Broken... (Part 1)

Escaping My Summer Job (2015)

Broken... (Part 1)

As I sit around on the computer all day, every day, applying for jobs, I can't help but think about some of the jobs that I've had in the past. I tend to keep those memories as reminders of what I'm good at, and what I'm not good at.

In 2015, I remember being broken... so broken that I didn't want to live anymore.

It all started with that feeling of being lost.

Being Lost

When I had started my job as a cashier at a local zoo (I won’t give away which zoo that is) back in July of 2015, the first thing that management made me do was act as store greeter. First of all, I may have graduated from the shy little girl in high school to average socialite in college; but the problem was… I wasn’t 100 percent sociable. So, there would be instances where I would say hello to people walking into the gift shops, and they would look at me weird… or times when I would silently pray for the shift leader to give me something else to do, instead of having me stand outside the door for long and awkward periods of time. Therefore, I would feel completely lost, because the job application that I had filled out specifically said “Cashier (or Novelty Clerk, according to that company)”—nowhere in the job description did it say that I was to be made like a stupid idiot outside the gift shop. That was the first sign of “Hey, that’s not what I signed up for.”

Being Bitter

Trust me; once I was finally able to operate a cash register, things didn’t get any better. Though, to be fair, operating a register was no problem for me. However, being behind the register AND dealing with customers is the farthest thing from easy.

Imagine having receipts shoved in your face, and people saying “Hey, I need a refund!” Or imagine someone blurting out “False advertising!” because you were just told by management to change the display. Or imagine being accused of selling stale popcorn after being asked if it was fresh inside the machine, or they tell you to load a certain amount of popcorn for their refill. Or imagine someone snatching the change out of your hands, before you could finish counting the money so you wouldn't cheat them. Or imagine someone telling you to “Stop talking” when you’re trying to explain store policy to them.

Yep, that was the nonsense that I had to deal with on a regular basis.

Everything was so stressful whenever I came in to work. It even got to the point where it became so stressful for me—traumatic, if you will. I would have flashbacks and nightmares of my experiences as a cashier dealing with people either criticizing you, or being ridiculously impatient as you fulfill their transaction. No kidding. I’m writing this in August of 2019, and I’m still not over those things. It even gotten to the point where I couldn’t really focus on school, because I was attending grad school, but I had to worry about all the drama at work.

So, I had to deal with all this stress, until I finally just felt… BROKEN.

Being Broken

Finally, October 2015 came. The month before consisted of me plotting to quit this miserable job. I had typed up a resignation letter; and I had a chat with my supervisor. Luckily, my resignation was set in stone, and I had two more weeks with the zoo.

To my surprise, those two weeks had gone by really fast. Though, I felt that the weeks weren’t going fast enough. In fact, I started to slack off on certain areas of the job—though, doing so reasonably. I began ignoring customers when I could; and I would sometimes feed them misinformation, or I wouldn’t tell them about any promotions or events that the zoo was having. If those things kept me from dealing with people for a long period of time, then I was content. My mind was already made up: I wanted to get the hell out of there.

So, my last day in October came…

… and I lost it.

A woman wanted to ride the zoo train. She claimed to have bought a train ticket, but I had to verify whether or not she did (According to policy, all customers had to verify their purchase by showing a proof of purchase—a receipt, for example). Long story short: she got mad, and she angrily waved her receipt at me before marching off.

That was when I lost it.

I started crying, and I retreated into the backroom to hide. I felt really horrible that day. I knew I had failed as a cashier—This wasn’t supposed to be my life, and it never will be.

And then, everything was a blur: I was told to collect my money from the register, close the register, and return the money at the cash room. Next, my numb fingers worked the computer to have me clock out for the last time. Then, I dug everything out of my locker, and left it empty when I dragged my feet out of the locker room.

During all this, I felt as if I was dead, and somebody was carrying my lifeless body away from that horrible place. I was annihilated. I was defeated. I was dead.

Epilogue

So obviously, being a cashier was not a good career choice for me, and it never will be.

This job broke me. In fact, this wouldn't be the only job that would get me to that unpleasant low...

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Veronica Gonzalez
Veronica Gonzalez
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Veronica Gonzalez

Freelancer in writing, blogging, and tutoring. And I also self-publish with Barnes and Noble.

See all posts by Veronica Gonzalez