Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In Which I Get A Job

It has been a long time since I last wrote a First Time story, so here is another installment, about my first job.


The first job I had was working for a small family-owned Italian restaurant. They had a couple of restaurants throughout town, well known for their Italian sandwiches and pizza. I applied and interviewed in the same day, and was offered the job by the next afternoon. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to be doing, but I didn’t care. I had a job and my own income, and I was excited to start.

After a brief training, I worked behind the scenes. I made the pizza and spaghetti sauce, shredded the cheese for pizza, and stocked the coolers with soda and water. I emptied the trashcans and the returnable containers, cleaned the bathrooms, and changed the sign with the weekly advertisements. I scrubbed and cleaned the cast iron pizza pans, washed dishes, and mopped the floor. I did what I was told as best I could, and if it wasn’t for the people I worked with, I wouldn’t have hated the job so much.

The people I worked with liked to play pranks on the new hires. One of the girls that started at the same time I did quit after two weeks, when someone soaked her hat in bleach that gave her a chemical burn on her scalp. The guys that would train me to do new things would train me to do them incorrectly so I would get in trouble by my boss. It seemed that no matter who I complained to about it, they would do everything within their power to make my shift miserable.

I put up with their torment, and I eventually got used to it and ignored them. They focused their attention to the other new hires as they came in. After I had been there for three months, I began to spend more time up front preparing sandwiches and making pasta. I got to know the people I worked with better, and they didn’t pick on me as much. I still endured a couple of minor pranks, but the worst prank of all was yet to come.

My shift that day started much like any other. I got a cup of soda and labeled it with my name, and checked in with my boss to see what he wanted me to do. I was assigned to wash the dishes, so I put my cup down on the back shelf and got started. It took me about two hours to wash all that were there, and I was thirsty when I had finally finished. I dried my hands and went over to the back shelf to get my soda.

One of my coworkers was nearby, slicing onions. He had a smirk on his face as I reached for my cup, but I didn’t think anything of it. I grabbed my cup and took a swig. My coworker started laughing, and suddenly I realized why.

He had emptied out my soda and filled my cup with onion juice.

I gagged and choked and coughed violently. I threw the cup down on the counter and ran outside through the rear door. My stomach was lurching, and I barely made it to the dumpsters before I threw up.

I hate onions, even the smallest ones. I had taken a big mouthful of pure onion juice, taken from the strong onions the restaurant was known for using. I stood at the dumpster for a few minutes, my stomach retching and dry heaving.

When I finally went back inside, the other people I worked with were laughing at the joke. Once they saw how sick I was, they stopped. The guy who was responsible for the prank apologized, but I reported him to my boss and he got suspended from work for the rest of the week. He felt bad that I got sick from it, and offered to buy me anything I wanted off the menu. I left work that night with a large pizza that cost him almost thirty dollars.

I didn’t work there for much longer after that. The environment didn’t improve much, and I found a job at a local pharmacy that had better hours, better pay, and zero risk of getting onion juice put in my drink. I was thankful for the experience of my first job, but I was glad to finally move on.

Since then I have held six other jobs, and my first job is still the one I hated the most.


Anyone else have a bad work experience?


splodge said...

The best pranks are brief, funny even to the victim and often character building - not dangerous.

Your co-workers obviously weren't busy enough to keep their idle brains on the job. Those idiots probably remain in the same job today.

I'll tell you my worst work experience when I get round to answering those great questions you sent me.

Russ said...

Asking that, is like asking if anyone has a navel!

Certainly yours was worse than most.

Mine was at a sports center (driving range, mini golf, batting cages, etc), sounds great right? Well a cheap skate boss didn't have a proper cage on the golf tractor. He put up a pvc form and wrapped it with netting.

A golfball nailed the pvc, the pvc explodes and I go in for repairs. The repairs, he duct tapes the pvc back and sends me back to collect more golf balls.

areason2write said...

that is horrible. augh!

Moonspun said...

oh my goodnes. That's horrible. Despicable and creative, but horrible. I don't get why people do shit like that.
I've had funky bosses, but never a crappy job like that.
My first job was as a lifeguard!

Lola said...

Rotten little shits, the lot of them!

I grew up on a farm, so I started work at seven for very little pay. It was pretty fun driving trucks and tractors around, though!

Employee No. 3699 said...

My first job was babysitting when I was about thirteen, but my first job that I got a W2 from was a huge banquet hall. There were at least 15 different party rooms there.

I didn't hate the job, but it did gross me out when I saw what they did with the food...if it fell on the floor they went by the 5 second rule. They also would reuse butter and rolls that didn't get eaten. Gag.

MIT Mommy said...

My first job was working at a church camp, running arts and crafts for the kids. I had to come up with the crafts and prepare everything myself. Not a terrible job, except for the time that the camp counselor sprayed me with lighter fluid, on purpose. I was just 15 years old.

A high school boy a few years older (my brother's friend) let me borrow his fresh gym clothes out of his car to finish the day.

And then there was my job as night shift supervisor in a UAW plant. But, those stories will make a great tv show someday . . . I'll make a million bucks for sure.

Kat said...

I worked at Piggly Wiggly grocery store as a cashier. It wasn't so bad until we got a manager who thought she was queen of the world. Instead of just having a schedule, she tried to do the "if you are scheduled off, you are still "on call" bit" yeah try that with teenagers and see if it bites you in the ass. I quit after about 2 months of her crap and as soon as she was fired I came right back to work.

We had this one manager we called "Sparky" because he was in the back of the store messing with some of the inventory and he thought he would do a little lite electrical work while he was back there...well long story short he touched the some wires together and ended up shooting himself halfway across the room. Hence the nickname.

Badass Geek said...

Splodge: It wouldn't surprise me at all if they still worked there. Their career ambitions, like their IQ, aren't very high.

Russ: Nothing like the thrill of a possible concussion to speed you through the day.

A Reason 2 Write: It was horrible.

Moonspun: I'll give 'em that, yes, it was creative. I'm just glad I wasn't allergic to it.

Lola: That's a fair trade off. Driving tractors sounds like it'd be fun.

Employee No 3699: Ugh. Yeah, I'm always thinking that kind of stuff goes on behind the scenes.

MIT Mommy: In my experience, camp counselors can be some of the most evil people in the world. I'll write about my summer camp experience sometime.

Kat: Sparky sounds like a good drinking buddy.

Tony said...

I just don't like working -

I wondered if they washed those cast iron pizza pans.

Jen W said...

My first job was as a shampoo girl at a local hair salon. The worst was one lady who came in for a shampoo. She smelled bad and as I washed her hair, she informed me she just got back from a two week camping trip and that it felt so nice to have her hair finally washed. I almost puked.

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