My introduction to the work-a-day life
Around this time last year, I decided to enter myself into that wonderful world of the working class. For anyone who has ever made this crucial step in adolescence, then you probably understand the allure. To make ones own money, be among other adults in a sophisticated working environment and claim new responsibility is very attractive.
Did I mention the making my own money part? So, I officially signed up for my first real job: ticket scanning in Lionshead for Vail Resorts.
Filling out the application and interview is an interesting process for a high school student. First of all, the job experience and references section was embarrassingly barren. Even more painful was filling in school teachers and neighbors as references since I had an absolute blank slate in the working department. I also hoped my employer would hopefully be lenient when it came to that must be 18 years or older area.
During the interview, the woman had a hard time asking me questions because there were no reasons I had left a pervious employment. Instead we discussed how I could be a dedicated member of a team or compassionate aid to anyone who required assistance. Although I had little experience handling they types of problems that arise when one is a lift ticket scanner – disgruntled customers with families in tow, upset locals blocked from skiing because of pass restrictions who stealthfully attemp to dodge me in the line, or foreign-language speakers looking for the nearest ski school building – I was still excited to start earning cash, umm, I mean being a dedicated member of a team. Little did I know how my first job would really alter my life.
I stepped out into Lionshead that first day feeling the snow on my cheeks and cold wind through my hair. I had my scanner gun in hand and a set of strangers to accompany me. So began the winter season. Every weekend after that I was committed to Saturdays and Sundays out in the lift lines. I hadn’t really thought through how this obligation of having a job would tie down my life either. Much to my chagrin, at one point I was even scheduled to work on Christmas day! Lucky for me, a friend lifted that burden so I could keep tradition and sentimentally spend the time with my family.
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I routinely woke up earlier on weekends and stood out in the cold for longer than ever before, all the while telling myself that this is what responsible people did, and taking a job gave me no choice on the matter. In fact, my job was far from an easy task. The low point was on a brisk day in January, standing alone, trying to stop several people from bombarding the lift. My hands were excruciatingly numb, however all I could do was ignore the pain stabbing my body parts due to the immense chaos. I prayed for the end and gripped a small little black hand-warmer. Other favorite memories include being yelled at by an entire family for refusing to take their invalid passes, denying locals access to the slopes, and the ever painful crush that I developed on an older co-worker.
But it wasn’t all bad. Not only did I gain valuable experience handling disgruntled customers and met interesting people in “the office,” but I enjoyed seeing the weekly couple that brought us homemade cookies in the line and the ever-awkward encounter with teachers trying to slip by without being recognized. There was that one time those two boys came through the line with no clothing on except boxers and a ski pass around their neck; I recall maybe having enjoyed work that day. However, what I the biggest thing my first job gave me was on those mornings I could get to the mountain at 8:30 a.m., just a few hours before my shift started at around 10:00 a.m. The feeling while you stand atop an empty, groomed run with only the rising sun and snowboard to accompany you down? Priceless.