I moved. This time, with my fiance with me, we moved just a few towns away from where we had been living, to be closer to our jobs. I stayed at Target until January 2015, when I gave birth to my son. Unfortunately, they screwed me over on my maternity leave, and gave me a hard time when it came time to going back to work, and I made the decision that it would benefit my family more if I stayed home with my son.
There you have it. I am now 27 years old, and still a stay-at-home mom. I’ve dabbled in babysitting within my home, but it never really worked out for one reason or another. Currently, I am trying to get into voice work and narration, as well as writing reviews from home. We’ll see where it takes me.
As far as my future, I don’t really know what I want to do. I have been looking into getting my certification in Phlebotomy at the local community college, just to get my foot in the door somewhere, but at the moment, it’s just not possible. I still don’t drive, and my fiance works two, full-time jobs, one of which he is about to lose. We’ll see. Our lives have always been one step forward, two steps back. Hoping for a break soon, otherwise we might be in trouble again financially.
Thanks for reading, friends. Sorry about the length!