In college, my job was college, although I moonlighted as an Abercrombie & Fitch employee, and a front desk receptionist in my dorm building. In the summer, I would waitress for a popular Italian chain restaurant. Nothing made me want to succeed in life more than the smell of Abercrombie cologne and spaghetti sauce. I vowed to never take one of these “odd jobs” post graduation.
My vow was broken a month after receiving my diploma. As I wallowed in my jobless misery, my parents continually bitched about me finding work. One day, between episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” I picked myself up and started applying for jobs, while still interviewing for my “real career.” Since I hadn’t landed anything just yet, I started nannying.
You get great pay with no taxes taken out, eat for free, and play with kids all day. I loved doing this, and was sitting for multiple families at a time. The only downside is when you take the children out, and everyone thinks they’re yours. I was LOLing at the fact that everyone thought I could have been on MTV’s “Teen Mom.” One woman asked me if I was 18, with a tragically concerned look on her face. My clothes started smelling like diapers and vomit, so I had to retire from watching infants. Being a nanny is the greatest form of birth control a woman can ever receive, and I thank those little babies for that, I really do.
I was a liquor promotions girl. I basically flirted my way to $35 an hour, and poured shots for anyone who wanted free booze. Besides being almost felt up, like, once or twice, it was a sweet gig. I am a people person and love talking. I stopped when they asked me to wear a cut-off halter top in the dead of winter. Girl’s got standards, you know!
I worked as a cafe associate in a super swanky gym chain. I made damn good smoothies and protein shakes. I created killer recipes, flirted with members, and got a free gym membership.
I basked in the glory of their tranquil yoga studio, relaxing sauna, and employee discount on Lululemon apparel. I had to quit because I moved, but I miss it sometimes. When I see a VitaMix blender, I have ‘Nam-style flashbacks.
I was a waitress, again. I rounded up my black apron, button-down shirt, wine key, and high-pitched server voice. I dread the training process. It’s so taxing to memorize an entire menu, and then get tested on it, only to be quizzed at random when you are juggling five tables at once. I give people that serve for a living so much credit. The crap that you have to deal with on a nightly basis would give anyone an aneurism. The money is good, but the stress isn’t worth it. Not to mention, I hate ironing, and my uniform had to be pressed every damn shift.
I did other people’s laundry. Yes, that’s right. I touched other people’s unmentionables. Not one of my proudest moments, but the back-story is semi-redeeming. Super Storm Sandy hit my hometown hard. My friends were displaced from their homes, and the power was out in some places for three weeks. A major detergent company supplied a truck full of washers and dryers that travels from place to place, helping people in need. We washed and dried two loads per family. My job was to fold and organize the clothes, finishing them up with a ribbon and cute carry bag. The goal was to make people happy with clean clothes, which was an awesome feeling. My career as a laundress lasted for a week, and to be honest, I don’t think I could have taken much more. You can only fold so many skid-marked stained men’s underwear in a day’s time.
Since I am moving to LA jobless, I hope I don’t have to add to this manic list. But if I do, I hope it’s something cool like giving people manicures. I’m pretty sure I was a Vietnamese nail artist in a past life.
By Jillian Leff