Friday, March 8, 2024

Microstory 2100: All Over the City

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Counting my alternate self, but only counting work on my original Earth, I have had 17 jobs for 42 companies at 48 locations. How is that even possible? Well, keep reading, and I’ll explain it to you. But first, let’s start at the beginning; a very good place to start, as they say. When I was in my twenties, I took a personality test. (Okay, I guess we’re not starting at the beginning, are we?) What I learned is that I exhibit traits from all sixteen personality types, but least of all Performer, and most of all Protector. When I see someone crossing the street, my instinct tells me to watch them to make sure they make it all the way to the other side. My head is constantly on a swivel, looking out for threats, and keeping an eye on people who may be in danger. Now, I’m not saying that I would easily jump between an innocent person and a bullet, but I do believe that I wouldn’t ever use someone as a human shield. I’m always worried about people’s safety. Somehow, my dad intuited this, and he made me get my lifeguard certification when I was fifteen years old. I think the class began the day after my birthday, or something really soon, so I could not have begun any earlier. The course translated well into a job, with my teacher becoming my boss, so that’s what I did for three years. I was young and frustrated with it, but when I look back, it was probably one of my best jobs. I just didn’t know how good I had it. As I explained in the previous post, I started doing volunteer work right after high school, and when I came back, I fell into a job working for a maintenance contractor. I don’t remember much about it, including how much I made, but I know that I took a business trip to build workstations at the client’s new site in Wichita. The other guys in the car were smokers, so that was pretty much hell for me. They were so inconsiderate, and disgusting, and I hope they live in misery now. In 2008, however, I started to work as a projectionist at a small movie theatre while I was already in college. There were actually a few different locations owned by the same people, but you couldn’t really call it a chain. I was the only projectionist the place had ever had, and probably ever did have after that. Most staff members who handled that were also managers, but I didn’t want that kind of responsibility. My bosses asked me repeatedly to be a supervisor when I was a lifeguard too. I eventually regretted declining both of those jobs. I would have made a little extra money, which could have come in handy later. I just didn’t trust my leadership skills yet. I only worked at the theatres for about fifteen or so months, and I hated every second of it. My bosses were all republicans, and they had this warped view of reality, which made them conflate busyness with productivity. It didn’t matter if you had already cleaned the counter fifty times in a row today. If there’s nothing else to do, then wipe it down fifty more times!

Whew, I’ve only talked about three jobs, and I’m already in the second paragraph. The time after I graduated from college was really tough on me. Years later, it may not sound like I spent that much time out of work, but when I was in the thick of it, it was torture. I applied for a ton of jobs, but no one was biting. Even when I could get an interview, I did poorly, because of my autism. I started volunteering at the elementary school where my sister worked, in the library. I also branched out to other libraries at the same time. I took a brief job in the mail department at the IRS, which only lasted a few weeks, then went right back to the libraries. Finally in 2012, I got my first big boy job at a tax preparation corporation, editing training documents for other employees. It was temporary, but it paid a whole ton of money; enough to let me move out of the house! It was over after several months. But then they called me back the next year! But that only lasted two months. They put me in charge of even temporarier temps, but paid me less than the last job. And then they never called me back, so screw ‘em! It was probably a few weeks before I secured another job, this time working at a warehouse for a computer manufacturing company. I had some six-degrees of Kevin Bacon connection going on, but I ended up not liking the guy on the other side of the separation, and I still don’t know how we were connected. That only lasted about fifteen months too. I went on vacation, came back for less than a week, and then the FTC raided the offices, and shut the whole company down. They were selling preorders to customers before they had engineered the product, and never making good on their promise (read:fraud). They tried to start up again after all the legal stuff, but ultimately didn’t survive. Maybe if they had asked me to return too, things might have turned out differently. Lol, no thanks.

I spent about a year unemployed, trying to take some classes to become a web developer, but I’m not smart enough for that, so it super backfired. I ended up taking a part-time job as a package sorter for a worldwide courier. It obviously didn’t exactly pay six figures, so I tried to get a second job at a grocery store, but it sucked. I was looking to add a few extra hours every day, not work twelve hours straight some days of the week. Plus, the boss was another guy who thought being busy was the same thing as being productive. If there was no bad produce to turn over, then he expected you to throw away perfectly good fruit, just so you’re doing something. What a dick, I hope he’s miserable too. I hate wasting food. I didn’t even ever put that job on my résumé. I lasted two weeks, and only gave him a few hours notice. Finally, here’s where the real work begins, and also where my numbers begin to rise. I worked for a temp agency, for a contractor, which had a contract at an engineering firm. I was on the mail team, and often moved around to a few different sites. I even drove the van. I was basically a floater. When someone was out, I would fill in for them, so while everyone else specialized in their own thing, I knew everything. Unfortunately, they ultimately decided that they didn’t need an extra person, so they dropped me after a year. I was only off work for a month before a replacement came along, though, working for their primary competitor. I was actually at the unemployment office when I got the call for an interview. The guy who would become my boss said that the reason he hired me, despite my many, many jobs up until that point, was because I said that I just wanted a chance to prove myself. Most other interviewers didn’t like that much honesty, but he did.

Now the company number is going to skyrocket. I was even more of a floater than I was before. Like the previous contractor, this one also had contracts all over the city, but unlike that one, I was assigned to most of them, instead of just the one. I went to over a dozen different places, sometimes staying there for a week, and sometimes only a few hours. I went to a few sites only once, but many sites a whole bunch of times. That’s how I’ve worked for so many companies, but only with a handful of jobs. A few of the sites were about an hour away, so I got a lot of money from the mileage reimbursement, especially since we would always subtract the distance where we lived from the “home office” even though I literally never stepped foot in there, and didn’t even know exactly where it was. Anyway, it was just like the job before, but more formal. When someone was sick or on vacation, or just if a site needed extra help, they would send me, or someone else on my team. One of the site supervisors was being hired by the site themselves, so I interviewed to replace him, and got the job. It was at a law firm, so I learned a little bit of law there. Three years later, the site was shut down when a competitor secured the contract with a lower bid, but my company didn’t let me go. They moved me around a couple times, technically in the position I was just before, but that only lasted a couple of months before I found another site. I wasn’t the supervisor anymore, but I told my then-boss that I wasn’t going to accept anything lower than my wage at the time, so it came with a raise, which was what really mattered to me. This was the best job that I (my alternate) ever had. The work is really hard to learn, but very easy to do once you learn it, so he’s actually happy there. So there you have it, all those jobs, with even more companies, and even more locations. I wonder what’s next...

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