We’re authors, so we talk about writing a lot. That’s our job. But, we weren’t always authors. Well, maybe we were, but we did other stuff to pay the bills at one point. Some of us never even dreamed about writing for a living– until we got hooked on the writing and gave it a shot.
That “some of us” refers to other Whine Sisters, and not to me. I’m living the dream (cough, cough). Writing fiction is what I have always wanted to do, dreamed I would do, for as long as I can remember (or at least since second grade). But I felt that I needed a college education to do it well, and that took money, which took getting a job. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so I knew I would have to start working as soon as possible to save up.
At 16, I got my first job. I worked in a store called Ingenuities, which was a lot like Brookstone. I worked with real grown-up people who were very serious about their jobs and expected me to take my turn cleaning the employee bathroom. It blew my mind. I’m pretty sure the manager only hired me because he wanted to get into my older sister’s Hot Sam uniform pants (she worked at Hot Sam, the mall’s pretzel and corn dog place). And as soon as Christmas season was over, I was let go. Bummer.
My next job, also a mall job, was at a toy store, which was awesome. I was hired in the summer, but by the end of the holiday season, once again, I was unemployed. My mom thought maybe I needed something that paid better than minimum wage, so she got me a job washing dishes at the nursing home, where she worked as an executive assistant. Disaster! I quit on day one, no matter that I knew my mother would be so disappointed in me, because the cook yelled at me for dropping a soft-boiled egg and I had to actually scrape food sucked on by toothless old people off plates and into an enormous trash bin. It made me sick. Yes, I was a big baby.
I went right back to the mall and got a job at a department store called G. Fox (which has since been a Filene’s and is now a Macy’s). I started at age 17, and stuck with that one for a few years. I kept the job after high school graduation and through my first year at college, even though it killed me to leave campus fun and privileged friends behind to go off to work. Then I met a hot stock boy who became my hot boyfriend and eventually, reader, he married me. And together, we finished college, became real grown-up people, and learned to support a household and a growing family.
22 years later, we’ve got two adult children learning all about working at jobs they might not love just to help pay the bills, because that’s how it goes. Fortunately, they are not in the same rush to grow up that I was. No future spouses or children in the foreseeable future (but who knows). My son is working at a grocery store. My daughter starts her first job tomorrow (this morning)– at McDonald’s.
I’m no longer allowed to make comments involving any variation of “do you want fries with that?” And I have been forbidden to say that she looks cute in her uniform, which I haven’t seen on her yet. Because, as she says, there is absolutely no way, no how, nothing about a McD’s uniform that could ever be called “cute.” So just don’t! Okay, but… I want to say it sooo bad. It’s ready to burst right out of my mouth, “Oh, you look so cute in your uniform!” Wish me luck.
What was your first job? Worst job? Do you love what you do? Or maybe you’re between jobs? Happily or unhappily employed or unemployed?