I hope by now you have figured out where the name of this blog originates. If you haven’t yet, then you are officially invited to my apartment for a screening of Wayne’s World.
Technically, if you are to define “job” as anything that pays you money in exchange for services rendered, you could say that my first job was when I was 11 years old. My mom worked in the pricing department at a local grocery store, and she was in charge of store promotions. She hired me for $5/ hour to dress in elaborate costumes that aligned with store events. If chicken was on sale, then I would throw on a chicken costume and a sandwich board advertising boneless chicken breast for $1.99/lb , or whatever. It was as embarrassing as it sounds. I’m reminded of a particularly traumatic moment when I fell down in one of the aisles dressed as a giant M&M. Tiny packets of M&Ms flew in the air with my arms and legs flailing about like a turtle on its back.
Basically, I’ve had a lot of Joe jobs, nothing I’d call a career. If you can think of a mediocre job, I’ve probably had it, but I had one goal when I joined the workforce: I made a personal vow never to wait tables. It’s not that I was beyond waiting tables or that servers were terrible people. I had just decided when I was young, that no matter how desperate my job search became, I would avoid slinging hash at all costs. I had big dreams, damn it! It is also worth noting that for most of my life, Olive Garden was considered to be my least favorite food establishment (if your mom could cook Italian food like my mom, you would have hated franchised Italian food as much as I did).
Anyway, back to my story.
When I graduated from Belmont in 2005, I found myself in the most soul-crushing office manager position at a real estate office. Confident in my Music Business degree (eye roll), I put in my 2-weeks notice after 6 months, and was absolutely certain that Nashville was a deep pool of exciting job opportunities. I could not have been more mistaken. After pounding the pavement for a month, I swallowed my pride and marched into the Olive Garden across the street from my apartment, filled out an application, and haughtily waited for the ticker-tape parade that would undoubtedly welcome such an overqualified candidate. I didn’t make it past the first interview. I drove home confounded that the one job I vowed never to do at the one restaurant I most despised did not think I was worthy of serving their guests breadsticks.
It was a devastating blow to my ego. Very soon after, I packed my bags and moved back home with my parents. Again, my ego was obliterated. At this point, I was so desperate to find work that I applied at every restaurant in my city, including ANOTHER Olive Garden. This one hired me on the spot. I ended up working there for the entire year and a half I remained in Indianapolis, and I am not exaggerating when I say it was probably one of the most rewarding job experiences I ever had. It taught me patience, humility, and it introduced me to a wild motley crew of individuals: fantastic people, many of which I still keep in touch with today. Also, there were times that I genuinely found it fun despite the crappy, frustrating moments that came with the job (getting tipped less than a dollar for an hour of salad refills is enough to make anyone insane). I guess the point I’m trying to make is that, despite what you think you know, you don’t always know what’s going to be best for you. Sometimes life guides you to the point where you consider possibilities that you never would have previously entertained. And what’s even more interesting is that when you get to that point where you are ready to embrace it—it may not be ready to embrace you, at least not yet anyways.