1. Sales Associate at The Gap
My days would start really goddamn early. Six in the morning, I’d haul my 18-year-old ass from my house to the Simsbury Commons in Connecticut, where this little gem was located. My co-workers were frustrated 35+ year old women with a creepy diehard allegiance to the Gap and a love of men with muscles. My daily routine would be running discarded clothes from the changing room back to their rightful spot in the store. After a few hours of blindly searching, I’d get register duty, where I would handle purchases and returns. If you’ve ever had a thought that Connecticut women who shop at the Gap are anything but total slagathors, I urge you to abandon all preconceived notions.
Worst moment: Getting told over walkie-talkie to spy on a group of “suspicious African-Americans” in case they shoplifted.
Worstest moment: They couldn’t find me a “Jeremy” name-tag, so for three months my name was “Chris.” My name isn’t Chris.
2. Street Canvasser
I’m not really an outdoor type person, so I really shot myself in the foot by accepting a job which took place exclusively outside. I was sweet-talked by a beautiful girl into interviewing for this job and accepted it when I it was offered to me. What I didn’t realize then is that these companies will accept anybody and everybody. I had read online that you could make hundreds of dollars a week by getting people to sign up. The problem is: nobody wants to sign up for these things. So I’d be on the street, desperately asking anyone who came by: “Hey, got a second for animal rights?!” I was yelled at, ignored, and laughed at. It was really the first job where I’d leave feeling really shitty about myself.
Worst moment: Walking passed an annoying canvasser, ignoring their pleas, and then realizing I was that same person.
Worstest moment: Sitting in an ice cream shop with my co-workers, listening to their pissing contest of who did the most for the environment.
3. Intern at an Animation Studio
This was a studio that I had followed for years; I loved all their shows and jumped at the chance to help out for free. Mind you, this all happened during college, when I assumed that all unpaid internships would involve some semblance of real work and lead to something significant. Nope. My one task for the entire semester was planning the company’s Christmas party (which I was not invited to.) My boss would have me come in every morning, sort through her problems with her iPhone, wash dishes, and organize her rolodex. WHO still owns a rolodex? I learned hilariously little about animation and would spend my afternoons hidden in the back corner, watching this one particular animator work for nine hours straight without moving. This isn’t even an exaggeration; he literally didn’t even get up to go to the bathroom.
Worst moment: Being called in and scolded for missing a day because I was sick.
Worstest moment: Getting an XXL t-shirt as a goodbye gift on my final day. I’m not an XXL.
4. Waiter for a Crooked Restaurant
I’ve worked in many restaurant settings and know what separates legit places from obvious fronts. This place was an obvious front for something bigger and, most likely, drug-related. The entire staff was made up of horrifically angry people who hated being at work — and out of work. It was as if purgatory had been centralized all in this one restaurant and everyone working was part of it. I only worked there for a total of six hours, where I shadowed one decent guy named Zhian. He told me about how the place worked, the different kind of food they had, and to never ever cross the owner of the restaurant — a man named Junior. His boss, an angry lady named Carla would tell me to “back the fuck up” when I was standing too close to her and that “the customer is never, ever right.” I finally met Junior–an older Latino man donning gold bracelets and rings. He asked me my schedule, to which I said I was free, except for a day or two. Not looking up from counting his wad of cash, he asked me, in a monotone voice: “When?” Junior sighed loudly when I told him I couldn’t work Tuesdays, and silently left the room. I never showed up again.
Worst moment: Looking at Junior’s totally illegitimate stack of hundred dollar bills.
Worstest moment: Receiving a call from an unknown number days later from Zhian:
“Hey man, it’s cool if you don’t want to show up to work again. Thanks for the heads up, fucko.” Yeah, he called me “fucko.”
5. Videographer for an Idiot Wedding Photographer
I found this ad on Craigslist, a wedding photographer who was looking to expand her business into video. Engagement videos of couples being happy. We talked on the phone, where she linked me to high-budget Bollywood movie scenes and asked me, in all seriousness, if I could make her videos look exactly like this. I answered: “Sure!” We spent just under 11 hours filming a couple together. At her request, most of the shots were directly ripped off, scene-by-scene, from a famous Bollywood movie. She would direct a shot and then immediately demand to watch what we had just filmed, which (as most videographers know) makes importing the video into FinalCut, a total nightmare. She was petty and fickle and would not let me do the job she paid (very little money) for me to do.
Worst moment: Editing the video with her peering over my shoulder, as she simultaneously tried to learn FinalCut and tell me what to do.
Worstest moment: That same night. It was my birthday. True story.