Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How To Get Fired From Being A Dishwasher

Recession or Depression? People within the media are not quite sure how to label our current economic climate. Some say we’re on the rebound while others say a meltdown of epic proportions is just around the corner. Either way, who among us doesn’t like a little extra cash? Exactly.

Like most artists I know, actually ALL artists I personally know, I’m not blue chip status, and the economy has obviously affected my livelihood. So for the past few months I have been, brace yourself, looking for a part time job! I know.

It pains me to even type it. But in order to keep the “ Musser Train of Dreams ” on track, I have to supplement my income as an artist.

Reality Check
Ever dusted off your resume after a 5 year run of living your dream and realized that 99% of prospective employers and job recruiters are going to categorize you as some stoner, hipster jackass, who hasn’t been doing a damn thing since the start of W’s second term.
Basically this guy:



Yeah good times. So with a little help (thanks Janelle) I jazzed up my resume and applied EVERY WHERE I thought would be applicable. I even applied to places I thought I would probably hate after 1 day. Like I said, just a part time gig to carry me through. But as you can imagine, experience as a painter doesn’t prepare you for much, aside from being a painter. I know I could wait tables, tend bar, work at office max etc; the challenge is convincing people that you have viable job skills outside of making pictures.

But now that I have a kick ass opportunity painting murals with world renowned John Pugh** I can talk all the shit I want about the place I was fired from, hence the purpose of this post.

And by the way, Home Depot, hi. Remember me?
Why haven’t you called? After the all the passion filled nights we shared. You even told me you cared for me. Was it something I said?

Ok seriously, I’m not qualified to work at your company? Really?

With exception of one person (Hi Omar) EVERYONE I have ever encountered at your store has been just above a donkey on the intelligence scale. Or my personal favorite, the “Donkey smarts+reformed gang banger who found Jesus while in the joint, “ combination.

“I’m sorry to disturb you Little Puppet, you obviously look busy discussing the perils of sin with your coworker, nice tear drop tattoo by the way, but I need to find Clear Douglas Fur 2 x 4’s.

What’s that you don’t know much about wood, that’s fine I just need to know where they are. Yes, I know it’s here somewhere, I just need to know where, it’s a big place. Never mind, I’ll find it myself.”

And yes, I actually took part in this conversation the last time I was in Home Depot.

What Rhymes With?
I must be cautious not to reveal the name of the establishment that employed me for a grand total of 10 hours. This is not meant to slander the business, the wine is descent, it’s a small place that needs the business, and most of the people who work there are nice. I need to vent, but I don't want to get sued. So let’s just say this place is located in Midtown Sacramento, it’s close to a cool, well-known coffee shop, and the name of the business rhymes with “Evolution Pine Tar.”

So like most situations in life, I got this job because I knew someone on the inside. One of the managers vouched for, I met the owner, and I was hired as a food runner/busser/whatever. Small hourly wage, 3-4 days a week, share of the tips, with potential to grow, and no bullshit stress to take home. And learning to wait tables is a skill I can use anywhere I go. Plus Evolution Pine Tar (EPT for short) is less than 2 minutes from where I live.

Perfect right?

Bait & Switch

Most of my first shift was spent placing silverware inside napkins, then folding that napkin a certain way, and placing my creation inside a basket. It was extra slow for a Thursday, so I didn’t do much food running, but what little I did do, I did it well.

I even smiled at customers, which for any of you that know me, is not the norm. But since it was so slow, they sent me home and told me to come in Saturday, which for most places is the busiest night.

Saturday arrives, I’m early, and jump right into a flurry of bussing, food running etc! Right around the 90-minute mark, it slows down, so I ask my manager what I can do to stay busy.

She replies, “You can do some dishes real quick.”

No problem. But here is where it gets weird.

As I’m suiting up to do dishes, the manager comes in and explains that business lately has been kind of the slow, with the new move and all, and the hours for me to work in the front, just aren’t there; one or two days a weeks just isn’t worth it, and I agree.

However the dishwashers, a pair of identical twins, one of whom I believe was named Jenny and by their stupid haircuts, I suspect both of them to be lesbians, not like it matters, just making an observation.

Anyhow, the lesbian haircut twins are leaving the weekend after next, and the dishwasher position will be available, 18-20 hours a week, plus tips, and once business in the front picks up, I can transition back to what I was originally hired for.

Again, it’s just a side job and washing dishes in fucking easy.

Or so I thought.

90 minutes after my shift begins, the manager thanked me for jumping in feet first then departs for the night. I do normal dishing wash stuff and when it’s time to close up, I assist the Carl, the cook, with closing down the kitchen etc.

While I’m walking home I think, “Well that degree from SAIC has served me well. All those sleepless nights, busting my ass to get my assignments perfect, and not going on dates or having sex have really paid off. “

But then I thought, “Stop whining. You have a job asshole. Millions of people are unemployed, you have a clear passion/career path with room to grow, you needed a part time job and you got one.”

Could You, Like, Be More Enthusiastic?

Now I’m not scheduled to work until the weekend after next, but as that weekend gets closer, I remember I have something planned with the family, and to cancel on my folks at the last minute is a-hole move; besides this event was planned long before I had the gig at E.P.T.

So I place a call to my manager (she didn’t pick up so I left a voicemail) 7 days prior to me shift and explain why I won’t be there Saturday. I will however be there Thursday and Friday and would be willing to work an earlier shift on Saturday, or even work all day on Sunday. Seems I have all my bases covered, so I sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee at Pete’s on 20th & J and notice that I have a voice message…the call must have come in while I was riding my bike. I punch in my password, and this is what awaits me, ver-fucking-batim:
"Hi Jeff it's S****** from Evolution Pine Tar.Thank you for giving me a call, I actually, I don't know if you remember but I have the girls this weekend, it's their last weekend.Um, however I/we did speak with Carl for a little bit.And, um I just, I can just tell that you're kinda not stokedand enthusiastic about doing the dishes.And I need someone that can really bust their butt!Not saying that you can't, but I just don't think it's going to work out!I have the office HR lady is cutting a check for you, so you are welcome to come by at any point after tomorrow to get that.And if the back waiter thing ends up working out, and we end of getting busier and I have hours, I'll totally give you a callAnd if I hear anything else, I'll keep my ears open.And if you need a reference definitely have somebody call me.Enjoy your weekend and give me a call if you have any questions."

Yep.

I listened to the voicemail again and on the second time around I actually took the phone away from my ear and looked at it, like somehow the phone itself had come alive and told me to go fuck myself.



I Cleans Them Dishes Good Fo You Massa!

Let me get this straight, you’re letting me go, not because I washed the dishes incorrectly, or you caught me taking a whiz in the soup, or because I walked out in the middle of a shift because, you know, who the fuck wants to be an over 30 dishwasher? You’re letting me go because I don’t seem “enthusiastic” about washing dishes?

It’s dishes you asshole!

WHO THE FUCK IS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT WASHING DISHES?

How I supposed to washing dishes enthusiastically?


“Yes Sur Massa, I sure am glad fo this opportunity to make dishes clean fo yall this evening!

Look how jazzed I is...I’m a so happy that the wine glasses are clean, I made up this tap dance routine fo ya!




Here is another question, when and how did you make this keen observation? During my 8+ hours of washing dishes, you and I only shared the same space for 90minutes, remember you went home early? In that 90 minutes your time was spent: making cornbread muffins, complaining that you should have never quit bartending at the “prestigious” Power House Pub up in Folsom, and attempting to entertain the kitchen staff with the always classy/hilarious,

“ What do you call a black guy that...” jokes.

And yet I’m not working out. Awesome.

Goals & Shit
Whether it’s my apparent lack enthusiasm for washing dishes at a hole in the wall wine bar or my multiple dating disaster stories, I can always count on my friends to laugh with/at me.

Zack: “Only YOU get fired from something like that.”
Mike: “ It has nothing to do with you, they’re just assholes.
But great comedic material!”
Bailey: “ Are serious? –laughetr- Fuck that place, lets vandalize it!
Janelle: “ I don’t know how to respond to that. It’s washing dishes, how could you fuck that up?”

One of the funnier comments came from Josh Fernandez, when he said:

“Dude, you’re just not Mexican enough. They wanted to get rid of you so they could hire some immigrant.”

Me: “ I just needed a side gig for some extra cash. And I only worked 1 fucking shift!”

Josh: “ Yeah but you’re a college educated white guy who has goals and shit.”

*By the way, Josh has a book out right now, go BUY IT!

When your “goals and shit” include FINALLY making work that is true to how you feel, then taking that work to NYC and LA, maybe even a show at the Whitney someday, but you can’t keep a job as a dishwasher, it forces you to rethink you’re purpose, reexamine what you have done with your life, and in my case, only compounds the depression I deal with on a daily basis.

A week after the dishwashing debacle, I was horribly depressed and didn’t leave my apartment for 5 days. No painting, no drawing, no reading, no TV, no change of clothes. I barely ate and only got out of bed to use the bathroom. I was lame/gross/pathetic/stupid all at once. I’m over it now, but at the time it was just One-More-Thing to go wrong in what so far, has been the hardest year of my life.

What brought me out was a text message from my dear friend Sharon. She is ridiculously smart, funny, and the closest thing I have to a sister. I will end this post with her text messages:

“Remember 2007 for me?
A string of bad events just kept on happening one after another.
I felt somewhat helpless but I persisted & kept going on the needed path.
In retrospect, I know I needed that journey to help me realize that I have a reservoir of strength within me that I can dig into whenever it’s needed.
Losing your job is hard but there’s another suited for you.
This state of discomfort you’re experiencing is meant to shake you up.
Keep going but without criticizing and over analyzing yourself.
Yours hands were not meant to touch dirty plates, but to transform canvases."

**The John Pugh thing didn't exaclty work out. Perhaps there is a future blog post about it.

But for now, let's just say I learned that no matter how genuine someone seems, no matter how great an opportunity it appears to be, even if they were once a sruggling artist themselves, hand shakes don't mean shit. Also, if I had a vagina, I'm sure A certain muralist would've tried to have sex with me.

6 comments:

Josh Fernandez said...

Jesus fucking Christ. This is hilarious.

d-train said...

They can kiss yo ass Jeff, FUCK THEM BITCHES

Rachael said...

Yeah, too bad you weren't Mexican. Equal opportunity is a bitch sometimes. But really... what a fucking joke! She seriously said that? Maybe you shouldn't be the one worried about getting sued...

jazzence said...

This post is especially meaningful considering that I was sent home early today for wearing shorts. It's 100+ outside you dumbfuck and my ass is sweating. Literally I can feel it between my asscheeks. Fuck you APA! I ain't no square peg motherfucker.

Anonymous said...

dishwashing sucks, its brutal, its stressful with chefs screaming stuff at you, done it for 2 yrs now, potwash is brutal you do that, clean everything back areas, bins, but i work in a very big busy place so its probably worser

Anonymous said...

Its an horrible job, the only good side is pay and delaing with cusotmers, and getitng paid standard min imum wage is crap for the amount of work you have to do, I have done this job for 3 yrs now and it sucks, I work hard but it blows, waiters dump plates everwhere they tell you to clear them when it's their job, I work at a busy restaurant, never have breaks as chefs scream at you for plates, It go's on and on, non stop repetitive work, take out the trash come back you have huge pile of pans to wash, It is a very hard job

Always smell like crap whe you get off, I always worked lates mainly, I liked the 11- 6 or the 12-8 shifts, But often late shifts I would never leave till 2am