12 June 2008

Thursday Thoughts: Six Years Legal

Ok first of all……GO CELTS!!!!

(Tune in TONITE!)

I just had to get that out of the way. Y'all understand.

I was supposed to post a pic blog yesterday of Granny's party, but after posting the entire album on facebook first, I realized that I did NOT feel like uploading many of those same pics to photobucket, grabbing the codes, and posting a separate blog here. That takes up too much time and yall know I'm only online when at work; I be havin work to do………(shut up, Ronnie lol)

Speaking of work, today marks the sixth year of me being an official member of the working class. Yea, it's just been six years. I'm only 22. Somehow, though, it feels a lot longer.

In 2002, I got my first job working for Marshalls clothing store. Is anyone unfamiliar with Marshalls? It's affiliated with T.J. Maxx, A.J. Wright, and HomeGoods. I got the job as a cashier when I was 16 and thought I was the Queen of the World. Weekly payday was always something that I looked forward to………..except for when my friends and I would converse about our individual jobs.

You see, this was my first paying job. My first legal job that made me "official". My mom had already briefed me for a few years about how taxes worked and even showed me her pay stubs at times to support the examples she gave on how people who work get paid, so when I got my first paycheck, I wasn't in shock nor did I debate about the three different types of tax that were taken out which would cut about fifty dollars out of my check each week.

But what I wasn't prepared for, what mommy never told me about, what I just couldn't shake….were the constant comparisons between my friends and I and our individual work places.

Anyone who has stepped foot in any Marshalls would know exactly what I am talking about when I say that there is WORK to be done in that joint. There's clothes everywhere all the time, customers are rude as hell, and it seems as though no matter which Marshalls store you go to, the management team collectively seems to suck because nothing is conveniently organized, resulting in a greater work load for the employees such as myself. I used to hate working the closing shifts because even though the store would close at 9:30 for the general pubic, we would spend an hour and a half in recovery every night. Strolling in the house at eleven o'clock at night when I started at two, only to have to work an opening shift (9am) the next day, was not the business……….especially since I only made………..5:50 an hour.

Yes, y'all hear/read right. Five dollars and fifty cents per hour in 2002!!!

(yea...just wishful thinking...)

Now when I was 16, a lot of my friends hadn't jumped on the employment bandwagon yet but the few that did made me so jealous. And as luck would have it, they all had jobs that I profusely turned away (I was arrogant like that and refused to work at specific establishments for one lame reason or another; y'all know how teenagers are lol).

One friend worked at HomeDepot and made ten bucks an hour easily. I could never see myself working there, what with me being so girly and all and always thought that the labor would drive me nuts and put an even deeper hurting on my back than I already endured (I had a slight case of scoliosis when I was in high school from cross-country and I provoked it even more when I became a member of the Varsity Dance Squad). When we talked about our paychecks, I couldn't believe that she made that much an hour! And I was pissed. Beyond pissed.

Another friend worked at CVS drug store. Now while this drugstore never caught my eye as a potential, I had an even harder time swallowing the fact that my girl made $8 bucks an hour to my damn 5.50 an hour. And the labor? Besides stacking some shelves and keeping their work area neat, there was virtually nothing outside of ringing customers! Yep yep. Pissed. Beyond pissed.

Another friend worked at McDonald's. Not only did I not want to work anywhere near food, but I refused to work at McD's because our high school sat right across the street from the one my friend worked and while it was convenient as far as commuting goes since he had no car, it was also difficult dealing with his tasks, his customers, and his friends…at 16 years old. Everyone wants a free handout. And he always gave in. Needless to say, said friend ended up losing their job. Annndd their seven dollars and twenty five cents to my measly ol' five dollars and fifty cents. I wasn't at all happy that he lost it for I could no longer get a hookup before heading to my job. So yes, I was pissed beyond pissed.

My friends used to rub their earnings in my face so badly. I was so angry. And not because of the amount that they made over mine but the amount of labor that I did to get those five dollars and fifty cents was virtually unmatched to their labor load. It infuriated me.

And what was worse? The discounts. Now a lot of people (lot of people being those that never had to work for Marshalls, Inc.) would say that I should be glad that I worked there because I got discounts on some pretty nice clothes. I got discounts, sure. But nothing like folks thought. My discount was ten percent with a twenty percent discount every three months for the start of the new quarter. Yea….it wasn't worth it. In fact, it sucked.

Some would say, "well why not get another job?" Well, this was my first job so I was incredibly wary about hopping onto another job so quickly. I wanted to establish some kind of work history. My senior year of high school (a year after starting at Marshalls), I applied at Sears, nailed the interview, and had plans to quit Marshalls. But I didn't. The managers loved me and wanted me to stay. So like a sucka, I did. I worked at both places at the same time. While still working at Marshalls, I received an "Employee of the Quarter" award as well as a promotion as the Layaway Coordinator.

But did that increase my doughage? Not. At. All. After my initial three-month evaluation and raise, the raise came every year thereafter. Lucky me went from $5.50. To $6.00. To $6.25. To $6.50.

When I reached the $6.50 mark, I was enraged. I was enraged not because of the amount but because in that exact year (now 2005), the minimum wage had gone from $5.50 to $6.50. So basically after three years of service, I was still making minimum wage.

Needless to say, I ended up quitting for good in August of 2005. Some people may find it foolish that I stayed that long and in some ways, they are right. I hated that place. But in 2004, I had graduated high school and had gone off to college. I was advised to keep my job so that I could have a job waiting whenever I got home. Searching for a job just for the summer or for leave of absences as I took for being a college student that was away from home was very difficult. And though I was literally making pennies, a lot of my friends that had those same wonderful jobs that were devoid labor for what seemed like awesome pay, had quit their jobs completely when they went off to school and couldn't find anything for the summer or other breaks home. So in the end……..I won! LOL

What was your first job? Did you like it? What were the perks, if any?

No comments: