Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Only 5 Jobs!

Do you remember the Hey, Mon! skits on In Living Color? And Bitch, if you're too young to remember In Living Color, get-the- fuck-out-of-here! Anyway, here's a refresher about the Hey, Mon! skits. In these skits, a West Indian family brags about how many jobs they are each holding down. Anyone with one or two jobs is seen as lazy. Anyway, watch this clip, and then I'll tell you why I'm bring this up:

Lately, I've had quite a few people comment on the number of different jobs I worked last year. I was a paralegal, and a sales clerk for an online business... and an exam scorer for standardized tests, and a real estate agent. While it is true that I had several jobs ("Only five jobs!") last year, I was quite surprised that people commented on this... often in a snarky way that bordered on passive aggressive. Do you think I wanted to move from job to job last year? Hell, nah! I wanted each and every position to work out, but there were a number of reasons why they didn't. Let me tell ya about them...

Job #1-- Paralegal

I started the year off as a paralegal in a two-lawyer law firm. The pay was fantastic-- the most I had earned since leaving California. What wasn't quite so fantastic? Managing three law clerks-- three 20-30-something-year-old, male law clerks. They gave no heed to my pleas that they turn in their hours on time or update me about the projects they were working on. And having to take time out from all my other duties to call each of the clerks while they were in class each day, to nag them? That was not a pleasant task.

 But dealing with the law clerks wasn't the worst it. I had the stressful job of setting up and maintaining a server and document library for the firm... which would be great-- only I had no experience doing that kind of system administration work (especially with Apple products). I spent a great deal of time reading support documentation so I could stay ahead of the game. But in the end, I had to give up. That law firm needed a legal secretary, instead of a paralegal, and an IT officer. Not me! I loved my boss. I loved my paycheck (though benefits would have been nice too...health, sick leave, vacation, 401k-- that job had none of those), but that was more than my hypertension could take.

Job #2-- Sales Clerk for an online business

I landed Job #2 before I left the first one of the year. Someone I knew locally was looking for a sales clerk for a business he operated out of his home. I thought this would be a great job because the owner lived five minutes away from me and he was flexible on the hours I needed to work and was willing to let me off to go to doctor appointments (since I'm a kidney patient, there are a lot of those).

Everything was fine the first couple of days on that job-- I worked on preparing quotes for incoming customer calls. My boss had his own system for doing things-- which is okay, up to a point. But then he started meddling with how I wanted to arrange physical things on my desk-- and on my computer's desktop (he didn't like that I changed the font on my computer so I could better see things, or that I had a special wrist pad next to my computer, or that I preferred a smaller mouse that fit my hand).

Granted, that boss was a Dom-- as in BDSM Dominant, and I knew that going in. I just didn't think he'd stoop to bossing me around like I was his slave-- I'm nobody's slave. I'm quite capable of choosing what I want to eat for lunch, and I certainly don't need to wait until the boss opens the car door for me to get into the car. I mean, I know that can be gentlemanly, but the boss was giving off a "I'm your Master" vibe. Nuh-unh.

The clincher with this job was that my boss's good friend would come over and hangout at the boss's house/the office-- and that friend was someone I had a history with... someone who has a "rape-y" reputation. Unfortunately, the creeper would come over to hang out and I was expected to go out with the boss and the creeper for lunch (and yes, I tried the "No, thanks, I brought my lunch-- to no avail). The last straw was when the boss screamed-- literally screamed-- when I made a mistake entering some data (trying to follow his unclear directions to the letter). I don't cotton bosses who scream. Or have rape-y guests over. So, that was that.

 Job #3-- Educational Testing Scorer

I knew #3 was going to be a temp job-- scoring season only lasts a semester at a time. The first few days of training were a bit stressful-- but I caught on... well enough to figure out how to make a bonus each day. There were issues on this job-- every job has its issues. Probably the worst for me was that I have taught elementary English composition (and tutored college comp)and I graded too harshly-- according to the bots (I would go into all that, but I signed an NDA. Drat!) I left before the season was over, but by that time, most of the group I was hired with had departed for greener pastures. I can tell you this, the scoring for my team went way down without me-- I was a bit of a rock star!

 Job #4-- Paralegal, Part Deux

When I graduated from paralegal school last year (a fast-paced, rigorous 4-month program at University of Texas) I expected to land a job at some well-appointed law office-- probably in family law or intellectual property. I interviewed with several firms, but none of them bit. They wanted more experience than I had (and I had worked at a law firm after I separated from my first husband 25 years ago).

 Anyhoo, I did land another paralegal gig-- with a legal outsourcing company. Seemed like a nice outfit. Oh, and the client we worked for? It's a household name! Which I can't share (another NDA), but suffice it to say, it was a sweet setup. I had a corporate email and a fancy job title. We had free snacks and soda. A food truck visited the campus every morning. Oh, it was nice! But, I did not receive enough training in the beginning and some of the women I worked with were Mean Girls who did not want to help me. Absentee Millennial bosses also did not help. I felt I wasn't a good fit. When I said that to my supervisor, she kinda shrugged. Adios free snacks and soda!

Job #5-- Real Estate Agent

So, now we come to the final job of the year-- Real Estate Agent. I paid my $1k, and breezed through real estate school in three weeks. That wasn't too bad because my job, 35 years ago, was being the youngest real estate agent in the state of South Carolina. I had retained a lot of real estate knowledge from back then, so that helped me pass my licensing exam. But whew! Texas real estate is in a world of its own.

 If we're friends IRL, I've probably already hit you up with my business card and for referrals. So far, I've only done a little bit of business.  I've done a lot of online advertising and I have been out networking-- in spite of a surgery, an injury, a bout of pneumonia and additional medical procedures. And hey, I recently got my first paycheck! Woohoo! It almost covered all the gas I've spent helping some folks find rental properties. But that's real estate.

Luckily, there was no Job #6 last year. But 2018 is another year! Hehehe. I think this year will be more of the same. It's February and I've already applied for 15 jobs. I have had a few recruiters contact me, and I will at least hear them out. And I've been looking into buying a franchise-- but I'm still investigating whether that would be a good move. I have returned to freelance editing (please, send fiction authors my way) and may do some ESL tutoring. Yep, it's going to be an Only * Jobs! year, again.

Hey, Mon!
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