I won’t bore you with my list, but since I started my college career in Jan. 2000, I have had more jobs than a cat has lives.
I believe that working a lot of jobs has been good for me because it gives me empathy for a lot of different people.
I no longer lean over a counter and argue with the person at the cash register who won’t let me use three different coupons on one purchase. I don’t chug drinks and wave my cup in the air toward my busy waitress so she can refill it. I tip well. I nicely hang up on the pushy telemarketers because I know they have a tight-lipped lady with a bun sitting behind them listening to make sure that they are pushy.
This summer I had four different part-time jobs. I answered phones at each of them. After picking up the phone I would oftentimes pause trying to remember where I was. This made life very confusing. It reminded me of my early years when I was obsessed with football and, once I answered the phone saying “set … hike!”
Various circumstances have led to my high job count, but as I reflect, I am left with just one question: What have we done wrong to deserve the lousy jobs we are forced to take?
Working these garbage jobs also changes your perspective. Instead of thinking, “Is this shirt worth $20?” you think “is this worth three hours of cleaning toilets?” Almost always, the answer is no.
But because we need clothes on our back and food in our stomachs, we are left with no choice.
I think my favorites are the local companies that actually have to recruit employees. If you’re in a college town and you need to recruit, just admit that working for you will be 30 hours a week of hell. We’ll find out soon enough anyway.
That way, instead of being patronized with job descriptions like: “Take advantage of this exciting and progressive job opportunity,” you would read, “OK, we know this job is crap, but you live in a college town so you have no choice.”
You wouldn’t have to hear or read another ad saying, “If you have strong interpersonal skills and an outgoing personality, then this once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity is for you.”
Instead, you would read “in this job we’ll sit you down with a headset, and you’ll constantly deal with angry people who don’t pay their phone bills, but you’re in college and you need this job as bad as we need verbal punching bags working here for us.” We know that without a degree, we’re at your mercy, but just be honest with us.
Finally, after working for a majority of the minimum wage jobs in the area, I think I have found my niche. I am a pizza delivery man, and for once, I don’t whimper and whine aloud to myself all the way to work.
The occupational path we take in our lives is interesting. We start our lives not working. We think we are going to be professional athletes, actors or something else glamorous.
In phase two, we enter the crap jobs where employers patronize us – that’s now.
In phase three, hopefully we take our college degree somewhere and they give us a great job with a big office.
Finally, we enter the retirement phase. We see the commercials with all of the smiling old people handing out carts at Wal-Mart. After four hours of this, we realize that we’re back to phase two.