Monday, February 15, 2010

Memoir Monday #1 - Welcome to the Chop Shop

Believe it or not, I was not born in a cubicle.  There was life before the office and I am sure there will be life after the office.  Inspired by Travis over at I Like To Fish I have decided to hop on his ever expanding bandwagon and sometimes replace my usual Manic Monday post with something called a Memoir Monday.  But it will not just be any story about my past.  True to form, all of these posts will be about a job I have held in the past, be it paid or volunteer.

As anyone who is a frequent reader of my blog knows, before I was a cubicle monkey, I worked in a butcher shop.  Yes, an honest to goodness butcher shop.  So how does a teenage girl from the suburbs of Chicago end up working in a place where the main business was hacking dead animals apart?

I'll tell you.

I am an only child.  I have been one my whole life.  And since there is a certain stigma that goes with being an only child (i.e. spoiled brat) my parents did everything in life to keep me grounded.  This included encouraging me to get a job when I came of age.

Five months before my 16th birthday, my mom was shopping at the town's meat market and noticed a sign that they were looking for a dishwasher.  So she talked to the owner about it, and found out he wasn't looking for an illegal immigrant but a high school kid who could come by after school and help clean the place up before it closed for the evening.  I am surprised that no one saw the lightbulb pop on over her head.

That night, at dinner, she asked if I was still interested in becoming a chef.  I said sure.  (My grand plan, oh so many years ago, was to get a degree in business, head to the Culinary Institute of America, and then open my own restaurant.  Ah the dreams of the young...).  So she said she found a job which could help prepare me for the future.

The next day, the two of us were down at the shop, talking to the owner.  The amazing thing is, even though I am a girl, he didn't even hesitate.  He told me to come by around 4 the following Monday.

I was pretty excited.  I mean, here I was, underage, and about to start my first job.  A few of my friends had some babysitting gigs, but this was a real job.  I felt like an adult.  I imagined all the money I would be earning and how I would use it to buy all kinds of cool stuff, like alternative band T-shirts and rounds at Laser Quest.

Turns out, I kind of forgot about the whole "cleaning up at a butcher shop" angle to the job.  On my first day, I wore my school uniform: khaki pants and a navy blue sweater.  Not the best thing to wash dishes in.  But I scrubbed and wiped my way through blood, chicken juice, and bone meal for two hours.

At the end of the day, the boss asked if I thought I would be back tomorrow and I answered "Absolutely."  No pause.  No hesitation.  Nothing.

Where else does a person get to be around that much cool shit outside of a horror movie?  It was perfect for the macabre teenager that I was.

So be prepared for more tales from the Chop Shop - this is just the beginning.

~ The Office Scribe


Travis said...

I am thrilled to have you aboard!

Sounds like someone has a pretty good work ethic!

Bone meal.

Can I cook an onion in that?

The Office Scribe said...

Um, glad to be on board and no, you can not cook an onion in that. Oh, I guess you can, but that would be gross.

Perhaps next week I shall talk about cleaning out the bone can.

Unfinished Rambler said...

I've seen this Travis' dude's Memoir Monday and thought about joining myself. You mean all I have to do is write dreck like this? Huh. Well, who knew? Maybe I'll join. ;)

Actually I can't say much one of my first "real" jobs was at a convenience store, cutting up meat. Hey, we've got that common: meat. It's a small world, isn't it?

The Office Scribe said...

Meat is the common link to all people.

M said...

Being an unapologetic carnivore, I truly enjoyed your post. And wow, I too must comment on what a great work ethic and being so young!

I challenge you to find a 16 year old with that same work ethic today. So many kids walk around feeling so entitled.