“So, what do you do?” she says to me.
“I don’t follow.”
“Do you go to school? Do you have a day job? What do you do?”
“I work here full time.”
“Oh, but you seem so smart and put together. You could choose to be doing something else, you know. I mean, you don’t want to be waiting tables the rest of your life….do you?”
“I did choose to do other things before this. Now I choose to do this. As for the rest of my life, I can’t think of any one thing I would want to do for the rest of my life” I said as I dropped the check and walked away, trying to not show the look of contempt and insult on my face that I was feeling. You see, I don’t hide my thoughts and emotions very well. Never have.
But, seriously, the nerve of this lady. Assuming that only dumb-asses and degenerates would ever stoop so low as to wait tables in an upscale, downtown restaurant. I wanted to ask her how much she made. Because I could bet it wasn’t as much as I was making. Most people you wait on, if you are in a good restaurant, do not. Most of them just like to pretend they do while they look down their nose at you right before they slither back to their 4 foot by 5 foot cubicle across the street where they spend most of their lives of quiet desperation. But, no I didn’t always wait tables and bartend. I actually was a “suit” once.
I left Corporate America at a pretty young age. I started working when I was 15 years old and put on a shirt and tie to go to work. It’s what my mother wanted. It’s what I thought I wanted. I graduated high school and, because of the high dollar private schooling I had up to that point, came out with a better education than most college graduates I know to this day. But, then again, I’m smarter than a good 90% of people out there. Not being arrogant. I’m just saying.
After high school I delved right into the the world of climbing ladders, promotions and raises. By age 19 I thought I had the world by the balls, and rightly so. There didn’t seem to be anything that could stop me. At age 20, a few months shy of turning 21, however, a chain of events happened that would forever change me even though I refused to admit it at the time. I got laid off from my job at one of the largest banks in the country where I thought I was going to have a long career, just like they had told me growing up. Not long after that, my mother died after a long bout with cancer. Then, just to rub salt in the wound, the girl I was seeing decided to go crazy and break up with me. Needless to say, having the rug yanked out from under me and getting kicked while I was down within a couple of months did something to me. Something that changed how I looked at a few things after they slowly sunk in.
Life went on, like it does, and I straightened myself up, dusted off and set off once again to conquer the world, putting behind me and trying to put out of my mind all that had happened. I started my own business with an outsource marketing company in the infancy of the telecom deregulation. Things went well with that and I had a lot of success in a short period of time. Business dropped off for me after about 2 1/2 years and so I went to seek out a part time job in my old stomping grounds, the banking industry. I not only got hired, but was offered the full time job of assistant purchasing officer. I thought that might be cool, so I jumped in. I did very well and within 6 months, my boss was promoted and, in turn, promoted me to the bank’s buyer…at age 23. I was zooming. But I didn’t anticipate the jealousy and back stabbing that would come with a 23 year old with no previous experience suddenly leap frogging over men with many years of experience and tenure under their belts. I was now reporting directly to the CEO’s son, the senior VP. The fact that I was good….really good (I saved the bank over $100,000 in my first 10 months), meant nothing in the end. I stepped right in a trap laid for me and was fired for no good reason. I was beside myself.
Well, I temporarily recovered from that one too. My old boss who promoted me got me a job doing the same thing for more money at a law firm where his wife worked within a week. It was OK, but the job was starting to lose its luster. Working for 14 lawyers didn’t help matters. I started getting really tired of being talked down to from people who had to ask me how to use a copier and a fax machine. The letters behind their names didn’t excuse their rude behavior. I told my boss that I wasn’t kissing anyone’s ass. I didn’t get paid enough. And she couldn’t pay me enough to, either. I was good at what I did and worked hard. If that wasn’t good enough, then they could kiss mine. There was one exception in the bunch. One of the partners who was really cool to me and I’ll never forget him. However, that little taste of freedom from being in business for myself previously was starting to eat at me. I needed a change. Oddly enough, by a strange twist, that one law firm partner and I would meet again not far down the road in a very unexpected way. But more on that later.