Being a member of the employed demographic for 33% of my life – yes, I did calculate this – I’ve picked up a few things that have come in handy in the working environment.
1. Don’t dress as if you’re homeless.
This should be a given, but some days, it’s SO hard to try. Which is why I’ve realized that if I dress a little nicer than I really want to, I’m JUST meeting appearance expectations. Which is fine by me.
2. Don’t bring personal effects for your desk.
Bringing a picture of loved ones or bringing my super cool, now broken Han Solo mug just leads to awkward conversations. I hate “chit chat” and I am confident I’m not good at it, mostly because I don’t give a frak. So, I’ve learned to just seem like I have no life or interests in anything…
3. Don’t slouch.
This is probably one of the hardest things for me. Since I’m inevitably going to be like Quasimodo, it’s super hard to sit straight up. It just downright hurts to have good posture. Which I’m sure says a lot about how my humpback in progressing. But I’ve learned slouching just looks frumpy (better late than never, right?). So, even though I feel like a whore (I find it unnatural and a little too risqué for me to protrude my ta-tas out), I do it. I’m sure I look like a supermodel or maybe at least Mia from The Princess Diaries after the makeover montage – of course.
4. Don’t assume someone “can’t be serious”.
This is a mistake I’ve made way too many times. A recent example would be when my co-worker told me about how her dog loves to hear from her during the day. She said she calls her “to check in because it makes the dog not worry.” I brushed this off, because like I said I don’t show interest in hardly anything (it just leads to conversations), but then the best thing ever happened. She picked up the phone and had a legitimate (so she thinks) conversation with her dog. Now, I understand if you have an animal and you talk to it in person. I would even (MAYBE) understand if you haven’t seen your dog for a long period of time (I’m talking days) and you want the dog to recognize your voice. However, I can’t possibly understand calling your dog EVERY lunch hour and pretending it’s responding to what you’re saying.
Worker: Hey, girl! How are you doing today?
Dog?: ***Apparently can speak English***
Worker: Aw, that’s so great!
Anyway, I laughed when this happened. I thought, “She can’t be serious.” Well, she was and now things are a little icy between us.
5. Don’t goof off. When you’re at work… work.
DUH, right? Well, I KNOW that I should do this, but it’s so hard for me to reign my ADHD in for long periods of time. I’m better than I used to be, though.
*In high school, I worked in a movie theater. I rarely did anything that was in my job description. Instead, I begged for the job no one wanted – the usher. This meant I had to clean the theaters, bathrooms and hallways. Clearly, I didn’t do any of this. Instead, I turned off my walkie-talkie and would sneak into a movie and watch the entire thing. Then when the “suck up” ushers came in to clean, I would pretend I had already been ‘at it’ for awhile. I’d say things like, “Geesh guys, were you going to make me do this whole thing alone?” Let’s just say it took them over a year to figure out what I was doing and when they finally did, I did the only mature thing I could think of: I stopped showing up. Mature, right? Unfortunately, it was the only theater people went to in my town. So afterwards, I wore disguises when I wanted to see movies.
*In college, during breaks and summers, I worked as a hostess at my brother’s restaurant. I was horrible. I hated talking to people about when their table would be ready. So instead, I befriended the other boss and we would make tequila cosmos and gossip. It’s safe to say the other hostesses hated me. SUCKERS!
*In college freshman year, I worked at the assisted living home and I made friends with this awesome elderly lady, LouLou. So, when I wasn’t goofing off with a sorority sister (we worked together) in the kitchen, putting aluminum foil on our teeth for “grills” and learning how to dance “ghetto” with our co-workers, I would hang out with my new friend, LouLou. She was awesome. She was completely with it, her family just didn’t want the burden (awful people). But they did buy her a fancy big screen TV and almost every show/movie you could imagine. We watched a ton of movies together and she always had my back. If someone came in and asked what I’d been doing, Lou would say that she made me come in and help her with something. Again, awesome lady.
*Moving on to the longest job I’ve ever had, a Beatles-inspired diner. Man, I really do miss working there. That was by far the best college job anyone could have and honestly the best job, hands down, I’ve ever had. The manager was and still is a great friend of mine. I loved that we didn’t have to be necessarily “nice” to the customers. We just had to take orders correctly, bring customers food, and clean it up. Whatever else we wanted to do or how we wanted to do it was fine, or at least this is how I operated there. I remember many hungover mornings almost falling asleep until someone would tell me to get my table refills. Did I already mention it was the BEST JOB EVER?
*My current job is so different from my other jobs. I have to actually sit in one place for 8-12 hours a day. I get to produce/direct shoots but those are sporadic (I always think of Clueless and I’m forced to use this word). Instead, I mostly edit. I sit in front of my computer AT A DESK and just edit, up to 12 hours a day. But, I can’t force myself to just work the ENTIRE time. I can’t. It’s too hard and I need mini breaks or else I’ll lose it. But, I’m learning a lot here and I really do love this job.
I hope these help you in some way. If you have some more tips feel free to share with me since I’m obviously in need of a ‘Work-Catie’ sprucing up.
You can read more from Catie Foster on her blog.
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