I might be in my forties, but I’m hip. I’m fly. I’m on point when it comes to what is and isn’t trending. (I published my #squadgoals already, right?)
Which is how I know Twitter recently lit up with #7jobs.
I had to kind of squint a bit – I mean, it’s been quite a few years since my first paying job (though it might not have involved a W2) – but eventually I figured it out.
babysitter (I can’t believe anyone trusted me with their kids that young)
movie theater (concessions and box office)
Ben and Jerry’s (see a theme?)
camera shop/Hallmark store
summer camp counselor
Oh, the stories I could tell about each and every one of these (along with the dozen or so that followed), but today? Today we’ll focus on the magic of the movie theater.
I was in high school, looking for a way to earn some spending money, when the gods saw fit to drop a new movie theater into town.
And I thought Hey! I like movies! I like money! Now I can make money helping people watch movies! Sounded like a win/win to me. Plus there’s that whole popcorn thing. (More on that later.)
I started off in concessions. This might sound unappealing to some – insanely long lines, soda spills, popcorn popping, boxes of candy that promise enormous sugar and provide tiny portions – but I liked it fine. Rushes don’t freak me out and people always got their popcorn in the end so all’s well that ends well, right? The most challenging part for me was the butter question. People who didn’t want butter were perplexing but at least straightforward; it was the rest of the spectrum that troubled me. When someone says “light” butter, what exactly does that mean? And does “extra” butter mean a little more than average or Laura-style extra which is a three step process involving multiple applications and shuffling of the popcorn in between?
It’s an art, really.
As a perk, employees could spend their breaks in the theaters which meant twenty minute blocks in random movies any time I wanted. Score! Free (partial) viewing plus all the popcorn I could take home at the end of my shift equaled a king’s ransom in bonuses for a sixteen year old.
Moving into the box office was considered a step up in the theater world, though it meant being separated from the heavenly aroma of movie popcorn during my shift. On the plus side, it did mean I could hide enormous packs of Twizzlers under my counter to nibble between rushes. Oh, to have the metabolism of a teenager again…how I managed to sit on my butt for four hour shifts while eating a pound of licorice without ballooning to the size of a hippo I’ll never know.
All these years later I still walk into a movie theater to that smell of warm popcorn and am filled with anticipation. The bubbly soda, the buttery popcorn, relaxing in the cool theater and watching the previews. Movies remain one of my favorite escapes. Not bad for job #3.