Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More than you wanted to know

Mike's tagged me, so here goes: every paying employment I've had thus far in life:

1) Summer help in the office of then-city councillor Betty Disero. Probably the most notable thing I did was go through newspapers looking for clippings. Ms. Disero and I still talk once in a while, and she kindly agreed to an interview last year as part of my schoolwork.

2) 2 years as clerk/light repair-person at Long & McQuade Musical Instruments. (Bloor and Ossington branch, before they opened the 2nd building, if you're wondering.) Learned that a soldering iron can lead to pain unless you respect it.

After about 2 years at L&M, realized I was a teenage guy working with nothing but middle-aged dudes. Decided to find a workplace with attractive women my own age. This led to...

3) 2 years at the Eaton's Centre Indigo, where I met the girl who would later become my fiancee. Mission fucking accomplished.

Then I left Indigo to finish high school, which had up to that point not been a high priority. (Got my first handful of As in OAC [Ontario's old Grade 13] which paved the way for entry to university and scholarships!)

After finishing my OACs,

4) A year as a Starbuck Barista, at a particularly obnoxious location at 110 Bloor West. You've never served more obnoxious customers as part of your daily life until you've tried to keep track of which decaf-non-fat-lactaid-sugar-free-vanilla-latte goes with which customer. Also, opening a Starbucks location at 530 in the morning sucks worse than anything else I've ever done. Briefly worked at a Starbucks at Bank and 3rd in Ottawa before deciding it wasn't worth it while I was trying to maintain As at Carleton to maintain my scholarship.

Then it turned out that maintaining As wasn't exactly the Herculean labour I'd anticipated, so I went back to work in the next summer, returning to bookselling at a Coles location in Ottawa. (Merivale Mall.) Did that for two years, came to Toronto for a summer, went back to work at a different Coles for the last year of University at Billings Bridge. (At the time I had a great manager who was happy to see me return, even if it was only for the 7-8 months of my last year.)

In between those two stores I worked briefly for a marketing company that specialized in harassing pedestrians on the streets of Toronto. Didn't last long, but I did collect a total of 1 paycheck before we parted ways.

After finishing up at Carleton I worked for a summer in the office of an Ontario Liberal MPP and Cabinet member. Was a really good time, met a lot of people, but -- and I say this having made some real friends there -- I concluded that working within government probably wasn't for me. I also concluded that the enduring problem of the Liberal Party has a lot to do with the attitudes of Young Liberals. A high point was having a young Liberal explain to me how a) he totally wasn't racist, but b) the First Nations deserve all their problems. (Not representative by any means, but disillusioning nonetheless.) Oh, and I asked the Premier a question I was later told was impertinent, but at the time seemed normal to me.

Then I spent a spell of time "between opportunities" while I worked on trying to find a job that wouldn't suck, and applied to Ryerson University. I was eventually accepted at Ryerson and almost simultaneously hired at a job that still kind of sucks -- I am a bookseller once more in downtown Toronto. Not at Indigo at least...

Oh, and last summer I interned at the Globe and Mail. Technically, I was paid.

So by far the most time has been spent selling books, in both big-box and small stores. I still remember vaguely how to hold a soldering iron (hot end goes down, right?) but was never exactly a prodigy on that front. And I can still order a Starbucks drink in the proper fashion, and even vaguely consider going back every once in a while (the money is pretty good, if you have a high tolerance for holding your tongue.)

I've omitted two jobs for which I never collected a paycheck, because I was only employed very briefly. In one case it was a matter of hours before I reached my "fuck this noise" threshold. Another one lasted whole days.

I tag Vicki, Chet, Flocons, and Xiao Pangzi. Nobody is expected to go on at such length about as little as I did.

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