Posts Tagged ‘Coastal Carolina University’

"Order! Order in the court!" "I'll have a ham & cheese" -one of my dad's favorites

5. Doculegal inRochester, New York

I graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 1999 with a bachelors degree in Political Science.  Why?  Because I was a Liberal Arts major until the last possible second and I chose a major based on my favorite course at the time (Constitutional Law).  Armed with this degree, I felt the need for my first “real job” to be somehow connected to the world of law, and I was half considering continuing on to law school.  Ok, more like 1/8 considering law school.  I was tired of homework.  My sister, being a respected accountant, had many clients in the city of Rochester and hooked me up with Doculegal, for which I will always be thankful.  I was helping prepare legal documents for trial, exhibits, etc.  Translation = copy boy.  It was Kinko’s without the apron.  Making copies in a shirt and tie.  The shirt and tie did make me feel more professional and prestigious, so I was happy.  Besides that, my immediate supervisor was a guy named Ford Collins.  I assumed Ford was a few years older than me, what with all the professional experience and rank he had on me.  Ford was skeptical of me as a new hire, and showed such dissent during the interview.  At approximately 8:45 AM on my first day of work we discovered we had a pretty similar sense of humor, negligible age difference, and a great time working together.  That is why out of 20+ jobs I’ve had Doculegal made the cut as the #5 place I’ve ever worked.  I only worked there for about 6 months, but that was long enough to form the band Appaloosa, cover Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, and learn why you can’t have an Assy Hose without a Nipple Coupler.

"I pledge allegiance to Grimace's balls" why?

4. McDonald’s in the Greater Rochester International Airport

A virtual lock for a top 5 spot, McDonald’s was the second job I ever had (the first being Wegmans in Chili, NY).  Imagine if a relatively successful and financially sound business man opened a franchise location of one of the world’s most profitable and recognizable businesses and put you and your high school friends in charge of it.  With no supervision.  That’s exactly what happened in the mid 1990s in The Greater Rochester International Airport.  I’ve italicized ‘International’ because the airport gained that distinction by offering one flight to Toronto.  One flight.  For those unaware, Toronto is closer to Rochester than Rochester is to New York City.  Flying to Toronto was like flying Myrtle Beach to Charlotte, NC: as soon as you end your ascent you begin your decent, 50 minutes on a bad day.  Anyway, I felt pretty official because I got to wear a shirt and tie.  Salting french fries in a shirt and tie.  In “Full McDonald’s Regalia” as one friend puts it.  To this day, I always think that I didn’t get the complete traditional McD’s employee experience, since we didn’t have a drive-thru window (being in an airport).  However, if the full traditional experience includes cross-generational pedicures in the employee break room, the most racially-socio-economically diverse workforce ever assembled (we were like the United Nations of Quarter Pounders), and scientific testing on cheese danishes, then yes, I did get that.

When I got hired, one of my best friends whom I would later learn is a semi-distant cousin (still so weird) was the afternoon shift manager.  Of course based on this knowledge I would specify strictly afternoon availability.   I made some amazing friends at that job whom I still have varying levels of contact with, but that wasn’t enough.  Shawn and I went on to recruit and hire a handful of our best friends to the point where the payroll looked like my graduation party invite list.  At one point on an otherwise non-noteworthy shift I took a customer’s order and turned around to the kitchen area only to glance around and realize I had 4 of my best friends working with me and no one else.  How the hell did someone leave the 5 of us in charge of a McDonald’s?!  A question that lingers to this day.

"Pick Enterprise, We'll Take the Gun Out of Our Mouth Long Enough to Pick You Up!"

3. Enterprise Rent-A-Car all over South Carolina

During my last semester of study at Coastal Carolina (the first time around), I worked part time washing cars at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Conway, South Carolina.  I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt, work outside, pretty much come and go as I please, a great setup.  The management had asked me on more than one occasion if I would consider joining the team full-time as a Management Trainee once I graduated.  At this point I would be remiss if I did not advise you to see the movie Step Brothers if you haven’t already.  It’s the only movie I know of with a reference to the ERAC Management Trainee program, a joke tailored to such a relatively small audience that it still blows my mind.  Although if you or a loved one have worked for Enterprise in the past, once you are out it is like a secret society of alumni who know each other just by looking at one another.  When I meet someone I can tell within 6 minutes if they ever worked for Enterprise, and once that distinction is made nothing else needs to be said.

Enterprise really did make me feel like I was on a fast track to running my own business.  I mean, how do you not feel like an up-and-coming travel industry tycoon when you are out behind a grocery store strip mall vacuuming out a Ford Fiesta while wearing…. you guessed it, a shirt and tie.  Sensing a trend?  I can say without a doubt that of making copies, flipping burgers, and washing cars, it was the car washing scenario that made the shirt and tie get-up feel most inappropriate.  I remember my boss telling me I needed to wear a “shineable shoe” as part of my uniform.  Odd request, since this job was not a “shineable turd”.

The job itself isn’t the reason that ERAC ranks at #3 on this list, it was the people I worked with.  At McDonald’s I worked with people who were already some of my best friends.  At Enterprise I made some of my best friends.  There are way too many stories and jokes to recount here (ooh that’s an idea for another top 5 list!) but as far as I’m concerned, Mitch clogging the toilet and unwittingly announcing it to a waiting room full of customers, and Brady’s “pardon me” after painfully obvious forced flatulence in front of a stranger is the stuff of legend.

a house

2. Centex Homes in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

No exaggeration here whatsoever when I tell you that my coworkers and I would look at each other every day and say “Best job ever”.  Centex is a national home builder that has since been bought out/reorganized/I don’t know I stopped paying attention.  It seemed to be a holding ground for disgruntled ex-Enterprise employees to cleanse their systems of rental car toxins and return to a normal American work environment.  I worked there with a pretty significant sample of my former ERAC coworkers, all of us ushered into the pearly heaven-like Centex gates by trailblazing pioneer Mitch Laps (the toilet clogging dude).  We were all pretty burnt out from the brutal nature of the rental car business (70 hour workweeks, repossessions, cleaning trashed cars, 3 day benders).  The Centex work environment was at the other end of the spectrum and we took advantage of that.  I can’t tell you how many days I left at 1pm for the day, and the only reason I stayed that long was to finish an office chair Nerf hoop tournament and have the Mexican “gut-bomb” for lunch with my buds.  As if that wasn’t enough gross misappropriation of company assets, here was the clincher:  the company took all 400+ division employees plus a guest to Cancun for a long weekend.  Insane.  All-inclusive resort, airfare, all paid for.  This job should probably rank #1 on this list because my plus-one for the Cancun trip was one of my best friends who would later turn out to be my beautiful wife, Jessica.

not where I worked

1. Studebakers in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

I know, I know, the reconnecting with the old friend who I later married thing is huge!  Like I said, for all intents and purposes (I hate when people say “for all intensive purposes” – there’s another list for later) it should be #1, but this list ranks the jobs, not the by-products of the circumstances of the hypotenuse.  Confused?  Perfect.  Now you know how we all felt the night that one of the hardest working, most loyal and beloved Studebakers bartenders got fired for comping a customer a free beer.  That’s right, a tried a true bartending practice, a regular customer, a busy night, A BEER. And yes, I’m intending it to be said the cute way “ahh beer”, as in ONE f’ing beer. Fired.  On the spot.  K.P.  Gone.

That’s obviously not what made this the best job I’ve ever had.  I went on to be K.P.’s roomate when I moved back to South Carolina after the Doculegal experiment (see #5), and for those concerned, he’s doing just fine.  No, this job had its glory days well before the K.P. beer bone incident (which we’d all agree happened post-prime, on the downside of the proverbial mountain) (kinda like when Dan Marino threw like 8 picks in that last NFL playoff game against Jacksonville).  This job had moments like Eric Bellamy (Uncle E) teaching me dance steps “stupid shit, stupid shit”, Mike hurdling himself down an entire flight of stairs literally to get two of us to laugh (seriously, what if we weren’t looking?), and me forever enhancing Jeremy’s enjoyment of the song “Wang Chung” by heroically sliding in for the guitar solo at the last second.

Studebaker’s was the anti-office environment yet it was the first place where I felt like I was working my way up the corporate ladder.  I started as a floorwalker (insert drunk Jedi joke here), then worked the door a bit, moved up to barback, and was promoted to bartender (the hallowed highest honor) in short order.  I was making cash at an alarming rate and starting friendships that still hold strong today.  And I wasn’t even wearing a shirt and tie.

The beer thief is the one on the far left

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