Moving on up

Cinque Terre hikeI worried about what to say in my medical interview about ‘what led me to want to be a doctor’ because my experiences haven’t been medically related. When I was at uni studying for my undergraduate degree, my resume looked like that of a commitment-phobe with a personality disorder. But every job, no matter how strange, illegal or tormenting, taught me valuable lessons about people.

I went to an advertising industry function where the speaker said the golden rule of success is to “broaden your experience”. I agree. Regardless of aspirations or fields of study, a solid foundation of diverse experiences is important because you never know when someone is going to say “MY GOD! IS THERE SOMEONE WITH FAIRY FLOSS VENDOR EXPERIENCE IN THE ROOM???!! WE HAVE A URGENT NEED FOR SPUN-SUGAR!”

So here is a short selection of my previous jobs and the lessons I have learnt.



  • McDonald’s front of house/cleaner. I learnt it is not beneath me to clean vomit, poo, pickles off ceilings or scrape chewing gum from underneath tables for $5.50 an hour. I learnt that some people have a dependance on fast food chains for regular meals. As in, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most days of the week. Those people have children. Child abuse comes in many forms.
  • Head waitress in cafe owned by depressed, corrupt ex-private detective with heavy-weight enemies and huge debts. I learnt not to get into debt & how to negotiate with re-possessors of unpaid takeaway pizza boxes.
  • Waitress in turkish restaurant. I learnt that immigration is a difficult, humbling process. My boss, in a kindly way, made a habit of hiring those who needed work to stay in the country. Our dishies were all tertiary educated, successful men in their home countries (some with families still overseas), reduced to washing dishes to earn some money, improve their english and bide time while their visa status was approved. It really p*ssed me off that hardly any of the restaurant staff took the time to speak to them and just assumed they were no-hopers. Talk to your local dishie! They’re people too. 
  • Door-to-Door salesperson. I learnt that, while I hated lying to people to make a sale, I was really good at it. Not all natural talents should be celebrated.
  • Door-to-Door salesperson AGAIN! I learnt to trust my instincts. Why would I like it this time when it was so heinous before? On a positive note, I did reaffirm my knack for talking to older people for hours about this, that & the weather. I now kick ass at small talk with the elderly.
  • Jumping Castle supervisor. I learnt to speak the languages of the two categories of parents: those who disappear immediately at the offer of free babysitting & those who stick around to monitor the castle buoyancy to ensure the optimal safety of their precious bundle of DNA. I like the disappearing ones. 
  • Call centre operator. I acquired the ability to understand thick accents, and perfected the art of tact. “…and why would your daughter like to be taken off our mailing list, ma’am?” “Because she’s dead, if you must know” *clunk*
  • Fairy Floss/popcorn operator. I learnt nostalgia is a power tool. If you can create a nostalgic moment for someone they’re instantly fond of you. Fairy floss is nostalgic crack. People. cannot. get. enough. Seriously. I’m out of sugar, okay? You need to step away from the booth.

These may not be years worth of volunteering at nursing homes, or time spent in labs doing research work but I believe my run-ins with the general public have been worth it. I wouldn’t take back any one of them. I feel like I’m slowly moving on up but I hope I’m never too ‘good’ to clean a toilet.


2 Responses to “Moving on up”

  1. *C Says:

    Hey C,
    I think my CV from uni days reads a lot like yours… though I was officially the world’s worst waitress… unless delivering meals directly into people’s laps is part of the job description.
    Being a dishie isn’t so bad. On the positive side, it’s like a 9 hour work out that you get PAID to do. And being chained to a desk can be a far worse fate.
    Congratulations on Griffith and good luck for 09! It’s an impressive achievement to get as far as you have – and seemingly with such dazzling style!

  2. doctor007 Says:

    Oh man, I love the CV. It serves to humble. I’ve done the nursing home thing, and research as well, but I was a dishie, telemarketer and bartender, too.

    Though I never did get to do something as cool as fairy floss extraordinaire!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: