Crap Jobs and Big Girl Pants

In my 27+ years of living, I have had my fair share of crap jobs…

At the ripe age of 15, I was a roller girl at Sonic Drive-In. The entire 2 months I held this job, I was scared for my life. I would strap on my roller skates each day and roll out to the windows of burger-craving patrons. It would take me longer than most to actually make it to the window of each customer because my skating skills were sub-par to say the least. I didn’t know how to stop on those bad boys so I would usually slam into each car with my food tray and splatter milkshakes all over myself, or I’d have to circle around each vehicle 10+ times before I could slow down enough to serve them their food. To add to that, I sucked at counting change. I would usually become so nervous when counting back change, that I would just toss a handful of coins at the customer and hope they weren’t the counting type as I wobbled away on my skates, knock-kneed and nervous.

Working as a courtesy clerk at 16 was another fun one. However, I learned very quickly to NEVER make eye contact with older men while smiling and asking if they’d like help to their cars… An elderly gentlemen once asked me to help him out to his car and then pleaded with me to go home with him… Uhhhh excuse me sir, but I think there are some ladies that can help you out with that at the Motel 6 down the street. I’m just here to help you to your car…

At 19, I was a bank teller. That was awesome, except the time I accidentally handed a customer a $10,000 bundle instead of $5,000…that would have really sucked if they weren’t honest enough to come back when they realized they were $5000 richer than requested and swap it in for the correct amount (yes, there are still some good people left in this world). It was also kinda scary when I got held up by the FED-EX Bandit and almost shat myself as he requested I empty out my drawer. I remained very calm…so calm, no one even realized I was being robbed until the fella was long gone from the bank. As he walked out, I waved my hands to grab my manager’s attention, but she simply waved back and smiled…clearly she didn’t understand the message I was trying to send. That little rascal ended up robbing 40+ banks until he was finally caught near Mexico. I felt kinda special that he appreciated my friendly customer service and smile even though he had threatened to blow my brains out if I didn’t comply. “Yes, sir. Would you like a bundle of hundos with that???”

I also encountered a handful of shady characters during my time at the bank, such as the sketchy Mafia business man who threateningly insisted I cash his stack full of checks made out to various others names that were not his; and the random foreigners who decided not to make their full cash deposits when I informed them that they’d have to fill out paperwork as to where they got so much cash; or the many husbands and wives who kept secret accounts hidden away from their significant others. One would unknowingly come in to withdrawal from their secret account shortly after the other left from doing the same shady activity with their own secret account. So much learned from working in such a diverse institution…entertaining times for sure.

Then came the real deal. The CAREER. I was a big girl now. All grown up after 4 years of college studying business, realizing that I hated business; then, an additional 2 years in graduate school and 6 months of interning. I had finally become what I thought I would NEVER want to become…………………..a teacher. I love wearing my big girl pants these days with a real life jobby job (though they do fit kind of snug with all the teacher appreciation chocolates and treats I get each day).

Though I am thankful for finally finding a career that feeds my spirit instead of breaking me down or wigging me out, I definitely appreciate the lessons learned from former jobs—being put through the wringer in the jobs that seemed like insignificant stepping stones to get where I wanted to go. It took me being tortured by gnarly necessities, chewed out by psychotic customers, held up at gunpoint, solicited for prostitution (as a courtesy clerk), and overworked like an under paid and under appreciated dog, to build the character and patience needed to wear my big girl pants. So crap jobs or not, it was all a part of learning good lessons and growing up. Cheers to that, right?!

What kind of jobs have you had to endure to finally get a pair of big girl pants? What interesting detours did you take to get to where you were going?