Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - work, work, work

Thirteen Things about Jobs I held before becoming a lawyer.

I know that last week I said I'd talk some more about world religions this week. Well, I did start reading the Bible (Old Testament) and I've gotten through a few of the 50 chapters of Genesis. Man, the Bible is one looooong book. And Genesis is a whole lotta family tree stuff (all about the male descendents, I might add). Anyway, I don't have much to say about it at this point so, maybe next week.
So, jobs I've had . . .

1. The first job I had was at Aunt Diana's Old Fashioned Fudge at Northbrook Court mall. Thus began a life long struggle with my weight . . .that was some damn good fudge.

2. The second job I had was at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream in lovely downtown Highland Park, Illinois. Are you seeing a theme here? My boss was (conservatively) 300 pounds and a mean bastard. First of all, he hated kids and was always yelling at them for running around in the store. Clearly, he had no sense of customer service. We'd be serving scoops of ice cream and - in front of the customer - he'd yell at us for making the scoops too big and make us take ice cream off of the cones. When he wasn't around, we'd trade ice cream cones for egg rolls with the kids that worked at the Chinese restaurant across the street.

3. Then I worked at Michael's Hot Dogs which had been called Nathan's for years but then the people at the "real" Nathan's threatened to sue them if they didn't change their name. Anyway, even though I worked at the salad bar, I managed to eat my weight in burgers while I was there. (My favorite was a charbroiled burger with grilled onions, salad fixings and Swiss cheese in a pita - mmmmm, my mouth is watering and I don't even eat beef any more).

4. Michael's also had a good catering business - very big on the Bar/Bat Mitzvah circuit on the North Shore back in the day. Thirteen year olds looooove the cheddar fries. I made a bunch of cash working the catering during the summers. It was actually fun because it was social in a way that working behind a food counter isn't. (And man, it was hot, hot, hot behind the food counter with the grill going and 90 degree weather outside).

5. Then I went to college and was lucky enough to be able to not have a job while I was in school but I had some cool jobs during the summers. My first summer, my dad got me a job working as a production assistant on a movie that was filming out in L.A. The movie was called Monster in the Closet. (You won't find me in the credits - they don't usually list peons). I had a great time, learned a lot and worked my rear end off. This guy was a production assistant with me and I laugh every time I see his name in the credits of a movie or television show. He was a nice guy - all I really remember is playing Name That Tune whenever we rode in the car together. I kicked his ass most of the time. I lived in a fraternity house at UCLA. Remind me to tell you someday how disgusting the bathroom was when I first moved in and how much I hate the song "White Wedding" by Billy Idol after being forced to listen to it at full volume for an entire summer. Oh those crazy California frat boys!

6. The next summer, I went to Connecticut and worked for Folio Magazine. Again, it was a job my dad got for me (he had some pretty cool clients back then). I can't remember much about the work I did. Needless to say, I wasn't real interested in going into magazine production. However, I house sat in an awesome huge house in Windsor, Connecticut (which is a really lovely town). I had a co-house sitter - a guy who was a Christian rock singer from Oklahoma. I don't even remember his name or why the hell he was living in Connecticut with me. We barely saw each other since our social circles didn't intersect. I do remember that we were also taking care of two outdoor cats. Apparently, these cats were quite competitive - they would bring us dead birds and mice and all kinds of other woodland creatures, each cat trying to outdo the other with their "gifts" each day. Although I miss sitting on the back porch, listening to the crickets, reading a book and sipping ice tea, I really don't miss cleaning up dead animal carcasses.

7. The next summer, I worked as a lab assistant at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. (Yeah, my dad got me that job too). It was kinda interesting - I got to use pipettes and stuff like they use in CSI. Woo hoo. Mostly I was testing different testing kits for efficacy so the lab could figure out which testing kits they wanted to buy. Simply going to work at a County Hospital was depressing as hell even though I didn't have any patient contact.

8. After I graduated, I wanted to do movies and thought about going to L.A. but I was scared. I even started to write a screen play but never really got very far. My parents told me I didn't have to get a "real" job - I could stay at home and write or figure out what I wanted to do. But, of course, why would I want to take advantage of a fabulous offer like that? I wasn't that smart. Instead, I got a job as a waitress at a local restaurant/bar. I was a bit dismayed that I got much better tips when I wore shorts or mini-skirts than when I wore slacks. Like I said, I wasn't too smart back then.

9. A friend from college was moving to New York City and asked me if I wanted to get an apartment with her. Being the spontaneous sort of gal I am, I looked up a bunch of talent agencies in New York, set up some interviews and went for it. (I had decided that if Michael Ovitz could become a powerful producer after starting as an agent, I could do it, too). I got a job at Oppenheimer and Christie Talent Agency and moved to NYC. I lived in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with my girlfriend and a gay guy we knew from college. It sucked.

10. Eventually, I got tired of working at a talent agency and went to work at Rossetti Films (a TV commercial production company) and worked for this guy. He's a brilliant director and very creative but he's was freakin' crazy when I worked for him. Once time he was mad when we forgot to turn the copy machine off one night. So on the door across from my desk, he wrote - in black indelible ink - "TURN ALL LIGHTS AND MACHINES OFF BEFORE LEAVING!!!" and he pulled all the videotapes off of the shelves in my office. When I came in the next morning, I thought we had been robbed. One of the cool things about working there was the fridge fully stocked with soda and beer. And the fact that Dominick's wife would go out every afternoon and buy us cappacino and scones. She was a lovely woman. Plus I learned how to use a video editing machine (which is totally useless now that the technology has changed!).

11. After about a year there, a good friend of my step-brother's died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. I wasn't close friends with him but it hit home - we were the same age and it was so unfair. My step-brother and his friends were devastated. I went through a whole soul-searching phase and decided to go back home to Chicago and try to write and take film classes. Rossetti Films hired a woman to take my place. She was so incompetent and so insane that they called me six months later and begged me to come back for a huge salary increase. (Well, it seemed huge at the time but I went from making absolutely nothing to making next to nothing which was a big jump.) So much for film classes. I went back to New York.

12. Eventually I landed at a small production company called Man in the Moon Productions. There I learned how to send videotapes through customs in Singapore via FedEx and UPS. I tell you, I gathered some pretty amazing skills while I was in New York. One day, I asked one of the production coordinators a question that my boss thought I should have asked him. This 200 pound man jumped up and down, screaming in my face "I'm the head of production! You come to me! Me!" I scurried out of his office and into the front room where my desk was. He followed me out, picked up the Pitney Bowes mail stamping machine and threatened to drop it on my head. Needless to say, I quit.

13. Then I decided to get a real job and went to law school. I won't bore you with the details of my stint at a law firm. Unfortunately, it wasn't anything like this.

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cmhl said...

fun!!! that is fascinating that you worked in the movie industry!

landismom said...


The Scarlett said...

There's no way I could have ever worked making fudge.

Jessica said...

I always love hearing about all the different jobs people have had....I wrote about mine once here:

Sheryl said...

You've had some interesting jobs.

Ha to #1, wait till you get to Leviticus and have to wade through all those laws about making sure that your mother's brother's sister shalt not blow her nose if it's a full moon.

PJ said...

That is what I call interesting jobs. Law is the safe route. Good post.

My tt is up

Dutch said...

your dad seems like a pretty interesting guy.

S2Momma said...

Wow, you and I have lived parallel lives! My first ever job was at a place called The Chocolate Shop. Plus I worked at a shoe store in Northbrook Court and I worked at the Highland Park Starbucks right next door to your Baskin Robbins! What year was that for you? It was '94-'95 for me.

Mama! Mama! (Mel) said...

MMMMM, fudge.

What interesting jobs...and employers you have had.

My 13 are up.

Jessica said...

It's really bad that I've got a two week old Thursday Thirteen as the last of my posts! I've been super busy.

S2Momma - I'm so old, Starbucks didn't even exist when I was a kid! I graduated from high school in '82 so I would have worked at the Baskin Robbins in about 1980. I can't believe you worked at Northbrook Court, too! Which store?

S2Momma said...

I can't remember the name...just some family-owned shoe store. Ugh, I hated that job! I couldn't sell fur to an eskimo, for one thing, and for another, I hate feet. What was I thinking??? But the Starbucks job, on the other hand, was awesome!!!! That was my favorite job ever. No stresses, just serving up everyone's favorite elixir. gotta luv that.

Mama Kelly said...

my first job was food related too
cept for me it was a dunkin donuts

my 13 are up

Titanium said...

Good list. I like reading about other people's jobs. Interesting!

puppydogtails said...

"Dominick's wife would go out every afternoon and buy us cappacino and scones. She was a lovely woman."

The Director fell further into the maddness. Were you there when M.A.T entered the picture, and he and his wife separated? He really was crazy to let her go. Lorraine passed away February, 2003. I have no idea whatever became of thst golddigger he left her for. M.A.T left him when the money ran out.