That aside, I was thinking about blogging a list of all the weird jobs I've had, in honour of the twenty-four of green glass Coke bottles I got from my friend Terra tonight. (Confession: I collect green glass Coke bottles, but only the kind that don't have the red ink label, but instead just have the raised glass letters. It's as a result of one of the weird jobs I've had.)
The Employment Record of the Queen of West Procrastination (specific names of business usually omitted):
Babysitter - sporadically, since I was twelve.
Graduation gown steamer and distributor - one spring, a year after I graduated.
[The next few are as a result of working with the Odd Job Squad for part of a summer]
Window washer - one afternoon, as a part of an OJS promotional, and was paid in donations. (aka "Glorified Squeegee Kid")
Casual gardener - three (non-consecutive) days, taking over from my sister.
Garden weeder - one day.
Ticket Vendor at the local fair - one week. This was simultaneously really cool and really scary. It was scary because I was working the night shift, and drunk people at the fair on a busy night can cause scenes, especially when you're working alone and somehow they think you're trying to cheat them. It was also scary because there were some shifty co-workers and employers (but some really cool ones) and because sometimes the business practices were questionable. And I learned that travelling carnival people (or at least the ones I met) never seemed to sleep while on the road; they worked long shifts, and seemed to party every night. One supervisor also tatooed herself. But it was really really cool at times, like when you walked down the midway in your uniform and all the callers at the games got quiet, because they knew you couldn't play games while in uniform. And it was cool when you walked your locked cashbox back to the office, escorted by guards. And when it was your turn to help with closing, and you took bags of used tickets through corridors into parts of the fair that you didn't know existed, and walked around the grounds when everyone else was gone. And on the last day, my supervisor took me on the rollercoaster for free, because she found out I'd never been on one. It was also cool because I caused everyone to lose their bets on how long it took before I quit in tears: I didn't.
Product Demonstrator - This turned into a year-long job, but was only on weekends. It paid ridiculously well. I worked for a company that did all kinds of demonstrations, for all kinds of companies, at all kinds of retail stores.
Highlights of product demonstration:
- Giving out food samples at places like Wal-Mart. I didn't do this nearly enough for how awesome it was (normally, they gave such jobs to the old ladies who also worked for the company, because I was the token young person and a lot of companies requested young demonstrators). The best part of the food gigs was that you took home whatever was leftover and open at the end of the weekend. As a result of this, I ended up with partial cases of pop and snacks, not to mention empty cans for recycling, on many occasions.
- Best food gig ever: handing out a thousand Cokes in green glass bottles in the course of one day, at the Firefighter Burn Unit Fair outside Wal-Mart. The pay was unusually good, even for this company, I got to work with crazy mascots, and at the end of the day the Coke reps let me take home a couple of cases of Cokes that we didn't manage to give away. This is how my collection of empties began.
- Make-up demonstration for Oil of Olay (they made me wear an apron and a brooch and target older women) and Cover Girl's CG Smoothers (I wore a black t-shirt and jeans, and targeted the younger crowd). They made me try out the make-up myself and wear it during those days, too, which is how I got converted to using CG Smoothers make-up.
- And the longest-lasting job: demonstrating Swiffers, just after they came out. Swiffer demonstrations took two forms. The first form was more fun, but I got to do less. In that form, you got a big display and samples of kinds of dirt and you physically demonstrated the Swiffers for people. After they became more known, I would walk around the store with a cart filled with Swiffer products (and heavily decorated with ads) and I would go around informing people about uses of the products. They let me keep the lime green polo shirt and my sample Swiffer. I actually became known at Wal-Mart as "Swiffer Girl."
Retail employee of a locally-owned office supply store: One year. In ways, it was kind of my dream job, because I'm such a geek about pens and stationary. There was a point at which I could look around a classroom and identify the pen that every student was using, the kind of refill (if any) that it used, and how easily available it was (ie. whether we kept it in the store). I also got my school supplies at a discount price, which is a joyful thing.
Teaching Assistant: Pretty much ever since I quit at the store. I've helped to design two new courses and have marked for more classes than I can count anymore. And that is the first job in my field.
With that, I must state that I love love love love love being a historian. Especially after working in some remarkably non-academic fields. I'm really not suited to customer service.