I started working early, barely past 16, primarily in order to buy my own clothes at Contempo Casuals. Thinking back upon all those positions that let me earn money while developing my craft makes me realize that it all led to writing erotic romance.
Here are a few highlights:
1) Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory
My first job in high school was working fast food. A cheesesteak shop may seem hip and glamorous if I had lived in, say, Philadelphia. In cow-town California, it was an odd choice. But, we made some awesome waffle fries and I discovered that wearing contacts shielded my eyes from the cry-fest caused by cutting onions.
Oh, and making out in a backseat of a car can be a lot of fun.
2) Selling T-Shirts in a Tourist Trap
Sure, Laguna Beach looks all glamorous in reality TV shows, but how about handling a busload of tourists, with a broken cash register, a half-hour before closing? Oh, and would you mind walking $3,000 in cash down Main Street to the night-deposit dropbox? Side benefit: Helping hunky stars such as Ray Liotta and having him comment on how hot your dress was (yes, that was me).
Oh, and making out in stockrooms can be quite cushy.
3) Secret Lingerie Holiday Rush
There’s nothing like desperation to make men spend money. The closer it got to Christmas, they more they were willing to shell out for the perfect gift. I sold three $300 robes, and was not asked back to stay after the season finished. Top complaints: I looked for extra stock in the stockroom too much. Yes, they do have it in back. The managers just don’t want to open to room to get it. And, although I was told that there wasn’t a length requirement for the mandatory skirts, I was sent home for wearing a too-short mini. Trust Issues: Management spot-checked employee purses every time an employee left the store. As if I’m going to steal a pair of panties.
First Glimmer of BDSM: Overhearing a male customer and his teenage son commiserate that, “Let’s ask the girl (referring to me). If she doesn’t know, we’ll whip her.”
4) College Newspaper Staff
So this is where the “real” experience comes in. You gain firsthand knowledge in multiple subjects. Wild parties, drinking and experimentation – plenty of extracurricular activities in college.
Making out in darkrooms late at night = totally awesome.
5) Entry-Level Editor at Automotive Magazines
With a ratio of five women for about 100 men, the odds of hooking up continued to shine. Free bathing suits, along with a salary … and all-expenses paid trips to watch hot racecar drivers. Wait. Why did I ever leave that job? Oh, yeah: Never a female editor in the 25+ years of the company.
Mmmm – Greater appreciation for men. All types of men.
Bonus: Reporter Covering Rock & Roll
Oh, baby – that’s a whole ’nother blog. If only I had the confidence that I do now. Hanging backstage introduced me more to the beauty of bi-dom.
What have you learned on job along the way?