There’s been a handful of times that I’ve known a job was just not for me. And although I could have suffered through it. It was too soul-crushing to do so.
I was in college and like many people in college, I worked part time. I never looked at my college part time work as something to add to my résumé my would-be-not employers. I worked because I needed to pay rent and bills (I lived off campus because it was surprisingly cheaper) and put gas in my car and have an occasional meal here and there. I worked during college to take of the necessities even when in college, my only necessity should have been my studies.
I was laid off from Dillard’s, from the men’s fragrance department, after a lackluster Christmas that was to be the beginning of the Great Recession. And while looking for work, I found a part time job as a banquet server at the only prestigious hotel in the quad-town area of where I went to school. It paid something like $7.77 an hour (some odd ass number. And just for the record, I did not go to school here in California — something I would have reconsidered then, knowing what I know now). And I worked the afternoon/evening shift — because, when else do people have banquets? Anyways, it was an okay gig for the 6 weeks I was there. Well, no. Not really. I hated everything about serving and I have never been a server in my life until that point. I hated having the hot steaming food that close to my face and body. I hated having to carry all those dishes and plates. I was always fearful I was going to drop and break something. And, of course, paying it back would come out of the little check I was getting anyways. I hated that I had to monitor everyone’s drinking glass and refill it on cue. What I hate about serving is probably one of the reasons I try my best to treat my waiters and waitresses with respect. Because not everyone can do that freakin’ job, let alone, with a smile on their face. Me — I was definitely not cut out to be a waitress. Don’t have that bone in my body.
And I remember one night before a dinner, we were setting up folding napkins to place on the tables. Yeah, banquet servers did that shit too. Those cute little cloth swans don’t just magically appear out of nowhere. I digress. In the middle of folding some kind of flower, I realize I didn’t like my job. I know wasn’t really suppose to, but I really didn’t like my job. I didn’t like my co-workers (which has always been a huge factor for me wherever I worked, because if you can’t get along with the people you work with, life becomes miserable). I didn’t like my boss. I didn’t like my uniform. I didn’t like my schedule. The more I dwelled on the little things I didn’t like about the job, the more I found other things to hate about it. So, there I am folding some ugly as green polyester napkin. I got quiet — not that I really spoke to anyone, anyways — and I’m just sitting there folding. There’s an older woman who’s a banquet server too. She’s been there for about a decade. Still serving. The thought of this makes me angry. It’s time for the servers to take our break before we get ready to serve. All this shit is swimming in my head about what I hate about working here and how I could easily slip into someone who’s just a banquet server. I exited through the door for employees. Some people are smoking. A few are talking, gossiping. I check my pockets. Every since I started working there, I left my purse in the trunk of my car and carried my keys, and a small wallet in my pocket. I have everything I walked in with. Good. Because I walked to my car. Unlocked the door. Started the car. And drove the fuck off.
I was twenty-something. Dissatisfied. And not going to take it any longer. For the next couple of days, my boss called me saying that it was all right if I wanted to come back. She’d take me back. I just needed to call her and explain what happened that night. I didn’t return a single one of those voicemails. I did get my check though. And not too shortly after that, I found another better paying job. I’m not proud of myself for walking off the job like that. But I know me. And there’s only so much I can bear before I know I’m through with something. I was definitely through with the job.