OK, let’s face it. Most of us had part-time jobs in high school and college. Were they great jobs? Naw, but they put a few coins in our pockets, and gave us a chance to get started in the wild world of trying to become a responsible adult.
At these jobs, we also had to learn the art of getting along with co-workers and bosses. We had to learn to show up on time. Sometimes, we even learned how to wear a uniform creatively; often stuffing our long locks into hairnets so we wouldn’t shed onto the food we were serving.
Sometimes, we had to do mundane tasks for hours and hours, working along side of people that had done these jobs for decades. These jobs were sometimes very hard, and character building, to say the least.
Here are a few of my gem jobs.
1970-Cashier-Du-par’s Restaurant-Ventura Blvd.
I was too stupid to figure out that the big money working at a restaurant was in being a waitress, but I had fun working as a cashier at Du-par’s anyway. I wasn’t very good at ironing my white uniform, and I really hated trying to wear those skimpy hats and those starched handkerchiefs. The only reason I got the job is because my older sister Lynn put in a good word for me with Ted, the manager. If they had known I was a hippie poet who disliked wearing a bra, shaving my legs and armpits, and liked wearing leopard underwear, I doubt I would have been hired.
1972-Selling Clothes-Ventura Blvd.
I think my brother Jack must have gotten me this Christmas job. I wasn’t very good at this, largely because I really preferred to wear tomboy clothes all the time. How could I sell clothing when I looked like I was ready to play basketball all the time? Eventually, they figured out I’d be better off upstairs away from the buying public, putting rivets on jeans.
1973-Leather Factory-Goleta, CA.
The employment climate was pretty dismal in Santa Barbara, so for about six months, I worked at a leather factory making purses and wallets. I wasn’t very good at detailed work, and the following day, I always had to re-do the mess of leather goods I’d botched the day before. I had to chew seven pieces of bubble gum just to get through my shift, and then ride my 10-speed back to my apartment at 11 p.m.
1974-Physical Guinea Pig-UCSB
I had very little money when I was going to college, so I signed up to be a guinea pig for a battery of health tests they were conducting. For $5, I would succumb to a bunch of probes, wires and breathing machines, as they measured my oxygen intake, heart rate and other physical symptoms. Maybe the science department was trying to come up with a new invention to keep students from smoking pot? I’ll never know.
I responded to an ad in a local paper to make some quick money being a model for a local artist. Mind you, this wasn’t a classroom set-up, where you pose in front of a bunch of art students. I had to show up at some guy’s house by myself. Not a good scene. When I got there, I could tell he was really creepy, so I decided it would be best to pedal my way back to my apartment and forfeit this great opportunity to become a famous model.
What were some of your part-time jobs, and what did you learn from them?