Category Archives: Jobs

Scintilla Project: Heads Up!

<a href=”http://www.scintillaproject.com/”><img title=”scintilla_badge_002″ alt=”” src=”https://braintomahawk.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/scintilla_badge_002.png&#8221; width=”140″ height=”140″ /></a>Well I missed the weekend, but I do have ideas for doing them – so they will be done, even if I have to save them for a rainy day.

Today’s prompts are:

A: Describe a time when the content of your character was tested.

B: Write about a chance meeting that has stayed with you ever since.

As all do, this one happened a while back (geez was I more interesting back then?!) and has stayed with me ever since.

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I was walking down 42nd street towards Times Square, in my suit and tie (which took 20 million tries to get knotted right), staring at the gum-stained sidewalk as I shuffled along aimlessly. It was late morning on a weekday. Most everyone else (who wasn’t a tourist) was in their offices, working. Except me, it seemed. Actually I had gone on a job interview. Those were fewer and far betweener than I would have liked. I was still in that hellish post undergraduate grace period of “can’t get the job without the experience/ can’t get the experience without the job”, and this interview was on par with that. To be fair, the job seemed like a scam; the ad said they were looking for an administrative assistant, but when I got there, the manager led the conversation to phone sales/cold calling. He lauded the commissions that other employees would make during their job, and of course gave me the zinger of “besides your degree, what else make you qualified?” Cue the job/experience revolving door. Right this way, sir.

Where the heck was this walk of shame leading to anyway? The subway home to commiserate?— an afternoon full of talk shows and injury attorney commercials wouldn’t help. How about a coffee shop or somewhere for lunch? – I was almost broke. I looked up, ready to cross the street onto Broadway.

What the – is that Mark? One of my close friends from high school, we also went to the same college and graduated in the same class. He was walking to the corner diagonally from me, in his suit, head down, expression serious. At that moment though, he looked up, we made eye contact and grinned at the same time. I crossed to him and held out my hand for a greeting and high five (or handshake, still trying to play the professional).

He spoke first. “Pete, don’t even talk to me, I just left the worst interview ever!” He stood by puzzled as I proceeded to crack up laughing. After a moment, I explained about my own situation, which gave him a laugh as well. We stood there, still defeated and miserable, but having a friend who understood right when they needed them most. We walked around for a while, got some cheap eats and took the train home, early enough to miss rush hour, but late enough to miss Maury and Jerry.

I guess, no matter what, always keep your head up.

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Filed under Friends, Job Interviews, Jobs, Life, Scintilla Project, Writing, Writing Challenges

Scintilla Project: Drinking and the Job

Yes I have signed up for Scintilla ’13! I will try to get every one of them in, and hey I might even work a little Zombie Bunnies

WEDNESDAY, 13TH MARCH
A: Tell a story about a time you got drunk before you were legally old enough to do so.
B: Tell a story set at your first job.

I’ll do both – well sort of.

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Part A. Growing up, I never liked the smell, much less the taste of beer, or any alcohol whenever I was permitted to take a sip (even champagne toasts during weddings). To this day I don’t understand why tequila still exists, except for the splitting headache enthusiasts among you (find a brick wall, people!). Also you’d be hard pressed to get me to drink 4-5 glasses of anything in one sitting, except water and that’s just during a hot/humid day.

What kind of prompt would this be if it ended there? Thankfully(?!), things change and all these ideas, beliefs and tastes go out the window when you are at a party right after your 18th birthday (not my party) with a camera on you. Of course it was a test of machismo, but I looked at it as a chance to sample drinks, figure out what the hell the fuss was all about, and not have to sneak around it doing it. Plus it was free, which doesn’t hurt (still doesn’t). Of course, with video evidence, it was all but assured I would be caught. I braced myself and took my first Kamikaze shot. Gah!

What cheers and accolades came from the others?

“Oh wait, I missed that – set him up again!”

Oh crap. So yes, a second one went down. Nearly came back up.

“Here, take a swig of this, it’ll ease your stomach.” It was a beer, but since they knew how much I hated the taste, a shot of something was dropped it to make it smoother. Actually, it did the trick. Yay?!

So after a couple more rounds (including ascrewdriver, you know, for the Vitamin C) I didn’t puke (a streak I STILL have; the current standing has food poisoning at 3-0 vs. drunken ralphing), but I did have a hangover, and yes it was a school day, one of the last days of high school actually.

I also didn’t drink again for at least several years. Yes apparently I missed out on an essential part of college life. That ended with my friends’ intervention of “Seriously, we need to get you drunk”. That’s when I met my arch-enemy, Tequila, cleverly disguised in a margarita, but in Superhero context, to counter that Venom was the lovely Mary Jane Watson known as Sangria.

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Seeing as I did prompt B: my first job, take a look back if you haven’t read it, or forgot you read it, etc.
It’s a new year, so I’ll add a little to that story. I mean really, when your job has you dealing with the humans, there’s tons of material to work with.
Among the list of useful skills I gained towards future career choices, would have to be ‘the straight face’. That usually came into use when dealing with:

Birth Control. Among the prescriptions that we filled, BC was obviously part of the ones we handled. Since we were several kids working at the counter, it was ‘who needs help?’ that got us a next customer. Sometimes, people didn’t want you helping them for whatever reasons. However, it was inevitable that we would be short-staffed, or well, no one else was available. One time, a female customer hesitantly and wordlessly gave me a small round plastic disk. “Umm, ok. What is this?” I popped it open, still not figuring out what the calendar was all about. A female co-worker plucked it from my hands, as my mental faculties gave the “ohhh!”; a statement that did little to boost my intellectual reputation. Then there was the woman who needed something, but didn’t want to say a thing. Instead she asked for a paper and pen. She gave it back to me; “Monistat”. To my credit, I had my game face on; however, the fact that (apparently due to the cost of the meds) the product itself was on a shelf, behind me, elevated to a point that I had to step UP onto a lower shelf to reach it, and that every other customer waiting on line would see, pretty much nullified that letter to the point where even Jedi telekinetic powers wouldn’t be subtle (as they usually are).

Another kit that was placed next to it, probably for the simple reason of comparative embarrassment were the pregnancy tests. One fellow (!), decided he wasn’t going to be cowed by this task; coming up to the counter, he gave us all (yes outmatched 3-1)  a gunslinger’s posture and asked for the pregnancy tests (no he didn’t point from the hip). We got him what he needed, rang him up, and as he walked off into the sunset (really, it was near the end of our early evening shifts), one of the girls broke. “Good luck!” she called after him, her well wishes to be used towards whatever outcome he was going for (or not). Without missing a beat, he gave a fist pump in response.

Oh, and no one bought lambskin condoms.

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Filed under Drinks, Jobs, Life, Scintilla Project, Working, Writing, Writing Challenges