with Lynne and Leslie

Work Should At Least Be a Little Fun

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here! The following post was inspired by the quote below, which is part of “That’s What She Said”, a weekly blogging thing where you write based on a quote by a fabulous woman. This week’s is by Mary Poppins!! I love that movie because Julie Andrews, but also because Dick Van Dyke, who may have had a suspect accent but he was so cute. And if you are my Facebook friend then you would know that I am a little/okay very obsessed with him and episodes of “Diagnosis Murder”, one of which I am watching right now. I am not ashamed.

There are a lot of spins and approaches I can take to this, because Mary ain’t never lied. But I was reminded of one particular piece of my work history.

When Leslie and I graduated from college, we moved to Miami, where my parents had moved that semester, and neither of us had jobs. My parents let us catch up on sleep and spend our graduation money for 2 weeks, then on the day he said he would, Daddy walked out to the pool in our complex with the want ads and said, “Vacation’s over.” So Leslie and I both got jobs at the mall, because we couldn’t find jobs in our majors at that point. Leslie left her retail job before I left mine because she was hired by a weekly newspaper, which you know was her destiny, but I stayed at Payless a little longer (and shout out to Norm, my manager, who I still adore), until I decided that I needed to find something else.

Now, I am not one of those people who thinks that you should only accept the jobs that you want, when you have responsibilities and bills and you need to support yourself. It is good to look for THE job, but sometimes a job will do if it is good honest work. I did leave Payless before I found something else, but my parents (who I was living with) took me at my word that I would try very hard to find something soon. And I did. And it was the worst job experience I have ever had.

I was a customer service agent for a catalog company, and I took orders over the phone. The catch was that the company I worked for actually had 3 different companies under different names that all sold the same thing, and had different catalogs for each company. This was so they could corner the market on what they sold and be their own competition. I don’t think that it was illegal, but it definitely felt shady, because we were supposed to have different names for each company, so if someone called me on the number for Company A, I would say that my name was Jodie, and if they called me for Company B, I was Debbie. I actually had a person call me and say. “Hey, do you know Lynne from So and So company? You sound a lot like her.”, and I was like “Umm, no, of course not! This is really Debbie! (lowering voice).” It was really stressful because I felt so dishonest. There was also the part where I was bad at the job. I get better at details as I get older, but 20 years ago, I was not that oriented with them, and I screwed-up orders on several occasions. Plus,  I was slow. And the manager yelled at me and said I wasn’t worth what her favorite employee was. Eww. I still get hives when I hear “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base, because that was the star employee’s favorite song and I feel some kind of way (Also because I never liked that song anyway).

But Swedish pop groups aside, I was miserable, due to the job and my inability to be good at it. I was actually improving at it,  to give myself credit, but I remember one night going home and literally bursting into tears because I was so stressed out.  I couldn’t take it anymore. So right before we went back to Maryland for Christmas, I gave my 2 weeks notice, and they accepted. They were probably relieved, and actually said that it was fine, and I didn’t have to come back after the new year. Which I couldn’t even be sad about. And when I came to get my last check, they said that I looked happy, and I was. And the next week I auditioned for a regional theater’s acting apprentice program, and that job was the beginning of my life in educational theater and theater for kids, a life I have had in some capacity ever since. And I made one of the best friends I have ever had at that place too. So win.

So the point of this thing is, I guess, that not every job can be your dream job. It doesn’t have to be. I have held positions between acting jobs and such that weren’t where I thought I would be, but I was very, very grateful to have work, and very mindful of that blessing. But it your job is giving you stress headaches and crying fits, and maybe you are good at it or maybe you aren’t. But if it is killing your spirit and not any fun at all, because you can’t have fun with a dead spirit (unless you are a zombie, and if you are you can ignore this because, umm, as you were, zombie), then maybe it is time to move on. Because you need your spirit for all of the soaring it’s going to do at the next thing.

4 Responses to “Work Should At Least Be a Little Fun”

  1. mrs.aok05@gmail.com' Mrs. AOK says:

    I worked for a research company where I told the people on the other end of the phone line I was calling from Dallas, Texas. I was not. So, I feel you on the dishonesty.
    I’m glad that shady job ended up leading you to what you wanted to do… and we cannot wait to hear more about. Theater Dreams 🙂
    Thanks for joining us!
    Mrs. AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes: Jimmy, Family, and HubbyMy Profile

  2. SweetMidlife says:

    Sketchy is BAD!! So weird. And thanks for this forum. And sorry about Ace of Base. But “The Sign” is a good song, though.
    SweetMidlife recently posted…Work Should At Least Be a Little FunMy Profile

  3. savvywrokinggal@gmail.com' Savvy says:

    Ugh! I had a weird customer service job right out of college. I had to ask what zip code they lived in because their prices were different by zip code. I hated it because they always asked why I wanted to know that and I never had a good answer. Sometimes I didn’t ask. This was the one and only job I was ever fired from – actually it was a temp job and they called the agency and said they wanted someone else. Never worked customer service again.
    Savvy recently posted…Becoming Savvy at 53My Profile

    • SweetMidlife says:

      It gives you more grace for customer service people, doesn’t it? It’s a strange job to have. I did the temp thing too. Some went great and led to other things, and others you could tell they were happy for the day to be over so they could get someone else :). Thanks for writing!!

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