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  • Jeimmy Gace

I can't get no satisfaction...


Conor and I at Melrose Starbucks.

No, literally, I can't. I realize at my 33 years of age that all the jobs I've held become boring to me in less than a year. I can say that the one Job that kept me engage was being the receptionist (or what we call a front office medical assistant in the health care world) for a general practitioner in Beverly Hills back in 2010-2011. The phones rang, the celebrities....I mean patients came in, I pulled files, led them to their room, communicated with the pharmacy peeps, took messages. I was really good at it. Except that the one and only doctor in the office was a real douchebag. I stuck to front office because even though I could draw blood on most of the patients, I couldn't identify what each specimen tube was for so I could mark it on the sheet to be tested. I had to keep asking the other musical assistant to tell me which was which. but according to him, in his letter of recommendation, during my front office position I was great and delightful. but boredom is not entirely true, after all I managed to work for Starbucks for eight years.

One day I'm driving in my car and I start to think of all the shitty jobs I've held before now. My first job was a summer job when I was 16 years old. I worked for a family owned clothing store owned by a Chinese family. The clothes were awful, not even by forever 21 standards. I made very little but enough to purchase my very own first pager which I still have to this day. A small clear blue pager which I accessorized with a tiny picture frame attached by the clip that held the glorious face of Brad Pitt. but the truth was that I hated that job. It was so boring and didn't realize I had to vacuum the entire place first thing in the morning. The carpet reeked or maybe it was the vacuum but not to sound bratty, I didn't even do this at home. Just kidding I did it five minutes before my mom got home from work even though she'd called at 9 a.m. to tell me (not ask) to vacuum the living room. She would tell me to wash the dishes too which I also did as she pulled up to the drive way. Aside from vacuuming, I maintained the rest of the store like glassware, changed mannequins and helped customers find something and show them to the dressing room and got them, a bigger size (mostly) while they waited for me to remember where we got the piece of the racks and racks scattered all over the place. By the way, this job came with no training.

I then worked for Wetseal (briefly). That job was okay. I didn't have enough time to decide if I liked it or not. It was a very short lived job before I quit to get out of L.A.

Sacramento, CA

Then I moved to Sacramento and was lured into selling cars and I've always held a non-aggressive grudge against my cousin for not telling me nor stopping me from letting myself be lured from being a clerk and getting a steady paycheck to be thrown into the wolves to compete against these salesmen for money. Older men in their 30's, 40's and 50's with far more experience. I was only 18. I learned quickly that the competitive world of men was no joke, they were sneaky and they were not your friends. Very few, and I mean only one was actually fair when it came to splitting the commission on a deal I couldn't close until I let him step in. Through them I learned that 1. they were dogs and 2. how to lie in that industry. I worked for a bunch of lying Persians who bought their cars at cheap auctions and sold them for 5 times their retail value, maybe more. They bankrupted Suzuki and later, after I quit for selling a family a truck that literally broke down after they drove it off the lot, learned that they had been busted and shut down for embezzlement. I'm guessing the owner did some time and probably his Russian wife who was only 22 when she married this forty-something year old man with bad taste in clothes, thinning hair, and always looked like a tourist with the Hawaiian print shirts, slacks and dress shoes, left him. All he needed was a lei around his neck. I mean why would she stay, despite the two kids, she was still a gold digger and he now had nothing. She did get to drive the best sports cars and the most expensive cars they owned. Her parking space was right in front of the tinted double doors that lead to a show room that bore no cars. Just to be clear, I quit because I felt guilty for the poor families that were tricked into buying shitty cars. If I sold five cars a month, that paid for my rent, car and groceries. It was my first apartment first time living alone, on a two story town home with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. I managed to furnish the entire first floor and my master bedroom but never got around to either renting or making the second room my office. I'm still dreaming on that extra room for an office. After that I packed up and moved to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

One day, I'm again driving in my little 1986 Toyota Supra that I proudly called my DeLorean, yup! from Back to the Future. This man comes on the radio and he's talking about earning a degree as a Medical Assistant in less than a year at this accredited school that would help me find a job placement after I graduated. In the meantime I got a job at Starbucks. Back in the day when they still had coconut syrup which was the original sweetener for the Matcha green Frappuccino which came topped off with whipped cream and coconut flakes. Now it's made with classic syrup and no flakes. Anyway, that job was fun, I worked with the best people ever. There was Eileen and I would always sing "come on Eileen" to her every time I worked with her. She called me her spider lash girlfriend because I have long lashes like a daddy long leg spider. Then there was Brenda which Fred and I would call Brenduh, she was this tiny little girl with short hair, Dr. Martins and a sassy attitude. She gave zero fucks and threw every drink away that wasn't picked up by the third time she called it. "Going once, going twice....", in the trash it went. When the customer realized their drink wasn't coming out Brenduh would reply with her hands on her hips "where were you? I called your drink three times!". Fred and I just laughed. Fred was amazing , he was this tall skinny tranny whom I called Donnietella because he was very flamboyant and dramatic and he always went by Donnie as his stage name. He made awesome music and never failed to crack me up. I deserve 15% of his earnings for trade marking his stage name.

By this time I got excepted to a two-semester writing program at USC at Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. . All in all, I worked with a bunch of creative people at Starbucks. Fashion students, musicians, actors and it motivated me to write. but Starbucks wasn't exactly the wage I wanted to make for the rest of my life, I needed a better day Job.So first I tried for special affects makeup so I can still be in the movie industry. considering I went to a performing arts school all my life. and always had a love for dancing and acting. I passed their test at the makeup school and was accepted but it didn't exactly convince me. So I called the medical assistant school and got in.

Hollywood, CA

So then I transferred to a Starbucks closer to school in Hollywood (aka Hollyweird). That was a fun one. I made better tips than my check. and I wasn't doing bad. I met great celebrities who came into this particular small Starbucks despite it's crappy parking. David Schwimmer was one of those regulars. I loved him because he didn't just order a drink, he stood there and talked to us like we were his friends. Or the time Johnny Knoxville came in drunk out of his mind and bought an espresso machine. Other celebrities included Cindy Crawford, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daryl Sabara (pictured), Benicio Del Toro, Chloe Grace Moretz, Colin Farrell (pictured) and Jaime Camil (pictured, a famous Mexican Soap actor and so many more. Between school, work and a new girlfriend with a bad habit. Starbucks decided to remodel the store. not that it would be any bigger. This was before drive-thru's. Our particular store lost most of it's costumers while it was closed for remodeling, tips were shitty and my check was even smaller after the remodel. I was desperate for money. Needless to say I almost got fired for stealing 6 dollars so I can put gas in my car. Yep, I was a thief for a day. I gave that up real quick though. That close call was a big reality check. My future career and everything I had going for myself could have gone down the drain over 6 dollars. I made a promise to myself to ever never take something that wasn't mine.

making friends with celebrities at Starbucks

I graduated as a Medical Assistant, and started my internship in a private Chiropractic doctor's office in 2009. No idea how I landed there. It was easy and sometimes boring. but sometimes it got busy too, there was only three therapy rooms for our busy days. but all patients were timed. We started with putting a towel on their naked back and then a large heated pad that was like 200 degrees hot for 15 minutes. Then we used a Therapeutic Ultrasound. We squeezed some blue gel shit from a tube on their backs and then massage their backs using the therapeutic ultrasound device, alternating sides for another 15 minutes. This job wasn't atrocious. but it certainly didn't strike me as something I found myself doing. I wanted to be where the action was. but I couldn't afford LVN (Licensed Nurse Practitioner) school, shit I still can't afford it, So that I could at least be a nurse in post-surgery recovery or something more engaged. So I worked my internship and at Starbucks and then landed the douchebag job with the general family medicine practitioner. Again, I liked it but I wasn't happy with his work ethic. and it reminded me of the time I worked at the dealership. I just can't treat the patients like shit. and I will never forget the time when the Dr. got mad at me for sugar coating the message he wanted me to give a patient over the phone, it was something around the lines of "tell him not to be a fucking moron, I'll call him back after I'm done seeing this patient". He wanted me to say it exactly the way he said it but I couldn't. So I quit.

I went on a job hunt for something else too. I made sure that I always had Starbucks as a back-up. I found a job with a podiatrist. This was also a private practice. This office was a mess. Literally a mess, charts and charts stacked over everywhere, Papers everywhere. He had several different locations, Glendale, Pasadena and Woodland Hills to name a few. I was transferred to a much nicer office with a girl named Michelle in Pasadena. Michele was hot and a Christian. and she had a boyfriend. All we did was schedule patients in that office who couldn't get to Glendale. Michelle did more traveling around so I found myself alone a lot, hardly any calls came in and quiet frankly, I basically sat around doing nothing since there were no cameras sometimes I'd bring my own laptop and do some writing while drinking shitty office coffee. Things came to an end when the doctor's wife got involved. Same as in the dealership with the 22 year old Russian. If I learned anything from this two jobs is that It's never good business when you let your wife in on it. It's like a bad omen. I was pretty much fired if I hadn't beat them to the punch of quitting myself. The reason? Using the company cell phone to make personal calls. All bogus, because I had my own cell phone, a blackberry I believe compared to their Samsung flip phone. I had no need for their phone and all they had to do was call the phone company and pull records to prove it. The truth was, the company was going downhill with their mess and couldn't afford me anymore, and since I was the last to be hired, I was the first who had to go. After that I worked at Starbucks full time. I still enjoyed it. I was still in my party stage. and Starbucks had the flexibility I needed to go to school, have a second job (seasonally) and party. I thought, okay I went to school I got the jobs and it didn't work out. As much as it was disappointing to my mom, it was more disappointing to me. I was now 16,000 dollars in debt and not doing what I graduated to do.

Melrose Starbucks

Melrose Starbucks

I didn't know that by this time that I was dating a monster despite all the red flags. Until a month fresh out of back surgery in 2009 (the same back surgery I had this past December), we had an argument and she threw me on the floor and broke a wooden TV tray on my back. I still had stitches from my back surgery. It was awful. So I had her arrested and while she was in jail I packed up my shit and left. It was time to leave Starbucks in fear that she would come looking for me. This is how ended up at Nordstrom.

Never a dull moment with this guy!

First I was at the grove, then I was at Westside pavilion, then at Nordstrom Rack, then back at the grove and then finally back to westside which had relocated to Century City by then. All barista jobs, except for the last three locations. I wanted to be in customer service inside the high end store. I was good at it. But I wasn’t placed there. I mean I was but I was totally set up to fail. Towards the end of my Nordstrom career, Nordstrom did me so dirty. Having accepted a seasonal job with the potential for a permanent spot. I thought I had this job in the bag, I too was a seasoned customer service employee at non-other than their sister company and not only that, I was family, of course I'd get the job. but instead I got the boot. Strike number 1. was asking for help. Strike number 2. was having to ask to go move my car since it was the first time I'd park in the street during the day and failed to notice it was street cleaning day. and finally strike number 3. was panicking when a woman who lost her cell phone asked us to use our phone so Apple could call her and help her locate her phone. At first I was helping her, but then I was asked to stop helping her and move on to another guest. Our phone rang and rang and rang and the woman just kept staring at me like "are you going to answer?". So I said "can someone please answer the phone for this guest." Needless to say the store manager was right there next to me and I'm sure he had a role in my dismissal.

I remember my managers words, "panicking is not going to get you anywhere". Well neither will NOT helping our customers is it? I gave it to her like it was no one's business before I left. 1. I asked for training/tools and for help and everyone on "her team" and /or in the store turned their back on me, including her assistant manager. 2. I've never met a manager who didn't let their employee go move their car, after all, we're suppose to be looking out for each other. and 3. I had every right to panic when you had three employees just standing around not doing shit while the phone rang endlessly and this lady was desperate to find her phone. and finally I told her She had failed me as she never spent one single minute with me on the floor training me. Her team had failed me when they refused to help me and include me. and Her assistant manager failed me given the fact that she had worked for the Rack before and new that the Rack and Nordstrom was like Day and Night, totally different systems and ways of handling problems. It was a real WTF! moment for me. I cried, but then I got up, held my head up high and was glad I gave it to her before making my grand exit.

"I hope this makes you a better manager." I walked out.

Though I succeeded in multiple goals at Nordstrom as a whole, I failed at the ultimate one, to join the Customer Service Experience team at the high end retailer.

what I wore to my interview for Nordstrom customer service

I did however encountered a little ghost name Emily while at the grove location. She didn't hang out in the kids department, as it would seem natural. Instead, she liked the restrooms and designer bags department. On the second floor, in the guest restroom I would experience/hear the entrance to the restroom swinging open as if someone was coming in but when I went to check it out there was no one there. The employee lunch room and restrooms were the most disturbing to me. Though I never experienced anything physically or heard anything like in the guest restroom. I always felt the need to announce myself when I had to clean the employee restrooms. There was this unexplainable bad energy. I dared not go into the maternity room which was in the lunch room and I always asked someone to close that door for me whenever it was open. One time, when I came in to work at 2:30 a.m (I had taken a housekeeping position to get into the high end retailer before I went into customer service which was my ultimate demise). I asked the little ghost girl out loud while I was cleaning the first floor restroom what her name was. Of course there was no response and I hoped there wouldn't be. I would have ran my ass out of there. but as my day went by and I was emptying out trash cans and the sun had come out nice and bright. I decided to peek into one trash can that was actually turned in backwards, this was done on purpose because no one would use it. but something said check it (in case your manager discovers that you didn't check), inside was a little fan made by a kid with a tongue depressor and a half a paper plate. It was hand painted to look like a watermelon. On the tongue depressor were the words "my name is Emily. It was so creepy to me. Could this have been the little girl responding to my question earlier that day?

My last position was a salesperson in the athletics department which lasted Three months and I only accepted out of desperation not to be jobless and still have some kind of income coming in, as little as it was. I scored a bunch of super expensive designer athletic clothes for free. The plan was three months tops at this position and so three months is was.

Last days at Nordstrom

I quickly got back on the job search to get back in the medical field which is how I ended up at the pharmacy. Very few of my positions involved me answering phones. When I worked front office for the doctor, my left ear was still pretty good and I didn't wear hearing aids at the time.

I got a hearing test done when i got the job at the pharmacy and my benefits kicked in and found that my only “good” hear had become my “better” ear. Meaning, I had lost some pitches in that ear. And I can’t pin point when (Starbucks and Nordstrom were loud places with the blenders and the grinders) but I did notice that I had to ask people to repeat themselves more often. Which aggravated them. I quickly realized that this was not going to work. So as soon as my three month probation was done, I started looking for another position. The very position I graduated for. There were hardly any.

First day at the pharmacy and first official lab coat

It's not always boredom that turns me off at my jobs, in almost all of them I've experienced some kind of challenge with my hearing. Wether it was with the phones or a glass between me and the customer, accents, old people, screaming children in the background, distractions. but there's nothing more of a turn off for me than discrimination. I am happy in the healthcare profession but I realize that I just can't deal with people anymore. and I feel like I've definitely earned my stripes to deserve a back office job where I don't have to see anyone other than my co-workers ever again.

This is where I stand now. I need a quieter space in clerical or administrative work in the healthcare field. but this isn't definitive, it could be that I may just pack my shit and move to another city. I am torn between moving to start over and staying here and try something new like working from home for a medical company which I've found is possible. I just can't deal with people anymore and that I know for sure.

I know I'm on the right path. I know that I am capable, I am an engaged person. I'm bright and have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to making a job place a better and functional place. The one thing I don't have is the power or the voice to make that difference. I can't shine nor fly if my wings have been clipped and I've been placed in a dusty shelf because your superior feels threatened by you. I don't know what's going to happen in the next few weeks. I don't know where I'll end up. I am to the brim with anxiety and fear, this constant bad feeling in my gut. but I am praying and hoping that God has me in his hands and I know that he won't abandon me. I pray every day for the right tools, the knowledge and the strength to carry on and push through.

I had an idea a few months ago. An idea that if I decide to move out of the city I won't have time to pursue because I wish I could make this happen in this particular company. But as this whole ordeal unfolds that the pharmacy might not be the best place for me, I thought to myself "why isn't there a placement program for the disabled", a program where they don't necessarily have to loose their jobs or forced to quit their jobs but rather be transferred or placed in a suitable temporary position until they find something more desirable or their workspace could be modified or accommodated so that they can perform their duties successfully. Why aren't there any programs like that? Where can I go to get more information about maybe even just presenting the idea to my company? Well, not my company because based on my less-than-a-year-experience, it's been decided that they don't want new innovative ideas, they don't want a younger generation with disabilities standing up for themselves. but what about other companies? What about other disabled people who want to work and continue to be passed or discriminated against if hired. How will a program like this be funded? Who will support a mission like this? because let's face it, a task like this would require an army.

Now don't be mislead, there are certain laws that protect employees from certain categories. There's sexual assault or unwanted sexual advances, disabilities, taking medical leave for medical related illnesses, etc. but discrimination is really hard to prove. and they make it hard because let's face it, no company wants to be sued over discrimination and dish out cash to accommodate an employee when they can use that cash to accommodate the clients. It's a sad and greedy world out there. Know your rights.

Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

My wonderful friends, I hope you found this story enlightening, funny, scary, maybe it made you never want to work again. but this is just my story and my experience. but I hope more than anything that maybe you learned something. Please don't forget to give it a like, comment and share. Like always.....

XOXO


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