Working Girl

April 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

It’s official – I’ve been at my current job for a year and a half.  I’ve had many jobs in my lifetime and I figured I should pay some sort of tribute to all of the positions I’ve held.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my work history:

It all began with a little place called Dairy Queen (well, I guess it all began with babysitting, but Dairy Queen was the first job with a W2).  I started working there when I was 14 and was an assistant manager by the time I was 15.  That meant that I was opening the store on weekends, running shifts and making cash deposits all before I could drive.  Yup, I’m that awesome.  I worked at DQ all four years of high school, minus a brief six month period where I waitressed for some family restaurant and then chopped fruits and veggies in the produce department of a grocery store.  I quit the waitressing job after some dude grabbed my ass while I was serving in the bar (I was 16) – I complained to my boss and was told that it was okay, because the guy was a family friend.  That was the day I turned in my two week’s notice.  The produce job was mind numbingly boring and I didn’t make it long before going back to being The Dairy Queen.

That was high school.  College provided ample opportunities for more work, and I’m going to list them here, to the best of my recollection.  I was a Program Specialist for a non-profit, after school organization for at-risk girls for fours years.  Also during that time, I delivered for a pizza place and a sandwich shop.  That provided some interesting experiences, such as walking into a morbidly obese man’s apartment only to find him confined to a chair with dismembered mannequin parts strewn as far as the eye could see.  Yes, that really happened.  I was also offered many shots of booze (some people will do anything to avoid paying a tip) but seeing as how I was driving it was never something I accepted.  I did nude modeling for an art class (once) and realized that it’s insanely difficult to stand still for hours on end.  It was also just a tad embarrassing to walk naked into a classroom where I knew a few of the students (and did not know they would be there).  I got over it rather quick but the pay didn’t make the locked up muscles worth it.  I also spent a summer working at a Goodwill – I loved being able to sift through the records and books that came in before we put them on the floor (this was discouraged but was done anyway).  College was also a time where I coached a volleyball team (we won a tourney the last year I was there!) but I never got paid for that.

The year after college was a busy one, as I was saving up for my move.  I started off working as a bookseller at Borders, which I really liked.  However, their hourly rate was rather laughable and I had to move on.  Next, I was a Member Services Associate for a gym on the college campus.  While doing that, I met a guy who offered me a freelance editing position with his water management firm.  I basically read huge reports and inserted lots of punctuation.  After the gym, I started temping.  I did data entry and then worked for a certified personal accountant during tax season.  During this time, I also began working in the kitchen at a wine bar.  I made all kinds of tapas plates and learned how to properly cook lamb (exciting).  The accounting gig ended and I became the office manager for a food bank.  I was still doing the editing, as well. I also participated in some paid research experiments and at one point I made $50 by watching some porn for a psychology study.  That was pretty awesome.

Eventually, I made enough money to move away.  I spent two months frantically looking for work before doing freelance stuff for a local videographer.  That lasted about 3 months and all I did was scan box after box of pictures into his computer.  Thrilling.  Then I finally found a decent, full-time job, and that’s where I am now.  I currently spend my days handling our schedules, answering phones, ordering supplies and staying on top of general office stuff.  As you probably know, I’m also writing a bit (besides this here blog).  I’ve been a columnist for an entertainment magazine since about August and I recently started submitting things to a different, online magazine.

Best job – Program Specialist at the after school organization for kids.  Loved my work, my coworkers and especially the kids.  I got to drive a short bus full of teens for an entire summer and took them to volunteer at places all over the city.  I also got to teach a sex ed class, which was pretty cool.  That job was the greatest, and I miss it.

Worst job – Waitressing.  I’m sure under different circumstances it would’ve been better, but there were many skeezeballs in that place who had no problem making inappropriate comments and suggestions to a teenage girl.  Gross.

And I guess that sums it up.  I think that’s roughly 16 steady, regularly paying jobs that I’ve had in just over 12 years.  It’s also possible I missed a few in there.  Is 16 a lot?  Normal?  I don’t have anything else to judge this by.  How many jobs have you had over the course of your lifetime?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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The Tax Man Cometh

March 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I love tax season.  There, I said it.  I know that many people out there don’t share in my sentiments but as of yet, I’ve never owed a cent and my tax refunds just keep getting bigger and bigger (yes, I know this is because I’m ultimately giving more to Uncle Sam, but it still feels like a bonus check that comes once a year).

As of today, I’m pretty much this girl.  I did my federal taxes for free on the Turbo Tax website last Wednesday and I had my refund in my bank account yesterday morning.  Words cannot describe how happy this made me.  It was also surprisingly easy to do my taxes online, but then again I don’t have pesky things like a husband, mortgage or kids to take into consideration.  I have yet to do my state taxes but I’m pretty sure there’s another free website out there that will help me with that.

Two years ago, I temped for a Certified Personal Accountant during tax season.  It was boring as hell, yes, but in some ways it was kind of neat.  Yes, I used the word neat to describe tax work.  I’m somewhat of a nosy person (though I prefer the term cultural observationist) and I enjoyed checking out the salaries and refunds of various individuals and certain prosperous business owners in and around Bloomington.  In utter confidentiality, of course.  I also became familiar with some of the deductions out there and well, how to file taxes in general.  I learned a lot and it made me appreciate what actually goes into filing a tax return.  Also, the CPA did my taxes for free that year so that was a nice little perk.

So now that I have my tax refund, that oh so fabulous question pops to mind – whatever will I do with this extra money?  I know lots of people put their refunds towards their homes or their children, but as I mentioned I am gloriously free of either of those things and I can spend it how I want.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’m rather fiscally savvy and since I manage to pay all of my bills on time each month (while also managing to save a smidgen) I feel I deserve a bit of play money.  And play I shall.

It’s not like I have such a large refund that I can start wasting it, but I will probably do what I’ve done the last few years, which is to invest it in a trip.  Last year’s refund bought me a plane ticket to New Zealand and while I don’t think I’m going to be able to swing such a big excursion this year, the majority of my refund has already been transferred to my travel account.  I know my mom, sister and I are planning something for later in the year, to celebrate my mom’s 20th year of being breast cancer free (WAY TO GO MOM!)  We’re thinking someplace tropical.  I’m also considering taking a shorter, solo trip to someplace in Canada, as I’ve never been before and it seems like fun.  I’m also open to suggestions, if you’ve got ’em!

The rest of the refund has been evenly divided among my other various savings accounts (told you I was fiscally responsible.  It borders on anal, at times).  It’s nice to have a bit of a cushion in case I need it, and it’ll be nicer still when I get another tax-refund sized check next month.  How did I manage that?  Well, next month is one of the two fantastically wonderful months in the year that I get paid three times instead of just twice.  Don’t you just love when that happens?

If you’re still freaking out about your filing and your refund seems eons away – well, I’m sorry.  Try to breathe and take it one step at a time.  I would offer my assistance but unless your taxes are as ridiculously easy as mine are, I don’t know if I’d do you much good.  I will say that Turbo Tax was super user-friendly (they didn’t pay me to promote them but perhaps they should…hear that, Turbo Tax guys?) so if you’re looking for a free online service then I’d recommend them.  Good luck no matter which filing route you take!

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