My daughter Chloe is dying to get her first job. She does some work for her mother on different social media platforms but hasn’t yet obtained a job in which she fills out a tax form and gets a schedule.
When I was in high school, my first official job I had was at the Carmike 10 movie theater. Two of my buddies worked there at the time.
I remember going in for the interview wearing shorts. I had no idea that was something you don’t do. I remember the woman who interviewed me, Heather, like it just happened. She asked me questions for about 45 minutes. Afterwords she said normally they wouldn’t do it, but John vouched for me so she would give me the job. It seems wearing shorts to the interview and having no job experience were both red flags to Heather.
This was back in the era where I had balls and put my defense mechanisms up quickly when I felt was being insulted. (It’s funny I could always dish it out, but could never take it. I’d just get all defensive.) I said, “So why the hell did you spend all that time asking me stuff if you knew you were just gonna hire me because of John? That took forever.” Heather flinched a little bit like she wanted to react with her own opinion on the matter, but used her better judgement, told me when my first day was, and I got outta there.
Oh to be young and stupid again.
Speaking of which, John, ‘Stutz’, and I would always go up to the office where the request time off book was located and request all weekends off for as far out as the book went. In the book you had to specify a reason. The three of us were always traveling a lot, going to concerts and sporting events, putting on charity events, helping friends move, academic bowls, career fairs, milking cows, bungee jumping, etc. At least that’s what Carmike management always thought. As we kept getting every single weekend off with no questions asked we kept coming up with more and more ridiculous reasons and excuses to put in that book. It was like a game of can-you-top-this between the three of us to see who could come up with the best stupid reason that Carmike would believe.
As a result, all three of us had the perfect high school job, working two or three nights a week, Monday thru Thursday. Most of the time we’d all be working together on those days since we requested the same times off. It was basically the high school dream. We got paid $5.15 an hour, with no real responsibilities, and we got to work with our friends. I remember getting two-week paychecks anywhere from 60-120 dollars. My parents were always fine with it because I had a job, and with weekends free the three of us rarely missed ‘a social event.’ We even created a few of them on our own when we’d get our half hour breaks. That’s when the three of us would get in one of our cars, drive around, and smoke weed. I rarely participated but always went along for the trip. Watching Doan and ‘Stutz’ bicker at each other in the front seat over something stupid, like an old married couple, was always priceless.
Three months in Carmike management starting getting wise to our scheme and called us into the office. Heather told us we were all on weekend probation until further notice, meaning we had to work every single weekend for awhile to keep our jobs. I didn’t say anything in the meeting at all. I knew a few minutes in I was just going to quit. I had too much football to watch on Sundays and too many potential weekend’s to spend with the boys that I wasn’t going to let a minimum wage job get in the middle of.
But Doan wasn’t silent.
It was one of the first of many times in my life where I’d get to see just how amazing Doan was in action. I figured when I went into the meeting, and they literally threw the book at us, that the jig was up, they were on to us, and we’ll just see what happens as a result. Doan went into that meeting thinking how dare they question the reasons for my days off. He sat in there for what felt like an hour but was probably only ten minutes or so saying ridiculous stuff like, “So you’re gonna penalize my friends and I just because we like to travel?…I mean we gave you plenty of notice…I work my butt off from the time I clock in until the time I clock out, why is that more important on the weekends? You’d think that’d be appreciated anytime you can get it, whether it’s during the week or the weekends. Do you know I have to do some of the jobs your managers do because they don’t know how to do it properly? I train them sometimes during the week, and they’re above me…you should take that into consideration when I take a weekend off…which I give you plenty of notice about by the way…”
He could just go on and on and on. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d witness many more conversations like that involving Doan in my life. And he never let me down.
Driving home that night, I knew I’d probably never show up for another shift at the Carmike again. When I got a home I got a call from one of the guy managers from the Carmike. I forget his name, but he was present at the time of our meeting, but had barely said a word. I hadn’t said much either. The persuasion of Doan had prompted him to give me a call at home. The next weekend I had requested off to go to a school choir concert competition. He had simply called to ask if I really needed that time off to do so. Doan had clearly at least put some doubt in this guy’s mind as to if all of our requests off were legit or not. But I still didn’t have it in me to keep going with it, so I simply told him no.
Doan and I quit, but Stutz stayed on and became a weekend warrior for awhile. Sometimes we’d see him when a bunch of us decided to go to a movie on a Saturday night. Oddly enough, when I talked to him he’d always tell me I’m was still on the schedule. Whoever was doing it hadn’t gotten word that I had quit. I thought about just showing up over there on a day I was scheduled a few weeks later just to see what would’ve happened. But I didn’t. Now I wish I would’ve. It probably would’ve been the perfect icing on the cake to the story of my first high school job.