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Employment 102

Here’s some more of my work history as promised.

Wimpy wasn’t so bad. I loved their hot dogs which the workers were proud to call ‘benders’. A classic breakfast consisted of fried eggs, bacon, fries and a bender.  Now I had told Marcel, the restaurant manager that my previous experience was at McDonald’s. The way his eyes lit up made me realize that in his opinion taking this job was a step down the job hierarchy. He offered me the job on the spot. I was ecstatic. My only prior experience with McDonald’s was ordering food, to which the sales assistants would respond “Eat in or take away?” To prove my imaginary experience was in fact real I took to asking every customer at Wimpy  “eat in or take away?” That frustrated Marcel to no end as he got tired of telling me Wimpy was not McDonald’s, it was a “real” restaurant and most customers would eat in. I now see the illogicality  of asking someone purchasing eggs, sausage and bacon if they wanted to take it away. Sorry Marcel!

McDonald’s. I actually worked here after Wimpy! At the interview I was given my uniform and told to begin work the next day. My classmate- Chris told me to apply because the hours were flexible, perfect for a student. I wonder where Chris is now? He was a truly sweet friend. On day one I arrived at work ready to get introduced to the fryers, cold rooms and so on. The manager showed me the staff room to get ready, it was at that point I realized that I forgot my uniform at home. 3 hours later I returned with my uniform and was told to mop the large golden arches just outside. Problem: What if any of my classmates saw me in that less than dignifying position? Next I was introduced to the fryers. I was to fry half a bag of chicken nuggets, which I very quickly did. At McDonald’s you are not allowed to be idle even for a second. As there was nothing else to do I thought it would be nice to keep frying the nuggets. So I fried and I fried and I fried. It was no small commotion when a couple of the staff saw what I was doing and quickly alerted the manager. Apparently it is sacrilege to fry up to one bag at a time, I had fried more than two and now everything had to be thrown away because their policy is to serve “freshly prepared food”.

My McDonald’s job lasted one week. It was the mopping of the logo outside that did it.

By the way I now make all my sausages like benders! Works particularly well with hot-dogs. You make incisions at regular intervals across the length of the sausage and when you fry it, it bends into a ‘C’ or an ‘O’, hence the name.

Thanks for reading!

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Employment 101

Some people have a job history, others just have the one job for life, others still work at home raising kids or from home running a business. Mine is quite a history. In fact I suspect my first few jobs instilled the distrust I carry around for sales people today. See post on salesmen here.

My very first job was in a country where teenagers work- England. The thought of working at the age of 17 was both ludicrous and exciting. So as I came across the ad for what I thought was a telephone canuasser (the writing on the display window was bad and the v looked like a u) I felt I could handle it, whatever that job meant. How hard can it be? I can dial, I can talk. The pay was £3.00 per hour and the job entailed going through a list of some 100 names,  calling each one and telling them “wow, your name was picked out of our draw and you have just won a trip to Turkey!” I had to sound excited and genuinely pleased that the gods were indeed in their favor as they  had ‘won’ this all expense paid trip to a dingy Bed and Breakfast somewhere in Turkey. I worked 3 hours per day and on my 3rd day I was “let go” as ‘head office’ decided to cut costs by closing the East London Office.

“We have to let you go Toks.” It was the first time I had heard that phrase.

“No, I’m fine you don’t have to let me go, I like it here.”

“You don’t understand- head office have decided to cut costs…”

Ahh! So that’s what let go means.  They told me they would stop by the next evening with my pay of  £21.00.  Besides learning the new term of being dismissed, by the end of the week I also learned  through experience a new word- ‘Naiveté’  as they never showed up with my £21.00.

I got my next job a few days later working for a double glazing company. This was where I learned that “commission based” was a euphemism for “voluntary”. That job lasted all of 2.5 hours. It was in 1990, the year of the worst winter for 27 years and the snow reached close to my knees. We were told to knock on doors asking for an appointment for potentially free Double Glazing. With the assurance that most sales men in the company secured a minimum of 4 appointments daily and at the rate of £25 per appointment, it was a steal.

Armed with visions of my new car, new wardrobe and  house I trudged along expecting to have 10 appointments that evening.  I didn’t have a single one. In fact no one wanted to see us.  To tell the truth I couldn’t really tell who had double glazing and who didn’t -something about an aluminium strip was mentioned earlier when the manager explained but I didn’t get it. When we returned to the base, the same guy who told us top sales people in the company made up to 10 appointments per night now said Monday nights were notoriously slow as people chose to stay in watching Coronation street. When I realised there was a soap on television every single night from Emmerdale to Eastenders and what-not, I faced up to the fact that I was working with cowboys and fled the scene of the crime.

This is a 2 part post so do come back to learn about my stint at Wimpy’s, MacDonalds, Woolworths…

Thank you for reading! Don’t hold back from sharing your thoughts in the comments box below 🙂