Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You Are Where You Work

For those of us who've held far too many odd jobs, there is an unspoken rule to never list all of them on your resume. It's unfortunate, because your resume can say a lot about what kind of a person you are. A slim list of jobs might say you're stable, safe, and dependable, whereas a giant list might say the opposite. This is no exception for Al:

"...I've had many, many jobs in my adult life. I've managed to whittle together a pretty seamless resume of 5 jobs, but the truth is much more entertaining. My actual resume would never get me a job, but it's pretty interesting. Here are my jobs as follows...

(note: Al has had well over 30 jobs; these are by far the best)

1) 1991 (Minimum wage), I graduate from Texas Tech with a BFA. I'm living in Lubbock Texas . I discover that aside from retail, jobs in Lubbock are non-existent. I go to a temp agency and am assigned as a landscape helper. I almost pass out trying to pull a small tree stump from the ground. I quit after an hour.

2) 1991 temp job #2 (Minimum wage); I spend two days at a recycling facility separating cardboard from truckloads of household garbage. I quit.

3) 1991. Comic Book Artist. My first comic book TAD Martin #1 is published by Caliber press. They send me a check for $1000. Subsequent issues (4) are far less successful.
Comic Listing: https://www.mycomicshop.com/comicbooks/item?IID=9781991

4) 1991. ($8/hr) I'm hired as a dog catcher by the city of Lubbock . I've blogged on this one. I managed to stay there for eight months before I got fed up and quit. I moved to Austin with my girlfriend.

5) 1992. Actor. After a month of unemployment, I am cast as the on-screen narrator of an anti-drug video for high schoolers, through a friend. They wanted someone who was "street". I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was far from "street. I made $500 for 2 days work and had a ball. I later get an agent, who gets me one gig as a "streetwise gang banger" in an anti-gang commercial. Notice a pattern? The agent takes 2/3rds of my pay for "one time fees".

5) 1993 ($5/hr); I get a job through my girlfriend, at Fine Print Magazine Distribution. I work in the warehouse stocking, packing, and shipping magazines. I later went to the business side, but I got bored and moved back to the warehouse. My manager in the warehouse was a real high-strung guy named Rick, who was always in a hurry. I remember that I was there when the Waco standoff between the ATF and the Branch Dividians was going on. I correctly predicted that the ATF would get tired of waiting and burn them out. This was a great company that worked on the Swedish vacation system, which meant that I had like 4 or 6 weeks of vacation. I quit after my breakup with my girlfriend. This job lasted 8 months.

6) 1994 ($5/hr); I move back to Austin and get a job as a trailer attendant for Goodwill in June. My job was to sort through donations that people would drop at my trailer. Most of the donated books and records were thrown away, and it was considered stealing to take donations. I stole my ass off. Before it was all over it was like the song Bad Man from the Repo Man soundtrack. "...guess how many ties? Shit, I dunno myself. Must be 23 at least, and you better believe they're all silk".
I was fired after 3 months when I left work to take a typing test with the state employment service.

7) 1994-1995 ($7-$8/hr); Working for Harris Publications I telemarketed Alumni directories, and later J.C. Penny Accidental death and dismemberment insurance. This is the job that I first started taking ephedrine at. Six a day. Plus unfiltered cigarettes. I was laid off after 8 months when the contract ended. I lived it up on unemployment insurance for 6 months.

8) 1996 ($6.50/hr); I took a five month vacation in which I got a girlfriend, hung out, drank and lived off unemployment. Great fun. Too bad I was running out of unemployment funds. Through Manpower, I got a job in the IBM prep dept. It was simple as sin parts packaging and assembly work. The contract ended two months later, three days before Christmas.

9) 1997. ($5.50/hr); I got a temp job with the Comptrollers office, calling delinquent taxpayers. I got frustrated with the always-broken computer system and quit after 6 weeks.

10) 1999-2000 ($9/hr); I work in the photo department of Multek (which makes printed circuit boards). My job is production of film, and machine maintenance. I work with an older guy named Cesar who at one time was a guerilla fighter in Guatemala . Cesar teaches me how to use the internet, so you can indirectly blame him for this blog. The manager was a prick, and the company seems to be on shaky legs, so I quit when I get a job at BOC Edwards semiconductor cleaning services.

11) 2001-2002 ($9.50/hr); I cover my dreads and tattoos and get a job as a Security Guard at the State mental hospital. Unfortunately the uniform is short sleeved, and I wasn't allowed to wear a hat, so my ex-army supervisor canned me a week short of my 6 month probation. He couldn't fire me for looking strange, so he fired me for "stealing". The stealing was actually me writing on my log that when I was making a round of a building, I borrowed a book from the bookshelf (yes, employees were allowed to borrow books). Everybody I worked with that I told, cried bullshit.

At this point I am seriously considering trying for an SSI psych disability. I'd been diagnosed as bi-polar2 and schizo-affective, and had been on medication for almost 10 years.

12) 2003-2004. ($25/per); I landed a column at the Jackson Mississippi alt-weekly, The Planet. I pissed off a lot of people with my angry rantings.

13) 2004-2005. ($8/hr); the same money I was making in Austin in 1996. I look for work as a security guard because I figure I'll be by myself, and less likely to encounter bosses. I'm hired at Executive Security Systems to watch an apartment complex with 10 buildings with 24 units per building. I start out in the summer in a truck, and eventually end up the next summer in a golf cart. It's not the greatest neighborhood, and there are lots of gunshots at night. While I was there, the following interesting things happened. Someone took a shit in the pool. I was expected to make children behave. I was called a "Rent-a-cop ass bitch". I foiled a car theft.
I was the only guard that stayed for any length of time. The other guards left after a month at most. I must admit that I got apathetic at the end. I spent a lot of time in the activities center, either sleeping or watching cable TV. I think they were getting better jobs. Right before I quit to do my current job, I looked through the paychecks at the office. I was getting paid less than anyone else.

This leads us to my current gig. Looking at this list, it actually makes a pretty good skeleton for a novel. I'm not going to name my current employer. I don't want any trouble. I want to keep this job, as it's pretty cool. I've been here for 3 years now, and if all goes well, I'll retire from here. I think that good sense is on my side now. I'm more conservative, more suspicious and careful, not on mood altering psych-meds, and not trying to do anything but blend into the shadows. I'm a good employee, but being a great employee was beaten out of me over the years.

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