So lets start with the jobs I have done since it since the law stated that I work and no longer be a parasite to the state.
One time I worked at a drycleaners. My sole purpose at being at the drycleaners was watch the shop on a Saturday and hand over garments that people were picking up or dropping off. It was easy. Ludicriously easy. I would do a good deal of drawing to pass the time. This job was pretty cool. But also weird. I was the tallest person there. The thing is dry-cleaning places have a series of rails for running the clothes along to keep everything mobile. Unfortunately, everything is quite low and for some strange reason all of these people shorter than me (I’m about 5’9”) were hired. They breeze throughout the entire building without a care. However, I have to duck. Otherwise I would hit anything hanging from the rails, including the rails themselves. It was weird to feel tall, considering the late bloomer that I am.
For the better part of a month I attempted to work for a media production company. It was a small one, mostly devoted to the local business and surrounding farmers. It’s principle customers were a series of cattle sales companies, who wanted everything from videotape of bulls, to brochures, websites, and Flash-based interactive catalogues. I wanted to sign on as a Flash-developer, because that’s what I heard they needed. However, they assigned me to build this database, to be used for tracking employee times.
Now having come out of university, with some software development experience (this I use very loosely) they assumed I could develop a functioning piece of software for cheap. They were wrong. I sat around part-time for a month (I was working a retail job as well) trying to build this database. However, assistance was minimal and eventually I walked out, gaining more hours at the store I was actually employed at. By my calculations, they owed me four hundred lucre. I was never paid.
I worked in a super market for several years through high school and mostly university. It was mind-numbing work. I didn’t advance very far, because I was still under the Malaise of Being Educated. And while I know how truly disgusting a supermarket is in the backroom, I can still stomach shopping there. This happened to be my first job, only because my parents, despite the fact they said they loved me, stopped giving me money solely for this reason. If you do possess a mind that goes a mile a minute and slips into a world of it’s own. Do not get this job, because you’ll get plenty of time to think. Think about how you came to be here. And think about how you may escape.
After getting fired from an Emergency Communication Centre job, I worked at two electronics retail stores. It started as something to get me through Christmas and because I was such an “earnest worker” it carried on for another two years. In this time, I learned the fun of the stock take and that I could be a wrangler of people. That it’s hilarious when the acting manager rocks up to work with a hangover after waking in his car from the previous night festivities. That you can get a front seat to the Managers Life and the terrible soap-opera style downward spiral that it became. And you with the carefully placed words to Area Managers you can help get a certain manager fired and return to work within two months.
I worked at an Emergency Communication Centre for the Fire Department. It was intense work, you had to sit poised ready for the red phone to ring. This didn’t always happen, so you may have spent hours drawing, writing, what have you. But when It Did Ring, you had to be ready. You had to approach it with an Apocalyptic Zen. Sometimes it would just be smoke, other times it would be a chemical spill. Most of the time it was a car accident, or a smoking power pole. Sometimes the person on the other end would be calm and collected, others would be screaming down the line panicking that everything that was their world was going up in smoke. I could pretty much do it all. I could turn out (yes that was the term for dispatching) the vehicles, I knew all of the vehicle code names, the radio protocol, the highways, the stations, the procedures and SOPs for almost every known incident. But they fired me. I boned an oral exam on the support procedures. Things like whom a member of the public could talk to about smoke alarms or complaints. After that, and some office politics, I found myself without a job and with a looming depression.
Although I was screwed, the work didn’t really suit me. The rotating roster didn’t allow you to become familiar with anyone and this also facilitated others to take advantage of the staff. You would work 4 days, two 10 hour day shifts, two 14 hour night shifts and then four days off, but you were practically a zombie for one and a half of those days anyway. Though I enjoyed parts of it. It was no help to my social life.
The sweetest job I ever received was delivery job that a pharmacy offered me. All I had to do was send packaged drugs to the elderly. These people couldn’t make it to the store, I sent them their weekly meds. They gave me a car that I almost had several accidents in. Most of the people were friendly, only because you were one of a handful of people that decided to drop by and pay them some attention. The best part was the ability to crank up the radio and cruise around town. I learnt more about my hometown and where things were in that two months than I had in previous years. If I ever end up in a position where I live very comfortably without working, then I would happily take up this job again.
I am currently working at an IT Help Desk, which in turn works for a large collection of public servants scattered all across the Antipodes. Their muck ranges from simple problems such as not being able to open a file, or lost passwords, to servers being down and or a web-based application decides to refuse to work. Usually when this happens, hundreds of clients call us about the problem just to let us know that it’s not working. It’s up to us to tell them that a) we already know about the problem (from the 50 previous calls), b) there’s nothing that we can do until second level support manage to fix it and lastly, c) despite this, to have a nice day.
Not everyone appreciates the ‘nice day’ part. My particular role is one part quality control and 30 parts of babysitter of Adults. The people that make up the Help Desk is a bit like a pirate crew. Not like the Disney franchise, but a collection of criminals, misfits, outcasts, lost souls, the psychologically unsound and the manically depressed. We all work like drudges, with somewhat nebulous support and training, with a system that should have been upgraded around two years ago. While I make this sound negative, most of these people are really fun to get along with and I consider them good friends.
I managed to get this job through several phone calls from a contract employment agency, which seemed to like what I had to offer. One phone interview later, I found myself packing my bag and saying goodbye to everything that was my life in the Old Town and then driving down to the Glowing Octopus.
At the end of the day, you don’t know what you will be doing next. Because next week anything can happen. An opportunity that’s too good to miss. Too many bridges burnt or too many too far away. Your company may be bought up by ruthless competitors, or find itself engaged in Chapter Eleven proceedings. Or you might strike big and all of that work, all of the drudgery, ass-kissing, late nights and early morning would pay off. But most of it is just pure unadulterated cunning that will see you through.