Yesterday I wrote all about the first time I was asked out by a guy, in person, in real life, and how all that went down. Today, I want to talk about another first. Well, actually, there are going to be a few firsts in this post.
In general, this is going to be all about my first job. Betcha didn’t see that coming from the title! Oh yes! My first real job. Not babysitting, not organizing my dad’s yearly receipts for his company at tax time, but a real deal first job.
My first job was in a restaurant. I was a waitress, and I was just a wee little thing of 15-years-old (grade 10). It was kind of young to be flung into the throws of waitress life, and Mr Potential doesn’t believe me that I lasted as long as I did (almost 5 months) since I’m all sugar and spice and everything nice. According to the seasoned bartender that he is, I should have died after 5 days with my heart turning into a black lump of sadness.
I interviewed with the owner, my first real interview, and like any 15-year-old my vocabulary consisted mostly of “yeah” and “well…like….”. He put a stop to that right there. It was “yes” and never use the word “like” unless you are comparing something to another thing. He had a small shop, and since I was in school I would be working mostly weekends but maybe one or two evenings a week. We settled on a Thursday-Sunday schedule. 4-8 (closing) Thursday and Friday, and split shifts 8-12/4-8 on Saturday and Sunday. This didn’t really fly with my parents since they wanted me to be in church Sunday mornings, but this was at the start of my rebelling against the church phase so I was ok with it. I still sent my tithing in with them when I got paid and said that maybe after my probation period I could change my schedule – I figured that was good enough.
I was told that the place only had one cook, the owner, and me working there. The cook worked full time all week, and then I was there just on the weekends when the owner wouldn’t be around to take care of the front. It was a very small setup, only about 10 tables, and never more than 5 occupied at the same time. I would arrive after school and change into my “uniform” (black pants/shoes, white shirt) and then head over to the grocery store next door to get things we were missing for the night and then get to work. While the owner was there I had to pay for food if I wanted to eat, but on the weekends, the cook would force me to sit and actually eat a meal on my break (I was never charged), and even do my homework too if I had time. She was from Newfoundland and was so sweet.
Time for some firsts: my first time meeting an Elvis impersonator. My boss was an Elvis impersonator! But not the young, attractive Elvis. Old, fat, and ugly Elvis (the boss was ugly, I’m not sure the real Elvis is allowed to be called ugly…there must be a law somewhere about that). He even had CD’s that he would leave by the cash register for people to buy.
This job was my first time being paid in cash, pretty sure under the table, breaking some sort of laws/rules. I didn’t question it since it was my first job, but now if I get paid in cash at any job (aside from my nanny gig now) then all sorts of red flags show up. After I quit, I went back after a few months to see if I could get a reference and there was a sign on the door saying it had been shut down for fraud. Lovely….
My first time ever feeling uncomfortable around a man. This was a HUGE thing for me. My boss was a CREEP. Like I’m not sure what it is, but I’m sure all you ladies reading can understand the feeling of a guy making your skin crawl as soon as you are in the same room with him. I hated working when he was the cook for the night because it meant that it was just me and him for long periods of time – alone. He never tried anything or did anything to initially make me feel uncomfortable, but it was his vibe. He had the creep vibe and I could never get over it.
The best part about this job was definitely Sunday mornings. Not because I was missing out on church, but because of the customers that would come in. Every Sunday morning, at 10 am, there would be an old-timer’s hockey team come in for breakfast. There were about 10-12 of them so I would push all the tables in the middle of floor together ahead of time (or they would when they came in if I forgot), and they ranged in age from 28 (just married with a new baby on the way) and 70 (a sweet old guy with huge bushy eyebrows haha!!).
These guys were the best. Like legit – the best! If I was in the back helping the cook set up plates and they ran out of coffee, they would just get up and get it themselves. From behind the counter. They emptied a pot while filling up their cup? They started a new one. They always left an amazing tip, and they pretty much just sassed and ripped on each other (and me) the whole time they were there. If the young guy’s phone rang and it was his wife and he actually dared to answer it, he had to pay for everyone’s breakfast. Which was only like $40 for everyone. The weekend before Christmas, they left a $60 tip (to be split between the cook and me) and four mini bottles of Bailey’s. The cook took them all from me and gave them a little lashing for giving alcohol to a minor (apparently they thought I was 18 which is only one year away from being able to drink in Canada). They had no idea I was so young.
These guys knew that I loved hockey, and they knew that I went to high school with the Kitchener Rangers and, since I was obsessed with all of them, had opinions about literally everyone on the team. Bushy Eyebrows had season tickets and I would see him at the games when I was there with my friends. One Sunday, there was an afternoon game and he turns around in his chair, holds up the tickets and goes “Ya know, it would be a shame if one of these had to go to waste” and bobbed his eyebrows up and down a few times – resulting in a round of laughter from the table (and myself) and my face turning bright red. I am definitely a blusher! The way he said it wasn’t creepy at all, he was so sweet. I declined since now they knew I was so young (and what would your pals say?!) and I had to work that afternoon. He pretended to be heartbroken.
I went to get a new pot of coffee, my back towards the table, and then I felt it. My boss’s presence behind me. His head appeared over my shoulder and he whispered in my ear “Ya know, you blush nicely” before returning to the kitchen. Even now my skin crawls just thinking about it.
I quit very soon after that, I didn’t want to be around him any longer. I had also learned that he had other girls working during the week. Apparently, the cook had quit as well. I told my boss that I had another job (I didn’t) but I would stay longer than the two weeks I gave if he needed a little more time to hire and train someone. I even suggested a friend of mine for the job, because she was his god-daughter and really wanted to work there. He mentioned that he never hired anyone so young to work there. I replied, “She’s literally two weeks younger than me.”
“What?! I thought you were 18?”
“I’m 15. I’ll be 16 in April. Just like T” (I apparently know too many people with the first initials T ). This conversation happened in February.
Suddenly, he had no more concerns that both his workers had quit and I only had to work out one week of my two-week notice. This worked out nicely for me because it meant that I was jobless for the Ranger’s playoff season, with enough money saved up to go to my first playoff games, and watch my very first (and only) Memorial Cup finals, which had the Ranger’s win the cup!
It was my first time quitting a job (I’ve never been fired), my first time leaving a job without one lined up, and my first time not really explaining my actions to my parents. My dad wasn’t fully on board with me quitting without having a job lined up. He wanted me to have a job (my brother was in cadets so he didn’t need a job….) and to be able to balance life with one. But I think in the end he almost fully supported my decision. He definitely did after we found out that the place had been shut down.