15 years ago I had left an awful job.
The kind of experience that leaves you doubting your own self-worth and place in the universe. I spent a bit of time at home – wondering what I should do next, and hoping it would be something spectacular (within a year it was).
While plotting, I took a few contracts here and there. Cementing my ideas of what I never wanted to do again, and still looking for the right thing. I had no money.
And my car was dying. Mysterious things were happening to it and it obviously needed some attention. Prepared for a week of perhaps not as much food as I would like I took it to the service station for a look.
The people at the service station told me cheerfully how much it would cost to fix, and I said – ‘um – you better just let me have it back then and I’ll roll it home’. They said – ‘you want a job?’.
Hard to refuse an offer like that when it is given to you and you don’t have another immediate option – and it will fix the car that you have only just admitted you can’t afford to fix otherwise….
I worked for 4 weekends (maybe more), doing the (apparently) plumb morning shift as the chick behind the register. I stole chocolate and ate it whenever I wanted to as my revenge. I flirted with everyone who walked in the door. I thrilled at how much money they took in – and how I was the one who sent it through the mysterious shute that led to the subterranean vault. It’s true – there was a subterrantean vault – or so they told me.
Nobody relieved me for any breaks – I had to lock the door and make a mad toilet dash, while all the petrol bowsers were locked – resulting in more than one falling incident and a gash in the forehead (sad but true). On returning to my perch there would be angry motorists banging on the windows – red faced and pissed off that nobody was pressing the button to start their petrol flowing.
One weekend 2 dangerous criminals escaped from custody and were at large in my city. I kept my hand on the emergency buzzer and one ear to the radio for my whole shift. I was fairly sure they would be walking in my door. They didn’t. I still can’t get over how they didn’t know how terrified I was, and magnetically make a beeline for my place of work. They didn’t get to witness my carefully rehearsed reaction to their entrance…. I am grateful for that.
The highlight of this brief employment was a training session at the metropolitan fire department where we got to dress up in heavy duty equipment, see how one pocket lighter can explode setting an average house on fire in no time at all. Learn the dangers that mobile phones are near a source of fuel, and see a map of what lies beneath a petrol station.
Oh My God.
All I can say – is that we were advised by a professional that should you see a fire, the best advice is to lock the doors and RUN FOR THE HILLS, calling the fire department if you have a phone box a reasonable distance away…. Shortly thereafter I quit.