Big Matt's BBQ
August 1998

This was my very first job, although it didn't last very long and wasn't exactly legal. Near Hoquiam High School, there was a restaurant called "The Grizzly Den." It had a habit of being closed down due to little business, and then having someone else come and re-open it. This time, it was Matt. He already owned one burger place in another town so he decided to buy the Grizzly Den after it had shut down and reopen it. I went in and asked if they were hiring at all, they took down my name and number and said they'd call if they got anything. A few days later, they called. I went down there, they said it'd be $5 an hour. I was going to be doing manual labor. My first job was painting. There was a shed out back that needed to be painted on the inside, so I did that, painted a few boards to be used for shelves, and after a few hours, the guy who was in charge at the time said I had done a good days work and told me to come back tomorrow.

So I came back the next day, that's when I met the owner, Matt. He looked at me and had me follow him back to the shed I had painted. He then proceeded to chew me out for not properly closing and storing the paint when I was done with it. I'm 15 years old, never had a job in my life, and now I'm feeling like total crap. Luckily, the guy who told me to leave the day before heard and stepped in, telling Matt that he had told me to leave and that it was his fault. Matt seemed less mad about it being the other guys fault. I really can't remember what his name was, but for simplicity sake, let's just call him "Dave." So I spent the rest of the day picking up trash around the building, cleaning the garbage dumpster, and doing various other nasty needs. After a few hours, they sent me home and asked me to come back tomorrow.

So I came back the next day, I was to be doing some things quite differently today. It turns out Dave and Matt lived together, they had a house they had to move out of. Apparently when they bought the house, the owners knew it was slowly creeping it's way down the hill it was built on and did not inform Matt and Dave. They were evicted by the city because the house could fall off the hill at any time and was too dangerous to live in, they were in the process of suing the former owners. So, I was helping them move. The first thing I had to do was go to the bottom of the hill (the one the house was supposedly going to slide down any time) and retrieve the pieces of wood that Dave and cut from a cherry tree. I spent a good deal of time walking down the steep hill, grabbing a few logs, walking back up and stacking them. Once I was done with that, I was shown the basement. They had a whole bunch of flower pots, sitting in the darkest corner of the basement. I had to take them all out. There was a lot of other crap in the basement I had to get out, but luckily some help came.

Someone I knew from school, Chris Stuefen, and his brother had also been "hired on" by Matt and Dave to help them move. They helped me get the rest of the stuff out of the basement and then the furniture out of the house. We made several trips to the new house Dave and Matt were living at to get all of their stuff there. It was during these trips we made an interesting discovery. Chris noticed it first, Dave and Matt both had wedding bands, matching wedding bands. Our suspicions were confirmed when, while gathering boxes from the upstairs, we found a box full of playgirl magazines. This made the rest of the move rather interesting. We finished for the day and Dave and Matt gave all three of us $20 to do whatever we wanted with. The next day, we met up again and finished moving everything into the new house. Matt told us to come in a few days for payday. He told me he couldn't hire us on as real employees because he wasn't sure if he could legally. I called the labor department and asked if there was any way I could work for them, they said that the owners would have to fill out some form and my parents would as well. I went and picked up the form the next day and gave it to Matt when I went to get paid. He said there were too many rules for having minors around, so he'd rather not employ me, he gave me the money for the work and I don't think I ever saw him again

Big Matt's BBQ closed a few months later, which didn't exactly come as a surprise to most people.

River Haven
September 2000 - March 2001

So here was my first "real" job. The restaurant was near the House on the Hill, but I got the job while living with my mom, so there was about an hour bus ride to get to work. My brother Robb was a cook there, and they were having problems with one of the dishwashers never showing up, he hadn't come in one night and they needed one, so he called me and asked if I could start working tonight. So I took the bus down there and started the job. It was tough work, there was a lot to do. Obviously I had to wash dishes, this included all the dishes that came from the tables as well as the stuff the cooks used. They had one of those industrial strength dishwashers, so I just loaded up a dish carrier, put it in, started it and in two minutes I had clean dishes. I'd usually have a long chain of dishes going, rinsing and filling a carrier while the dishwasher ran and one or two carrier of drying dishes were waiting to be put away.

I also had to do some prep-cook stuff there. Hash browns were the worst. I had to take a bag full of potatoes and wash each one, individually. I then peeled them with a knife, they were too large and oddly shaped to use a potato peeler very effectively, and used a cheese grater to make them into the hash stuff. The whole process took a very long time and I had to do it every night so that the morning crew would have hash browns to cook. I also had to chop onions. The knife I was for that was VERY sharp, one of those where you cut yourself and you know it, but you can't even feel it until later. I also cried a lot while chopping onions. I did a few other things occasionally as well, making salads, making salad dressing, cleaning kale, cutting mushrooms, etc.

I was the cleanup crew also. After the restaurant closed, all the waitresses left. The cook had to put away the leftover food and clean the oven, after that he was done. I had to finish washing and putting away all the dishes, included all the stuff the cook dumped on me at the end of the night. Once that was done, it was time to vacuum. This restaurant was pretty big. There was a very large dining area, and I had to pull out all the chairs for all the tables and vacuum the place. Every once in a while I would forget to push the chairs back in, and the owner would yell at me the next day, whoops. Once vacuuming was done, I had to sweep the kitchen. This got interesting because there was sticky grease all over the floor from cooking. So it made things a bit hard. After sweeping as best I could, I had to mop the kitchen. This pretty much involved drenching the kitchen floor in water and then sopping it all back up. I usually changed the water in the bucket two or three times. Once I was done mopping, I had to break down all the cardboard boxes and throw them in the dumpster. Once all this was done, I was able to go home. I usually didn't finish until up 1 or 2 in the morning, even though the restaurant closed at 11. So I had to call my dad or my sister and have them drive me home. The restaurant was also a bar, there was a little walkway that connected the two and usually at the end of my shift I went there to talk to the bartender until my ride showed up.

It was a steady job, I enjoyed getting a paycheck, but saved almost all of it. I never liked spending money. Then an interesting day came. I had moved in with my mom into the Pink Apartment, and I was within walking distance of River Haven, so it made commuting much easier. Then the owner came to the apartment a few hours before I started my shift and asked if I could come in early. I said that was OK, because I wasn't doing anything else. So I went into the kitchen and saw Robb was the cook for the night. When the boss had walked away, he looked at me and said, "Something weird is going on." There was a whiteboard on the wall where, whenever we needed to get more supplies ordered, we wrote on it. It had been erased. The boss had told Robb not to make any more food unless it was ordered, we usually had extra soup and such prepared that we just put in the fridge at the end of the night. At about 9, she told us to go into the bar area, she had to talk to us. We go in there and the entire staff of the restaurant is there. The owner tells us that this will be the last night the River Haven is open, there were closing their doors tonight. I always love how you're supposed to give your employer two weeks notice before you leave but they can get rid of you without pretty much any notice. So that was my last night of work, they told me I didn't have to bother with finishing the dishes or cleaning up, they'd take care of that. I got my last paycheck a few days later, they told me I could go to the unemployment office and get compensation for a little while, but when I called I found out I hadn't worked enough hours there to be eligible, so I spent the rest of my time in Washington unemployed.

July 2001 - April 2002

I really thought I could have gotten a better job, but oh well. I got this job a few weeks after moving to Phoenix, I had tried a few other places, but no one seemed interested in hiring me. I got the job at McDonald's fairly easily. I asked for an application and filled it out in the store, when I handed it back, the manager interviewed me right there and said if I wanted the job I could have it. I started a few days later, once I had my spiffy uniform with hat all ready. It wasn't a bad job, dealing with the customers were the worst though. Some of them were so mean! Their burger gets messed up and it's just about the end of the world. I also hated people who took forever to order in the Drive Thru, the ones who spent five minutes looking at the menu while a huge line of cars formed behind them. After about a month or so of being a cashier in the front, I was moved back to the drive thru. It was a little cubby hole where I spent most of my time. I had to take the order for the person at the speaker as well as take the money for the guy who had already ordered and give them back the change. Sometimes the manager would also try to talk to me, either by standing next to me or through the headset. Severe multitasking skills were developed. My resume's says "Provided excellent customer service by taking customer orders and responding effectively to their individual needs. Accurately handle money transactions. Developed the ability to multitask. Worked effectively in a fast pace team environment and assisted other areas when needed." Nifty, huh?

I worked a couple of different shifts. I either worked the morning shift, which was from 5:45AM to 2PM or if I had class that day 5PM to 11PM. The good thing with working on the night shift was they didn't really have me close the restaurant. I didn't have to worry about doing all the dishes and things like that, I just had to mop the cashier area and disassemble the fry dispenser. Since I left right after we closed, I would get first dibs on the leftover food, so I was always going home with burgers and nuggets.

When I started my next job, I kept working on McDonald's. I had given them two weeks notice, but they asked me if there was any way I could stay longer. Since the other job was Monday through Friday, I worked Saturday and Sunday at McDonald's. I did this for about a month. Then they asked me to come in and help on a Thursday. They wanted me to come in at 5:45AM and work until about noon when I had to leave for school. I then went to school from noon to 5. I worked from 5PM to 10PM at my school job. This totally killed me. When I came in next Saturday, I told my manager that the next weekend would be the last weekend I would work. I probably would have kept working their longer had I not been so mad at them for having me come in on a Thursday.

DeVry Univerity
March 2002 - October 2003

Finally! I'm out of the food business! This job was so easy, I barely even worked. Basically, after my classes were done for the day, I went to the downstairs computer labs and sat there. If someone had a computer issue, or a teacher needed a lab cleared, I would do this. But it almost never happened. I spent the good majority of the time sitting, reading, and doing my homework. When I first started, there was a computer I could use to get online, but they took that out after the first semester. I read a lot while at that job. I could usually finish most books after two or three days just at work.

The job continued for quite some time, no big changes. I got a different desk, the labs were rearranged, new technology was brought in. I bought a laptop, TheCheat, and could now get online at work. Although I wasn't supposed to, and I was told if I was caught online once, I would be fired. I was caught once, was chewed out for it, but he said he'd overlook it as long as it didn't happen again. From then on, I just made sure he had left for the day before going online.

I graduated with one degree, and started another. In one of my first classes in the new degree program, I was put into a group of people and we had to do a project. Easy enough. One of the guys in my group was Art, we worked quite a bit on the project, it was a pretty typical thing. In one of my later semesters, Art was taking a Visual Basic class, I had already taken it and knew it pretty well. So I helped him out some. I was talking to him in the lab one day, and he asked if I was interested in a new job at all. I explained my current situation with having no car, and made a joke that if he wanted to hire me, he'd probably have to hire my roommate. When he found out he had the same degree as me, he told me that both of us should interview. After getting our resumes in order and a few incidents along the way, we interviewed and got the job. They wanted us to start soon, like within a few days, I felt bad for not being able to give my current job two weeks notice, but my boss understood and wished me luck.

FlipChip International, LLC
October 2003 - Present

My current job, and my first full time job. FlipChip does semiconductor manufacturing, computer chips basically. What I really do would probably be too confusing, and too boring, for most people. Plus, I'm sure I signed something that says I can't talk about what I do at work. In a nutshell, I work in a clean room. It's cleaner than a hospital operating room. I put on something called a "bunny suit." It involves putting on a hairnet, face mask, gloves and then putting on a material hood, jumper suit and boots. The only part of me that you can see are my eyes. I go into the clean room and have several things I need to do, depending on what needs to be done I might do a little of everything or just concentrate on a few things. Right now, I work 12 hour shifts, from 5:45PM to 6:15AM. I work three days, and then get three days off. Then I work four days and get four days off. The days are long, but getting the days off feel really good.

I'm really liking this job, it's great experience and the people there are very friendly and fun. I'm probably the grouchiest person there. I've not really thought about where to go from here. I don't know if I want to stay with the company and try for a higher position once I get some experience, or to look for something else in the same or different field. I don't have much in the way of future plans, which kind of scares me. I've always known what I was going to do, it may not have always turned out like that, but at least I had plans.

"This must be where pies go when they die." Dale Cooper