I work for the University of Texas, and it pays the bills. I could use more money but I’m not going to complain, things could be much worse, much more uncertain. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve had many, many jobs in my adult life. I’ve managed to whittle together a pretty seamless resume of 5 jobs, but the truth is much more entertaining. My actual resume would never get me a job, but it’s pretty interesting. Here are my jobs as follows;
1) 1991 (Minimum wage), I graduate from Texas Tech with a BFA. I’m living in Lubbock Texas . I discover that aside from retail, jobs in Lubbock are non-existent. I go to a temp agency and am assigned as a landscape helper. I almost pass out trying to pull a small tree stump from the ground. I quit after an hour.
2) 1991 temp job #2 (Minimum wage); I spend two days at a recycling facility separating cardboard from truckloads of household garbage. I quit.
3) 1991 temp job #3 ($5/hr); I’m doing clerical work for a woman that takes school class pictures. I match the pics with the orders, and make sure that everything stays in sync. I get my then-girlfriend a job doing the same thing. This lasts a couple of weeks.
4) 1991. Comic Book Artist. My first comic book TAD Martin #1 is published by Caliber press. They send me a check for $1000. Subsequent issues (4) are far less successful.
5) 1991. ($8/hr) I’m hired as a dog catcher by the city of Lubbock . I’ve blogged on this one. I managed to stay there for eight months before I got fed up and quit. I moved to Austin with my girlfriend.
6) 1992. Actor. After a month of unemployment, I am cast as the on-screen narrator of an anti-drug video for high schoolers, through a friend. They wanted someone who was “street”. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was far from “street. I made $500 for 2 days work and had a ball. I later get an agent, who gets me one gig as a “streetwise gang banger” in an anti-gang commercial. Notice a pattern? The agent takes 2/3rds of my pay for “one time fees”.
7) 1992. ($6/hr); I go to a cold calling office that begs for donations for environmental causes, they don’t ask me back the next day, thank God.
8) 1992-1993. ($6/hr); I’m hired by First Market Research to call people and ask them to answer impossibly long surveys. I think this particular job lasted a month. I quit when it just became plain ridiculous.
9) 1993. ($6/hr); In January I’m hired as a delivery driver for a place called PFP, which did large photo display printing. It was a small company with three employees owned by a maniac whose name I’ve forgotten. The secretary hired me, and was colder than ice to me the whole time I was there. The assistant was a white South African that appeared to have overcome his racist roots, as he claimed to be a friend of the artist Dread Scott. The boss was a screaming psychopath that would nit-pick my every move. He treated me like a five year old, and blamed me for anything that went wrong. I remember the first time he saw me he said, “Just remember, as easily as you were hired, I can replace you. There are a million people who’ll do this job.” He had racist leanings, as witnessed by the times that he’d send me to McDonalds to buy him McRib sandwiches. When he’d send me he’d say, “Ah sho does like dem Mic-ribs.”
Two examples of his craziness come to mind. The first was when he sent me to the Light bulb store, to find a certain kind of bulb. The counter guy told me that they didn’t carry the bulb, so I call my boss (wish I could remember his name) and tell him. The boss starts screaming at me that the light bulbs were there, but I was too stupid to look properly. When I hand the phone to the counter guy, the boss starts screaming at him.
The second episode was when he was just trying to get me to quit and claimed that I had left the truck unlocked the night before, and he found a bum sleeping in it in the morning. I knew I had locked the door, and I knew there was no bum in there because there was still 75 cents in the ashtray. I quit after a month.
10) 1993 ($5/hr); I get a job through my girlfriend, at Fine Print Magazine Distribution. I work in the warehouse stocking, packing, and shipping magazines. I later went to the business side, but I got bored and moved back to the warehouse. My manager in the warehouse was a real high-strung guy named Rick, who was always in a hurry. I remember that I was there when the Waco standoff between the ATF and the Branch Dividians was going on. I correctly predicted that the ATF would get tired of waiting and burn them out. This was a great company that worked on the Swedish vacation system, which meant that I had like 4 or 6 weeks of vacation. I quit after my breakup with my girlfriend. This job lasted 8 months.
11) 1994 ($62.50/day); I moved to Chicago to live with my parents. It felt like my world was closing in on me. I was hired in February as a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public School system. I was there for four months, in which time I grew to hate kids with an abiding passion. I was 26 years old then and was dating an 18 year-old student named Kimberly.
12) 1994 ($5/hr); I move back to Austin and get a job as a trailer attendant for Goodwill in June. My job was to sort through donations that people would drop at my trailer. Most of the donated books and records were thrown away, and it was considered stealing to take donations. I stole my ass off. Before it was all over it was like the song Bad Man from the Repo Man soundtrack. “…guess how many ties? Shit, I dunno myself. Must be 23 at least, and you better believe they’re all silk”.
I was fired after 3 months when I left work to take a typing test with the state employment service.
13) 1994-1995 ($7-$8/hr); Working for Harris Publications I telemarketed Alumni directories, and later J.C. Penny Accidental death and dismemberment insurance. This is the job that I first started taking ephedrine at. Six a day. Plus unfiltered cigarettes. I was laid off after 8 months when the contract ended. I lived it up on unemployment insurance for 6 months.
14) 1995-1996. ($7/hr); I worked as a dispatcher for a place I seem to remember being called “Bell Labs”. I was basically a breathing day planner for technicians who fixed Xerox equipment. I was a pro at the computer system, and then they went ahead and changed the system to something very complex and confusing. I was there for a year. I quit when I was hired at Motorola.
15) 1996. ($8/hr); I was hired at Motorola to work in the Photo department of their MOS 3 clean room. It was a hard and terrible job. It consisted of setting containers of silicon wafers on one end of a conveyor and taking them off at the end. The terrible part was that each container had 50 wafers, each machine had three conveyors, I had to run 10 machines, and the machines were NEVER SUPPOSED TO STOP. I was running around like a madman with this job, yet when I did manage a spare second or two (literally) I’d write. I wrote a 70-page novella there. I was Laid-off with a thousand other people after only 2 months and three weeks. The rule was that in order to stay, you had to have been there 3 months or longer.
16) 1996 ($6.50/hr); I took a five month vacation in which I got a girlfriend, hung out, drank and lived off unemployment. Great fun. Too bad I was running out of unemployment funds. Through Manpower, I got a job in the IBM prep dept. It was simple as sin parts packaging and assembly work. The contract ended two months later, three days before Christmas.
17) 1997. ($5.50/hr); I got a temp job with the Comptrollers office, calling delinquent taxpayers. I got frustrated with the always-broken computer system and quit after 6 weeks.
18) 1997. ($7/hr); Through a temp company I get a job at Dell computer on the assembly line. I was there for two weeks, when I complained about something, and was blacklisted from further employment with that temp company.
At this point I’m dead broke and hopeless, when I miraculously hear that Motorola was hiring. They were supposed to have called back the laid off employees first, but they forgot about me.
19) 1997-1999. ($8-$12/hr); I’m placed in Motorola’s MOS 2 ion implant area, where I develop a great expertise with the machines and processes. I can honestly say that I was the most versatile and hardest working employee in the department. I’m fired when I take my break in the maintenance area. The maintenance supervisor lies and says he caught me sleeping. I spent the whole time at Motorola in a clean-room outfit whose hood was too small to fit my dreadlocks.
20) 1999 ($10/HR); I should have just ridden out the unemployment, but I took a job with a temp company that sent me to Applied Materials, where I was put to work on assembling Semiconductor etch machines. These were huge machines that I got no training on putting together. I was supposed to watch and imitate, but I wasn’t assigned a trainer. The boss told me I had 2 weeks to learn it, or I’d be fired. I saved them the trouble and quit after a week.
21) 1999-2000 ($9/hr); I work in the photo department of Multek (which makes printed circuit boards). My job is production of film, and machine maintenance. I work with an older guy named Cesar who at one time was a guerilla fighter in Guatemala . Cesar teaches me how to use the internet, so you can indirectly blame him for this blog. The manager was a prick, and the company seems to be on shaky legs, so I quit when I get a job at BOC Edwards semiconductor cleaning services.
22) 2000-2001 ($11-$13/hr); I’m kicking ass at BOC, cleaning semiconductor tool parts. I am the BEST that they have. My boss tells me to slow down before I burn myself out. BOC buys out a struggling company named Kachina, for their facility, and it becomes BOC Kachina. They go from a 10 man operation that’s making a profit, to a hundred person operation (in Austin ) that’s failing. I’m laid off in 2001, and enjoy unemployment for 5 months.
23) 2001-2002 ($9.50/hr); I cover my dreads and tattoos and get a job as a Security Guard at the State mental hospital. Unfortunately the uniform is short sleeved, and I wasn’t allowed to wear a hat, so my ex-army supervisor canned me a week short of my 6 month probation. He couldn’t fire me for looking strange, so he fired me for “stealing”. The stealing was actually me writing on my log that when I was making a round of a building, I borrowed a book from the bookshelf (yes, employees were allowed to borrow books). Everybody I worked with that I told, cried bullshit.
At this point I am seriously considering trying for an SSI psych disability. I’d been diagnosed as bi-polar2 and schizo-affective, and had been on medication for almost 10 years.
24) 2003 ($12/hr); I move to Mississippi because my parents (who retired there) tell me that Nissan has built a plant there. After 6 months of applications, psycho-training, and bullshit brainwashing, I get a job. It starts out ok, but then they go into full production. There are too many parts to put on in 2 1/2 minutes per vehicle. My job is to: Take parts and enter back of Quest minivan, where I a) put parts down, b) attach cooling lines and clamp, c) attach heater hose lines and clamp, d) place rear quarter pillar, e) place rear seatbelt and screw bolts in loosely, f) jump out and grab air guns, g) Jump in and pneumatically screw in bolts (3 seatbelt, 4 other), h) add garnish, i) jump out and replace air guns in holders.
Keep in mind that I had to do this in 2 1/2 minutes, all day, and that because of an engineering error, the top seatbelt bolt bracket was awkwardly threaded, and required a drill and tap every other time. I developed DeGuervans tendonitis, and was eventually fired when I left sick. They claimed that I’d abandoned my job. I have all the paperwork to prove my case if any of you would like to see it.
These people are posing for a newspaper photo at the end of the line, thus, not busting ass.
25) 2003-2004. ($25/per); I landed a column at the Jackson Mississippi alt-weekly, The Planet. I pissed off a lot of people with my angry rantings.
26) 2003 ($8/hr); I get a temp job, cleaning up the new Nissan paint facility. It was dirty work in which we had to clean a newly constructed 3-storey building to hospital standards. It seemed impossible to me, and damned silly, so I quit after a month.
27) 2004 ($7/hr); I was actually supposed to start this one in December of 2003, but I got stabbed in the back during a fight with two guys. I started 2 weeks later at Tectronix. It was a cell phone refurbishing company. I was a diligent employee who managed to out-produce everyone except an older Chinese man named Liu Guang Jun. We became buddies despite him not speaking English. He was the only other employee there worth a shit, as we were the only ones who came up with constructive solutions to problems. Later other Chinese came in, and could translate. I was told that Mr. Lu respected me a lot, and thanked me for teaching him the process so well so he could help his people. When I left he, and a nice Chinese girl gave me good luck figurines that they signed for me to take on my trip. This was the first job that I got a reference from.
28) 2004. ($8/hr); I move back to Austin and get a job at GM customer service through a temp company. The database was not centralized, and I felt that it was too much pressure, so I quit after the 5 weeks of paid training.
29) 2004. ($9/hr); I temp into a job building machines that dispense creamer and flavor for coffees. I was only there 2 weeks. We were told in a meeting to keep the building secure. We were not to badge anyone in who didn’t have a badge. The next day, I was coming in from a break and the door closed behind me, and then bounced open (it was supposed to lock by magnet), someone came in through the door. I was fired for letting him get in.
30) 2004-2005. ($8/hr); the same money I was making in Austin in 1996. I look for work as a security guard because I figure I’ll be by myself, and less likely to encounter bosses. I’m hired at Executive Security Systems to watch an apartment complex with 10 buildings with 24 units per building. I start out in the summer in a truck, and eventually end up the next summer in a golf cart. It’s not the greatest neighborhood, and there are lots of gunshots at night. While I was there, the following interesting things happened. Someone took a shit in the pool. I was expected to make children behave. I was called a “Rent-a-cop ass bitch”. I foiled a car theft.
I was the only guard that stayed for any length of time. The other guards left after a month at most. I must admit that I got apathetic at the end. I spent a lot of time in the activities center, either sleeping or watching cable TV. I think they were getting better jobs. Right before I quit to do my current job, I looked through the paychecks at the office. I was getting paid less than anyone else.
31) 2005-2006 ($10/hr); I apply to the Texas Attorney General’s office, and am hired as a Security Guard at the Child-support Enforcement office in Austin. It starts out bad because I’m working under this ex-cop woman who is so conservative and southern that I feel like she sees me as having a bone through my nose and a slab of watermelon in my hands. I wear a uniform, and as such I might as well have a target printed on a baseball cap so the angry fathers can avoid making me suffer too badly when they go on their rampage.
I sit at a desk all night, clear errors from a screen that tells me that doors are opening and closing all night all over the state. I have no idea what is an emergency, or a break-in, or a glitch, but I am responsible for knowing the difference. As time goes by, I start producing some pretty graphic mini-comics, with the help of a guy in the printing office. Eventually I make a mistake and leave a photocopy of a naked woman in the laser-printer one night. By the next morning my net-search history has been thoroughly combed over. I am met at the door when I go in by an upper-management security guy who has a look on his face like he’s horny to hit me with a crowbar. He takes my badge, and put’s me on administrative leave pending investigation.
32) 2006 ($11/hr); I spend one 12-hour shift in a textile mill, winding plastic netting onto a spool as it’s spit out in a non-stop wave from a huge moaning machine. I cut it when the roll reaches a certain weight, start a new spool, test the thickness of the netting, search in vain for someone that speaks English to help me, and the rest of the Lucy Ricardo-type laugh-a-minute hilarity. 12 hours was more than enough for me. I quit that job with the embarrassment that only a person that begged to be hired can experience.
This leads us to my current gig. Number 33, not counting my college summer jobs. Looking at this list, it actually makes me wonder what other people’s real resumes look like. I makes me wonder if I am as big a fuck-up as I think I am, or if other people are just better liars.