Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The path ahead

The next job on my resume is a big fat question mark. I've put my resume out there and submitted a few applications, but I'm holding out for something I'm passionate about (and ideally something that I can just take random days off whenever the ski slopes get powder). As you can guess from my previous postings, I'm not looking for something similar to the jobs I've had. Even though I loved working with PDA in Mississippi, the hospitality industry is not where I see myself ending up. As for the others, well pizza making and cashiering and such aren't really what my heart is set on.

And then there's grad school. I've flirted with the idea of returning to school and furthering my education. The University of Denver offers an amazing program in International Studies and even has a program with an emphasis on Human Rights. How amazing would it be to study that? They also have a social work program so it would be possible to obtain a dual degree in both fields. But the more I think about it the less I want to return to school. I'm a huge supporter of education and I believe that knowledge is power. With a bachelor's degree I'm wealthier than most in the world thanks to the privilege I was born with. I'm just beginning to think that I don't need to go back to school in order to find what I want in life. Sure, a master's degree (or two) would open a lot of doors, but as I found out in Mississippi, I do much better when leaning in the field than studying theory in the classroom. Plus the idea of paying thousands of dollars for the piece of paper saying I accomplished something doesn't sound too appealing right now. I'm not completely shutting out the idea and I'm still somewhat considering going to seminary.

For now I'll wait for the call saying I've got an interview which will hopefully lead to my dream job. Maybe I shouldn't be so picky since I'm still living with my parents and have no hope of moving out anytime soon! In the mean time, I'll keep enjoying this life of leisure I've got and try to teach muh dawg some new tricks (I hear there's a dog named Eddie who has got her beat in that category).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Budget Home Center

The summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of college, I worked at The Budget Home Center as a cashier. Budget is yet another excellent local business which has survived despite Home Depot and Lowe's moving into town. I highly recommend shopping there if you have the need for home improvement supplies.

Honestly, I don't remember anything exciting about working there because the stint was so brief and I was more focused on preparing for my final year in college. I do remember watering a lot of hopeless plants out in the garden center. Budget was trying a new thing by selling plants and garden supplies, but unfortunately they didn't really know how to keep the plants alive long enough to sell them. So I spent many hours out there watering in order to find reprieve from the monotony of standing at the cash register. I also assembled a bunch of wheelbarrows and BBQ grills. Other than that, I did lots of cashiering and learning about tools and building materials. Little did I know that this would be a very useful preparation for my time in Mississippi and the countless trips to Lowe's that I made.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UCCS Residence Life and Housing

I didn't work my first semester at college. This was probably a good thing since it was necessary to adjust to life in the dorms, in classes and in ultra conservative Colorado Springs. I studied a lot that semester and discovered my favorite study spot in the library which had an awesome view of the beautiful mountains (Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods) as well as the ugly urban sprawl of a city poorly planned out.

A friend of mine told me it was possible to get paid to study and recommended that I apply for the front desk job in the dorms. I asked her what it involved and she said I'd have to occasionally answer phones and sort the mail, but basically I'd get paid to study since it was a desk job. Sweet. I got the job and was excited to learn that it was so much more than a boring desk job. I was stationed in the heart of dorm drama and was exposed to all the gossip going on. It was amusing to learn about all the goings on but it was also nice to not be directly involved in it. I sometimes felt sorry for the RAs who had to deal with all these situations and admired how they handled their jobs.

Two semesters later, I got roped into being an RA. I don't really remember how it all played out, but I distinctly remember our Inter Varsity sponsor tell me that it would be an awesome way to love some neighbors by being a mentor and guide for residents in the dorms. When I applied, I thought I was applying for the 4th floor of Breckenridge which was a very mellow Freshman floor. I could handle that, no problem. Upon being told that I got the job, I was also told that there was a change in plans and I would instead be the RA for the 1st floor of Vail which was the most intimidating floor in the dorms. Most of the residents where Juniors and Seniors and pretty much all of them were tight knit friends who knew how to cover up their tracks when breaking the rules. I was less than thrilled about being put in charge of a floor with students who were older than me especially since it was the middle of the year and they had already established a routine of getting in trouble. A friend and I wrote a goofy song called "First Vail- I'm so Gonna Fail" as a form of comic relief.

I survived that semester and continued as an RA for the next three semesters until I graduated. Overall, I loved the experience minus a few really low points. One that stands out in my mind was the first night of move in when I had to send two Freshman residents to the ER for alcohol poisoning. Another time a resident called and said she wanted to commit suicide and I had to drive her to counseling office. A somewhat comical incident was when I was informed that one of my residents moved out of the dorms due to the fact that she just gave birth. Nobody (even her roommates) knew she was pregnant- we all thought she was just putting on the Freshman fifteen!

Some of the other RAs on staff were "narcs" and would literally try to listen through walls and sniff under doors if they suspected something going on in a dorm room. This was always good for a laugh from the rest of us who didn't take our jobs quite so seriously. My general policy was that as long as no one is getting hurt and they weren't doing damage to the property, they could do whatever they want in their rooms as long as I didn't hear about it. I didn't make this policy public though and I'm sure my pothead neighbor during my Junior year thought I was a complete idiot for not knowing what he was doing in his room.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Pantry Market

The Pantry Market is a wonderful place to shop for groceries here in Longmont. It is a local store that has managed to survive against the bigger chain stores and I'm a proud customer. Working there however was quite possibly one of the worst jobs I've ever had.

I took the job right around the same time as I started at the library since both were part time and I was trying to fill my summer hours with something worthwhile. I think my official position was called "Caddy" which basically meant doing all the grunt work around the store. The hours were 4pm-10pm five days a week which meant my social life took a hit, but it didn't bother me too much. The first thing I would have to do when I got to work was clean out the chicken rotisserie. This required taking out the drip pan which usually had about an inch of pure disgusting grease and taking it out back behind the store to dump in the big container full of grease. The word nasty doesn't quite seem to describe it. Other tasks throughout the night included sweeping, mopping (the whole store), breaking down cardboard boxes, throwing away the unsold hot dogs and bagging groceries on occasion. I honestly didn't mind the job itself. That kind of stuff builds character, right?

The part about the job that I didn't like was the management. The enjoyment level of my shift would greatly depend on which manager was working that night. One manager was great and she was always in a good mood. The other two...not so much. One of them got mad at me one night (for no apparent reason) and told me to go clean the bathroom which I'm pretty sure had never been cleaned since the store opened decades ago. There was pee all over the walls and a thick layer of nastiness on the toilet. The other manager pretty much didn't care what I did during my shift and just wanted me to stay out of her way. Towards the end of the summer I was walking by the meat department and heard something in the back room (the meat counter closed at 5pm so it was odd for there to be noise in there). I was called to the front to help bag groceries so I couldn't check it out right away, but five minutes later I went back and immediately regretted the choice to check it out. The manager and her boyfriend were in the back, um, er, having a quickie. This initiated years of jokes with my friends who all avoided the "dirty meat department" at the Pantry.

I quit the next day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Longmont Public Library

The second real job on my resume is working at the Longmont Public Library. I was a volunteer there for a few years in high school and then was hired on staff the summer before my Senior year of high school. Ever since that point I've worked there in between college semesters and now I'm back after taking a month to recover from life in Mississippi.

The job is simple: Shelve books. Check books in. Straighten shelves. That's pretty much all there is to it.

But if you think working at a library sounds boring, you couldn't be more wrong. I'm telling you, there is always something exciting or crazy going on. Just last week my co-worker was checking in books and found one that did not belong to our library. It actually belonged to the Denver Public Library! It caused quite a stir among us page staff and we all shared a good chuckle over how silly people are when they turn books into the wrong library.

Okay, the job is actually pretty boring but I absolutely love it. There is something so peaceful and calming about putting books back on their shelves and into their rightful places. Each book or movie or magazine has a very specific label which indicates the exact place on the shelves where it belongs. It is such a relief to be in an environment where everything has a place where it belongs and I have control over that environment in terms of the fact that I ultimately get to decide the fate of each item I pick up. Either the book is shelved properly or it isn't. I wish there were such a dichotomy in real life. It would be great to know that my decisions are correct and that I'm going in the direction that I really need to be going.

There are a few rare moments when things get a bit crazy at the library. A few years ago we had a guy we liked to call "The Urine Bandit" because he would pee on the wall near the 300's of adult non-fiction. It took us several weeks to catch him in the act and there was a fabulous celebration in our break room when we finally did catch him. Other times we've had issues with transients who make other patrons nervous. Most of the time they are harmless and just want a place to sit or sleep. The library did have to create a policy on their list of rules that anyone who stinks too much will be asked to leave. I'll have to look up the exact wording of that when I'm at work tomorrow, but basically I see it as an excuse to kick people out who don't fit the "norm" of library patrons. The funny thing is that I probably violate that rule from time to time since I don't shower everyday. Lets hope they don't kick me out.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Papa Murphy's

I'm going to skip talking about babysitting and working in the church nursery since I don't consider them real jobs. So that brings me to the first job I had: pizza maker at Papa Murphy's Take n Bake Pizza. I worked here during the summer between Sophomore and Junior years in high school and while it started out great, things turned sour after a few months.

The job was simple enough: make pizzas. We didn't even have to bake them which made things even easier. You take the crust (which was pre-made by one of the managers), throw some sauce on it (which you had to weigh in order to get the amount right), toss some cheese on it (which was also weighed) and then whatever toppings the customer wanted. The toppings either had to be counted or measured just right so that each pizza was made to perfection and the inventory wasn't thrown off. Seriously easy stuff right?

Well, I had a manager who was somewhat of a dirty perv who carried a machete like knife with him everywhere he went. I think this guy was an escapee from a mental clinic because he had serious issues. Besides being a dirty perv, he also assumed that everyone else in the world is incompetent and that he could trust anyone to do anything. Thus the fact that he wouldn't let me work the cash register until I'd worked there for four months and had mastered my skills in Saran Wrap (wrapping the pizzas in Saran Wrap was not easy with the way it was set up and most of us incompetent employees spent months trying to perfect it to his standards).

By the time I had finally been promoted to work the cash register I decided it was time to stop working there. I had only planned on it being a summer job and my school load was pretty heavy that semester. Plus my friend Jen died and suddenly the thought of making pizzas under the supervision of a dirty perv manager didn't seem like a rewarding way to spend my time. So I gave my two weeks notice and hoped it would be a clean break. No such luck. The dirty perv begged me to stay. He went on to offer me his stereo if I stayed. I said no. He said I could have four free pizzas a week while the norm was one per week. I said no. He finally came to accept the situation and on my last day I went into his office to turn in my name badge and he grabbed my hand and told me that if I were ten years older, he would have asked to marry me. I don't remember how I responded to this, but I distinctly remember having the desire to throw up as I was driving home from that last shift.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The great job hunt

I just spent about five hours today searching for jobs online and posting my resume. I'm now going on week seven of being unemployed and I'm getting ridiculously bored. The longest I've gone without a job prior to this time span (since I was 16) was two weeks so I'm not really sure what to do with all my time. I've applied for my substitute teaching license but still have heard back so I'm stuck at the library where I can only get 12 hours a week. I could probably apply anywhere to get a job, but I really want something that I'll enjoy and that will give me experience in the field I'm heading towards.

One of the most depressing conversations I've ever had occurred a few months ago when a volunteer group invited me to join them for dinner at a restaurant. I was talking to one of the volunteers about what he does for a living his plans for retirement and such. After a few minutes of conversing, he paused and then told me that the only job he has ever enjoyed in his whole life was when he was a lifeguard during the summer between high school and college. He went on to tell me how he passionately hated the job he chose as a career and wishes he could go back and do things differently. While he was telling me this there was such sadness in his eyes and I could barely maintain eye contact. I really hope I don't end up like that.

This morning as I chatted with a friend at church, she asked me if I'd like to work in any of the fields that I've worked in previously. Here was my response: "Hahahahaha! Hahaha. Ha. No."

So for the next few posts I'd like to open up my resume and discuss my amazing employment history. I'm excited to reminisce about the good times and the bad, the laughter and even a few tears.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year?

2008 has gotten off to a bit of a rough start for me so far.

January 1: front page newspaper article about a lawsuit against my church, our pastor, our presbytery, our synod as well as PC(USA) as a whole. Awesome.

January 2: Somebody ran into my car while it was parked in front of my house last night, causing a boatload of damage and left no note. Double awesome.

I'm optimistic though, and hope that things will get better from here. I respond to all of this with humor and some inspiration from Bryce who came up with an awesome list.

After we've been cleaning out our house for the past week I've stumbled on some bizarre treasures. So here is my list: The Top Ten Things The Weavers Will Be Re-gifting in 2008.

10. A Whopee cushion that doesn't work.

9. A latch-hook rug that I made 10 years ago and is still ugly.

8. Plush peeps. For anyone who loves those nasty marshmallow treats.

7. A pair of really used roller blades. Perfect for that someone who is stuck in the 90's.

6. A miniature grocery cart (or "buggy" as they say in the South). Still not sure why we own this one.

5. A pair of pretty pink shoes. They were for my Halloween costume last year and I'm pretty sure I'll never wear them again.

4. Mardi Gras beads! No, I did not do anything obscene to obtain these.

3. Strange hummingbird statue. Unfortunately we lost the plug that allows the fiber optics to light up.

2. My final project from AP Calculus. This beauty had been hiding in the bottom of my closet for 4 years until Chloe decided it was a chew toy.

1. Pencils with "Becca Weaver" engraved on them. I don't really use pencils anymore so I have no need for them. Now I'll just need to make friends with someone named Becca Weaver and this re-gift will be perfect!