Friday, July 4, 2008

Flashback Friday - My First Job(s)


The other day, we were having cake to celebrate our boss' bday, and somehow, we ended up going around the room and talking about our first jobs. I realized later that I didn't really tell them my "true" first job.

I told them about my first "real" job, where you punch a time card, and have an hourly wage and all that. That was for the Pride of L.A. (now defunct), a dinner cruise ship out of L.A. Harbor. We also entertained. I was a cruise ship hostess, as I was not old enough to serve alcohol. But I made a good Julie. I even won Cruise Ship Director of the Year.

But my very first dollars (quite literally, 3 or 4 dollars - I can't remember now) were earned singing at an after-show club in Santa Cruz. Next, I won $50 at a singing contest. And then I hit the big 3-digits doing Fiddler on the Roof in San Francisco. It didn't nearly make up what my dad spent in gas, driving me back and forth from our home in Santa Cruz, but I relished in being able to call myself a "professional." I was 9 at the time.

I think I next earned money as an actor on "The Judge." This was before Judge Judy; based on real cases, but all manufactured and neatly summed up in one half-hour. It became a running joke around actors I knew back then. Pretty much everyone I know had "The Judge" on their resume at one point or another. In fact, you knew you'd made it to the next level when you could take it off!

But let's face it. Those weren't real jobs. My first real job was on The Pride of L.A. I worked on it starting the summer before my senior year, until it made its way around the Harbor the very last time on New Year's Eve 1990. The pay wasn't great, but the memories certainly are! Mostly, I just remember the click tracks that we sang to, and certain songs remind me of the bands that played for dancing after dinner: "What I Like About You," "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang...all those dance classics. I remember late nights while everyone cashed out, helping make the schedules, kvetching about certain guests, people freaking out that they didn't make enough tips for the night.

I was lucky. I was still living at home, and the job was just pure fun for me. Looking back, I can see why everyone else was so much more stressed than I was! But I'm glad my first experience was so great...although it did make it harder to deal with other jobs later that weren't such a great atmosphere.

If that had been today when that ship closed, we'd all have exchanged emails, cell phone numbers and started a group on Facebook or something. Now, they're all just distant memories; home numbers long since changed, most likely. I don't think that's such a terrible thing, though. I think some memories are meant to stay just that. Because there's no way I could survive on what I made back then today! I mean, how would I pay for my DSL?

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Anonymous said...

That is such a nice story. My first real job was as a cashier at a movie theater in a trendy section of Pittsburgh called Shadyside. The Shadyside movie theater is long gone, but the memories stay forever. I saw Easy Rider there (for free of course), worked the concession stand too once in a while and ate popcorn until I would burst(butterd, SLATHERED in butter of course) and I was actually robbed...had to go to court to identify the guy and everything. All for $1.00/hr. Man, those were the 'good old days'!

MarĂ­a said...

I LOVE Fiddler on the Roof!!!


Jen said...

Real or not, getting that paycheck for a performance job is just the greatest!

Glad you had a great time with your first "real" job, too.

Unknown said...

What a fabulous first real job, awesome memories.

I was a cheese girl. So G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S, I know :)