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Full for seven years
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When I was young and started working I had no idea how to behave at work. My rhythm was off, I was either a forced charming or lack of energy bored. I could not find the middle ground on how to be at the cash register or the hostess stand. My first firing was for not showing up to my shifts on time. My second firing was for coming in to make sandwiches too hungover and an extreme lack of warmth at the sandwich station. My third and final firing was for having a bitchy face and for not walking all the customers past the tortilla making machine. The only reason I do not have a fourth firing, is that while my working life remained inconsistent, I learned when to pull the plug on a job before I got canned.
I am a good worker, it is just that my energy was in flux and I did not really have the will or personality to mask my inner feelings on a not so good day at work. If someone annoyed me then my face told on me and that was clearly communicated to the barely offending person. So job endurance became the problem. I could get a job easily, I could excel at the beginning and be what was needed to fill in the cracks. A real girl Friday, but by Friday I was pretty burnt out and may or may not show up. I had to teach myself to have stamina at the job. To be full of work and still be okay, not hammered down by the day to day.
Since I did not like to do the same thing for long, I would often quit and get a new job. The interviews were the easy part with my ability to sell myself in the moment. One of the first jobs that I excelled at in all areas was when I became a bike messenger in the ’90’s. I was an urban athlete that loved the speed and thrills of the street. I had an Italian road bike and I was fast and cute and free. If I wanted to go on vacation, I could quit one company and when I returned to the city, get another bike job at a new messenger company.
The way that this business was set up, just exactly mirrored my need to change jobs often, and in this community it was no big deal or even expected. So I didn’t exactly fix this part of me, but instead found the right kind of situation. All parts of my life were infused by this type of employment: super cute bike messenger boyfriends, punky Americana band that I fronted as a singer, a great scene with a great zine. Velodrome racing in Vancouver, alleycat races in Toronto and NYC. Long 100 mile rides to nature with a dip in the river as a reward. I even got my dear son Blue during this time. This job, this work, came at the exact right time in the growing of me. It even improved my work stamina. Because everything is easier than a long, cold, rainy winter on a bicycle.

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