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Opinion

College may not provide ideal job

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October 11, 2007

The florescent lighting exaggerated every hideous detail inside this ghetto grocery store. I was a sheltered 16-year-old with long purple hair and I stood behind the counter awkwardly, trembling every time someone meandered toward my line.

It was only my third week employed there, but I had considered quitting before, during and after my shift every day for those three weeks. I hated the massive red shirt they made me wear. I hated the bag-boy who reeked of cigarettes. I hated the abundance of poorly cut coupons.

My hatred was at its peak late in my shifts. One evening, a regular customer of mine tested my patience 10 minutes before I was off. It was a crabby old woman with a perm cap plastered on her head. She handed me a white bag full of random candies. “You put all the different candy in the same bag again,” I told her.

”I did,” she answered, and then proceeded to lecture me on why it is completely acceptable. Five minutes of lecture passed. Six. Seven.

By minute eight, I had left my register. I mumbled something desperate to the old woman. I passed my bosses on my way to the locker room and avoided eye contact with them.

As I walked through the wobbling automatic doors to freedom, the foul-smelling bag-boy asked if I was leaving so soon. I was. And I was never coming back.

I was hysterical when I stepped onto my friend Jenny’s front porch. We both knew that if I didn’t find another job before my mom found out what just happened, she would cut off all my long purple hair and whip me with it until I bled to death.

I spent the rest of the day in panic, applying to every place I came across. Anything had to be better than that grocery store.

Matteo hired me on the spot. As the owner of a hectic Italian restaurant, he was in dire need of dishwashers. He asked if I was Italian, and I told him yes. But when he hauled me into the kitchen, I couldn’t understand a word that he said. It didn’t help that he had fallen off a ladder a few weeks earlier and seriously injured his jaw.

Through clenched teeth, Matteo shouted orders in a thick Italian accent. “ANNEE! DAHMN IT! ZEE VINE CLASS SHOULD BE VASHED ALREADY! VHY IS ZIS NAT DONE?”

I spent a few minutes during each shift standing in the restroom stall in complete terror. After a week, I quit.

In addition to cashiering and dishwashing, throughout the course of three years I have also chauffeured arrogant pilots to their hotels, changed sperm-infested bed sheets, sold cheap shoes to cheap people and packaged school supplies into boxes until my fingers were raw. I have been employed at at least fourteen places in my short lifetime.

However, these atrocious jobs have influenced my education at River Falls greatly. I’ve kept each job in mind throughout my years here, excited to begin a new career in my chosen field. As a junior, I now have to seriously consider what I am going to do with my future.

My radical quitting was in high school. Now I am a far more educated and mature individual.

All this had me feeling optimistic—until my mom pointed out that I am a creative writing major.

Annee Mayer-Chapleau is a junior studying creative writing. She loves astronomy and her main goal in life is to dance like David Byrne from the Talking Heads.