My Star-Studded Resume

What is your impression of Macy’s? According to their glamorous tag lines and successful history, Macy’s is fun and fantastic, affordable and assorted, and all about jet-setting trends and the most contemporary styles. Now how true is this hyped up logo?

Since August, after my India trip, I have taken up my last job before earning the big bucks as a sales associate for Macy’s. Macy’s has a legacy as the American Department Store. Affordable, chic, and multifaceted, Macy’s has been around since 1858 to cater to the needs and wants of Americans. What the red star symbolizes? Macy’s was founded by R.H. Macy in New York City, the golden city. He was lost at sea and looked to a lone star to find his way home. He later had the star tatooed on his arm, which has become the immortalized as the Macy’s red star.  Famous for annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks, Glamorama, and Passport, Macy’s is very much part of American cultural history. There are plenty of community projects, including charity towards March of Dimes, Breast Cancer Awareness, HIV/AIDS advocacy, and many others. And remember Miracle on 34th Street… the one and only Santa Claus?  Remember the tear-jerking Titanic blockbuster in 1997 and the scene where an elderly couple die in each other’s arms? Well, Isador Straus and wife Ida, former owners of the Macy’s corporation, both died aboard the Titanic.

Herald Square, the flagship store and the most notable Macy’s store in the world, is located on 34th Street. I’ve passed this place numerous time, while taking Korea town by storm or running to Penn Station. The Macy’s there is well known for its holiday decorations and majestic window displays. I remember walking there during the Christmas season and falling in love with the toys, stuffed animals, jingles, and winter themes. Inside is just as much of a spectacle: multiple floors, endless racks of clothes, and so much energy and warmth.

Now I have had the chance to work for America’s favorite middle class department store for a brief two months. I’ve never dabbled in retail, but this will be my only and last chance to soak my feet in random jobs. And you know what I do not miss at all? THE BITCHIN’ CUSTOMOERS. That’s right, there’s nothing glamorous about retail. In two short months, I’ve been yelled at by two different customers (both black women with major attitudes and unrelenting sass), FOR NO GOOD REASON. First time, I was ringing up a customer and I was only kindly reminding her to sign the keypad for the credit card purchase. You know what she said to me? She gave me the meanest look and said, “Could you wait a second? Jesus!” I was only following standard procedure and asking her to please sign the keypad, and she thought I was rushing her. F***-ing bitch #1…

Second time was today, my last day. This black woman and her daughter bought a shirt. She took out a Macy’s Rewards coupon to use. Then I asked if she had a Macy’s Rewards credit card, because that’s the only way the coupon can be used. She brushed me off and said “Oh no no… Fine, I’ll just pay cash…” with a wave of her hands. Again, I was kindly telling her the coupon cannot be applied because she didn’t have a Macy’s credit card, and next thing I knew, she was furiously yelling at me for being rude and giving her an attitude. Eyes bulging out of her sockets and fingers pointing at me, she said, “Oh no, you don’t give me an attitude. You being rude and all…” F*** you woman! Years ago, maybe I’d cry. Nowadays, I’ve learned to toughen up and stand up for myself. Surely, after she gave me a mouthful, I started to yell back at her for being inconsiderate: “You know, I was only nicely telling you the coupon cannot be used and you give me an attitude?!” She cut me off and talked louder and making a big scene. I had to maintain an air of professionalism, and the women who were working at the registers with me nudged me to leave the situation be. It was my last day, I wouldn’t care if I showed her head into the cash register, since she wanted to pay by cash so badly… I let her keep yelling nonsense to herself, shoved the shirt in a small bag, and forgot to give the receipt. Oh well, guess she can’t return the item…

Hostile customers. They are crazy and wild. They are what people hate about retail. It’s what I hate about retail, aside from the bitchwork of cleaning after people’s negligence and bad habits in the fitting room and clearance sections. Yes, you get the nice, warm ones too who can chatter all day, but occasionally, it’s these constipated bitches with angry attitudes stuffed up their assholes.

On top of this, my last day at work has to be the most awkward ones. I neglected to give my standard ‘2-week notice’ of termination, because 1) I never had to give one in my previous jobs, 2) I had federal work-study jobs, 3) I finished my jobs, or 4) I was not paid for my services. It was only later this week I learned that when you leave work forever, you give a ‘2 week notice.’ Ooops. Needless to say, my manager was not too thrilled and she started getting saucy with me, and I returned that sauciness with spice. On her part, I couldn’t talk to her in person about my schedule because she’s usually out and she was on vacation last week. Plus, she never gave me her phone number, so I couldn’t call her. On my part, I suddenly backed out of my commitment to my job at Macy’s. Well, you know, I have a bigger commitment, and it’s something called life and medical school. Sorry Macy’s, you’ve got a doctor-in-training who does not need your shitty hourly salary. Seriously, I’m not desperately seeking money; this was only a temporary job for the summer and I only felt bad if I discontinued too early. It is now that I really want to focus on Goljin and Kaplan, come home early, and be with friends and family. Such are way more important than bitter customers and trash…

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I have a long history of random jobs, beginning way back as a 17 year-old high school dork. I have an astounding record of nine jobs. I’d like to relive my multidimensional experience in the workforce. I’ve had to condense my ‘work experience’ portion of the resume to fit everything.

1) Summer Recreation Camp Counselor at Connetquot High School for 3 years … I called it ‘glorified babysitting.’ Success #1

2) NYU College Learning  Center tutor for Calculus (big mistake), Chemistry, Writing THE Essay, and French. It was mostly the former two because I was a math & science wiz. Most of the time, I had an  inundation of students coming in with calculus problems. I aced my AP Calculus BC exam, so I got credit for Calculus I. Hence, I shot straight through Calculus II first semester of freshman year. I may have skipped over the grueling introductory calculus, but that did not exempt me from teaching a level below Calculus II. I never hated Calculus more in my life, except when I had to suffer through Calculus III later in my college career. I loved Calculus in high school, always doodling 3D shapes and perfecting circles and aligning my equal signs and zipping through integrals and derivatives. Nono, that all changed once tutoring Calculus in college. Needless to say, I did not return as a tutor the following year… Fail #1

3) NYU Department of Chemistry: Between sophomore and senior year, I split my time between teaching clinic sessions and laboratory. I had the more lucrative position as a lab TA for only one year before the school cut all undergraduates from teaching positions and kept foreigners who couldn’t speak English and never experienced the class itself as a pre-medical student. I took my chemistry jobs seriously for the 3 years I was in the department. I loved my professors and colleagues, and I got the love right back… Big Success #2

4) NYU School of Medicine: Research Assistant for 3 years with paid summers… This was an oscillating mess that culminated in an angry confrontation. My PI had extremely high, unrealistic expectations for a pre-medical undergraduate student, such as 1) no volunteering in the hospital, 2) working weekends to complete projects, 3) working long hours to show true dedication to science, 4) long list of other nit-picky details. No matter what I did, she was never satisfied with my commitment to science and her laboratory. In the end, I was called “antagonistic, defensive, rude, and incapable of taking criticism.” Mind you, the situation exploded and I quit my position amidst medical school interviews, where I still had to talk about my 2-years worth of cancer immunology research as if I was still there and active…  BIG and BAD Fail #2

5) NYU Medical Center: Hospital Volunteer in the ER and Day Surgery. It was like work, made time for it several hours a week, depending on how much I wanted to hang out with patients. I did this intermittently, sneaking out of lab to work where I belong: in hospitals, with chattering patients =) Success #3

6) NYU Department of Housing: Operations Assistant, aka. Front Desk Girl. For a year, I had the easiest, chillest job ever. In the summer, I worked at Palladium, my residence hall, to support my housing and meals in the city, while I worked on my research at the hospital. I was running between Union Square and NYU Langone Medical center like a rabid raccoon. But it was worth it. I had plenty of sleep time and food to fuel my last ditch MCAT studying =) During the year, I could work however late or often I wanted, while doing homework at the front desk and listening to my Asian playlist or playing games on the computer. Sweeeeeettttt… I was a well-seasoned office desk girl… Success #4

7) Hidden Pond Camp Counselor: The trashiest place I’ve worked at. I will never miss it at all... Success #5

8) Macy’s – see above Rave n’ Rant… I called out ‘sick’ too many times for the sake of studying. I sneaked out on ‘hour’ breaks to study microbiology. I sat in the fitting room reading the NY Times and anti-bacterial drugs… Talk about the Protestant work ethic, you can only pick one and win one way… Fail #3

Don’t think my successes outnumber my failures in the workplace. I’ve started and stopped various community service projects after my initial bursting enthusiasm plummeted down to the Mariana Trench in the Pacific:

– The Door – tutoring high school math; barely 3 sessions and I was out…

– NYU Hospital for Joint Disease – child life volunteer; barely a semester and I was out…

– Chinatown mentoring – liked working with Asian school children Friday afternoons, but my lab boss got in the way and Chinatown was too far away from midtown.

– Smile Buddies – did this in medical school last year for maybe 2-3 sessions, but realized (again), pediatrics and sick kids get boring…

I’m a failure in many ways, yet I’m a success in others. Let’s hope when I nail my first job in residency, an o-so-special moment indeed, I’ll have a better track record. Hostile customers? I hate them. Now what about hostile patients? At least today has taught me a thing or two on Code Man…

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