Perhaps the most drastic of my employment transitions was the time that I went from coordinating a private alternative healing practice in Berkeley to working the front desk of Corporate America in San Francisco in a matter of like 4.5 days. Once it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to live [eat] off of the inconsistent part time paychecks [let alone actually contribute to rent], I determined to get a big girl job again. At the time, it was really difficult for me to find full time work in the East Bay, so it was back to the the busy side of The Bay in dresses and pumps or cowboy boots. I honestly wore cowboy boots more than than anything and just played up my transplantness and southern roots.
I worked in Corporate America for nine ridiculous months and was into it for like, the first six weeks. It was honestly the kind of job I had always lusted after when I was in college and just wanted to be done with the student life: a 9-5 I didn’t have to think about when I went home at the end of the day. Except it was really a 9-6 and everyone took everything way too seriously and I had no idea that job politics are really such an inescapable thing. It was there in the edgy, fresh offices of a talent staffing agency that I first realized how problematic it was for me to have resting bitch face and not be perky and God-forbid, braid the front of my hair when the VP came to town. Seriously, one day my boss came up to me and told me my hair looked terrible and unprofessional so I wrote a passive-aggressive email to HR sincerely inquiring about what hair styles would be acceptable for someone with my hair texture. Naturally they ignored me.
Because we were a talent staffing agency, the bulk of my responsibilities as receptionist/ admin assistant [besides transferring calls from HQ in less than 15 seconds, lest they hang up and have someone’s head] was candidate intake ~ scanning passports and handing out interview packets and offering bottles of water. I also had the task of data entry which is legitimately my favorite aspect of every job I’ve had.
Most of my co-workers were glorious and amazing and it was fascinating to witness how much influence you can garner with people when you’re authentic and kind and genuinely compliment their bomb mascara application in the morning. Eventually, working full time in the city became exhausting and taxing, but with hindsight’s nostalgia, I do miss the rhythmic routine of it all… getting mochas from the Coffee Bar on Montgomery, spending half my paycheck on Market, and eating my packed lunches at Crocker Galleria.
It’s kind of overwhelming to sift through all the fond memories I have and I’m not being the least bit facetious. Like I mentioned before, there was an intensely suffocating rhythm to it all that helped me work through the convulsive collision of my Type A ISTJness and the wild, rebellious artist in me that belongs anywhere BUT Corporate America. I feel like I’ve earned some sort of Average American Badge by illustrating my eyebrows and catching trains three stories underground and soothing my soul with bags of stuff from merchant windows.
At some point, it dawned on me that part of God’s intentionality in placing me at this job was about the music I was forced to listen to week in/week out and how it would inspire and influence my soulwork and creative process. As I understand it, every office from London to Paris to New York to LA all had to have the same conglomeration of Pandora playlists that played the same songs ad nauseam per day of the week. Without fail, we started every Wednesday morning with Portuguese/Bossa Nova from the lovely Antonio Jobim [although I always looked forward to hearing Aguas de Março cause that’s my jam], and ended every Wednesday afternoon with old school rhymes from the Notorious B.I.G.
Following is the playlist I curated with tunes from my stint as the favorite receptionist the San Francisco branch had ever hosted:
[insert confidential company name here]
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards | Tame Impala
Chandelier | Sia
West Coast | Coconut Records
Young Folks | Peter Bjorn and John
Someday | The Strokes
Maps | Yeah Yeah Yeahs
From Eden | Hozier
Wonder wall | Oasis
Wake Up | Arcade Fire
VCR | The xx
Cannons | Youth Lagoon
Fade Into You | Mazzy Star
Always Gold | Radical Face
Summer Breeze | Seals & Crofts
Shout out to all the peeps commuting to cities and working day jobs this fine Monday Morning. May your copies be crisp and your coffee securely be lidded.