My Summer As a Housekeeper

The summer I was 18, I worked at an amusement park hotel as a housekeeper. The system worked something like this: every morning, we picked up our clipboards from the front desk with our list of rooms for the day, color-coded by what kind of service they needed. Pink was for occupied rooms that just needed a little spiffing, or “makes,” and green for just-vacated rooms that had to be cleaned for guests the following day, or “turnovers”.

Every Job I’ve Had: Phone Survey Guy, Market Research Dude, and Economist

When I was a kid, I didn’t really have any illusions of being a famous artist or creative type when I grew up. For some reason I had this unexplained fear of starvation (even though I didn’t grew up that poor), so I really just wanted a stable, fairly lucrative career that involved a signing bonus and air-conditioned offices. Below are all the jobs I’ve had on my road to functional adulthood.

Amy Poehler’s Summer Job

This week’s issue of The New Yorker is all about money, with a story about San Francisco’s entrepreneurial culture (which to be honest, I don’t have much interest in reading about at the moment), but there is also a delightful piece by Amy Poehler about the time she was 17 and worked at an ice cream parlor called Chadwick’s. When I was a teen, summer jobs were plentiful at the mall or working at Disneyland, and I opted for the former—a decision made because it was a shorter drive.

The Summer I Worked at a Video Rental Store and People Asked Me About Porn

I worked at a dreary video store chain in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, smack in the middle of the aughts. A unique cultural moment to be sure: Netflix was humming right along, but hadn’t achieved the market supremacy that would one day force all video store chains out of business or into automated kiosks. Enter 19-year-old me, willing to work for minimum wage and be the only staff member in the store during my shift. I was hired straight away.

The Summer I Flipped A Car

The business opportunity seemed simple: D.J., who was closer to me in age than my dad, is a car enthusiast and had been working odd jobs in the industry, and he had somehow or another acquired a 1994 BMW 535i. This is a desirable car, he explained to me, but it had a few issues: It had been declared totaled by an insurance company, and so didn’t have a road-worthy title. It needed a new clutch and was currently in a tow lot, getting more expensive by the day.