The Salesman The Salesman was an older gentleman with a smoker’s cough and a bad gossip-site habit. He read Perez Hilton every day at 4 p.m., for one hour, while cackling and reading tidbits out loud over my cubicle wall. He left the office promptly at five, often with his manager, a brusque but nice woman with a penchant for pantsuits, usually off to a bar around the corner to have a cocktail and dish before getting on the BART and heading back to San Francisco’s East Bay. As bosses go, he was one of the best I’ve had: low maintenance, trusting, out of my hair. His teeth were the worst I’ve seen, jagged and brown, but he had a nice smile, a quick laugh and shared my passion for sotto voce gossip, shared in quick bursts every hour. Usually, our subject was the head of sales, a pompous jackass who spent the entire year I worked there calling me Heather. The Salesman used to joke that he came with the building, and for a while, I believed him.
During the few college summers that I worked at the Meijer One-Hour Photo Lab, I left the house each day in khakis and a white T-shirt. Upon arriving at work, I would retrieve my mint-green, black-collared jacket from the floor of the car and slip into it as I walked across the parking lot, fastening the last button as I cruised through the automatic doors.
Most profound listening experience: Every morning, I would sleep in until 11 a.m. because I worked swing shift. Being that I was in Seattle in March, it would still be dark and cloudy at that late hour. My commute was a slow, degrading walk down Pike/Pine Corridor to the train depot. It was always overcast, and sometimes it rained early in the day. I had Tegan & Sara’s The Con on repeat during my commute, which fits perfectly with heartbreak and lack of Vitamin D.
In the Times, Alina Tugend has a piece on people's first jobs straight out of college and some of the mistakes they've made while figuring out how to be a functional working adult.
The first dog was named Gucci. As Justin, my trainer (as if I were some kind of dog too!), told it, it was because Gucci's owner wanted to advertise that she'd spent as much on him as on a designer handbag. Gucci was definitely cuter than a handbag, but a lot less practical. Bernese Mountain dogs are built to survive in the Alps, and a high-elevation Financial District apartment in New York City is hardly the same thing. Coaxing Gucci into the elevator, and keeping him from barking long enough to hustle across the marble lobby and out the service entrance, was an act of sheer will that I tried to muster and brute strength that I certainly lacked.
The Times has a short interview with a 66-year-old tax preparer in Illinois named Charlotte Ogorek, who has a business with her husband, a C.P.A.
I met Emily Reese when we worked together at Kickstarter. At the time, Emily, 24 and newly out of grad school, was working on the support team and struggling to find what she was great at and excited about doing. Then a few months I heard that Emily moved to the product team and was hired as a full-time engineer. WHAT. Luckily, Emily agreed to talk to me about she managed to teach herself programming on nights and weekends and then change her career without leaving the company.
Anne Helene Peterson writes for The Baffler (together at last) about Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and the work it takes to manufacture celebrity. She talks about how we feel about certain celebrities has a lot to do with how they make, or don't make, that labor visible. It is fun and smart, in typical AHP fashion.
I got paid $9 per hour plus commission. I also learned a series of lessons that have dogged me at every job I’ve had since. Some of these lessons have been very good. Others, I wish I hadn’t learned.