McDonald’s, Cashier, 2000
This is an ideal position for a 14-year-old girl whose parents are tired of footing the bill for wild nights out at TGIFriday’s. McDonald’s offers the following perks: a place to smoke cigarettes where your parents (most likely) won’t catch you; a jumpstart on heart disease; unlimited access to the fry and milkshake machines — a surefire way to earn respect (or at least, attention) from every skateboarding youth in a 20-mile radius. Responsibilities include abandoning your dignity to upsell apple pies, taking out the garbage without vomiting, side-eyeing anyone who overdoes it on the refills, and putting up with the boss’s domineering wife, who will somehow translate ‘teenage girl’ into ‘lazy jezebel in need of constant reprimanding’ though you have no intention of sleeping your way to the top of a fast food franchise. Transportation opportunities limited to your dad picking you up every night via the drive-thru.
DRG, Telemarketer, 2001
This position is well suited for a number of personalities: 15-year-old girls financing their pot habits, ex-cons, women who refer to themselves as ‘baby momma,’ men who have been celibate at least thirty years if not forever, and bored suburban housewives who don’t need the money but do need the purpose. Employees sit in a cubicle with a computer rigged only to auto-dial homes in the Midwest, the residents of which will be offered a free 40-minute hydro-massage upon picking up the phone. By you, the telemarketer. Perks of this position are getting to wear a headset, learning to strategically punch a timecard in order to maximize earnings, saying the word ‘hydro-massage’ excessively, and therapeutic payoff via hanging up on vitriolic strangers without fear of repercussion. Responsibilities include convincing targets that “this isn’t a scam,” even though you’re 99% certain this is a scam.
???, Telemarketer, 2001-2002
This decidedly low-tech approach to telemarketing requires a phonebook, a pencil, and stacks of paper titled ‘Fire-Safety Questionnaire,’ the responses to which can easily be faked by idly circling responses like ‘Yes, I have a home evacuation plan’ and ‘No, I do not wish to be contacted again.’. You will be expected to manually dial phone numbers and engage with whoever answers — man, woman, child, geriatric, lemur — about their home’s ‘fire safety strategy.’ If the participant completes the survey, you will offer to install a free ADP alarm system in the participant’s home and, for seemingly no reason at all, offer the participant a potential trip to the Bahamas.
The office culture is rich here — for example, employees will essentially be forced to participate in Secret Santa, a holiday ‘game’ in which every employee purchases something from Bath and Body Works and brings it to work in a holiday-themed gift bag and exchanges their Bath and Body Works product with another employee’s Bath and Body Works product. Weed smoking on the premises is frowned upon, but you are permitted to take a break for upwards of an hour to smoke weed on car rides with your friend, a delivery guy who works at the pizzeria downstairs. Perks include free pizza, weed, and Bath and Body Works products.
Bronx’s Best Pizzeria, Pizza Girl, 2003
This four-day stint in a pizzeria located nowhere near the Bronx is perfect for any adolescent girl who enjoys being surrounded by pepperoni and hot men who are far too old for her. So basically, every teenage girl ever. As a pioneering member of the team, you’ll be the first to go when the owner realizes he was overly ambitious in hiring someone whose sole purpose is ringing up fountain soda. Responsibilities include, “Do not f-ck this up.” Perks like cash payment and sexual harassment masked as flattery available for the right candidate.
Maggie’s Place Hair Salon, Shampoo Girl, 2003-College
The Shampoo Girl should feel comfortable hearing the following commands, suggestions, and accusations ad nauseam: “Harder,” “Softer,” “Hotter,” “Cooler,” “Scratch behind my ear,” “You didn’t get all of the hair dye off of the back of my neck, I can still feel it,” “Don’t be a wimp, really get in there,” “My back is soaking wet,” and a personal favorite, “You’re an idiot.” When not administering massages to lumpy, unfortunate scalps, the Shampoo Girl will be expected to sweep, dust, answer phones, book appointments, wash towels, and do basically anything that doesn’t involve eating or sitting for eight hours at a time. Perks include accidental weight loss, free haircuts, and relevant work experience for, years later, in a fit of post-grad desperation, the Shampoo Girl will use her roots in the hair care industry to obtain the position of ‘Client Coordinator’ in a Manhattan salon, more popularly known as a ‘Receptionist.’ She will spend her early-twenties slogging up the service-industry ladder while her Bachelor’s Degree quietly collects dust, similar to the filth she once liberated from display cases of overpriced styling wax during her Shampoo Girl years. And the snake eats its own tail.