Category Archives: Jobs

Friday Wrap-up – Veteran’s Day

It’s Friday, the perfect day for some Veteran’s Day inspired internet stuff…

Not in my job description …

no link here today, just my thoughts. The businessmen and women of Sept. 11th who were just showing up for work that day, or just boarding a plane to make a meeting…were just doing their jobs. A description I’m sure, that they would have not signed up for had they known what was to come. Our military men and women who responded also lost lives, but for a job that they knew exactly what the risks were. Maybe some went in a little naïve, hoping to get a free education, respect from their parents or a new start in their lives. But many knew exactly what they were taking on. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II.

One of my brothers was in the Army during Desert Storm, another is currently enlisted in the Marines. The latter is out on medical leave, injured during a raid in Iraq, awaiting yet another of multiple surgeries. To hear some of the stories he has brought back, would break anyone’s heart. One wonders, has he become hardened? To speak of things with such ease, familiarity? I think he’s had to become hard to survive, otherwise who could emotionally process everything and still come out of it sane? But really, he is still the brother that I know he was before. Just..a little different. A little fiercer pride in his country and his fellow Marines, a little (lot) more worn physically from his battles, a little tougher emotionally because of what he has seen. But he is still my brother. And he not only knew of his job description as a Marine, he anticipated it with pride and carried it out with courage and endurance, despite the obstacles…for a cause that he believed in and that was greater than himself.

This could describe any number of military men and women, past and present. So how about..not just today..but every day that you see someone in uniform, shake their hand. Tell them thank you. Whether you agree with the decisions made by leadership or not, you still can respect those that are sacrificing their lives, health and families for your sake.

Why do we … observe Veterans Day?

Make your house pretty … or someone else’s…Millions of US Veterans are in need of repairs and adaptations to their homes, support them here.

You should read this…about Dakota Meyer 

 And on this day in History

1918World War I ends

1942Draft age is lowered to 18 during World War II, however blacks are still passed over for the draft

1967 – VietCong release US prisoners of war

Employee Appreciation “Week”

It’s “Employee Appreciation Week” here at work. Monday was “Fiesta/Western Day” where they encouraged you to wear Western or Mexican style clothing and they served us breakfast tacos. There was also a basket of “Great Value 90 calorie chocolate chunk” bars for those watching their waistlines. Whoever designs the packaging for the Great Value brand needs to be drawn and quartered.

 I feel like I’m eating astronaut food..if I was an astronaut imprisoned in an orbiting concentration camp. Make that.. a robot astronaut prisoner. Ridiculous. I’ve only done a bit of design work on the side so I’m not an expert, nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn. But I know good design when I see it. Or in this case…don’t see it. Packaging should motivate you to buy the produce, cause you to salivate when reaching for it on your shelf at home and cause a single tear to track it’s way down your cheek at the idea of ripping such a beautiful piece of art just to get to the awesome-by-association goodness hidden within. Or..you know..look cool and stuff.  Great Value fail. But of course, it’s free so I stuffed a couple (or 5) in my lab coat to take back to my desk for those days I’m feeling particularly desperate. It’s Friday now and there’s only 1 left so either the packaging really was tempting or..it’s a rough week and I’m an emotional eater PMS’ing. Maybe that’s who Great Value markets to..PMS’ers. Because really..we don’t care what it looks like or how it tastes. We just want chocolate..even if it is in “90 calorie chunk” form. Moving along…Fiesta Day! Some people dressed up with cowboy boots or hats (though this is Texas so it was hard to tell who was dressed up or who just showed up for work) and some dressed in colorful Mexican attire (though again..this is Texas..former statement still applies). I did not participate. Maybe because I didn’t have anything in my closet that fit either mold…or maybe because I’m cynical like that and refuse to participate in the corporate game of dress-up.

 Tuesday was “Hawaiian Day”. I actually did try to participate but I do not own a single piece of flowery clothing. Correction, I do not own a single piece of flowery clothing that still fits. I may or may not have gained a few pounds this past year. Though I do think the dryer may have had something to do with it. Breakfast this day was a giant fruit tray. That’s pretty “Hawaiian” so I’ll let that slide. Though some of the fruit included is not native to Hawaii. But..I’m trying to work on not saying “Actually…(insert argument here)” all the time. They had  lei’s strewn about the room for you to grab and wear to participate. And of course, the same basket filled with the same awfully-wrapped bars of mediocrity courtesy of the incredibly-void-of-creativity folks at Great Value. Again, I slipped a few in my lab coat pockets to save for a dreary PMS filled day.

 Wednesday was “Sports Day” and we were asked to wear a jersey or T-shirt from our favorite team. For the alarmingly high number of nerds who wouldn’t know a football from a basketball..you could wear your alma mater’s T-shirt instead. I forgot about dress-up day so I had to change into my Astros shirt right before I left the house. AFTER I put deodorant on. Apparently I put on shirts like a toddler because there was deodorant all over the front of it. Which takes me to my husband’s closet and his VERY comfortable, very nice Astros jersey.  Throw a black tank top under it and bam…I’m finally a participant in the corporate game of dress-up! I feel like I’ve sold a tiny piece of my soul. But at least it’s a comfy jersey. Life’s about balance. On the way to work I’m fantasizing about what breakfast could be. What could be sport-themed? Or college-themed? Apparently they went with the latter. There was a giant bowl of…wait for it…Great Value POP TARTS. I’m not even kidding. I can’t make this stuff up. What college kid hasn’t downed their weight in Pop-Tarts? That “Freshman 10” didn’t just happen by itself. So..the largest chemical company in the world is serving off-brand Pop-tarts to show their employees they appreciate them. I hate to see what happens when they fire me. They’ll probably ask for my drawer of Great Value breakfast bars back. Well, they’re not getting it. I’ll get crunk over some chocolate.

 Thursday’s theme was “Golden Oldies Day” with a side note of  “Wear your favorite attire from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 70’s 80’s etc..” Umm..excuse me??  I understand MAYBE stretching it to the 70’s but I take offense at including the 80’s. If I can remember the decade..it should NOT be considered an “Oldie”. For breakfast..we had a bit of heaven that more than made up for all of the lack-luster days preceding it. Award winning kolaches from the most amazing place ever. They picked up a mix of them. And folks, we are talking REAL kolaches. Not “Pig-in-a-blankets” that everyone calls a kolache. I want a t-shirt with a picture of a poppy-seed kolache (because they are the best of course) saying “THIS is a freaking kolache” and on the back it can have a picture of a sub-par weiner wrapped in sub-par dough with a giant x through it. I’m a bit passionate about educating the American public here. It’s in my genes, my ancestors were from what is now the Czech Republic. And they know how to throw down a kolache. I got to work late because it was just one of those mornings..then got hit with a few problems I had to deal with before I could get my coffee (always a dangerous situation). Before I realized it, it was 8:45. Breakfast was served at 7:30. I had full intentions of NOT eating breakfast at work this morning because I thought it would be the pig-in-a-blanket variety of “kolache” and didn’t think it was worth the calories since I’m trying to lose this stupid weight. So, I saunter upstairs just to case out the joint..maybe steal a few more Great Value bars for my collection…when I see the white box on the table with “The Kolache Shop” printed on it. My heart skipped a beat as I walked over to it. I didn’t dare make a sound in case someone heard me and thought “hey, there’s still breakfast up there! Let me go see!”. The last thing I needed was a fight over the last kolache. I opened the box and there it was..laying on the bottom..one cream cheese kolache. Of course, this is my second favorite kolache in the world. And I thought to myself…I know I’m trying to lose weight..and I wasn’t going to eat breakfast here this morning..but here it is still up here for us to eat..here is this box untouched..here is my second favorite kolache from my number one favorite kolache shop..it’s like..God himself was telling me He wanted me to eat it. And, who wants to argue with that guy? A quick pit stop at the microwave for 10 seconds and I was headed to my desk..coffee and kolache in hand. RIGHT when I sit down someone comes in “Hey, can you help me look up something?” I looked at her, looked at the kolache..sighed not very quietly but not loud enough to be rude..just enough for her to know she’s interrupting my quiet time here….and pushed the plate to the left. Type..Type..wait for system..smell kolache…type..type..wait for system…take quick bite of kolache. Then the amazingness hit my taste buds and the world stood still for a second. I literally stopped what I was doing, leaned back and closed my eyes. After swallowing the goodness, I opened my eyes to see my coworker giving me the stink eye. “What? Have you never tasted this before? Obviously not or you would understand me needing a moment to enjoy it.  And no, I’m not sharing.” Sheesh..some people…

 Today is Friday and there is no theme or plate of goods to consume. “Employee Appreciation Week” was only Monday-Thursday. So really..it should be called “4 days of Employee Appreciation”.  I’m not sure what kind of school these guys went to..but a week is 7 days, not 4.

Job Journey #3 – Video Rentals!

..from Long John Silver’s to (can’t remember the name) privately owned Video rental store. I got the job mostly because of my (then) charming personality and (then) cute teenage physique. It may have had something to do with the fact that I was dating the owner’s nephew..but of course that’s purely coincidence.

Side story here: the nephew (and via genetics of course also the Aunt and Uncle) hailed from Pakistan. Not directly, they had just lived in England. England apparently has a very large population of Pakistani. Who knew? So they had these adorable Pakistani/English accents that were just wonderful. Until I visited them at home. Rahim (the nephew, aka my boyfriend) lived with his Aunt and Uncle so he could “get an American education, and live the American dream.” Though I’m suspicious of that now, looking back. English educations are significantly better..but maybe that’s just the private sector? Moving along..I would visit Rahim at the home of his Aunt and Uncle. Mostly we would go there after tennis practice (we were on the same High School team). So I would walk in sporting my tennis shorts and a tank top..and his Aunt would scream something at her children, followed by them running to their rooms. Dodging her death-glares, the first time I encountered this I whispered “What??” to Rahim. His response? “She’s telling the children “do not look at the white woman! go to your rooms now!!!”   We retreated quickly to his room to listen to music and hang out. However..by her standards apparently I was not a “nice young lady” (I’m paraphrasing for her to keep this PG) because I showed arms and legs..but mostly because I was in a room alone with her nephew. Really, I’m surprised she didn’t check my virginity on the way out. He was a perfect gentleman though, and I was a lady despite what she inferred.  We didn’t date long ..we both just sort of ended up going separate ways.

Back to work: Best job for a teenager to have, hands down. Or..up if you’re doing the wave in the wake of it’s awesomeness. I watched movies and occasionally waited on the 3 or 4 customers we had per day. We did get pre-release copies to view at home, to report back and give him our opinions on. We got to keep all of those because they were stamped with the big “NOT FOR SALE, PREVIEW ONLY” nastiness across the front. Part of the job I didn’t like: the “adult” room. I wasn’t allowed in there and I was completely ok with that. Skeevy folks ventured back there, only to return 30 minutes later looking flushed and trying to discreetly hand me a movie like it was a soda from a convenience store. “nothing to see here folks, just getting my soda…” but the whole time their eyes were darting around the store, outside to the parking lot, sometimes they would flash up at me but quickly back down again…”who is looking? who is seeing me buy this? Does this girl know what it is? She has to! This is embarrassing”. I’ve never worked at a convenience store but I’m pretty sure that’s not the reaction you get when ringing up a soda.

Aside from that part…good job. At night I would work in the store alone (not the best part of town..looking back..but I was never afraid. The fearlessness of youth 😉 ) I would turn the music up really loud and sing..so much so that I would get looks from the “gangstas” walking by. I say “gangstas” in parentheses because this is Brazoria County here..not Houston’s 5th Ward. No one ever messed with me though. I think they all thought I was a little “off” in the head. They came in a lot, right before closing. Walk around not really looking at anything, trying to watch me from the corner of their eye. Trying to look in the security mirror so they could look at me without “looking” at me..sometimes venture to the adult section..most of the time just leave without getting anything. Rahim would come a lot if I worked in the evenings. I think he was worried. So he would help me close up and walk me to my car. Unless his Uncle came by, then he would hide because he wasn’t supposed to be there.

Good job, but the busines was not booming. He had to end up letting everyone go and close up the store. Last I heard, Rahim was working at his brother’s convenience store in Houston. I have no idea what happened to the Aunt, Uncle..or their many children that I corrupted with my barren legs.

Job Journey #1 cont.- What I learned from working at Red Top

* If you let someone talk to you as if you are worthless, they own you.

* The customer is not always right, and sometimes they are very rude. Don’t take it. Respectfully let them know you will not accept being treated that way.

* When you make a dipped cone and it falls in the chocolate sauce, it’s totally acceptable to reach in with your ungloved hand, retrieve it and set it back on the cone as if nothing happened.

* They had “shorthand” you HAD to write the order down in for the cooks. Even if you have time to write it out the long way, you HAVE to use the short hand code. This will always be stupid.

* Taco sauce is good on a grilled cheese sandwich when it’s free and you are broke and tired of eating grilled cheese sandwiches from the kids menu on your breaks.

* When you quit and the manager yells at you that “You will NEVER get a decent job with that attitude!”, chances are you will actually…find many more decent jobs with exactly that attitude.

Job Journey #2 – Long John Silver’s

(Insert cheesy pirate reference here)

Job #2 – Long John Silver’s

First I have to say the people here were awesome. The manager was incredibly kind, and still a good, fair leader. I worked here during my “I love animals more than people” phase of my life so I was really excited to learn they didn’t use animal fat to fry their food. Can’t remember what they DID actually use..but it wasn’t animal fat.

This place was ALWAYS hopping during lent, where else can you get fast food priced fish? Besides McD’s Filet-o-Fish of course (which is one of my favorite fast food sandwiches).  The line of Catholics would wind around the store and outside. Sometimes my job was to walk up and down the line taking orders when we were super busy. Sometimes I took orders at the register and encouraged them to “add on” a piece of shrimp, or corn on the cob or whatever. I was a beast at selling corn on the cob. Unfortunately, I never got to cook. Well..probably fortunately for everyone eating there. I’m not known  for my culinary skills even to this day. A definite perk to working there was we received 50% off our own break-time meals. Even with the great discount, I was still a broke teenager so most of my meals consisted of bowls of “crunchies”. (hence the 10 pounds of weight I gained) If you have never tried a crunchy from LJS…stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW. Really, quit reading this. Get up, get your car keys or call a cab and go to the nearest LJS. Order whatever you want but be sure to ask for crunchies with it. See, they used to add them to every plate (and lots of them) to make the plate look “fuller”. But..in the days of scrimping and saving I guess even the crunchies felt the burn. Now you have to ask for them. 😦

I also really loved the self-serve sauces. Fried stuff just isn’t good unless it is drowning in cocktail sauce. And they little packets most places give you are NOT enough. LJS has the little pump so pretty much you can fill a bowl with the stuff if you want. (along with other, non-important condiments)

One of the down sides to working there was their mopping procedure. You had to mop the floor THREE times each night at closing. Once with hot soapy water, again with hot water…again with hot water. But it was always fun. We had a radio we would turn on once we locked the doors and we would jam to Warren G (and others) as we cleaned up. (REGULATORS!)

My mom was nervous about the fact that a few months before I started, they were robbed. Actually locked inside the freezer and robbed at gunpoint. But I figured..the odds were on my side. What were the chances of it happening again? Plus, they installed nifty little “unlock me” latches on the inside of the freezer. And added “come help me” buttons to everything, even had ones you could wear around your neck that would register with the police department. Not sure if they still have those or not.

So, good times at Long John Silver’s. Great people..but eventually one gets tired of smelling like grease and must move on….

Job Journey #1 – Red Top

Thinking back today on all of the jobs I’ve had so I thought it would be interesting (to me anyway, since I’m the only one who reads this anyway 😉 ) to go back and visit them again. And this is hard to do because I think I have THE worst memory ever.

Job #1 – Red Top

(Google resulted in ZERO images of an actual Red Top restaurant. I realize that this is a Texas thing…but come on! I promise you, there is a real chain of semi-edible food that goes by the name of “Red Top”. Their specialty: dipped frozen treats)

I think I worked there for about 5 months. The manager was quite possibly one of the worst human beings I’ve personally met. I was young and sassy (read: stupid). Bad combination. Lots of stories there. But, in the interest of keeping this family friendly I’ll proceed to the day I quit. My boyfriend was playing in a hockey game. Ok..it wasn’t on real ice (local hardwood skating rink) and it wasn’t really a big deal..but I really wanted to go. He was pretty hot in his uniform. And I asked if I could leave 15 minutes early to make it. Manager said no. There weren’t any customers of course, and we weren’t expecting to be busy and while I should have respected his position and answer…I didn’t. Our convo:

Me: “Please can I go just this one time?”

Him: “I said no”

Me: “Then how about I just quit?” (takes off apron and walks out)

Him (yelling after me): “You’ll never get a decent job with that attitude!!”

My questions to you: Was he admitting the job he gave me wasn’t “decent”? “Did he really think I would never ever get another job? I was 16!”

I didn’t look back, and very quickly moved on to my next job… (and yes, the hockey game was totally worth it)