The first one was a gigantic hedge fund. I manned a desk on a floor that no one really entered, which was really fortunate because it was my first day working in an office environment and I was terrified. I think I answered two phone calls and greeted one set of visitors and still managed to screw everything up. They asked me back a week later.
But I had to decline, because I had picked up a two week-long gig at another financial firm, Company X. This one had five people in it and was very casual. The office was so small that I could see every person who worked there from my desk. I inadvertently hung up on every single person who called, but I kept the pantry and the fridge stocked and managed to keep my panic mostly to myself. My third day, they asked for my resume, which I assumed was a good sign. I fantasized about working there every day and having dental insurance and saying sassy things that made everyone laugh. The adorable guy who was the rookie broker and I would fall in love Jim and Pam style and live a fabulous New York life together. On the fourth day, I got a call from my temp agency at 3 pm, telling me that Company X had found someone permanent and that I wouldn’t be needed anymore. I got fired, sitting at my desk, in the middle of the day. Then I had to finish out the rest of the day, knowing that the person ten feet to my left had just made a call to fire me without speaking to me at all. That was when I realized temping had its own set of rules.
I never saw the adorable rookie broker again. It’s probably just as well, since he was Canadian.
The following week, I reported to a marketing and motivation firm, Pizzazz. This was definitely my favorite job. There was lots of work for me to do. Pizzazz had offices on several continents and motivational speakers who traveled all over the world, having people punch through boards and do trust falls. I began to think this might be the place for me. I couldtake the firm by storm, motivating everyone I met and voyaging to new countries, inspiring people to change their lives along the way, like Tony Robbins or Richard Simmons. I casually mentioned looking for a permanent position at Pizzazz to Abby, one of the girls working there, who I especially liked. She grabbed my wrist and said, with no mirth or irony, “You don’t want to work here. You will never travel. You will live in this office. If you have any dreams or aspirations for yourself in the whole world, don’t do it.”