Monday, December 3, 2012

In search of a new beginning one temp job at a time

Recently I paid a visit to my friends in San Francisco. Which reminded me of a time when I called that city home, if only for a year.

It was October (2004), with leaves on the ground my trusty (for the most part) 1980 mercedes benz coupe named Ruth and I set off in search of a new beginning in San Francisco California, a state where even the Terminator can find steady employment.

Even before we embarked on our adventure the optimistic outlook I held so close was fraught with pessimistic warnings by strangers and acquaintances alike; suggesting that a goal so daunting as starting from scratch in one of the most expensive cities in the United States was a task insurmountable for a psychology major with more academic warnings than accolades in a rather dismal job market, exclaiming as they did that the cost of living is dramatically higher in San Francisco than in the metropolis known as Spokane. To these warnings I looked to Mark Twain for advice “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.”

Certainly I had enough ignorance to fill all of Ruth on the drive down, I’d say even a little spilled out the open sunroof. As I drove I imagined Ruth and I as loosely representing a rebellious duo like “Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid”. Yet nothing could have prepared me for the beating my confidence was going take in the following months that included a series of temp jobs I was so kindly offered by Manpower (a temp agency). In no particular ranking I give you my previous work experience:

Job #1) An elf for Nieman Marcus, (no, there was no elf suit involved, however I must say being referred to as an elf is just as demoralizing). Stationed in the Epicure department, running up and down the department store, I helped outfit high-end holiday shoppers one ostentatious object at a time.

Job #2) A dawn until dusk door-to-door salesman. A pyramid-like-scheme, walking and talking with a Donald Trump lackey in his Hummer H2, going to strip mall after strip mall offering office supplies for a “low, low cost”, combined with intermittent prophecies crammed in my ear about how I too could one day be a branch manager like “Randy”. I could not run away fast enough when we returned to the parking lot.

Job #3) A data entry research slave: A part-time job with a full-time lunatic who owned and micro-managed a small food and beverage company. My short stint at this job had the stress level of a day-trader on Wall Street, the pay of a plasma donor, the mental stimulation of watching a monkey complete a Myers-Briggs test, the inspirational leadership equal to that of Larry Flint and a working environment I imagine similar to a sweat shop deep in the jungles of Indochina.

Job #4) A pharmaceutical sales assistant. I registered medical physicians next to a giant plastic penis for a conference on “Improved surgical procedures involving enlarged prostates.” After watching a lengthy and rather graphic video of the new method the penis was put to good use during a hands-on demonstration with fiber optics.

As the years pass these memories of my time in SF now glow with nostalgia, but the immediate aftermath of this relocation experiment led me to clear my head by walking across Spain.

1 comment:

Matteo Seveso said...

I don't know which description is more funny... anyway buddy, your past experiences made the man you're today ;)

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