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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Pee Test (my first NYC Job)

The Pee Test

I made my way into a major chain restaurant to apply for my first NYC job.

It was still under construction. Over the sounds of chainsaws and hammering I asked for an application. I sat in the entryway next the the giant NOW HIRING! sign, in a fold out chair and filled out the application.


The man had given me a small short pencil to use, like the ones you keep score with when playing mini golf. Once I had finished I was called inside for an interview.

The manager on duty, Alfonzo, introduced himself. We sat in a booth and he asked me a bunch of generic questions. Had I ever waitressed before? "Nope, but I'm sure I could pull it off," I explained, as I smiled and acted charming.

Twenty minutes later, he told me I was hired but I first had to pass the drug screening.

I needed to get the results in by 1 PM the next day. I was handed a bunch of paperwork and pee test stickers with directions to the nearest lab.

It was only my third day in the city and I didn't know how to use the subway yet, let alone find streets in Brooklyn.

I ventured out into the street holding my directions, and asked strangers along the way to point me in the right direction. When I finally reached the building, it was a run down first floor lab and the door was propped open with a brick.


I walked into the waiting room and everyone stared me down.

I was the only white person for blocks.

At the end of the room was a glass divider. Behind it sat a woman who glanced up, rolled her eyes and gave me one hell of a look.

"Drug Screening?" she barked at me. "Give me your completed paperwork and SIT down. And we DON'T have any pens."

Luckly I had already filled out my paperwork with the mini golf pencil.

I slipped my papers through the tiny slot in the glass divider and sat down.

Looking around the waiting room I noticed most of the people had papers from the same restaurant. Looked like we were the last batch to be hired.

All of a sudden a large woman screamed my name across the waiting room. She was holding a pee cup in front of her and had an expression on her face that said: Pee in the cup bitch.

When I got to the bathroom I was informed that I needed to leave the door open while I peed. I was so disappointed that I wouldn't be able to swap my pee sample with my friends pee that I had carried there in my purse. I guess people must try that often.

When I finished I carried my cup out to the desk and added it to the collection of cups on the table. Somehow I managed to navigate my way back home, where I microwaved some Oriental flavored Ramen for dinner.

A few hours later I got the phone call confirming my first NYC job. Training would start the next day and last one week before I officially started serving customers. I never realized waitressing was such serious business, but I was employed could start to think of other things like where to get my firsthead shots.

Bank account balance: $58.50

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