My first job

As I drove to work this morning, I took the route that takes me past the high school since school is now out for the summer. I was unaware that the program "Summer Academy" was starting up already. Fortunately this did not disrupt my commute too badly. I could not help but laugh and reflect though when I saw the workers wearing their orange vests and helping folks cross the street.

Why did this make me laugh and reflect you ask? Because my first "real" job was working for Summer Academy. What's so funny about it? Let me tell you the story.

It was the summer of 1998 and I was old enough to get a summer job. I was going to be driving soon and figured having a little extra money would not be a bad thing. Nate was going to be gone working for boy scout camp all summer, so I also figured I would need the distraction so I wouldn't miss him as much. I thought about working at a grocery store or a nearby department store and even applied a couple of places with no nibbles. I was lamenting about that fact when I was at Nate's parents house for dinner and his mom mentioned that Ali was going to apply at Summer Academy and possibly work as a student aide there for the summer. I decided that didn't sound so bad, it wasn't even the whole summer, but would be enough to make a little extra money and give me something to do.

Ali and I went to a joint interview and then were called within a day or two and offered positions. My mom volunteered to drive us each day. We were all set. Then we were told we could come in the weekend before and get some extra hours in helping with set up. That was the Worst.Weekend.Ever. We did nothing but move desks, chairs, heavy boxes, we're pretty sure we were breaking child labor laws, especially when Ali was only 14 at the time. I just remember being exhausted, sore and wondering what I had gotten myself into. We also figured out pretty quickly that her and I were a minority - almost every other student worker was the child of a staff member for the program. In fact, we were given pretty much the grunt work while the other kids got to goof off.

Once the program actually began things got a little better, except that we were kind of just "runners", we weren't assigned to any specific classroom or area. There was a guy, we'll call him "B", who pretty much did not like us from day one and if he saw us standing around, would give us extremely awful jobs like sorting the Summer Academy t-shirts. There were 100s of t-shirts in varying sizes and no organization as to how each student was going to receive one. We also had to wear orange vests and help direct traffic in the mornings so no students or parents were flattened by school busses. I remember we were told to pretty much stand in the parking lot and say "please use the crosswalk."

One day a nice lady who I think was named Bev found us and said she needed help in the supply room. Suddenly we had a job! She was a nice lady and had us sort supplies each day and gave us Peanut Butter M&M's as a snack. So after our crossing guard duty each day we'd go to Bev's room. We'd help her bring things in from her car, we'd deliver things to classrooms. It seemed to be a great arrangement. Except it seemed that whenever we'd be walking back to her room from a classroom, "B" would see us and think we were just wandering around "goofing off."

After two weeks, we were called into the head of the program's office. She thanked us for all that we had done and then went on to say something about how many student workers they had and because of that "today would be our last day." Now mind you, the program was only scheduled to go another week. Ali and I looked at each other and were kind of like, oh um, ok.

We walked out of the office and I said "did we just get fired?" and Ali's like "I think so." And then we burst out laughing. We went and said goodbye to Bev who was sad to see us go, she even had a project she wanted to give us, but we knew why were leaving, we're sure "B" said something to the boss that he thought we were just messing around. And since we were not staff member's children, of course we were getting the boot. In all due fairness though, Nate and Ali's aunt Annie was a teacher in the program, but apparently that was not good enough.

I filled up the rest of that summer with babysitting as a source of income and moved on to other part time jobs later on, that in truth weren't much better, but at least I was never fired again! I still laugh when I look back on it, because really, it is pretty funny when you think about it. I heard that some years later the head of the program passed away. I can't help but wonder if "B" took it over from her!


Gina said...

Oh that's funny!!! I remember you talking about that "job". Good times, that leave you with funny memories.

Alexandra said...

Yup, she died last year, I think. I wonder who's running it now...

Okay, I really didn't mind sorting the t-shirts. It was way better than directing traffic!