I Was Young and Needed the Money

I once spent four and a half hours cleaning my father’s car, only for him to run his index finger along the bonnet and tell me it wasn’t spotless enough.

Admittedly, I hadn’t really removed any of the dirt, merely repositioned it. Considering the fact I had worked my way through a thousand gallons of water, two giant sponges, six bottles of washing-up liquid and 32 rolls of kitchen towel – this was something of a disappointment.

My parents were very keen to teach my brothers and I the value of money at a young age, and it is fair to say – they succeeded. Having persevered with the car for a further two hours, I was dutifully rewarded for my hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears (so many tears) with what my father considered to be the going rate: fifty pence. I also caught a cold from being sopping wet all day, developed a rash from the industrial cleaning products and lost all feeling in my fingertips for three days.

Needless to say – that was the last time I ever worked for 7.6 pence an hour. It also marked the end of my short-lived car valeting career.

I was made redundant today, a scary prospect to say the least. To mark the occasion (aside from the obligatory job hunting) I thought I’d take stock of what I’ve learnt so far in my fourteen years of employment. Please remember, I was young and needed the money:

AS A WAITRESS – ONCE YOU’VE TAKEN A FOOD ORDER – MAKE SURE YOU PASS IT ON TO THE KITCHEN STAFF. They’ll cook it so much quicker that way.

CUSTOMERS DON’T TEND TO LIKE IT WHEN YOU SPILL HOT COFFEE DOWN THEM.

WHEN CARRYING 72 EMPTY PINT GLASSES STACKED ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER, BE CAREFUL NOT TO TRIP OVER YOUR OWN FEET.

IF AN INTOXICATED CUSTOMER LOOKS LIKE HE’S ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD – IT’S BECAUSE HE IS ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD. That’s your cue to move.

DON’T BE A DOORMAT. If your obsequious boss frequently guilt-trips you into coming in early (unpaid), finishing late (also unpaid), cancelling your social life and mopping the floor with your tongue: leave.     

NEVER DATE THE BOSS. Especially when he looks like Phil Mitchell.

WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY GET A PROPER GROWNUP JOB – ALWAYS CHECK YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR WORK. You can just about get away with odd socks, but wearing your top inside out in the boardroom will start rumours.

IF YOU FALL ASLEEP AT YOUR DESK/CRY IN THE LADIES TOILETS/VOMIT IN THE WASTEPAPER BASKET, JUST ONCE – DON’T EXPECT YOUR COLLEAGUES TO FORGET IT. EVER. 

ANNOY PEOPLE LESS AND THEREFORE AVOID GETTING STABBED WITH A BIRO.

MINIMISE THE WEB BROWSER WHEN YOUR BOSS COMES OVER. Not everyone shares your appreciation of David Beckham in his underpants. (I am yet to establish why).

THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW IS NOT THE TIME TO EXPERIMENT WITH FAKE TAN.

BEWARE: “REPLY ALL”.

FOR SOME LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT – REPLACE YOUR BOSS’ MOTIVATIONAL POSTER “PLAN, PREPARE, PERFORM” WITH ONE FAR MORE CONSTRUCTIVE, LIKE “PLAN, PREPARE, POTATO”. I give it 3 weeks before he notices.

DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.

HAVE A PLAN E! This is mine.

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36 thoughts on “I Was Young and Needed the Money

  1. Sorry to hear you got laid off and good luck with the job hunt!
    I am curious, however, to know if you did all those things at some point. If you did, what on earth did you do that made someone stab you with a biro?

    • The vast majority of it is true and happened to me, though I am prone to exaggeration! I was a terrible waitress! As a barmaid – a guy did attempt to throw beer bottles at my head (not recommended). I did trip over my feet whilst carrying an obsene number of pint glasses. I have dated my boss, who regretably looked like Phil Mitchell. Fortunately I never got stabbed by a biro – though my colleages at the time came very close to it, as I was so very excited about my forthcoming wedding, that I wouldn’t shut up about it for about 22 months. (There’s more detail in my post ‘2011 in a (Larger than Average) Nutshell’). I have fallen foul of the ‘Reply All’ function in emails and sadly the fake tan incident also happened. I was very, very orange. I would love to take credit for the potato thing, but sadly responsibility lies with another member of my former team (who for legal reasons – shall remain anonymous) 😉

  2. Hilarious! I think I may have had a few of those things happen to me – the tripping, the forget to put the order in, the boss using me as a doormat. Oh, and I really do appreciate David Beckham! 🙂

  3. Haha to the Beaker video! lol And I agree with the “Beware reply all.” I’m convinced email layouts were designed to make that an easy error, just to keep work interesting. 😉

    I’m sorry, too, that you’re looking for work. I’m in the same boat. But it looks like you have a great attitude, which is a great start. Stick with blogging in some aspect for sure. Chin up!

    • I love Beaker. How could anyone not love him? He’s great! A man of few words 😉

      Email layouts were most definitely designed to trick us into clicking ‘Reply All’. It’s an outrage I tell you – an outrage 😉

      I hope to one day get paid for writing – until then, I shall find another grownup job. Thanks!

  4. Yes, always check the mirror. You will be sure to notice that you’ve tucked the end of your skirt into your waistband. And that you are not wearing shoes.

    Best wishes in your job hunt. May this be a golden opportunity instead of a setback.

  5. I am glad your plan E is being fleshed out and think you will make a very good muppet.

    Muppets are on the up at present so it is a growth industry. This show you have an eye for business. Well done! Had you said you wanted to be a transformer, say, I would have been worried.

    Good luck, and love to Gonzo.

    • I have been called a muppet many times, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time before I join the fold. They are indeed a growth industry – how shrewd of you to notice. Bravo.
      Gonzo sends you kisses. (Don’t mention the nose)

  6. I’ve found that life just isn’t meant for a person to do one thing forever. One thing should lead to another, right? Still waiting to see what I will do when I grow up from my second childhood and I am excited as ever. Fun post!

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about your lay-off. I hope you were ready for a change anyway. I’m glad this happened on the same week you were Freshly Pressed so you have that little feather in your cap still (I can’t ever say that without imagining the person I’m referring to dressed as Robin Hood).

    The “reply all” thing is hilarious! My brother sent me a book called “E” about a British ad agency (told through emails) and the dim-witted boss who is unknowingly copying their Helsinki office every time he emails. Apparently it’s hilarity in the making. I’ll let you know if it’s good 😉 And best wishes to you on your job search.

    • Fortunately I had known for some time that I was going to lose my job, so I was able to brace myself. Being Freshly Pressed was exactly what I needed! 🙂 Loving the Robin Hood / feather in cap image, made me chuckle.

      Yes, please do let me know if it’s worth a read! Thanks Angie 🙂

  8. Dear Jess,

    I’m sorry to hear you got laid-off and to know that it was coming makes it worse. But I love your positive attitude and ability to look past what’s happening and go ahead with Plan E. Only good things will happen now. It’s easy in the beginning to stay focused but as the days go by hold onto that determination and don’t let anything or anyone get you down. Believe me, they will try. I was laid off too, and the economy has not been good to me. But thankfully after a hard and long struggle I finally got a job recently. So I hear you.

    But writing is something I do very often too, so I understand how you feel and what you go through. There were days I hated getting out of bed. It will be difficult but not impossible to beat your blues. And write, read and take even this time as a blessing in disguise. You need a break. Enjoy spending time with yourself. It’s funny how much you will love discovering new things that make you happy now. Explore that.

    Peace and Luck to you!

    Ps : Do try social media on your job hunt. I got my current job because I randomly used a facebook page that helped me get an interview.

  9. Wonderful post. The Muppets are the greatest aren’t they? My favorite show when I was growing up. Seven says “All he’s saying is Meep.” Uh yeah! He’s Beaker, that’s what he says. Silly children.

    Sorry to hear about the job. That sucks. Best wishes for speedy employment, hopefully employment as a writer.

    I stopped by to say thanks for signing up to follow me. I recognized the name but couldn’t match it to the blog. I’m very flattered that it’s yours. We definately have similar minds. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging so far, finding people I with whom I can relate.

    • Muppets should rule the world 🙂 They rock! My fingers are crossed for speedy employment! It would be a dream come true if I was paid to write! Just imagine… 😀

      Your blog is thoroughly worth following, good luck with it! I completely concur about finding like-minded people 🙂 Keep smiling 😀

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