Employment II

June 30, 2010

The first job I ever had (excluding FCDC, which could hardly be considered work) was at Linens ‘n’ Things, stocking shelves in the housewares department. For those who have never worked retail, “housewares” usually means kitchen stuff, outdoor furniture, and anything too heavy for older employees to lift. It wasn’t fun by any means, but it paid $8.50 an hour, and to a 16-year-old who’d never had a job that was like getting paid in gold bricks.

Despite the mundane tasks, the ancient co-workers, the ridiculous bright red apron, and my overall disinterest in pots and pans, working at LNT did have two major perks:

1. The store was huge, and on a normal day there were never more that 50 people shopping at once, mainly due to the economy. With a plethora of shelving and fixtures to hide behind, I could sneak away into a secluded corner any time I wanted and text. My job was to help shoppers in need, but I honestly didn’t know anything about the thousands of products in the store, so whenever a customer sought me out for information about a product I always had to go get someone else anyways. So I really wasn’t hurting the store with my absence. I would literally sit down behind some shelving and text for long periods of time, and if anyone walked my way I could see them coming through the shelves and pretend like I was straightening boxes. It made me feel very, very, very sneaky.

2. It was slow-paced work. I’d clock in, and my manager would either give me a list of things to do or just tell me to “recover” which means fill whatever is missing and straighten whatever is misaligned. It was boring, but I could work at a slow pace, and I had a knack for going OCD on the whole store anyways.

Outback has neither of these perks. Like most part-time jobs you can’t use your cell phone during work, and literally the only places you can be when you’re a server is in front with the customers or in the kitchen with the managers. Obviously, neither locations are text friendly. Also it’s a very fast-paced job, as I’m constantly walking back and forth from the kitchen to the floor to check on tables, carry food, help other servers, etc. It’s different from LNT in almost every way, and such a fast pace makes it difficult to learn. However, even as a trainee I can already see the benefits:

1. Time goes by so much faster when you’re speeding around doing things than when you’re sitting around texting. An 8 hour shift might seem to go by in 4 hours if you’re kept busy the whole time.

2. Outback is staffed almost entirely by young, friendly, funny people. I already personally know 10-ish employees from high school or camp, but even those that I’m just meeting seem like people I could come to enjoy.

The work is more strenuous, but it’s manageable and I like the majority of my coworkers, so I’m still feeling good about this job. Now if I could only learn how to carry a goddamn tray…

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3 Responses to “Employment II”

  1. Arlee Bird said

    How old approximately are “ancient coworkers”?

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    • Haha by ancient I mean 70 or 80. I usually enjoy the company of the “mature”, but the older people I worked with weren’t very helpful or empathetic to me, or to young people in general. I also didn’t have anything in common with them so there was never anything to talk about, therefore the majority of my work was done in silence. And they’d forget my name all the time.

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