*Disclaimer: “F Word” is used in this blog, only because it was necessary to tell the story* Disney will likely not be sponsoring my blog at any point anyway…
As an adult, I think one of the worst feelings is looking for work. If you’re looking for work, this often means you’re suffering in silence at a terrible job. Conversely, one of the best feelings as an adult, is getting a new job offer, and being able to resign the position that has been giving you agita for the past 239872073 days. Yea, agita is spelled with a “t”, learn something new every day…
I have a decent amount of years in the workforce. I’m a loyal employee when working for the right place. I worked at one employer for 10 years and I’m about to celebrate my 8 year anniversary at my current employer. These days that’s a pretty solid loyalty track record. I’ve also had some doozies and have been on the job-hunt-job-offer-resign roller coaster a few times. I actually have 4 really good quittin’ time stories, but the blogiverse doesn’t usually tolerate stories that long, so today I’ll tell you about 2 of my favorites.
There was this one time, at band camp… just kidding… sorry folks no one but Not-Tom-Brady gets to hear that story.
There was this one time in Jacksonville, NC… Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else, other than every single Marine Corp employee in the entire world. Semper Fi. If you read my Redneck Police blog post, you’ll remember Morgan Freeman’s doppelganger telling me to leave Virginia and get the frig out of Morrison’s Cafeteria. I listened, but the transition wasn’t quite as well executed as it could have been.
Remember life before the internet and smartphones? I do. Back in the old timey days you moved to a town, got an apartment, bought a newspaper and read the classified section. By the end of my Jacksonville stint I had worked three different jobs. The third was working as a paralegal, which eventually led me down a path into the insurance industry. The two jobs before that, not so much.
Jacksonville Job #1: Check Cashing Place. If you’ve never been to a check cashing place, you’re missing out on a truly magical experience. These are high revenue generators set up to rip off people who can’t afford bank accounts. Basically they found yet another vulnerability of impoverished people and exploited it. #Murica. So… if you receive a check from a job or your grandma and you don’t have a bank account, you can bring it to a check cashing facility. They will be so kind as to cash your check for a small fee of about 15%, depending on the reliability of the issuer. For example, if it’s a tax return check from the US Treasury, the fee might be 5%. If it’s from Sally-No-Name with a check from bank-of-nowhere-Alabama, the fee might be 30%. Alas, I needed a “job” until I found a job.
It wasn’t terrible at first, although we did have a shotgun under the counter and bullet proof glass. There were a jillion Marines so the majority of checks were military paychecks. I got in trouble one time for explaining to a customer that he could afford a bank account and keep his entire check. Yea. Then we would have wide range of crazies. Everything from people trying to pass off pretend checks as real (some of them were sooooooooooo bad it was a joke) and lots of people who would bring in bad checks one day then come in and try again over and over. I once had to turn a fine gentleman away because I couldn’t read the routing number on his check since it was covered in too much vomit. I was living the dream folks.
I read the classifieds daily, sent out paper resumes and waited. I would go to my apartment at night and check my answering machine (yup!) and wait. And wait. Finally one day I walked into work and my boss was there. He had just started a small chain of pizza places that eventually went national. It never occurred to me that men get plastic surgery until I started seeing his commercials about 10 years ago. He still looks the same, his face just has a puffy, stretched out shine too it. Good pizza, horrible boss. So if you want pizza built on the exploitation of impoverished youth, I’ve given you enough info to begin your search. I digress…
I asked Mr-Pizza-Slum-Lord if he felt that, sociologically speaking, this business was hurting people rather than helping. I expected him to say something like “Hey it’s just business”… or “It helps them because they would have nowhere to go without it”. Instead he said “Fuck em” and laughed with his beady little pizza-slum-lord eyes. So I said, “No, Fuck You” and left. Oh to be young again… Whenever I see his commercials I say “You SUCK” at the TV. It’s oddly satisfying.
Jacksonville Job #2: Sewing hems at a sewing factory. I walk into the interview and the hiring manager laughs and says “You’re hired” after I say “Hello, great to meet you.”. Shortest interview ever. After I met my coworkers I realized I basically just needed a pulse and functioning eyes/hands to do the job so she was probably amused by the fact that I even had a resume to hand her. Functioning eyes… CHECK.
I’m seated next to “Tanya” whose boyfriend was in the Marine Corp (shocker!) but she was from Jacksonville originally. It takes me about 2 weeks to realize the following things:
- Her boyfriend is stringing her along and will never marry her.
- Canned Vienna sausages aren’t half bad.
- If I hadn’t sat next Tanya, I would have walked out on my first day.
- Tanya was eventually going to have a terrible, terrible life.
- Sewing factories suck.
- The allowed breaks were less than the legal requirement.
- There were no visible sprinklers or marked fire exits.
- The boss was a fat, bigot with an inflated sense of authority.
- Almost everyone working around me was going to be doing this for life.
- They were not paying overtime when they were supposed to.
- The air conditioner was always broken, but was conveniently operational in Boss-Hog’s office.
- Sarcasm was a foreign language and was usually taken literally.
- The payroll lady had never had anyone question her before.
- The boxes of flannel shirts I hemmed had tags from as many as 4 different retailers sewn into the exact same shirts.
- It smelled like Boss-Hog’s trailer park’s dumpster in that place.
- This was a temporary situation for me.
- The level of acceptance of the conditions would not be a match for my Yankee upbringing or my Italian attitude.
- Swearing in the factory was forbidden. FORBIDDEN. If you can’t swear in that shit-ville, where can you?
- This was hourly work, not “piece work”, so if you were going to slow, Boss-Hog and his Douche-Hog-Brigade would tap a ruler on your sewing machine then wave it at you with “tisk tisk tisk”.
Hello old friend
I know what you’re thinking… what happened that made you leave? Well one day, Boss-Hog was busy tisk-tisking the lady to my left. She was maybe early 60’s and had worked there for her entire life. This lady sewed the shit out of every box of flannels she got. She was a machine. He was clearly just taunting her. Gross. I thought about tripping him when he walked by, but I refrained. Then he tisk tisked me, which was deserved because I was barely sewing and was dying in the 5th circle of humidity-stench-hell and because F-That place. As he walked behind me he took the ruler and ran it gently through my hair.
I. LOST. MY. SHIT.
Those of you who know me know that I have a very long fuse. The problem is that at the end of that fuse is decade’s worth of pent up Italian Rage with a deliberate sense of execution. This did not end well…
I stood up and turned around and grabbed the ruler from Boss-Hog. Since he is who he is he laughed and grabbed it back… because of course I will sit down and know my place. The women around me stop sewing and wait to see what’s next. I grab it back from him but he’s holding it really tightly so the metal edges cut my hand a bit. The fact that this doesn’t faze me has made an impression on him. Oh now it’s about to get good!!!!!
I stand up on my sewing chair and throw the ruler to the ground. He takes a small step back. Now EVERYONE stops sewing and this is A LOT of people y’all. I yell “ENOUGH!” Then I yell off a list of work violations that I believe are unacceptable. I follow with a few humiliating statements about, what I assume to be, the smallest set of genitals any man has ever had, as evidenced by his need to make others feels powerless around him. He was not laughing anymore. I said that he would die fat, powerless and alone. A stunned crowd was part entertained; part petrified and part wondering if they should keep sewing. I said I know some of you love sewing and need this job, and that’s ok. But I know some of you have had enough. I’m leaving now, you can leave with me and I will help you find work. About 5 girls walked out with me, including Tanya.
We all went back to my apartment. The girls went through phases of disbelief, shock, fear, exhilaration and anxiety. We smoked, what seemed like, 15 packs of cigarettes. We talked until 2am while drinking Crazy Horse beer out of 40oz bottles. Ironically we got slum-lord pizza and it was amazing. The next day we all started looking for work, and we all found it. I assume that Boss-Hog’s story ended as I predicted, but I DO wish I could somehow confirm that… for the sake of all the women that he caused to suffer. Sadly, it’s likely that Tanya and the other girls never got out of Jacksonville, and probably had pretty hard lives. Unfortunately, we lost touch so I’ll never know.
Thanks for the Pizza P.J. … with your weird face and negative impact on humanity and good pizza and whatnot…
Summary of what we’ve learned:
- Your pizza could be tainted with the souls of the impoverished (wow that came out much more dramatic than it needed to).
- If you’re going to make a scene you might as well go big.
- Get a bank account, it’s not that expensive.
- Men who get face lifts look weird to me.
- Don’t vomit on paper checks, or allow them to be vomited on by others.
- It’s really easy to get a job at a sewing factory if you have functioning eyes.
- If you are a single woman and you need a date, go to Jacksonville, NC where the male/female ratio appeared to be about 250:1.
- If you’re female and don’t like being hit on 24 hours 7 days a week, do NOT go to Jacksonville, NC… unless you’re enlisted in the Marine Corp and get orders to go… then totally go or you will be arrested and whatnot.
- Rage against the machine.
- If you see something, say something.
- Inciting a one-woman protest without planning might work out but might not. You may want to actually have a plan.
- Slum-Lord pizza is delicious.
- Complacency is a disease only cured by inspiration.
Don’t be a deer in the sewing factory. Be the lion.