For those of you that have been following along the last few weeks, I’m happy to announce that as of tomorrow I will no longer be an unemployment statistic. Thanks to the tremendous help of the VA, I’ll start working at the hospital for a while and the VA will help me get training, schooling, certifications or whatever else I may need to help me find a permanent position in a field I am interested in. In other words, it’s time to stop bouncing between shitty, hourly wage jobs that never take me anywhere like I’ve done up to this point. Well, except for one job and that is the one that actually made me qualified as the “V” in the VA.
With that in mind, I’ve had career choices on my mind a lot the last few days. What do I want to do considering I’m basically starting from the beginning at the fine young age of 45? If I take into consideration that I’d need to work somewhere for 20 years at a minimum to retire from there, it would have to be something I could tolerate for 20 years or even more, which pretty much rules out everything I’ve done up to this point with the possible exception of writing which has never paid me enough to buy a table much less put food on it.
So I’m going to tell you a little about the kind of things I’ve done as a job and why they were poor career choices. I’ll also tell you about some jobs I’ve considered and why it was probably a good idea I didn’t pursue them. Then I’ll give you my requirements and let YOU make some suggestions for me. Yeah, that’ll be fun!
Let me start by saying that I graduated high school at 17 and went straight to college. I spent 2 years in Boone, North Carolina at Appalachian State University. I went in as a Broadcasting Communications major and a Psychology minor. I came out extremely hungover.
At which point I went to Wake Technical College in Raleigh, NC to study Emergency Medical Science and came out as a certified Emergency Medical Technician. Sounds like it would be a reasonable career choice, but given the shit you had to clean up (sometimes literally) for yet another hourly wage that wasn’t all that significant, I didn’t last long doing it. If I’m going to deliver your baby, you don’t get to scream at me unless I had the privilege of putting the baby in there in the first place. Otherwise, keep your fuckin’ mouth shut and PUSH! Also, if you’re a mean drunk and you’re going to be riding in the back of MY ambulance to the hospital, there is a pretty good chance you may arrive at the ER with a “hematoma of unknown origin” on your head that is shaped (coincidentally, of course) exactly like my large, 5 D-cell MagLite.
“Don’t know where that came from, Doc. He was stumbling around pretty bad when I got there.”
As a side note, I was shot at more times as an EMT than I was as a US Marine and I didn’t get combat pay.
Speaking of which, it wasn’t long after that I joined the Marines.
It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget nor will I ever regret it. That said, I’d also never do it again. For one thing, there was a lot of running and if there is anything I hate more than running it would be “a lot of running”. I also don’t take orders very well, and there seems to be a whole lot of order giving in the Marines. I get the hierarchy thing and that this guy might be my boss and might know what he is doing and all that, but I have a nasty habit of wanting to know WHY I’m following a particular instruction. This habit didn’t sit well with my “bosses” in the Marines as they take offense to being questioned. At least that was my impression when they answered me with such wisdom as “Because I fucking SAID so, Marine”!
How in the hell I got outta there with an Honorable Discharge, I’ll never know.
Being a helicopter mechanic for the Presidential Helicopter Squadron in Quantico, VA looked pretty damn good on a resume’ and after I became a civilian again and grew my hair into a pony tail, it didn’t take me long to become an Auto Mechanic. It was here that all my faith in humanity was lost, because this begins the downward spiral into what I believe is the worst possible career choice of all. . . .
anything involving customer service.
The sad thing was, I was GOOD at it. As long as the customers didn’t make me want to choke them, and those were few and far between. My customers (at any customer service job I’ve ever had) fell into one of two categories. They either LOVED me, or they despised the very ground I walked on. Those that fell into the second category, 99% of the time, generally earned that because of another nasty habit I have. I give what I get. So if you come at me with a shitty attitude, you’re getting a SHITTIER attitude back, and that I’m real good at. Approach me with a reasonable state of mind and we’re going to get along just fine and we will communicate as pleasant adults.
Come at me like a spoiled 8 year old that drives a BMW and your day is definitely NOT going to get better.
Sadly, many of the jobs I’ve had over the years fell into this category.
- Waiter/Bartender at a country club – If you are a wealthy country club member, treat the staff well. They have your food and drinks long before you do.
- Mechanic – Yes, I can fix your car. I can also “fix” your car. I can also make it a useless pile of metal. You decide.
- Automotive Service Manager – You know they really can make your repair bill higher or lower depending on their mood. I recommend treating them well. Bring them lunch because they probably missed theirs.
- Store Manager for Tire and Service Center – The central position that only the most unmanageable of douchebags go to whine.
- Store Manager for an Appliance Parts and Used Appliance Store – Yep, that’s “used” appliances and appliance parts for people too cheap to get new appliances. In other words, every shifty, asshole landlord you’ve ever had and the people that love them. Never, ever again.
- Call Center Representative – And here I thought this one would be awesome because I could do it sitting down, until I found out all you dicks that I had to deal with face to face also have a gigantic pair of balls when you get on the phone. Keep in mind, I took INCOMING calls only, I wasn’t one of those people that call you at dinner time. You had to call me.
That last one was also kind of fun. You should hear this shit we say about you after we hang up. I’ve also been just about everyone you can imagine to people. I have the good fortune of having no discernible accent from really anywhere, being born and having most of my closest relatives in New York, then my formative teenage years in North Carolina around a lot of “y’alls” and “reckons” and shit. When I’m on the phone, I can play anyone I want pretty much. I can go from “Frank from Long Island” to “Billy from Georgia” from one phone call to the next. I’m still working on “Habibi from New Delhi” but I can’t get through that one without laughing. To keep my co-workers laughing, I also did an eerily accurate imitation of “Maaaaaagret the 70 year old Jewish lady from Boston that has smoked for 80 years”. She called me “Aaric”. It was kind of sweet between the coughing and the spitting and the one time I thought she had actually died while on the phone. You’d be surprised at the number of people that call in just because they’re lonely. I once spent an hour and a half on the phone with one lady and only about 10 minutes of it was about the service I was there to represent. The rest of the conversation was quite pleasant and I didn’t make a dime off that phone call but it was an hour and a half I didn’t have to talk to one of those dicks with gigantic phone balls.
We also designed our own menu that you should get when you call in:
- “Press 1 if you would like to verbally abuse one of our representatives.” – This would lead you to a never-ending ‘on hold’ loop continuously thanking you for your patience.
- “Press 2 if you would like to BE verbally abused by one of our representative.” – Inspired by a co-worker that finally snapped one day, thereby making it his last day.
- “Press 3 if you need to speak to a Supervisor.” – This option immediately hangs up on you.
- “Press 4 if you’re angry with us.” – This one we would actually route directly to the supervisor.
- Press 5 if you’ve forgotten who it was you called.” – Go ahead, laugh. It happened. More than once.
For the record, those calls really are recorded “for quality purposes” but should more accurately say “for entertainment purposes” because if you’ve ever lost your shit while on the phone with a call center representative there is a pretty good chance that recording was being played back at our next break with 15 people listening, all laughing their asses off and saying things like “Oh DUDE, how did you NOT tell that lady to go fuck herself”!?
You should also know that most call center reps don’t actually work for the company you think you’re calling, so threatening to leave their service means nothing to them, and if the rep you are talking to sounds like he hates you, that’s because he does.
Lastly, I came to rest for a while at a job I thought was going to be perfect for me.
Fork lift operator. I was sitting down all day. I did not deal with the general public. I was mostly left alone by everyone except when I dropped something, but I was pretty good so that was rare. We had a “busy season” which lasted about 5 months, during which we worked sometimes 72 hours a week which meant killer overtime. During the off-season we worked 40 hours a week, four 10 hour days a week, so every weekend was a 3 day weekend. It wasn’t a bad deal as long as you could handle the dirt and frequently the smell.
I won’t say exactly who I worked for but the guy who founded the company was probably named “Scott” and he apparently figured out how to make shit “Gro” like it was some kind of a “Miracle”.
*wink wink, nudge nudge*
I was there for a year and a half, regularly praised for my excellent work, right up until this past June. At which point the permanent position for which I had been busting my ass to get for a year and a half was given to some kid who had only been there for four months . . . and he sucked at it . . . because he was the son of a permanent employee who had been there for a few years . . . and he also sucked.
Bitch slapped by shitty internal politics.
Fuck ’em. My back was killing me. You think standing all day hurts your back, try riding around in a vehicle the size of a Smart Car that weighs as much as 10 Smart Cars but with no suspension whatsoever. You feel every bump in your teeth and spinal cord. You learn real quick that chewing on your tongue and picking your nose are not habits you want to have while driving that thing around. If you pick your nose you may very well come out with brain matter.
I’m done with the shitty, customer service, low-paying, bullshit jobs. The VA will help me see to that. At least they will until the government cuts the funding so we can buy illegal immigrants flat screen TV’s like they so richly deserve. (My political statement for the week. Chill out, they don’t come around often. Watch, that will be the ONE sentence in this whole post that makes the whole thing go viral. It’s win-win.)
I have three options I’m trying to pursue at this point:
- Get some OJT training and get certified as an IT specialist and do some computer shit.
- Go back to school and finish my Psychology degree and go into Addiction Counseling.
- Hope that sentence above makes me famous and I can stay at home and do this in my underwear while thousands of dollars a month are directly deposited into my bank account.
Fairly safe bet I’m looking at #1 or #2.
So now it’s your turn. You have a fairly firm grasp on what I’m looking for in a job, but in case you don’t, let me summarize:
- People suck. I don’t want to be around them. Angry people are mean.
- I love all of you, even though you are people. You are not people that are RIGHT HERE.
- I laugh at people behind their back.
- Any job that celebrates “No Pants Friday” is a winner.
- I don’t like outdoors and think it should be banned.
- I don’t believe in neckties and blatantly refuse to wear one.
- All jobs are more fun in your underwear.
- 3 day weekends rule.
- A lot of sitting should be required. Good suspension is a MUST!
I have a firm belief about the relationship between work and non-work hours and it’s very simple: I work so I can live, not live so I can work. I know I’m pretty sarcastic and snarky, but I’m damned serious about that.
So what job do you think I would be good for? What made you decide to be what you are or what events led to it? Let me hear from you!
Text Message of the Day: I SO love chatting with Denise, and we’re gonna do this . . .