Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Young Adult Tales 3--Jobs

My young adult years were filled with a variety of summer jobs. Here's what I remember about them.

1. Insurance brokerage. Summer between high school and freshman year of college. My first job ever, it was working at the business owned by the parents of my old friend Ericka. My big project was to clean up the storage room. I re-alphabetized the files and cleared up some clutter (oh the irony that I was in charge of de-cluttering and organizing!). Meanwhile, I learned how to put together the packages for clients and run the computer programs (gotta love DOS). I remember the boss (Ericka's mom) telling me that when we answer the phone, don't say "Can I help you?" because of course you can; instead, ask them "How can I help you?" Words of wisdom, my friends.

2. Usher. Summer of '93. This was probably the best job I've had. There's an outdoor pavilion in the Chicago area called Ravinia, and each summer there are tons of shows. The Chicago Symphony plays each weekend, kids acts come on Saturdays, and all sorts of everything in between perform as well. I wore a uniform (the vests were totally unflattering with my small chest). I passed out programs and helped people find their seats. We also enforced rules like no standing on the railings. And we cleaned up the pavilion when the shows were over. If a show was sold out, we'd put a program on each seat rather than hand them out.

It was pretty hectic before the concert started, especially when everybody poured in at the same time and everyone needed a program etc. But then once the concert was going and everyone was seated, it was great, I just enjoyed the concerts. Some of the best acts I saw that summer were Dolly Parton and Peter, Paul and Mary.

I became friends with some fellow ushers and had a crush on this one boy. He got a group of us together to play frisbee after work once or twice. That never went anywhere of course, but on our last night, we did dance together (I think he danced with all the girls that night) to Strangers in the Night (though I don't remember who was performing). Anyway....

3. Realtor. Summers of '93 and '94. Another friend of the family, Mrs. M., was a realtor. My older sister had worked for her one summer and then I don't remember exactly but I think we split the job my sophomore summer (and that's why I got the ushering gig too?) and then I worked for her again the next summer after I got back from 6 weeks in France.

Anyway, working for Mrs. M. wasn't too bad. She was a very easygoing boss. I helped her with some advertising/brochures for the properties she had on the market. And I "hosted" some brokers' open houses, in other words I sat in an empty house and barely anyone ever came.

4. Accounting at a law firm. Summer of '95. I wanted to be a lawyer, so my parents, once again, helped me get a job. Their friends, Mr. R and Mr. B, were partners at a Chicago law firm and they said there were always a few positions for lawyers' kids around the office--and I got one of those. It was in the accounting department, not quite the "legal" job I had in my idealistic mind. The project I was hired for was to track down outstanding checks. I had an office and everything! Lots of files to go through. As I wrapped up that project, I started doing this and that for the various people in accounting: mostly filing, a little data entry, sometimes adding up phone bills. At some point the Accounts Receivable person was on vacation or something and I filled in for her on a couple tasks. I liked that kind of busy work--take the checks, enter them on a spreadsheet, photocopy them, take the checks here and the copies there, I don't remember what all, but it was do-able.

That's it. Summer of '96, I started law school. Summer of '97, I interned in the law office of a tribe in South Dakota (a story for another day perhaps). Summer of '98, I was a summer associate at a fancy shmancy Orange County (California) law firm. Then I graduated from law school and became a couch potato.

Okay, folks, question for ya! I have 3 weeks of these young adult tales yet to come and I'm open to suggestions on what to write about. Here are some choices:
-My wedding and/or honeymoon (to Whidbey Island, WA)
-Our vacation to Charleston, SC
-My summer on an Indian reservation
-My 6 weeks in France in college
-Something about growing into either my appearance or personality over the years

What strikes your fancy? Tell me in the comments what you'd like to read about. Thanks!!!

To read more Young Adult Tales, go here.

1 comment:

Ginny Marie said...

I just love going to Ravinia! It's been several years since I last went, and we always picnicked on the lawn. I also worked summers for a Chicago law firm as a temp. secretary...and it convinced me that law would never be my field! ;)

All those choices sound wonderful - but I'd love to read about your summer on an Indian reservation!