Underwear Model?

I’m smiling, walking; people are staring at my ass.  Smiling, one foot in front of the other, crap is that a nipple!  Smiling, don’t look directly at them, head up, tits out, hands – have to find something to do with my hands.  Does this thong come with pockets?

I’m a non-model who’s modeling lingerie in front of hordes of strangers. Oh and  I’m not sure if that’s a pube poking through my seamless, crotchless panyhose. I blame my friend Maria and her aunt Maryanne for this.  I met my friend Maria at one of my countless jobs (shoe guy ‘OCD Joe’ – read my previous blog).  She was or is an engineer, I was an executive secretary (do they even have those anymore?).

Maria had other interests outside of our day jobs.  One was opening her own boutique and she was good at getting me to do things I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do.  Not because she had such a persuasive way about her but because she was commanding and when she asked you to do something it wasn’t really a question so much as ‘you are doing this.’  So when she asked me to model clothes for her in a local fashion show to promote her newly opened boutique I really didn’t have a choice.  It was more, ‘you are going to model clothes for me in my local fashion show. . .’  But when she introduced me to Aunt Maryann and the fashion became lingerie I had my reservations. Yeah, I still did it – whore!

My first fashion show was with real clothes, I had never modeled anything before but I knew how to put my pants on and work it.  I was an 80’s girl in my 20’s – you worked it every night at the disco.  Yes I said ‘disco’ it was the 80’s, get on my level!  The fashion show requirements were – fit a size, any size, because she didn’t want women to think it was a skinny girl kind of shop, if you had big hair you made it bigger, red lips you made them redder and plaster a smile on your face regardless of what you’re wearing.  I supported all of her local high school shows for the PTA, fund raiser type of events, clad yet smashing in the latest hideous.  Yes those were the days and I didn’t think they could be topped, I was wrong.

Aunt Maryann was also in the clothing / fashion business.  I use the term fashion extremely loosely because I’m not sure that underwear and house coats are really considered fashion.  This time I don’t even think there was a question, the plan was hatched, and I was part of it, there would be scantily clad me on a runway somewhere in Queens or was it the Bronx showing off the latest in bedtime boudoir apparel.  I figured what the hell; I’ll never see these people again.

When we arrived at the civic center in Co-Op City, a series of high rise apartment buildings in the Bronx, the people were waiting for a ‘show’.   There were rows of chairs setup theatre style, a podium in the front with Aunt Maryann at the helm.  A civic center, really?  No runway, no backstage or dressing room.  Just a big room with bad fluorescent lighting and a dirty floor.  This place made backstage high school auditoriums look like a Broadway production.   This was no ladies auxiliary crowd.   These people were here to see a bunch of women in their underwear parade around the room.  The show must go on right, fabulous!

The clothes racks had been setup in the back of the room and situated in such a way to keep us hidden from the audience.  Some creative positioning of the men’s bathroom door that we had wedged opened with our rolling racks of underwear, baby dolls and house coats kept us from view while we disrobed.    For three women, of varying size and weight hiding behind a rolling clothes rack with an open bathroom door on our left and a friggin urinal on our right it was a make it work moment.

We pushed and shoved and leaned over and on each other to get ourselves into wardrobe, awfully aware of our surroundings and frantically dressing while sleeves and panty hose hit the urinal cake trying not to let our feet hit the floor.  Imagine the scene from the other side of that clothes rack!  Loud out of control laughing – the kind that makes your belly hurt, the kind that leaves you breathless and the kind that gets you going again at the mere thought of what started it in the first place (urinal cake).  Three falling over broads who were about to come out and put on a show for the ‘audience’.  All I could think was “Do I really want to do this?”  Oh, yeah we’re doing this.

And then began the fifteen minute walk of ‘fame’ shame.  I kept my eyes unfocused toward the podium and Aunt Maryann.  She would give subtle signals that you needed to remove something as she described the pieces you were wearing to the crowd.  I tried to listen to what she said so I would stay on cue but the voices in my head were louder than she was.  “It’s almost over, only 4 more outfits to go, keep your head up, tits out, these pants are way too short for me, am I wearing polyester blend, I hope my heel does not get caught in this robe, did I forget to shave my left arm pit, hands what do I do with my hands, damn I wish there were pockets, how ridiculous do I look right now in patent leather come fuck me pumps and a teddy bear one size fits all sleep shirt, is this the sleeve that hit the urinal cake, I have an itch, am I getting paid for this!”

At the end of the day, we all kicked Victoria’s ass and it was no secret!  Truth is I was pretty damn good at doing things Maria told me to do.  And if she had asked I never would have done half of them.   I kept an open mind, said yes and ended up with a great story. Next time anyone should ask (seriously no one’s asking for anything anymore) I’ll be ready to find my inner whore and work that bitch to death!

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It’s All About the Shoes

Circa 1980. . .something.  Cue the eighties big hair and bedroom pumps, throw on a leopard dress and a smile, in walks me.  I’m on another interview for a temp job.  The position would be to fill in for an executive secretary while she takes maternity leave.  She has 3 or 4 ‘senior’ executives that she caters to.  I only had to meet one.

I’m greeted by what I would consider (at the time) to be an older, more distinguished handsome man (he was 37).  I guess I should tell you that I’m about 20 so anything over 25 was ‘older’.  Wearing classic 80’s attire, black leather pumps with a leopard design around the heel that put me at about 5’8 maybe even 9 (when you factor in the hair height), I follow him through a maze of people and partitions.   The interview is on and he starts rambling about word processing; I start spinning.  Not sure how he missed the glazed over deer in headlights look on my face.  Out of my element but looking fabulous what else could I do but play up the charm.  We’ve all been there so don’t judge, have you ever gotten out of a ticket in your life, then you know what I’m talking about.  Plus charm I was good at, I had that down – typing, filing, answering phones (other than my own), not so much.

It didn’t even take until the end of the day when I got the call.  Job was mine, I start Monday.  Happy dance!  Woohoo!  I would be making  $365/week – that’s a lot of shoes!

So I show up Monday morning – being punctual was never really my thing, especially on a Monday.  So I’m late, my first day, as a temp – you with me?  I was wearing a red mini dress, black stockings and 4″ patent leather pumps (this is important).  Prego is a total flake, worse than me but I guess she knew some stuff (office stuff – I don’t know).  I’m in a ‘cubicle’ outside the offices of the ‘executives’ – whatever!  I am bored out of my freakin’ mind and decide this sucks, time for a bitch session and weekend recap with my girlfriends. Five minutes into the conversation (cue the girly giggly chatter) and great, now there’s someone standing at my desk – I think they want to say something to me but I’m on the phone so. . .

Day two, I show up and am apparently flying solo (some pre-term labor issue with the prego)  Fantastic!    What is it I’m supposed to do again?? (By the way, I was wearing a long flowy skirt with sling back pumps.)  I was a mess, when it came to doing any actual work – but I looked marvelous (geez I feel like that gum commercial)!  Different day, new shoes; the days rolled into weeks and months and by some miracle I was still employed.

With very detailed instructions from OCD  Joe, I learned how to format a letter properly and get the Wang thang to print it out.  I can’t remember who shook their head more, me because really another friggin’ correction or him because really another friggin’ correction!  We were perfect together!  I spent a lot of time walking back and forth into his office – hmmmm.  Seriously I had no skills and he was basically teaching me how to be a secretary.  (Which by the way I had decided I did NOT want to be!).  He made up his own filing system, clearly the big heap on the end of my desk wasn’t really working for him.  He did his own expense reports, I made the copies.  He mostly wrote his own letters on a sheet of lined white paper and I would just type and print them out – I didn’t know how to take long or short hand.  By this time he had hired me full time as his personal secretary because I was so incredibly reliable and efficient.  Right!  I had already earned the pet name ‘psycho bitch from hell’ and had the t-shirt to prove it in case anyone was confused.  Among others I was also referred to as ‘subtle as a sledgehammer’ and my favorite ‘killer’.  I drove this man completely insane so why for the love of God did he hire me.

And there it was, the answer my friend came blowing in the wind when I worked one Saturday, it was just me and Mister OCD.  I actually worked one Saturday every month and it always seemed to be the same Saturday that I had my period so I was extra miserable, psycho and bitchy.  But this Saturday, I call Joe and say ‘I’m not coming – surprised?’  It was only two hours passed the time I should have been there anyway.  ‘What you have a flat tire, I’ll come pick you up’.  Lucky freakin’ me!  Because I didn’t tell him that I had cramps or was sporting a hangover because I knew that wouldn’t score me any points, I lied and said flat tire – like Prince friggin’ Charming he was on his way.

I’m still wondering if I hadn’t shown up, if he hadn’t picked me up how this would have ever come up.  On the elevator he asks me if I knew why he had hired me.  Completely dumbfounded myself over why he ever did and kind of caught off guard I’m thinking oh shit, is he going to fire me!   I say ‘Nope’, and he says simply, ‘It was the shoes’.

Now I can go on and tell you the stuff I’m not so proud of that may or may not have happened in the span of a year and half between me and Mister OCD but why go there.  The point is I have always said this and still do to this day, it is actually something I learned from my mother. . . It is all about the shoes!

They can make you or break you!

Posted in Job Smack: 10,000 Jobs and Counting | 1 Comment

Over Rated Water Coolers. . .

After all is said and done, 10,000 jobs and counting, I have some how ended up here – communication / training / marketing specialist for a big wig financial organization. I’ll go back and describe the impacting steps that got me to where I am but let’s just talk today’s environment – for now.

My role, to communicate and document mundane and drool corporate updates on technology. There are 3 levels of bureaucracy approvals before any thing gets sent out. Really? Because at this level in my career I need someone to oversee my spelling errors. And honestly, they correct things that don’t need correcting, like when I put a phone number in an email for the UK and some ditz corrects it because they thought I formatted the 01-888-xxx incorrectly. Um, no, that’s how you dial country codes – you’re in communications right – get a clue! Had you actually read the message and subject line as well as the To: field you would have seen that this is an EMEA only message. Oh, right you did all that and still thought I was wrong, so you really are that stupid but yet you’re checking MY work – perfect!

The best and worst part of corporate today – the remote commuter aka telecommuters who never leave the house, works from their computer desk in PJs all day or sometimes like me in their underwear with a towel on their head. The pros and cons list are pretty much equal in that – pro; I get to work in my underwear and con; I get to work in my underwear. Yes it’s a pro when you only have half an hour between conference calls and you need to squeeze in a 5 minute shower but con because you are shut off from the world except for your internet, email and IM all day, every day. It can get monotonous. While my 100+ pairs of shoes and countless pair of black pants get dusty and my makeup dries out I guess I save a little on wardrobe expense. Who am I kidding? I love shoes!

Don’t get me wrong, I take my liberties working from home. Food shopping at lunch, early happy hours that begin and end right here (never having to worry about DUI) and of course sleeping in is a big, huge benefit. I am so not a morning person. But what have I given up – human interaction for a keyboard and flannels?

So, my water cooler these days is a few padded steps away located at the corner of family room and foyer called my kitchen. The refrigerator has it’s own ability to make ice and filtered water – without finding someone’s lunch in the ice maker! No more waiting on line for a cup of coffee only to find out that the turd in front of you took the last cup and didn’t bother to remake. I have no one to blame but myself if I skip lunch or don’t get a cigarette break. The water coolers are far removed from my world as is human interactivity and maybe all it was was starched white shirts talking about the latest episode of some nightly sitcom or sharing insightful blather on political views but now it’s text talk and emoticons. So has the corporate water cooler been officially replaced or only in my work world?

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Job Smack: 10,000 Jobs and Counting

Being the author, owner and creative genius behind ‘10,000 Jobs and Counting’ I’ve obviously had a few too many (jobs that is, you don’t even know me yet don’t judge) and feel that I have become some what of an authority on the subject of getting jobs in general. That being said even as a bagger at the local grocery store when I was 14 I had an in. And so the story goes, it’s not what you know it’s who you know or who you’re sleeping with. At 14 I hadn’t started sleeping with anyone to get to the top and at my age now I’ve stopped sleeping around and have ended up somewhere in the middle. Meaning I am far from the top!

I’ve always been ambitious and I’ve worked multiple jobs simultaneously over the years to reach one goal: make enough money to support myself and my family. Here’s the rub, my background consists of no college education, little to no experience in anything in particular and a general hate and disdain for really stupid people in corporate positions who try to tell me what to do. What I do have, personality, wit, charm and a pretty face. Put that on a resume and see what sticks, right! Good luck with that.

Honestly, I have been lucky. A good friend of mine says “you always land on your feet”. Maybe that’s why we have feet. Maybe it’s karma – there is certainly no silver spoon in my mouth so call it whatever you want. I’ve been down and out and riding high at times. Here is just a sampling of some of the jobs I’ve had over the years. Stick around and I’ll start recapping my war torn career stories. Based on the list you can bet there’s some funny shit to I’ll be writing about. In no particular order:

  1. Cashier
  2. Waitress
  3. Import / Export Clerk – I’ll never understand U.S. customs
  4. Dispatcher (for a carpet distribution warehouse, I was one of 3 females among many, many men – good times!)
  5. Claims Examiner – manual data entry for health insurance
  6. I worked at Macy’s in their corporate office when I was like 18, I’m still not sure what I did there
  7. Retail Assistant Store Manager
  8. Receptionist
  9. Secretary
  10. Executive Secretary
  11. Administrative Assistant (because the last 3 are all very different they have to be listed individually)
  12. Help Desk Manager – technology
  13. Training Coordinator
  14. Home Alarm Salesgirl
  15. Christmas Around the World Consultant
  16. Lingerie Model
  17. Fat Counselor
  18. Gym Manager – kids gymnastics
  19. Trainer – computers and software
  20. Facilitator
  21. Release Manager – software
  22. Project Manager – technology
  23. Program Manager – technology
  24. Business Office Manager
  25. Interior Designer
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