Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Shhhhh Don't Tell

About half way through my work day today I realized something.

I actually like my job. This only has happened twice before in my life. The first time being when I worked at the Dairy Queen in high school. It was my first job and I worked there part time for three years. I just loved it. I used to have dreams about making the perfect dip cone, literally. I did of course, gain ten pounds when I started working there of course, what is ten pounds when you're going from 105 to 115. I would call that normal teenage growth, but I'm sure the hot fudge sundaes helped.

The second job I loved was the one I used as my source of income to graduate college. I was in my fourth year of private college (no cheap thing even with grants and scholarships) and the choir was about to go on tour to Russia. I had always planned on taking a music ensemble related trip to Europe my senior year and russia wasn't top on my list but it would do. Until I got about 1/4 of the way through my last semester and realized not only could I not afford to go on the trip to Russia but I couldn't afford to continue school. So with tears in my eyes I explained my departure to my conductor and walked away humbled. My boyfriend at the time worked at the Native American casino close to the cities. I always hated gambling, since most of my boyfriends had been addicted to it at one time or another.

However, I'm a smart girl and observant. So when I'd get dragged along on these gambling trips with lures of fun and drinks I watched the dealers. What I realized is they were making quite a bit of money off of tips and doing very little. All they were REALLY doing was playing games and talking to people all day. I surely, could do this.

So I went to one of the Pit bosses at the casino my boyfriend frequented and asked how I might go about getting a job. She told me to call a number and tell them I had talked to her. So I did. They frowned on the fact that I hadn't dealt before and to be honest knew very little about gaming at all. But I guaranteed them I'd be done training before even the most seasoned professional. The reason I chose this casino over the one my boyfriend worked at, was for obvious reasons. 1. I didn't want to work with my boyfriend and 2. this place let you keep your own tips (which is EXTREMELY rare).

I started in on my first day of training and I pretended like it was a college class. I took it on as if I was learning a subject in school. I did homework, I tested myself, I even dealt to my dad on the kitchen table with a towel on it (all gaming tables have cushion, otherwise you wouldn't be able to do anything on them). I studied and studied. I practiced every night for two weeks. Then... I took the test and was the first girl in my class to audition I was the actual FIRST to audition, even over the veterans. I passed. The next week I started dealing on graveyard shift.

Trust me, I was scared out of my mind. Hands shaking, I even started crying after leaving my first table of the evening because the customers were so cruel. But I kept going, and I got better, and better. I started making serious cash. sometimes as much as 500 a day. But, my eye was on the prize. I went back to school the following semester and worked full time while taking a full load of classes. I graduated and continued to work as a dealer.

Eventually the job lost its charm and the fact that I was falling pretty deeply in love with my boss led me to finding a job that better suited my degree. I left the gaming industry and job #2 that I loved.

I spent a year as a marketing coordinator at a company that supplied hair product to one of the largest haircut chains in the country. I hated it. It was slimy, and smarmy, and more dishonest than even the casino. Which I thought should be the opposite. I left... for a reason that I'll have to put in an entirely different post.

Finally I landed in the job I'm in now, market research. My first month I was totally out of my element. I didn't know anything, or at least that's how it felt. But now after a few months, I realized, I actually like it. I really like what I do. I like that I'm respected and not treated like the peon that I am. I like that I have a title "project director" and that actually means something. I like that I'm making more than 28K (which is what I made as a marketing coordinator can you believe it!!!) I'm still making 20K less than dealing cards but at least I'm usuing my brain and feeling like I went to college for a reason and not just to blow 25K.

So... I'm a little worried about saying it outloud... it might jinx it. ssshhhh don't tell. I like my job.


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