Minimum wage or the bliss of childhood

So this post is actually part of The Story of Me series, and this is Part 8, but I actually came up with a title for this one. Call it inspiration.

I got my second job at the age of 15 and this one turned out to be somewhat permanent. With a wide variety of fabulous minimum wage jobs available at this age, I actually got lucky and got to work in a medical office as a surgeon assistant. Kidding. I was working the front desk because nobody does surgeries in offices. Otherwise, I would totally assist.


This started off as a summer job, but then they apparently liked me, offered to stay, and continue working part time after school. At the point I was stupid enough to agree, instead I should have said ‘go f*** yourself, and let my parents pay the bills.’ In exactly the sentence structure I just described.  Because nobody tells you that ahead of you there’s not a bright future full of possibilities, but an endless amount of work duties, and plenty of poorly reimbursable job experiences.


Anyway, my primary duty was to force patients into visiting our doctor. Not physically force them because I was a child and not fit for such a task, at least yet. I had to play mind tricks on them. Our doctor was an optometrist, which meant he could give people eye drops and issue prescription glasses and that’s pretty much it.  And just trust me on this, there’s a shit-load of such specialists in New York fighting for an existing pool of patients. And it was my responsibility to ensure we get a sufficient amount of glasses-less BUT insurance-covered people, enough to cover the doctor’s Manhattan rent and my minimum wage salary.


I pretty much did cold calling without knowing such term exists. We had this huge alphabetized wall of charts because who heard of computers, not the people with alphabetized wall charts. And I would methodically go through them one by one, and call up every person that hasn’t been to see us in the last six month. Two reasons: you don’t want to be too goddamn annoying, but more importantly insurance companies pay for a new pair of glasses only every 6 months. And we were all about ethics and customer value, and called only the people we could make money off of.


Anyway, I remember my first round through the wall of charts. It took me about two months, and I was so relieved to be done with it. I thought this was my initiation upon which more challenging tasks will be granted to me, or as challenging as tasks in a medical office can be. Instead, I was told to just start all over again. I had tears in my eyes. And I hated that wall of charts with a vengeance, but I started all over many times after that.

I ended up staying for three years total. It wasn’t all bad. Office manager was an older lady that became my closest confidant. Like: she would give me filing working to do whenever I came in too hung over to talk in coherent sentences. Or she would send me on errands, like going to the post office, or buying lunch for her and I usually took the longest route possible (and she knew).  Sometimes on non-admitting days we would take turns taking naps. And on special days when the doctor was away, we would sneak into his office (the only room with a functioning computer) and shop online. Those were the best. Or it could be the days we were taking naps. It’s a tie between those two.

Hope your first job was as good as mine. Don’t be jealous, and stay positive


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