Saturday, October 16, 2010

What is your role in my life?

I am currently reading "Save the Assistants"  for review.  And it's got me thinking about things.
The top thing being, the novel I wrote in 2002 is more then out dated as far as office slang goes and if I were to ever dust it off and do a new draft I'd have alot of updated dictionary research to do.
Another is my own past jobs.  Like so many people on the planet, my first paying job was as a babysitter.

Looking back on it now, if I were to label it; it would be more in the lines of assistant.  As the dude I babysat for was a mess to the highest degree.  I quit more times then I can count over the 8 years (yes 8 years babysitting the same kids. The oldest was starting high school when I finally stopped) because I was being misused. 
Babysitters are expected to be mini moms- nannies right, feeding the kids, picking them up from school, making sure they take a bath, and putting them to bed. 
More then I can count, I ended up doing laundry, answering phone calls because they did not have an answering machine and having to deal with the dad's drunken friends and psycho girlfriend, pick the kids up from school, play therapist to the oldest kids' panic attacks and insistingly call everyone of the bars then everyone of her dads' contacts in his phone book cause she always wanted to know he was safe. Track down the youngest because he would sneak out of the basement window after I put him to bed, spend time taking the rest of the neighbourhood kids back to their places cause somehow everytime I was to babysit the entire street would decide to let their kids stay the night. I got paid $20 bucks a night flat rate no matter if I was there for two hours or nine.  And there were nights when I would show up to babysit at 7pm and not get to leave til 7am. Everytime I quit and swore I'd never go back there the kids would call me cause they did not want anyone else to look after them and I would go back cause of guilt.

My next job, and I never got paid for this at all, was working for my dad's companies.  Yes, companies. My dad in the course of four years started up a) a cleaning company, b) a security company, c) a delivery company, d) a second delivery company.
I did everything from answer phones, take the orders, help on deliveries, call the drivers/employees (and this was long before cell phones were the thing we're talking if you had a beeper you were high style) sort the deliveries, filing, typing up request forms, and of course the biggest, run to the bar to locate my dad and the drivers cause everyone would turn their beepers off and just go drinking. 

In high school, I worked at an Elementary School as the sole librarian. This was for an intern credit for Grade 12.  Dealt with all the crap you would expect a school teacher's assistant to have to deal with. Again, a non paying job.

In college, I worked at one of our local television stations as an intern. No pay, just hours of working on editing, covering city council meetings/school board meetings as a camera person, answered phones for call-in shows, hosted my own little late night horror fest, packed and unpacked the equipment for the news team, filed/photocopied, answered phones for the main office, worked lighting, and of course, picked up donuts/meals and made coffee.  I actually loved that job.

Second time I worked at the library, this time for the city,  I did get paid. Minimum wage which back then was like $8 an hour. I worked in both the office and the children's department.  Did everything from clean up vomit, to restocking the shelves, to filing and photocopying, to painting scenery for storytime. The secretary I worked for in the office was a doll and it made working in the office 2 days a week heaven. It was doing the worst of the grunt work in the children's department for the head librarian of that department that killed me. 

The big 4 year job I worked... volunteered actually; was for the flower delivery company.  If ever there was a hellbeast boss She was it. 
That job, I answered phones, sorted the deliveries, did some of the deliveries, found the places on maps and figured which were the shorted routes, called people to see if they were going to be home, made sure we always had a stack of doorhangers that said we'd been there if the person was out, dealt with customers who called freaking out if they missed their delivery, dealt with the two main flower companies we worked for. All this from the passenger side of the flower van. Yes you read right, we were mobile from 7am to7pm.
And the hellbeast part, the lady who I worked as an assistant for, was a high strung panic-manic who freaked out over a hangnail. She only knew two routes to get anywhere, the two main streets in town and if you tried to tell her about the side streets that would get you there sooner she yelled at you. If we were sitting in line at the lights for more then ten seconds she would roll down her window and yell at the rest of the line up. If she took a sharp curve and something tipped in the back of the van she yelled at you.
Why did I stay at it for 4 years if it was evil. Because she was a friend of my mom's. I was doing deliveries on that job when my car accident happened.  Ironically, that accident was the best thing to happen to my life.

So I've been an assistant more then I even realized. I've always classed myself as just a secretary; who knew I was more management material then I gave myself credit for. 
Hey, I don't call myself Renfield for nothing you know.