First job.

Monday, May 14, 2012

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As I begin my new job today (!!!), I was reminiscing about my very first real job - and just how far I've come. It was in Chicago, where once upon a time, I was as part-time nanny for a family in a very ritzy neighborhood close to my school. I was just excited to be working, so I probably jumped at the opportunity a little too quickly. But for the first few weeks, it was a great job.

There were lots of positives. It was only a short bus ride away, paid pretty well, and allowed me the opportunity to explore the city as I chauffeured the kids to their many activities (karate, tutoring, play therapy... you know, the usual). :)

But there were also some negatives. Like the fact that the way-too-old-for-this boys would walk around naked more often than not... eating sushi naked, playing video games naked, doing their homework naked. I mentioned it to their mom once, and she just brushed it off as not being a problem. Then there was the fact that I would shop for their groceries, make dinner while the mom sat in the kitchen playing computer games and critiquing my cooking, and I even had to hand wash her underwear from time to time. It was feeling less and less like a "nanny" position as time went on.

But it was a job. And like any job, it had its ups and downs. After about 9 months of this, though, I'd had enough. I was spending less and less time with the kids and more and more time in the kitchen and laundry room, even though they also employed a full-time housekeeper. And all the while, the mom would be soaking in a bubble bath or hovering over my shoulder. She never left. Not exactly my idea of a good time.

So I turned in my two weeks notice, confident I'd be able to find something better. There are always nanny jobs available in the city, and I had a feeling I could land a slightly better situation than this one.

At first, my boss was just angry. She let me know in very plain terms that there's no way I'd find another job where I was paid and treated so well. :) But after this initial outburst, things between us seemed to improve - and she even told me the next day, "We want to have a going away party for you."

I was slightly skeptical, but excited that she had even thought of such an idea on her own. She even mentioned that she would have my "favorite cake."

So the day of the party arrived and I was asked to come at 2pm. After knocking a few times with no answer, I let myself into a totally empty apartment. I walked into the kitchen to find a box of dark chocolate cake and a note saying that they would return at 4pm to make sure I had plenty of time to make my cake and decorate the apartment with the streamers on the table.

I couldn't believe it. But I went ahead and made my own cake anyway, which was not my "favorite" considering I don't even like chocolate. I left the streamers on the table, fearing that I would be obligated to stay after and clean up after my own party.

The family arrived half an hour later than expected and found me sitting at their kitchen table, staring at my own dark chocolate cake. They hustled into the kitchen and the mom hardly looked at me as she said, "Sorry, but we just don't really have time to celebrate today. Boys, say goodbye."

And I think I can officially say that was the most awkward moment of my life. Me, her, two distracted boys, and a freshly baked cake.

The boys said goodbye and we gave hugs, then I turned to her and said, "Thanks so much for everything," and put my arms around her to hug her. She remained stiff as a board, her arms hanging by her side as I hugged her. Awesome.

I put the keys on the table next to my own cake, smiled, and headed out the door with the hugest sigh of relief that I would never had to enter that building again.

So here's to hoping my new job will be nothing like my first! I mean, it can only get better from there, right? :)

Do you have any fun first job stories? I'd love to hear!

PS - Thanks to my sweet, sweet husband who was sneaky enough to break into the blog yesterday to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. I love him.

25 comments:

  1. This is an awesome, if not befuddling, story. I'm impressed you stayed as long as you did. Wishing you many wonderful experiences at your new job! Congratulations!

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    1. Congrats to you, too, on graduation!! Woohoo!!!

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  2. What a great story... but seriously, awful! Reminiscent of Nanny Diaries a bit, yes? Crazy. Best of luck on your newest endeavor!

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  3. First jobs seem to have a certain theme to them. I was a hostess at IHOP, and the people I would come across...let's just say that they were a little much. Of course, it didn't help that the first day I got locked in the refrigerator and I banged on the door and yelled for close to 20 minutes. But you're right. After those interesting first jobs, things can only look up. =] Congrats on your new job. I'll be praying that it will be a great experience.

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  5. I worked as a Nanny in a Chicago Suburb! Reading your post brought back so many...interesting...memories from that job.

    Good for you in keeping your cool!

    Eat Cake

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  6. Oh. My. Goodness. That is just ridiculous!!! Ahh!! I hope I never have that kind of experience...I'll definitely learn from yours and be more careful in accepting a job!

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  7. this is straight from an awful dream.
    how have i not heard this before?!!

    love you! happy 1st day of work...and yes...it can only get better from here!!!

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    1. haha thanks girl! the first day went so well! :)

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  8. I'm currently a nanny, and have been for the past 5 years. My current position is much like yours, except in a small city where one doesn't usually find such situations. People ask me all the time what the mom does and my answers of nothing or online shopping usually receive large gasps. I live with them, need to stay in town for school, and love the 4 children as my own, so I keep telling myself I can make it until I start student teaching this December.

    Love your blog!

    Sarah
    http://dilemmasofasinglegirl.blogspot.com/

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  9. Phew ... I was afraid you were going to say the boys showed up naked to have your favorite cake. Crazy first job.

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    1. HA! that would have made the story even better!

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  10. Great story.
    One of my first jobs was also as a live-in nanny.
    I loved it, and they DID have a party for me when I left!

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  11. Wow...nanny nightmares! I thought that kind of stuff only happened in books and movies. :-/ Here's to a new job full of wonderful experiences! And just remember on those days when you have those incredibly tough patients that at least they're not asking you to bake your own cake. Congrats Whitney! And bonus points to Shaun...that post was so sweet!

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  12. That belongs in a "Why I Became a Nurse" book :) My first "real" job (besides babysitting and housecleaning as a teenager) was working as the "pansy picker" or "flower girl" for a landscaping company. Of about 10 men. Yeah, it was really interesting for this girly girl 17-year-old at the time. Burps, cursing, hard rock in the truck...it was interesting. But they tried to treat me with respect (well, most of them...there were some problem guys). Basically, I went around in the truck with the crew from 6A-3P Monday thru Friday for two weeks, deadheading pansies and doing odd jobs. After two weeks, all of the flowers were plucked, and they didn't really have anything left for me. It was an interesting, eye-opening job. Looking back now, I'm glad I survived!

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  13. 1. I really like your blog, stories like that make you shake your head and say a prayer under your breath for what each new day holds in store.

    2. Hope your first day of work went well!

    3. My first job was working in a mobile corn dog stand that would make appearances at summer carnivals around local small towns in Ohio. I was 15 and trying to raise money for a mission trip to Mexico. I was awful at making small talk with my boss, had never seen fried cheese on a stick, and probably didn't sell more than a Pepsi in 3 days. After that short stint I was not called back for the next carnival a week later. And that was okay by me.

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    1. hahaha... that is the funniest first job ever. :) I love it!

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  14. ha! i remember this one! i think it happened that first summer i met you. still so unbelievable!

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    1. it was!! I was living in their apartment that summer while they were overseas!

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  15. I have been following your blog for about a month now and I really enjoy your posts! I am praying that your job goes well and much more than you could imagine.

    I attent Southern Seminary and winter breaks are super long. I was looking on the school's bulletin for jobs and applied for a house cleaning job, one day a week for about 8 hours. The pay was just what I needed.

    By the second week they had me working 2 twelve hour days a week, decorating their house for Christmas, cooking dinners every night, and even made me stay and watched their sick child while they went to work, they owned there own business. The worst was I wanted to go to a family reunion in Nashville for the weekend and asked off. They said yes then called saying they really needed me to clean their business. I stayed, instead of going home, and they let me go the next day or so after.

    Not as rough as yours though!
    Love your blog!!

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    1. oh my... sounds so familiar. lots of power plays! glad you survived!

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  16. Oh my, what an experience that must have been! I hope your new job brings you blessings and encouragement!
    Currently, I work with children at my grandfather's fitness facility. It is a lot of fun to play with the kids and see the different personalities of each individual child, but I definitely run into challenges at times. I am so grateful to have a job though, and to be able to help our family business in the process!

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  17. Even though I remember hearing this story right after it happened, I STILL cannot believe it. Crazy woman, that lady was. Haha. Man. I'm so glad you wrote it all down though- so funny in rear view. Love you.

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  18. I keep thinking about how you call him/her Lil' E. If the baby turns out to be a girl, you can call her Lilly!

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  19. Oh my word! That's crazy! I'm a nanny right now and it's just as crazy/stressful as yours was in different ways. I've been with them a year since I gave them a commitment to do that but I'm so excited that I'm looking for a new job now!!! (Problem is, my hubby's now applying for jobs in a different city - which I'm so excited about - but that means I have to wait until we have a better idea of when we're moving before I start looking up there) Sometimes I just love hearing other people's nanny craziness so I don't feel so alone. :-)

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