Friday Flotsam


succulent heaven

Tell me about your VERY FIRST JOB. (I’m just launching right in.)

I think first jobs are weird. You know on the application when it says, “Must have at least one year of experience – blah blah blah.” And you’re like, “But I’m coming to you so I can GET the experience, ya boob.”

That didn’t happen here. But it could have.

My very first job was not at ALL what you would expect from me. (not that I know what you would expect from me.) It was the early ’90s, and I was living in Hobbs, New Mexico. I was 16 years old. Oh! I’m the same age in this photo as Joey and Dawson and Pacey and Jen. Why does that make me want to cry/punch something?

This job came to me pretty easily – man at church needs administrative help, young jowl-less lassie needs job, man tells jowl-less lassie’s dad about job, dad tells jowl-less lassie about job, jowl-less lassie says, “Okay cool, whatever.” Jowl-less lassie takes job and starts Monday after school.

The end.

my first job!

Just kidding.

It was called PreMac, and I have no idea what that words means. Oh wait, I just looked it up! Precision Measurements and Controls. Obviously.

It was this small-desert-town, teensy office building with filing cabinets and a coffee maker and a typewriter and no computers and a few chairs with wheels on the bottom. Oh, remember those dark brown plastic stackable folders for outgoing and incoming paperwork? We had that! PreMac had something to do with the oil business, I remember. Or, AWL BIDNEH, as we used to say. (because Hobbs.)

My first job was very task and list oriented, which is totally my personality. Do this, check. File that, check. Organize this, done. Order that, on it. Clock out and go see my boyfriend, DONE. You know, tasks.

On top of that, I absolutely adored the two people I worked with. First, my boss, who’s with me in that photo. His name is James Allbright, and he had the most calming baritone voice I’ve ever heard. Sounded like NPR meets a stick of butter on a velvet Slip ‘n Slide. I remember Mr. Allbright (I could never call him James) was unimaginably friendly. Always positive, always calm, always patient, always level-headed. To where you’re like, YOU CAN’T BE REAL.

I also remember he was totally obsessed with Max Lucado. Remember that Christian author from the ’90s? He had his books ERRRRWHERE. And he was always opening up one of his books and talking about building internal strength and happiness. Of course as a 16 year old I was like, “Uhhh, I was just looking for the stapler.”

feet on cow rug

I also worked closely with this tiny-framed, petite woman with GIANT curly hair named Monica. She was AWESOME. A) She was light, bright, animated and cheery. B) Her hair was so tall and round (Hobbs), it had its own gravitational force. and C) Her dark Burgundy lipliner was always juuuust slightly on the outside of her lips, so when she talked, it was like a west Texas version of Lucille Ball. I’d stop some grapes with her!

I remember being so drawn to Monica and her spit-fire force. The bottom half of her body moved around like a magical hummingbird, from chair to cabinet to phone back to chair, marking tasks off her to-do list – while the top half of her body (including hair) was always genuinely interested and focused on me and whatever petty high school drama I was dumping on her. She could call up an airline (no computers) to book a flight, and get a huge discount, simply based on her innocently flirty choice of words. She’d put the phone down, look at me and say, “That’s how ya do it, girl.” Gah, I wish I had a photo of her.

cicada coming out of its shell - NASTY

Throughout high school, I spent every afternoon at PreMac with Mr. Allbright and Monica. 3:30-5:15pm. Filing, making calls, taping boxes, ordering supplies, gabbing with Monica about my boyfriend and her own men drama, organizing paperwork, pretending to be the youngest, jowl-less expert in the AWL BIDNEH. (you know, Hobbs.) Then, the summer after I graduated high school, I spent most every morning at the office, making a little bit more “mad money” for summer fun.

I remember being truly sad to leave that first job. Like, super teary. Saying goodbye to Mr. Allbright and Monica (and her hair) was like leaving a tiny chosen AWL BIDNEH family that genuinely helped shape me. (yes this is horribly cheesy) But really! Looking back, I couldn’t have been given two more dear, patient people to jump into the workforce with. (please don’t punch me.)

I wonder where Mr. Allbright and Monica are today. I miss her hair.

Tell me about your first job! How old were you? Were there computers or internet? Did you have those dark brown plastic stackable folders? I need these details to thrive in my life.

summer feet on tile

Weekend plans?

I have a big photo shoot this morning with a local newspaper involving a cocktail (I’ll post on Stories!), then two recipes to shoot today (one is a cocktail), then brunch tomorrow morning at a farm (uh, more cocktails), then NUTTIN’ after that. Except cocktails. And I don’t even drink cocktails.

Cocktails cocktails cocktails.

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18 Responses to Friday Flotsam

  1. Ali Vizzo June 23, 2017 at 8:09 am #
    My first job was at an event center. They hosted lots of weddings, parties, and meetings. I cleared a lot of dishes, filled a lot of water glasses, served food, and occasionally washed, peeled and cut pounds on pounds of potatoes. It actually ended up being where my husband and I had our wedding reception (10+ years later) and now they're retiring and closing. Great memories there!
  2. Sara June 23, 2017 at 9:15 am #
    My first job was at Dairy Queen when I was 15. The nice older couple that had owned it for years sold it the summer I was hired. That woman only bought it to spite her ex husband, who apparently owned many of the other Dairy Queens in the area. She was constantly disappearing for hours at a time to go shopping (she'd come back with shoes a lot), leaving one or two teenagers alone in the store to figure everything out. Buy my two best friends worked there and my future prom date, so we had a lot of fun.
  3. Sarah June 23, 2017 at 10:03 am #
    My first job was bussing tables at a small dinky local restaurant. I couldn't even make tea correctly for the regulars (old cranky people). And my mom used to drop me off there.Because I couldn't drive yet. Oh! And the cash register. We calculated bills on a calculator and punched it in the register. sigh.
  4. Kimberly June 23, 2017 at 10:15 am #
    My first job was at a Jet Simulation facility. My next door neighbor owned it and told my parents he wanted me to work the front desk. I was 16 and had to wear a flight suit for the first few weeks but then they ordered me a uniform with the epaulets on the shoulders. I was one of the first 5 employees and I worked there thru high school, and I came back every summer in college to work there too. I loved it. Everyone who was obsessed with Top Gun would come in and "fly' our full sized simulators. I'm 40 now but I bet I could still give you the informational pitch. I am still friends with a lot of the guys who worked there, and a lot of them went on to be pilots in real life! The owner had a temper but he loved me so he never punched a wall or yelled when I was there. Also the guys were a little older so they totally bought us our first beers when we were too young to do it ourselves. I grew up at Fighertown. Thank you for asking this so I could take a few moments this morning to reminisce!
  5. Ashlee June 23, 2017 at 10:36 am #
    Random off topic question... How do you clean your pons? Do you clean your pons? I have water marks and a bunch of crud (do people still use that word?) on mine. The sight of them makes me want to cry. Granted, I still wear them like everyday because they are the bees knees.
    • Bev Weidner June 27, 2017 at 7:24 am #
      I just take a wet rag and rub any smudges right off!
  6. Morgan June 23, 2017 at 10:38 am #
    My first real fill out a W-4 job, was as a lifeguard when I was 15. They technically weren't supposed to let me 'guard lives' until I was 16, but I turned 16 in the summer so they let it slide. I ended up working there every summer for 5 years, so I was the youngest employee when I started and the oldest when I finally quit. BUT before that, I started babysitting when I was 12. My mom owned (still owns) an in-home daycare and I got my 'business' from the parents of the children that she watched during the day. I remember the first time, I watched three kids (all under 5!) and got 12 WHOLE DOLLARS. My parents had to drive me to-and-fro, and when I got home I was so excited that my mom took my picture holding up the bills. I did that well into my 20's, but thankfully the dollar amounts increased.
  7. Jami June 23, 2017 at 10:41 am #
    My first job was at a local pharmacy. This is back in the day, 1980, and things weren't so regulated. I got to actually fill the prescriptions, which is scary considering I was 17. My favorite persin there was Lisa. Now Lisa, on occasion, would take a pill or two from the controlled drugs in the safe. I'm not kidding. But she was fun to work with, as you can imagine!
  8. Jami June 23, 2017 at 10:42 am #
    I spelled person wrong. ????
  9. James F. Allbright June 23, 2017 at 10:56 am #
    Beverly, Wow! you are so sweet in your writings of memories at PreMAC. You stirred up great memories of your working there for me too. LOL! It would sure be nice to be as young as that picture makes me look, sure thought i was an older man at the time. I signed up for your blog and look forward to learning more about what you are doing AND TWINS! Really?? COOL BEANS! (that is about as much as i know about food :)).
  10. Amanda June 23, 2017 at 11:21 am #
    My first job was at a pediatrician's office with five doctors. I was a junior in high school and did the co-op program where I left school at 1ish and went to work. I hated it. Hated it. Hated. I was a file clerk with another girl I went to high school with. I just remember all of the women there gossiping and just being, in general, annoying. It definitely wasn't what I thought it would be. During that time I learned, I was not cut out for doctors office work. I can't remember how long I worked there, but it definitely wasn't an entire semester because my teacher struggled with finding something else for me to do when I quit lol Ah memories.
  11. Erin June 23, 2017 at 11:27 am #
    Love this memory invoking post! My first job in 1991, after babysitting neighbors kids for 2$ an hour in the late 80's, was watering plants at a plant nursery. I loved it because I could work on my tan and hi-lites while I brainlessly watered. I also was able to learn all the names of annuals, perennials, small bushes and even roses! The occasional self spritz kept me cool unlike those poor manly teenagers that had to load mulch bags into cars. The two things I remember most were someone telling me I looked like a young Raquel Welch (I couldn't google who that was and had to ask around lol) and my boss teaching me that plants are tougher than people think they are..."handle them like the newborn nurse handles a baby"....ummmm. True but I still disagree;)
  12. Simone June 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm #
    Not including the constant babysitting/nanny jobs I had since I was 9, or being the young administrative help for my dad's side job mowing lawns, my first "real" job was at a car dealership when I turned 14. I started out cleaning on Saturday mornings and advanced to filing - which involved an extremely small room behind the detail department, moving many boxes, and listening to my iPod for a vast majority of the time. I also had my hair cut in a short bob-like do at one point, with the very drastic swoop over one of my eyes. So I was constantly flipping my hair and trying not to trip as I walked through the shop carrying stacks of paper. The shop usually always had some hard rock playing and anytime Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge" would come on, I would take a 3 minute break to sing-along by myself in my little box room. I had a massive crush on one of the mechanic's, who in real life now I would probably think was a big jerk!
  13. Susan June 23, 2017 at 4:08 pm #
    How cool that Mr. Allbright saw your post! SO very cool.
  14. Tina Morrow June 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm #
    At sixteen, I worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop and mostly loved it. My teenage metabolism was pretty cool with those little taster spoons since we had to 'know' what everything really tasted like! Summer evenings were crazy busy but the other employees made it lots of fun. The best part was learning how to decorate the cakes and frozen treats. Somehow, I even mastered cursive writing on birthday cakes because we personalized on the spot. I still adore ice cream, unlike ginger cookies which were part of a later bakery job.
  15. Klara Donovan June 24, 2017 at 1:18 am #
    My first job was working in my Dad's office. He was an electrical contractor and I just did filing when I felt like earning a bit of extra cash. It was dreadfully boring, so I started coming less and less often. Worst employee ever! I became much more responsible for future jobs, naturally.
  16. Christi June 26, 2017 at 12:15 am #
    Oh ma gosh. Memories. My first job was the summer I was 15. I looked older so they had no problem with the age as long as I could get to work on time. It was at Longneckers (who would be sued by Fuddruckers that year for copyright infringement). I was not old enough to "handle" the beer they sold so I mostly expedited the food and worked the register. I remember being entranced by the older teenagers and their stories of drunken summer nights. I also remember stealing bites of cookie dough from the freezer They tried to get me work in the bakery but who wants to show up at work at 4:40 am during the summer??? NOT ME. However the food was great, all of the bread, buns, cookies and brownies were made in house and they also made great milkshakes. I think my dad gained a few pounds visiting me at work that summer.

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