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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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back To The Beginning

When I think back to the beginning I can still sort of remember my natural hair color. Almost.
I was eighteen years old, and full of hope for my future acting career in New York City.
I just knew it wouldn't be long before an agent or director plucked me from the crowd of unknowns and made me a star.
If I can make it here I can make it anywhere right?
Well who'd have thought it would be so effing hard to make it here! Christ!
I had moved to the big city from the small city completely unarmed in life skills and short on money.
In fact, when I got to Brooklyn from Maine, my checking balance was $78.94.
I needed a job.
After some time staring at the walls of my new pad in NYC, I got up the courage to venture to the nearest store.
It was a Duane Read. We didn't have those where I come from. I went outside and took my checkbook to buy toothpaste, shampoo,and Ramen Noodles to last the week.
Duane Read didn't take checks and the dude working looked at me like I was a total retard. "We don't take checks here fashizzle" he told me.
Luckily I had some cash, but after that shopping spree I was down to $70.00 in funds.
Not good.
I hadn't been discovered at the drug store. Not good either....
Since that day almost seven years ago, I have had over eighteen "support" jobs, not including Promo jobs, background work,temp work, and the verysporadic but valued paying acting jobs.
This blog will follow my journey through the good, the bad and the craziness of working crap jobs trying to survive and still have a dream.
So buckle your seat belt and keep your arms and legs inside this blog while reading.