What was your very first job? Day 7

Technically, my first job was as a dishwasher in a very popular sports bar where famous hockey players, professional skaters, local celebrities and the like used to frequent.

I say technically because I had another job that summer as a shelf stocker at a Target-like chain store that was opening in the fall. I stocked shelves from 8:30am to 4:30pm, ran home to change and then went to the dishwasher job from 5:30-ish to closing. I was trying to make as much money as I could to cover my university tuition.

I didn’t balk at the hard dishwashing work but I kid you not, after that first night, I seriously thought about quitting but knew that I couldn’t.

That first night, I had left my work space spic and span but just as I was about to take off my apron, one of the managers appeared in the kitchen to leave a coffee mug on the counter.

My spic and span clean counter…

Being incapable of hiding my emotions, I must have given him such a nasty look that he was quick to say, “Oh…uh…just leave it, okay? I’ll wash it myself” and scurried away back into his office.

When I punched in the next day, he called me into his office.

I was 100% certain that he was going to fire me for giving him that nasty look the night before. But to my surprise, he told me that they had never had a “girl” working in the kitchen, that he didn’t like the idea of a “girl dishwasher” and asked if I wanted to be a cook helper instead.

This is where I’ll remind you that this was in the late 1980s so his language, though macho, wasn’t considered totally disrespectful. At the time, I was simply surprised that he hadn’t said “Black girl”. 🙂

He said it was the same minimum wage and that it would be easier work so I said yes. I was already “one of the boys” with the guys in the kitchen and within a week, I knew how to do everything a cook helper could do.

Two weeks later, the manager called me into his office again because he still didn’t like the idea of me being a “girl in the kitchen”. He said that he and the other managers had discussed offering me a job as hostess since they had been doing the job themselves for two years. It paid two dollars more than what I was getting (big money!) and so I accepted.

I knew that I wasn’t being hired as a “token” Black person. Back then, being a “token” wasn’t even a thought at that point, even in a trendy sports restaurant-bar like that. I was used to being the only Black person in very French and White environments so it didn’t faze me.

The only racist issues I encountered were with the bolder waitresses who purposely tried to spin me in circles before I learned the ropes. It didn’t take me long to get their nastiness under control. I told the “ringleader” that if she kept bothering me, I would limit the number of clients in her section so that she would get less tips and when she continued, I followed through on my promise.

When she complained to the managers sided with me and the others all fell into line quickly (on the surface).

I worked that job for almost 2 1/2 years full time during the summers and weekends during the school year. And whenever I look back to that job, I smile because it turned out to be a fun gig and a great learning experience.

What was your very first job?

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PSA about the 31 day March challenge…

Ok…

To be honest, I expected a few of you to join the 31 day March challenge but I didn’t expect so many either.

I’m doing my best to respond to the comments, reading the posts on your own blogs and keeping up with those who are not pinging back for me to find them (I know they may not know how).

All that to say…

I’m trying to keep up y’all!

To keep up, I’m going to “like” and “approve” pingbacks so that your responses/links appear in my comments and when I have time, I will respond.

And to those who are not pinging back to my blog so that I am notified that they have a post of their own, don’t be upset if I don’t comment.

I can’t comment on your post if I don’t know that you posted something, right?

What are you freakishly good at? Day 6

I’m freakishly good at getting problems solved, especially if it requires the right balance of being direct and diplomatic with a dash of “look, if we don’t settle this I’m going to be a pain your a** for a very long time” if necessary.

People often come to me for help but not because I’m some kind of genius. I think it’s because I ask them enough questions for them to self-assess their own situation and consequently solve their own problems.

At other times, people come to me because I am a wealth of random and sometimes useful information, like how to ask a first line customer service agent to make it a “warm transfer” before they bump you over to another department or how to get a broken light bulb of out of a fixture without electrocuting yourself.

Yeah, totally random knowledge about a bunch of unrelated stuff.

What are you freakishly good at?

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What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Day 5

What’s meant to be yours will come to you“.

This is a “nice” piece of advice but getting what we want in life requires taking steps, doing the work and placing ourselves in situations, no matter how uncomfortable, so that those “things” can actually find us. I believe in doing all that you can reasonably do to reach your goal and then leaving it to the universe.

I mean, your dream job is not going to fall into your lap if you don’t send out resumes or network with those who may be in a position to help you, right?

What’s meant to be yours will come to you” irks me even more when this is said by people who don’t want you to get what you want and actively take steps to disrupt your plans.

So when I hear this advice, I often take it with a grain of salt depending on the advice giver.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Join in on this March challenge.

Are you living your life purpose — or still searching? Day 4

Now this a challenging question.

Growing up as a Gen X first generation kid of immigrant South American/Caribbean parents, my “purpose” was to fulfill the expectations set for me without question.

Our household rules were unspoken and simple:

Stay out of trouble. Get good grades and be on the honor role. Don’t ever ask about going to sleepovers, school trips “away” or going to a friend’s house to “hang out”. You can be a doctor or lawyer – choose one. And as a daughter, I had a bunch more rules to follow.

It took an embarrassingly long time to realize that I was not living my life purpose but better late than never, right?

So I don’t feel that I have a “defined” life purpose.

For the time being, my “purpose” is to return to the self I always was but never had a chance to know and to rediscover the things that give me joy.

That is my life purpose for now.

Are you living your life purpose or are you still searching?

Join in on this March challenge.

Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it? Day 3

I believe in different types of “magic” unrelated to witchcraft and abracadabras.

I believe that the “power of words” and the “power of thoughts” (like affirmations) can make things happen in your life that can feel “like magic”.

Like the times I’ve dreamed of someone I haven’t thought about in a very long time and suddenly they called me out of the blue…

Or the time I wanted a sun shelter for my deck, no store had my size and I wasn’t about to order one for $120 that late in the season. Weeks later, while doing an errand at a store I rarely go, there laying near the entrance was a “returned” sun shelter in my size and on liquidation for $20…

For me, those incidents were like “magic”.

Or the rare occasions that I’ve met someone with whom I’ve had a total authentic “vibe” and felt comfortable around almost right away.

Or the time I wrote about here when there was a surreal connection between me and a stranger.

Those are kind of “magic” too.

And for me, “magic” can be as simple as sipping on a hot cup of coffee, watching the waves roll onto the beach and feeling at peace sitting in my favorite spot in my favorite place…

Do you believe in magic?

Join in on this March challenge.

Do you have any irrational fears? Day 2

Spiders.

No matter how small.

On my bedroom ceiling.

Especially if I notice one before going to bed.

There is no way that I will ever fall asleep with a spider in my bedroom.

This fear is totally irrational because I’m not a squeamish person.

I have no problem handling a dead mouse in a trap or scooping out the occasional unfortunate animal that falls into the pool.

But if I really think about it, this gif below is what I am REALLY afraid of whenever I’m trying to kill a spider that is on a ceiling…

Don’t laugh – this is scary as hell.

What is your most irrational fear?

Join in on this March challenge.