Thursday, January 20, 2011

Memoirs Tipp-Ex'ed from my resume.

Whenever I work on my resume, and in particular the selected work experience section, I come to think of some of the many bizarre little jobs I have held throughout my life, which, over the years, I've edited out for one reason or another. What's left on it now is a neat little narrative of yet another lass in the arts/culture/communication industry and any stint that might disturb that orderly story has been Tipp-Ex'ed out from everywhere but deep down in my memory.

But hey, since I'm not one to fear identity theft anyway (for god sakes I have no identity, I'm just an empty shell!) and since I love over-sharing, let me tell you all about it.

As far as 'bizarre little jobs' go, I'm not talking babysitting, which I've done my fair share of over the years, nor cleaning, although lying on all fours scrubbing the kitchen floors at the home of the editor of one of Denmark's national newspapers - while he was sitting right next to me drinking his morning coffee - is on the list of top strange work scenarios I've experienced in my life. (Upside is that whenever people mention that editor's name, I can always say: "X? Suuuuure, I worked for him..back in 2003, I think...yeah, nice guy. Smart.") No, what I'm talking about are the jobs that make even me wonder how on earth I ever wound up there.
Duane Hanson's Queenie II (1988)

I went to high school with a girl who was a total job pimp, and who actually got me my first two real jobs. "Real" as in the kind where they're reported to the authorities and you pay that thing called taxes. First job, which I actually held on to for a couple of years, was in a local shoe store, which, deep down below its neat, mirror-filled and carpeted interior was reminiscent of a Taiwanese sweat shop. Lunch break was unheard of and we had to call the owner Mister, which in Denmark, where honorifics are never used apart from in formal letter writing, is basically the equivalent of calling someone Master and dressing up in blackface.
Tupperware Party via a site that wouldn't be found.

Anyway, at some point I guess I was a bit broke, so my pimp got me a second job as a product promoter. The first gig I had was rather harmless in the sense that I was parked outside a suburban pharmacy were I spent an afternoon handing out lotion samples. Interestingly, as other product promoters will know, such samples feel a little like currency, and so you start out by handing out one sample, occasionally two if people seem nice. But after an hour or two, inflation has kicked in, and you're basically just happy if people take a whole bag off your hands. But because of the perverse logic that constitutes the free market, people don't want what they can have in plenty. They only like things that are scarce, and hence I wound up going home with a lot of lotion, which, one the bright side, kept my skin moist throughout most of high school.

On my next gig, my pimp got me an afternoon job at a supermarket handing out little sample cups of non-alcoholic beer. The fact that I didn't look one bit like a busty beer frau, and the fact that I had (and still have) the voice of a 9-year old, probably didn't make that loser of a product seem anymore appealing. The men seemed to feel like pedophiles when addressing me, and even the floor manager kept at an appropriate distance when he passed by to suggest that I speak up a littler louder when I offered people a spoonful of my brew. "Sure" I whispered. 
Why is it that when I think of Boris Becker all I think of is broom-closets?

FFW. University. Spring 2003. I was in dire need of cash to finance my first trip ever to New York, so when my sister's then boyfriend's boss (???) called me up to ask me to assist on a programming job (???) for one of their clients, I said sure, and promised to bring friends.

My friends were all from my Art History program, so needless to say we didn't know one bit about programming. The client, alarmingly, turned out to be Scandinavian Airlines System, at whose head office we spent a week in the company of three jolly fellows who were overwhelmingly nice and patient with us, even though it was apparent to everyone that they could do the job quicker on their own. A couple of hours into the gig I decided to stand up and declare myself and my contemporary art posse entirely incapable of solving the task. "You guys, shouldn't you just fire us?" I offered, but surprisingly they decided to keep us on board as welcome diversion, and we in turn welcomed the cash and the free lunch.
Photo via here.

If it weren't for the fact that this post has already grown far too long for anyone to want to read it, the grand finale would have been a) my memories of my not so grand hour-long stint as a waitress, where I decided to go home out of failure to memorize the numbers of the tables (hey, would it kill them to write it down somewhere?! Truth be told they we really nice though and offered I stay and hang at the bar) or b) the time I spent a night as a wardrobe assistant dressed as a cupcake - whipped cream on the top and all.

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