Friday, May 2, 2014

A People Person

I have been working since I was 15 years old. 
My first job was at the local pizza parlor that was owned by two brothers-in-law.  O and L.
They were tough bosses, fair.  The uniform was ugh - white pants and their flimsy logo'd tshirt.  White pants?!?!? What chubby 15 year old wants to wear that? But I did.  And I answered the phones and fell in love with the pizza boy. I was always on time and always worked my shifts.
I picked up a delicious pizza there last week.  I walked in the door and L said "VON!!! How are you? How is your family?" Yep, they still love me.  They don't ever, ever want to hear that I am nearly 40, but they have a soft spot in their hearts for the chubby little blonde who worked there for two years when she was in high school.

When I was 16, I got a job at a hardware store.  I was a cashier. I was always on time, fell in love with the lumber yard dude.  I wore a gold smock with the logo on it - a big smiling beaver.  I worked a lot, was always on time.  I moved on up to the service desk.  I still had to wear the gold beaver smock, but I learned how to price out lumber and custom doors and do mathy stuff.  On my last day, three of the lumber yard guys sang "End of the Road" by boyz to men as I walked out.  They gave me flowers.  I'm still friends with a couple of people I worked there with.

When I was 19 I decided I didn't want to go to college anymore, I was going to go find a real job.  I signed up with an agency and quickly found a job working as a file clerk at an  insurance company downtown.  The big leagues!! VonParents were happy for me and bought me a lovely business casual wardrobe.  I had pretty dresses and even a trench coat.  I took the el every day and went to the Art Institute for lunch breaks. 

Right around 21, I was an asshole, and I got fired.  I was on the phone with my boyfriend and friends all day. This was stupid. I learned my lesson.  I'm still friends with one of the people I met there.

I got fired in August, so I took a month off and hung out in exbestie's pool. All day. Every day. I still lived at home and didn't really have bills, so I wasn't worried.

September I walked into another agency in answer to an ad they had placed for some job in a bank.  Instead, they hired me to work there, at  the agency.  I was 21 and placing people 10, 12 years older than me in jobs, and fixing their resumes.  We drank beer on Friday afternoons.  I'm still friends with both of the awesome women I worked with there.

When I was 22, I started to look for something else, I liked my job, and the people, but I needed more money.  I found a job at AutoParts Place really quickly. 
I was 22, and a receptionist with a 10 minuted commute. 
I LOVED that job.  I was there over 10 years, and I kept moving on up the food chain.  I went from one job to the next to the next to the next.  I went from a department of 12 to just me in Chicago and the rest of the department in Boston.  I fell in love with a warehouse dude, got engaged to him, and called off the wedding and the relationship all while I worked there.
I held out for more - money, responsibility, whatever - until I couldn't anymore.  I decided on 1/1/07 I would look for a new job.    I found one in July.  The CEO of AutoParts Place even flew out before I left, and visited me.
"So, where are you going?"
"Big Stupid Company"
"Ah. I can't talk you out of it then."
**hindsight makes me wish he had**
I am still friends with MANY of the people I worked with there.  As far as work families go, we were/are extremely tight.  We weathered business changes, great joys, horrible sadnesses, crazy people and crazy times.  I feel fuzzy warm love for several of the people I worked with there.

I loved my last job.  I did.  I learned so much from some incredibly smart people - smart women.  Women who I admire and will remember.
But, I'm not sure I'll be friends with many of them.  Not by my choosing.  I haven't seen M since December.  Lots of empty promises that we WILL see each other, but even those are getting less frequent.  There are so many people I do not miss (see yesterday's post). 
Is it because I worked with a lot of sales people? And in general, I distrust sales people? I don't know why. 

This whole post originated with the thought that I MUST have value, I MUST be a good person, or friend or something, or else why would all of these people, going back 25 years, even want to stay in touch with me?  I may have lost that direction along the way as I typed.  It became kind of a chronicle of jobs.

Whatever, it's Friday. So I can do what I want.

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