The Kitchen is "Done"
Memorials And Memories

Working Life Of Days Gone By

I'm working at Imageworks for about two weeks, bidding on two projects for them. It's a quick job, good for the checkbook and close to home and a place I know well. (I love it when the security guard says, "Have you been here before?" and I want to go "Dude, you have no idea." but I just nod instead.) Yesterday I left at 5:30 as I needed feedback from two sources who were not going to be able to get my feedback until today. 5:30. The sun was still up! It reminded me of the first full time/real job I had. 

Summer after I graduated from high school, mom called around to a few of her friends and got me an interview at Maui Petroleum in the accounting office. I got the job and it turned out to be pretty good. This was my day: start at Minit Stop in Kahului (the Maui Petroleum convenience market) and balance out all their cash drawers and prepare the bank deposits and new cash drawers. I sat upstairs counting money and zipping up those thick deposit bags. Then I would work the cash register for about 15 minutes while someone took a break. Then I would head over to Minit Stop in Wailuku. The manager there would have done the deposit already, I just had to pick it up. Then to the bank to make the deposits and get those receipts. This was all done in about 2-3 hours. Then I would go to the accounting office, which was in a portable trailer behind the main Maui Petroleum pumps and offices. In the office I would do the other side of the Minit Stop daily cash/income bookkeeping. Then I would do whatever needed doing in the accounting office for the rest of the day. Filing, data-entry on the computers, balancing ledger books. 

The day started at 8am and we were done at 4pm, with a 1/2 hour lunch. And it wasn't like you left at 4:30 or 5 if there was more work to do. It was like an SAT test. 4pm rolled around and there was a voice in everyone's head: STOP! Put your pencils down. And by 4:03 we were driving away.

It was awesome. I can't remember how much I got paid -- minimum wage in 1985 was $3.35/hour so I think I earned maybe $4.00/hour?  Dude.

I liked the fact that the mornings were spent outside the office. I could socialize with other people, drive around, chit chat, all while working. The office part of the day was not nearly so exciting. But at least it wasn't the exact same thing every day. And some days, filing is just what you want. Doesn't take too much brain power so I could day dream about college coming up and still get all those cancelled checks in the right numerical order.

And when I say "ledger books" I mean ledger books. Huge books with columns and boxes and rows and rows. Analog Excel, baby. I would input daily store information there and then have to run tapes on the calculator to add up a month's worth of receipts, totaling up multiple departments within each store. Tedious and man if the books didn't balance, back to the calculator tapes to double check against the hand written info. 

There were computers for the oil/gas side of things. Some days were spent inputting customer invoices over and over. That was pretty dull and if you made a mistake there was much fretting about going back to the previous page and deleting what you put in and starting over. Then you had to run reports and print on that huge paper with alternating white and pale blue lines. Wow. Those were the days.

The job taught me that working in accounting was never going to be my thing. Also, sitting in an office all day focused on one thing, also not in my future. The women I worked with were very nice and they were raising kids and were happy to have good jobs. Plus work ended at 4pm every day. There was so much daylight left for doing all kinds of fun stuff on Maui. I worked that job for three summers and two or three christmas breaks during college. 

I don't long for those days, but I sure miss that quittin' time.

Comments