Saturday, June 18, 2005

Summer (and Employment) Fun (or Lack Thereof)

My relatives have urged me to delete this post, in order to make sure my boss doesn't read it and fire my ass.

And I've lost it. I'm sure it was funny, but it belongs to God, now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ha ha! I'm Back! And I have Money!

Lazy, lazy me. I haven't written for over a month, and so much has happened!

My sweet job at the Second Cup? I got fired! No, wait - "let go", if you are more comfortable with the poorly-fitting euphemism. Yup, it turns out that the manager incorrectly estimated the number of employees that she needed - how could she have expected that nine former employees, some returning from years spent in Europe or Ontario, would converge on this tiny Second Cup branch, demanding full-time hours?

Because, in some former life, they all worked at a Second Cup, or some establishment that served similar beverages in a similar manner, they were granted seniority, and as there were now no shifts left, as the new kid I got bumped off the end of the bench because the other guys apparently had the right to a seat. Sucks to be me. My dad was appropriately outraged, and was only barely prevented from dousing the building with gasoline and lighting a match by my mother, who (correctly, I'll grudgingly admit) identified that Second Cup as the town square of our upper-class neighbourhood, and still frequents the place (along with me, when I'm in the mind for a free hot chocolate).

At first, the letting-go part was rather painless. The manager had made a mistake, she said, it was not my fault, she said, I was an exceptional worker and was sure to find a job more suited to my intellect and talent, she said. As a naturally proud person, I agreed, and left the job more or less optimistic that I would find someplace better. I would not make the same mistake I made last year - where I sent in 11 resumes, minus cover letters and follow-ups. Oh no, now I had the insight to try for my dream jobs. I sent in resumes (and specially written cover letters!) to Chapters, to HMV, to Claire's and Ardene and Famous Players (which I initially refused, because they paid beans). I went to places that sold things that I loved - DVDs and movies and music.
I soon found out there were worse things than not being called - there was outright rejection. Not enough experience, not enough availability (I am restricted by bus routes), four different people who said they'd call no matter what by a certain date and time and didn't, and thus forced me to call them with some pretence or another only to be shot down. There was rifling through the "General Help" section of the newspaper and feeling inferior because I didn't have the muscles for general labour, didn't have the organizational skills for clerical work, couldn't get to a well-paying job because it was an hour and half ride on the bus. Nobody called, my favourite stores weren't hiring or wouldn't be hiring for another month, and I had a time limit.

Before I knew it - a month had gone by! A whole month, spent doing nothing, or close to nothing. A whole month without income supposed to be for my tuition. I decided I had no choice - so I returned to the McDonalds. I'd gone there first, before Second Cup, because the manager there said she could offer me full-time hours. I hated working there (you've read my earlier posts, right?) , but it was good money and good hours. So I went back. I spoke with a new manager, who verbally guaranteed that I could get steady 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 work. She said she'd call. She didn't. I called, several times, in a panic until someone brusquely replied "Could you please stop calling? We're busy." Finally, I called the day later, and she replied "Oh yeah, it's store policy not to rehire people who used to work at McDonald's."

Rejected. By McDonald's. It's like arriving at the house of the most acne-encrusted, bespectacled, bath-fearing, nerd in school all decked out for the prom, corsage in hand, only for him to say, "Oh, I don't date chicks who wear purple. I'm going stag! Whoo!" Even when the day before he'd said, "Oh my God! A girl talked to me! A real girl! Sure! Let's go to the prom! I'll pay for the limo! I'll pay for the flowers! I'll pay you if you want! Alright! Grandma's going to be so pleased! "

My own grandmother wasn't pleased by this rejection either, by the way. A woman who is usually so well-mannered and prim that she could sit on a whoopie cushion without making a rude sound (true story!), her astonishing reaction to the news that McDonald's kicked me to the curb was "Those bastards! I hope they burn in hell!"

I had few options left by this point. So, I chose to call back Cineplex Odeon City - a smallish theatre downtown where I'd had an interview and had been basically hired on the spot, if only I would call back. I didn't - which sorta makes me believe that the other people who never called back were really being manipulated by my bad karma. Needless to say, on the phone with the manager, I had to eat a fair bit of crow - but it tasted like buttery, buttery popcorn. I was hired!
Not only hired - but they actually worked my schedule so that I had work five days a week, pretty much the same time every day. Because I couldn't work past nine (buses again), I got day shifts, 10:30 am to 5:15 pm, and lots of them - five shifts my first week. I soon learned why - apparently, most people hired by movie theatres want to work at night - because although we get minimum wage (actually, a little above), we also get commission for every combo we sell, and more people come and eat at movies at night. So now you know why the people at concessions always pressure you to upsize - they get commission, and 90% of a theatre's money comes from concessions.

Still, though, I get two free shirts and a hat (to be returned if I quit), and everyday I arrive while it's light out and go home while it's light out, so I'm never nervous about being downtown. With every pay stub is stapled two free movie passes for me a friend, and in a movie season with Batman Begins and Bewitched and War of the Worlds and Fantastic Four, this is pretty much where I was planning to spend most of my spare money anyway. Now I can save it for Animethon 12!

Anyhoo, I feel much better, I'm working at an establishment that peddles something I love dearly (that is, movies) and the people there seem very nice and friendly. During my first training shift, after watching the obligatorily hilarious sexual harassment video, the manager explained to us the details of harassment (how it hurts people's self esteem, how it's derogatory), only to have it somewhat deflated by interruptions on her walkie talkie - one made by a employee who got stuck in the garbage room, and another by another employee who'd turned on her walkie-talkie for the purpose of laughing at him. "Jessica? Jessica? I'm stuck in the garbage room!" "HAHAHAHA!"

So now I have money. And movies. For now I am content.