Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summertime, and the living is easy?

CORRECTION: Summertime, and we're in a recession.

Ireland’s GDP has plunged down 9% in 2009 so far which is a DISASTER to put it lightly. However...


Work it.
I FINALLY found a job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




.....And it only took me 10 hours to quit that shit. I was walking around Dublin nostalgically retracing my steps back to where I stayed for my first 2 nights in Dubs off of Talbot street. When I saw in the window at a nearby hostel that they were seeking a receptionist, I took it as a sign (my first mistake).

I was “lucky” enough to unknowingly chat with the owner, who was the first person I saw upon entering the building. He interviewed me on the spot, firing questions at me rapidly (something I have gotten used, whether it be friends, people in bars, or potential bosses…there are often few if any pauses in Irish conversation). Anyway in an abrupt and shocking turn of events, I left the place in 5 minutes with a job! I started training the following day, and as my boss said upon my exit “Let’s see if you’re smart enough”. Well, that was encouraging.

I had my first day of training from 3-11. The girls that I work with were really nice, one was American as well, and within 20 minutes of my shift it was understood that they were all united under a mutual hatred and unending resentment of our boss, The Owner.

Without ever having given my CV (resume) or even my last name I worked there for another shift and got to see my egotistical egg-headed boss in his true form. He was unbearable, telling me that now that I’m "on the team", I can “say goodbye to any travel plans,” I’m “committed (to him) until the end of August”. (BTW – I won’t even be here that long, my lease ends on the 15th, but I had to lie initially to get the job). I witnessed him give one of the managers the silent treatment all day, and overall just act like a petulant child. He was for real too. It was hard to believe and I wished it was like The Office where I could just look at the camera like Jim does as if to say “Do you believe this shit?

The piss-ridden hostel had an everlasting aroma of EURO-B.O. But with the severity of this guy you would have thought he was running the Ritz. Newsflash dude: This place is a shithole. There was NO WAY I was going to deal with this during my last few months here, and plus, I was being paid BELOW minimum wage in Ireland to slave away at a thankless job that I thought could be so much more improved if The Owner took the time and effort to upgrade his booking system and make it more efficient. Get some software like Opera Fidelio that even I’ve heard of and upgrade your shit to something a bit more evolved than an excel sheet managed by ME which takes forever to actually complete. So much of the work was mindless, i.e. the literal writing out of scheduled check-ins booked on hostelworld or hostelbookers for the following day, answering phones all day long, looking at security cameras to verify the identity of people and buzz them into the actual hostel because the reception area was in a separate building.... I just felt like I would be unhappy at this job even if my boss was considerate.

Additionally, the times I would either be getting off work or having to come in in the morning would have required me to sometimes take a taxi into town (due to Dublin bus not running early/late enough). That would just be ridiculous. The only thing I enjoyed from my brief time there was the enthusiasm of the people traveling, giving advice on where to go out, and finding that I could actually give decent directions around Dublin.

So, after I decided I was going to quit, I remembered that they didn’t even know my last name and I started to imagine ways I could make a dramatic exit, like storming out in the middle of the shift after making a scene or something. I felt like I owed it to the other girls: They were entrenched in all the bullshit because they lived in the hostel (for free), making the job almost inescapable and giving The Owner a superb edge over them. (This is also why he could pay us lower wages as well).

I decided to stick it to the man by not showing up to my morning training shift (7-3). Although I had imagined in my mind much cooler ways of quitting, turns out I just snoozed through it. I would never just not show up to a shift if I was the only one, but since this was training for the morning work activities, I would be following the lead of another girl. That was that. They don’t even have my mobile number and were paying me under the table so I will never set foot in there again, and never have to explain myself. Woohoo!!! After doing this I felt immediately liberated. Call me an idiot for quitting when the job market is the way it is, but working there would have crushed my soul and I HAD to get out. This entire trip for me has been so fantastic I refused to have it all dampered by working at that place. I'm just taking it day by day for now.


The O2

Last week I also worked with a promotional group called Concert Live at The O2 concert venue in Dublin. The venue itself has recently been totally refurbished and is really top notch. I really enjoyed working there, and I wish it was for more than one night.

What the company does is record the concert as it is being performed, and then 10 minutes after the performance, CDs of the concert are available to take home with you. There was about a dozen of us, and the job was to approach people before the show, during the intermission, and at the end to try to get them to buy one of the “exclusive” CDs for 25 euro. Holy impulse buy!! Sounds like a rip off? It totally is. Surprisingly enough there was a really positive response and by the end of the night I was one of the top sellers which was really cool. I got to meet a lot of people and it was a fun atmosphere to work in. Unfortunately, Concet Live doesn't have an established presence here and only records a select few shows, no more of which are at The O2 this summer.

The show itself was War of the Worlds, which I didn’t know was a musical, I thought it was just about aliens invading and I knew that there was a film about it with Tom Cruise (partially filmed in my town…whuddup Howell). I figured the audience would be ComicCon-esque but I was surprised that it was actually pretty diverse, ranging from excited little kids to people who told me they had the vinyl record of the music. There was a lot going on on that stage, live orchestra, live performances of characters in costume, narration by some digital guy’s levitating head stage left, stuff falling from the ceiling, and interaction of the performers with a digital ensemble on a massive screen above the orchestra. Then of course also some alien tractor looking thing in the middle that smoked and fizzled throughout the concert….Overall, enough to make anyone epileptic have multiple seizures. From the 10 minutes or so that I watched in the corridor, it was pretty cool.

Brit-brit is actually coming to town next weekend and doing 2 shows at The O2. I WISH I could work that but then I realized that recording Brit’s concert live would be redundant since she lip synchs and can’t carry a tune to save her life. Still, I would totally buy a live CD of her IF it includes her explicit outbursts on stage. (“My pussy is hanging out!”)

The only downside of the night was that I saw a cute and geeky guy from a bar that I met the week before and left rudely and abruptly under the impression that I was out with my friends having my “going away…back to the states” party and that’s why I couldn’t go out with him later on in the week. Sorry Peter, I’m an asshole. I wanted to dissolve on the spot when we locked eyes but instead I opted to just do an about face and take off quickly but nonchalantly in the opposite direction. It was really a weird feeling recognizing someone and being recognized because I have become so accustomed to no one knowing me here, and so I am never anticipating being recognized or sought out. This served me wrong when I bumped into one of my high school teachers (Ms. Smith) in the Jameson factory 2 months ago when Kelly was visiting – THAT was insane!!!! How does that even happen?? She was calling my name and I just ignored it because everytime I hear my name in this town I assume first that no one is directing it at me. That’s sad isn’t it?


Things that pissed me off today:

American tourists. I know that I need to get over myself….but there was a gaggle of the most typical obnoxious American girls on the bus with me today. I don’t know what it was specifically that left me no choice but to categorize them as such, it could have been their never-ending loud conversation about how drunk they were getting over here, bragging about blacking out, complaining about how many PDAs there are here, (wtf? I think they just wanted to bitch) and critiquing the bus driver for tailgating (Dub buses are flat in the front and from the second level it does sometimes look like they are dangerously close to other vehicles or going to run people over that are biking/crossing the street). Their voices were so annoying and shrill and made me realize what I am NOT missing about home, and also why people abroad might resent Americans for being ignorant tools.


My Final Destination moment

I can’t believe I’m even writing this.

Maybe I am losing my mind. Two days ago, I was catching a bus back to UCD from O’Connell St. There was a young, well-dressed businessman waiting at the stop with me, and I kept noticing him looking at me out of the corner of my eye. For whatever reason, he made me feel really uncomfortable so I moved away from him. We were waiting for about 10 minutes for the bus, and I when it finally arrived, I had a weird and subtle feeling not to get on the bus. The business guy’s briefcase had 2 locks on it and looked like it was made of steel. He went and sat in the back and was fumbling with it. At this point, I thought he was going to blow up the bus. For a few seconds I wager whether I should get off the bus or not. I think to myself that I can’t get off the bus because after waiting out in the sun the groceries I bought that need to be refrigerated are already probably going bad. Then I realize that if this guy is going to blow up the bus, me and my groceries are going to be in flames anyway and the quality of my dairy products will be the least of my concerns. In my mind I felt so uncomfortable that I actually got off at the next stop. What the fuck is wrong with me?


Now.

I am enjoying my new place on UCD Belfield campus. I live in my apartment with 3 guys, 2 of whom I lived with in the nunnery so that is really nice. The weather has been class, and the good thing about Dublin is that it is never humid - unlike NJ, swamp-ass capital of the world. I am enjoying the fact that the sun doesn't set until about 10:15 pm...It really is magical. Being in town before the sun goes down at night is really nice. I have booked a trip to Manchester in about 10 days and I am going to Old Trafford...I'm SO excited!!!!!!.....maybe I will catch Ronaldo cleaning out his locker.... Will add more later, gotta run

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