I think it’s necessary for one to reflect upon one’s past experience in the work force in an effort to understand whether or not you’re progressing at all in an upwardly mobile fashion. And thus in this blog, I will singlehandedly explain all my work experience from fetushood to present.
Commonly, in most families, especially more upwardly privileged middle/upper classes, parents usually give their kids allowances for doing chores. This is not the fact however, in my childhood. I don’t think my parents could afford the luxury of giving their kids money, but whatever the case, we did receive approximately $50 for Chinese New Years / TET every year. This is a lot less than most Asian families, but any money > no money. Besides, we were part of a big family, so if my parents were to give every kid a lot, it wouldn’t necessary work out in their best interest.
As part of a reward of my sister teaching me very little Vietnamese when I was approximately 7 – 8, we got about a dollar, which I used at the 99 cent or 98 cent (later on) store to buy a bag of chips (or even those toy guns that broke very easily cause they were made in China). For some reason though, I wasn’t aware as a kid of sales tax, so I always only 99 cents from my parents, and not a cent more! I also received $1 from my parents every week for going to Buddhist temple. Here’s a picture of me at temple.
They figured I would be hungry and thus I used the money to buy vegetarian eggrolls or a bag of chips + soda every week. I got to admit, I didn’t really enjoy temple that much – but that wasn’t necessarily because of the religion, but more-so of the atmosphere there, but we’ll get into that another time.
That’s all for handouts from parents. Now let’s discuss ways I made money on my own.
Somehow, I was able to manage all the way up to sophomore year of high school without money. I think, this was due to my lack of leaving the house or doing social activity away from home. But that’s not the point.
Job #1: OC Fair: So one day, George Tello calls me and was like “Hey, you want a job?” I never had one so I said “Why the hell not!”, so I did. So George and/or his mom would drive me to work every day (about only two times a week), which he did (good riddance) all the way to OCC (approximately where the OC Fair was located; near Fairgrounds). So the OC Fair was nice and all; it looked nice, it was nice, but our job was okay. We had two bosses, a white one, and a black one. Both were extremely nice. The job was extremely nice too, kind of.
We basically were newspaper vendors for the LA times, and had to sell them to random workers at the fair. So we had to go up to strangers basically, and ask them to buy newspapers.
It wasn’t necessarily easy to convince people to buy newspapers. I was still extremely shy and socially awkward at the time, and felt uncomfortable going up to strangers and asking them to buy things. George did a much better job overall, but I did okay too. Somehow though, we got “bonuses” for not really doing much. I didn’t understand it. And most of the time, we bought the newspapers more-so ourselves, but since we got paid for the hour (10 bucks/hr) we were making a profit still. It was weird…
Notable story #1: One time, I asked a guy to buy a newspaper, and he was like “Is that the LA Times? No, that’s way too liberal for me.” I was upset at the comment, solely due to the fact that I did not yet grasp the distinction between conservative news (OC Register) and liberal news (LA Times). Looking back though, I can see why he wouldn’t want to read the newspaper.
Notable story#2: I asked this girl who was making crapes at the fair for her myspace. She gave me her email. I used it. Myspace said it didn’t exist. FAIL BLOG.
Notable story #3: We went up to this girl who was selling flowers. I forgot her name, but she was clearly a college student, and super nice. I asked for her myspace, but she said all she had was a facebook. It was uber-fail because at the time, everyone in high school was still using myspace so it was super awkward. Anyway, she was nice, but I’ll probably never encounter a flower girl quite like her again.
Anyways, the job lasted for 1 month in the summer (August), and thus was my shortest job.
Job #2: Popeyes
Worst job ever. Ask Nhi Pham, Kimberly Nguyen, or Anthony or Landon Nguyen.
Okay, well maybe it wasn’t THATTTTT bad, but it was still what you would expect from any fast food (food service industry) place. Not only that, but the owner and the manager were the same people, so they were super strict.
Vanna was the nice one. My other boss, Pete, yelled at me every time.
Maybe it’s cause I wasn’t trained properly, but I did things any normal exployee would have…. I basically had to cook (I was horrible at this…. I was slow, and couldn’t cook chicken very well. Plus it was super hot). I also had to clean – wash dishes + Season the chicken. WORST JOB EVER.
Notable story #1: I was spinning a rotisserie once while seasoning chicken, but I didn’t close it tightly enough, so all the chicken fell out into the ground. In fear of being yelled, I grabbed all the chicken from the ground and put it back in before anyone could say anything. Good thing germs and disease die in extreme temperatures.
Notable story#2: I was putting batter and flour on the chicken, and accidentally sneezed in the flour.
Notable story #3: One time, I put too much chicken in the flaming oil, and thus none of them were fully cooked.
Notable story #4: One time, I was taking out a trash bag (which had some leftover batter in it), and took it outside, and it broke, all the batter spilling out. One of my co-workers, Kenny, however, had to clean it up, and not me. Phew.
And thus, for a whole year (mostly weekends on Saturdays I worked during the school year), I worked at Popeyes. It was a…. whatever experience.
Job #3: Career Services Center
This was an okay job. Basically I came in and scanned lots of documents every day. It was a basic office job. It only lasted one quarter (Winter Quarter of my Freshman year). In retrospect, I regret working so fast that it ended so soon, but it helped guide me to my next two jobs on campus at UCSD.
Job # 4: Conference Services
So in the summer of 2009, I regrettably made the decision of staying at UCSD all summer and working on campus. But if you think about, I REALLY NEEDED a starting point to pay back my parents. for borrowing money to pay for college, and in being self-sufficient, sacrificed my summer. So essentially, I worked here, which wasn’t necessary a bad job.
So I basically sat behind a desk every day, surfing the internet for about 8 hours. Sometimes we picked up phone calls, sometimes we checked people in and out (including Lebron James’ basketball academy), and sometimes we drove carts to deliver things to other conference desks on campus, but that was essentially it. Also we packed and unpacked storage centers from the start (June) to the end (September). It was quite a dull summer, professionally speaking of course.
Notable story #1: Gossip was widespread in conference services. The conference coordinators seemed to elicit from drama between Suzette vs. Sonia. And Tim vs. Michelle. Lots of fun.
Notable story#2: One time, this girl came in from the Lebron James basketball academy and said she lost her keys. Me and Dana decided that I would help her go find them. So I walked her to the basketball court to find them. Little did I know that the Kings Academy staff would be super upset with me. Even Davelle talked to me about it afterward, but it was all settled fortunately. So the question is, did they think I was a pedophile or something ?!?!?!
Notable story #3: David driving the carts to his apartment for lunch break.
Notable story #4: Playing Party in the USA every day at work. Falling asleep during graveyard shifts at work.
Notable story #5: I spent 40 minutes backing up the cart one day (it got stuck outside the storage in ERC)
If asked if I would go back again, maybe. But not likely at this point. We shall see.
Job #5: Environmental, Health, and Safety
Best job ever. Coming in at the start of summer, I didn’t think it would be easy. James, the previous worker trained me, and he told me how easy the job was. Obviously, I took the job a little more seriously than he did, but I soon realized over time, that the bosses didn’t really care/know what time you came in, but as long as you were doing work you could get away with much of anything.
In balancing two jobs over the summer, I had to do it discreetly. Because it was technically against the rule of Conference Services to have two jobs, but they never found out, and I wasn’t going to tell them.
So anyway, what I did in the summer was essentially scan audits, and randomly post safety warnings everywhere. Upon starting the job, my boss Doug Harvey told me that I would undergo a major project in posting diecuts all over the laboratories on campus.
So that diecut; I literally had to post that all over campus. To give you a statistic, I have posted approximately 6200 diecuts on vacuum lines all over campus, and 560 stickers. This includes all of the school of medicine, revelle buildings, muir and marshall buildings, scripps institute of oceanography (and in the works thorton/hillcrest, and engineering buildings). That’s to those that think I do not work! I do work, just very efficiently. The best part? I get to leave early most of the time, especially when my boss dismisses me early but says “make sure to keep it clocked on your time sheet”.
It’s probably the best job I’ve had ever, and that’s why I’ve held onto it for so long. Sometimes I’m forced to post signs at either Scripps of Hillcrest Hospital, but all in all it remains a job that doesn’t require much effort. Not until I graduate will I let go – because work is assigned and done at my own leisure, and I am able to appropriately leave any time I want. Just take a look at what I get to do there:
Notable story #1: I was playing farmville on the computer and my boss grabbed me and said “Are you playing baseball or something?”
Notable story #2: I was driving the cart, and accidentally drove it on a one way street the wrong way. I was reported. My boss barely said anything, but just to “stay away from the carts for a while”.
Notable story #3: One of my co-workers told me an interesting story about how she was good friends with a guy in high school, but had a merely platonic relationship with him. 10 Years later, upon reuniting with one another, they started dating and had a non-platonic relationship. I asked her “What changed?”, and she said “We both grew up”. Those stories make me happy.
Notable story #4: (happened a few times). I walked into work and asked my boss for work “He says. You can go: *Insert appropriate holiday here*”
Notable story #5: I was able to cook corn in the summer of 2011 for a bunch of employees, and they all complimented me on my excellent abilities. This included my wonderful boss Doug Harvey. More details here.
Notable story#6: I get to post modeling pictures of myself all over campus (more details to come later):
Job #5: Sustainability Resource Center
I got an internship here in the Spring of 2011, and got subsequently put in charge of managing the Facebook and Twitter feeds of the SRC while simultaneously designing a website (one that they wouldn’t even bother to use). It was a decent learning experience as I explored means by which to increase Facebook likes as well as interactions with the page. I was a little disappointed at the amount of micromanagement going on – as they had to approve every single thing I posted. That’s bureaucracy, I suppose. Still, it was enjoyable getting to know Yu-Ting and Sylvia in the brief 2 month period we had. Truth be told, it really wasn’t something I believed in, and thus not as enjoyable as you can imagine.
Job #7: Think Together
Everything I dealt in the July of 2011 has helped improve me both personally and professionally, due to my adventures with ThinkTogether. Going into the summer, I wasn’t exactly sure if I had made the right choice. I almost was going to spend my entire summer doing an unpaid “internship” at a company that I would probably have much less at. With the ultimate decision to apply to ThinkTogether, I knew in the back of my mind I would have to bus to the school site at least 45 minutes a day. Was it worth it in the long run? I think so.
Training seemed to increase worries instead of relieving them, as I was nervous the job wasn’t what it was advertised to be. With the lack of organization at the upper level during training, I was worried that the program might not run as smoothly as one would think a summer program should. Still, despite the kinks and problems encountered throughout the entire program, I did not derive happiness at all from the administration or the bureaucracy set in place, but rather in the wonderful memories spent with my co-program leaders as well as the kids I encountered. I’ve decided now that I might want to invest in the future (maybe immediate, maybe not so immediate) a career in teaching. I haven’t quite decided if that’s the path I want to go to directly (through attaining a teaching credential), but I know at least when I’m of old age I’d love to do what I just did this summer: educate and inspire kids to follow their dreams.
The program was split evenly, with each person teaching two of one course, and one of another course. I was blessed to be given the ability to teach film twice in one day, and math only once. Though it’s definitely not one of my strongest subjects (I would love to teach History at some point in my life), I felt a sense of belonging in the classroom I never felt when I was in school. With all eyes on me, I felt a sense of confidence in front of all the students while directing them to watch a certain video I had on my laptop, or telling them to work on their screenplay/scripts, or movies. In the end, the products of their imagination that they have created are inspiring. They’re obviously not the greatest films of all time, but they send a decent message: that the kids had some sort of fun this summer. That’s really all that matters in the back of my mind. If education if an important part of a kid’s future, they can get that during the school year. Summer time should definitely be mostly about fun, which brings us to the second subject I had to teach: math. I knew it would be a struggle. Math was never my strongest subject, and I despised it while in school, but I adapted math in such a way that made the kids enjoy it. I played Math Jeopardy, Math Pictionary, and Math Charades with them, and they enjoyed it for the most part, as long as “raffle tickets” were set in stone for them to win. I knew I had done my job well at the end of the course, when I made the kids do a “math scavenger hunt” in the classroom, running around looking for terms as I shouted the definitions out to them.
One of the problems you could say as a person in charge is whether or not to be “friends” with the kids you teach. I know professionally being their friend could create problems in the near future, but I also knew that this was SUMMER CAMP, and not school, and I was ultimately their program leader – not their teacher. Subsequently, I made personal connections with many of them, exchanging wonderful stories about my life, and them exchanging some not-so-wonderful stories about their lives. The gossip girls of lunch provided me with all the intel I needed to know how to teach accordingly, and let’s just say it kind of helped. Whenever a girl was crying in one of my classes, I knew the right way to talk to them to make them ultimately feel better. In fact, because I already knew everything that was going on behind the scenes (through the gossip), I was able to console them in a way that made them feel understood. One of the problems I sense with teachers in the modern era is that they’re seen as “robots”, and basically not treated as human beings. Ultimately though, we all share basically a same life, with the main purposes in life to a) be happy b) find love and c) have lots of money/affluence. I knew in educating them I would fulfill one of their three desires, but I knew in the back of their mind love was always in the deepest realms of their subconscious. Some of the students even told me that I should be a counselor because I understood their thoughts, and always knew the right things to say back to them to make them feel better. I never really considered it though, because the problems I’ve encountered throughout my life (if you read my high school blog entries), were never really solved by me, but instead pushed off and ignored. In the end though, what matters is that the kids had fun. As I can see based on some of their facebook posts, they really enjoyed the program and are even considering coming back for next year. Me, on the other hand, would definitely consider also going back. Though that’s definitely not set in stone because I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be when I graduate, I plan to somehow educate and inspire the future generation of Americans.
Job #8: Anaheim Family YMCA
I currently am employed at an after school program where I essentially tutor kids, but mostly mentor them towards a more positive direction in their future. Not only is this good experience for the future, it really reminds me why I chose education for my future. Here are some notable stories:
Notable story #1: I subbed one day at Dale Elementary school. After talking to 2 kids for just 20 minutes they go “I wish you worked here… none of the other staff talks to us”. FAIL.
Notable story #2: Two girls, after missing 8 classes of credit recovery after school, make up their hours with me. I employed their slave labor to make friendship bracelets for me. They made one with black and brown beads to symbolize their prospective races (even though I told them not to). While pushing a cart, all the beads fell on the ground, so I subsequently made them pick them all up. I gave the pregnant one good advice.
Notable story #3: The kids at Loara somehow decided to give me all types of nicknames, which included Chao (from The Hangover), and Uncle John. Even in random encounters with students outside of the school (Tet Fest, March of Dimes), they still come up to me calling me that, asking for a picture, and requesting me to go back to Loara.
Notable story #4: After 1 day at Katella a student walks into tutoring. I ask if she remembers me, to which she says “Of course I remember… I wouldn’t forget.” This made me feel better about the transition from school to school.
Notable story #5: Students coming up to me with their relationship problems. Because I’m easily approachable, students feel the need to confide in me the most personal details of their life. I try to be as real with them as possible telling giving them the most appropriate advice possible for their age-group, namely that they are still young and that they shouldn’t be so preoccupied with the pursuit of love at such an early age (although I did so my high school years myself…).