Tag Archives: fired

Hog or Heifer? Or Both?

Fired. Again.

It’s just not working out, they say. I don’t blame them. After working three years in various Manhattan restaurants, it’s inevitable: I’ve acquired the bitter waitress syndrome. I couldn’t care less about working in another restaurant and learning five different ways to fold a napkin. They can take their Zagat rating and shove it.

Yet here I am, in a heap of tears on my bathroom floor.

It’s January in New York City. Fucking January. Nobody is hiring in January.

After this restaurant and many others have so readily disposed of my services, it might be pragmatic to stop waiting tables and do something else. In my defeated state on the bathroom floor, I think about bartending. That’s an upgrade, right? It’s not waiting tables but it’s still a night job that allows me to pursue auditions and write during the day. I don’t have much experience but I like beer and know how to pour a pint. I also like to dance and be sassy.

And if there is one place in New York City where dancing, being sassy and pint pouring come together, it is at Hogs and Heifers.

New York City lore has it that the inspiration for the late ’90′s feminist movie, Coyote Ugly, comes from this bar. According to the movie, the bartenders or “coyotes” that work there are wild and unpredictable. They dance choreographed routines on the bar and cut men’s ponytails off while pouring pitchers of water over their svelte model-esque bodies. One coyote is so talented she can stop a bar brawl by singing. I know! She’s that good. These coyotes make a ton of money every night (the movie never shows them working the day shift) and they do it by capitalizing on their sexiness. Or sluttiness. However you want to look at it.

Sitting on the edge of my toilet seat, I dial the phone number for Hogs and Heifers. It is 7:30 PM. I hope I’m not calling too late.

“Hogs and Heifers,” a husky voice answers. I can practically smell the cigarettes through the phone.

“Hi!” I cringe at the perkiness of my voice and attempt to lower it. “Are you hiring any new bartenders?”

“We’re always hiring.”

“I will be there in thirty minutes.” I hang up, exhilarated.

I rush to put on some appropriate clothing. It is a frigid night so layers are a necessity. My white lace tank top peeks out from underneath my lavender argyle sweater. I pull on some jeans and sling a black knit scarf around my neck. A pair of black platform boots adds extra height to my 5’7 frame and keeps my double socked feet warm. I check myself out in the mirror. Not bad.

The Meatpacking District in Manhattan is where Hogs and Heifers is located. Like Space Mountain at Disney World, you can’t miss it. The outside of the bar is rusty and worn down and a row of motorcycles rest on their kickstands along the curb. Blasts of Johnny Cash are heard whenever someone steps out for a cigarette. A red neon light displaying the name of the bar sizzles and pops with danger.

A large tattooed bouncer checks my ID. He lets out a tiny smile when I tell him I am applying to be a bartender. “Good luck, honey.”

It may have been the dead of winter but judging by the bikini tops and cutoff shorts donned by the bartenders we were in the middle of a heat wave in August. I approach the bar and ask for an application.

“For what?” the bartender wearing an American flag bikini asks.

“To bartend? I brought my resume…” I trail off feeling hot and itchy under my sweater. The bar is empty, except for about eight bikers, all wearing serious amounts of facial hair and leather. A lone female wanders back and forth from the bar to the bikers, until she finally loses her battle against testosterone and settles in with the bikers by the jukebox. A mountain of bras hang from the ceiling, sloppily discarded as the remnants of a good time had. I notice the other two bartenders are having fun being complete smart-asses to one of the bikers. This could work, I think. I bet I’ll become one of the favorites here…

“Sweetie, you want something to drink?” American Flag asks.

Caught up in the atmosphere, I slam my hand down on the wooden bar. “Gimme a shot of Jack!” My voice growls with an unusual ferocity.

“That’s my girl.” She pours the shot and slides it to me. I slug it down, the alcohol burning my throat. I’m not a Jack drinker. American Flag grabs a megaphone from underneath the bar and it crackles as she turns it on.

“Hey. Hey. Listen up!” She glances down at my resume. “Saaaarah wants to work here!”

Oh my. It’s exactly like the movie. I start hooting and pumping my fist in the air to make it clear that I was the Sarah she was talking about.

“So you know what she’s gotta do! She’s gotta show us her moves! Get up here and show us what you got!”

I continue hooting and hollering like an over excited ape. I proceed to clumsily mount the bar. It is higher than I expected. My stomach turns, partly due to the shot and partly from the realization that I can’t clog or two-step my way out of beginner’s dance class, let alone freestyle on a bar as a prerequisite for a job interview.

A country western song starts to play on the beat-up jukebox in the corner. I gently start to sway my hips to find the rhythm. I glance at the men below me, trying to entice them with my smile and upbeat attitude. They are unresponsive. It must take them a minute to warm up.

My mind flashes to one of the scenes in the movie, where the main character Violet is trying to survive her first night. She can’t handle the pace of a packed bar. She balks when the owner tells her to dance on the bar. She pisses off the fire marshal. She fails at everything. Things are looking grim for Violet. But right before she gets the boot, she figures out a way to win over the crowd and her boss by auctioning off a really cute Australian guy for the ladies.

So since this place has been just like the movie so far, it’s clear that the key to getting a job at Hogs and Heifers is to interact with the crowd in some manner. Show them I know how it works here in this bar. And what better way to do that than encourage the bikers to buy a shot for me, their new favorite bartender?

“Who’s gonna buy me a shot after this?!” I shimmy precariously in my platform boots.

Silence.

“That’s cool!” I skip to the other end of the bar. That’s right. I skip. I skip because it has become apparent that I am a terribly unsexy bar-top dancer. My moves are generic, uninspired and limited. In addition, my platform boots have shifted my point of balance causing me to awkwardly teeter after any move I make and my thick sweater is wearing me down, making my body appear shapeless and bulky.

“Why don’t you take off your sweater?” suggests American flag, via megaphone.

American Flag has a point. Why don’t I take off my sweater? I wriggle out of my sweater and with a bucketful of sass, toss it out into the crowd, hitting the only biker slightly interested in my performance squarely in the face. I’m left wearing an ill-fitting tank top with a hole in it and my hair is sticking straight out from sweater static. The bikers start to notice me.

“Yeaaaaah, watch out!” I shout, energized by the slight breakthrough I have made with the crowd. Thinking it the appropriate time to pull out one of those cool knee slide moves demonstrated in the movie, I prep myself and go for it. I slide a mere two inches, more of a heavy plop than a slide, my knees catching on a sticky film of spilt alcohol.

“Get on your knees in the bedroom, not in my bar,” chastises American Flag.

Embarrassed that my knee slide did not garner awe and appreciation, I stand up with a broken spirit. I tap my right foot to the beat. It is no longer exciting to be a potential hog. Or heifer. Not really sure which one is better. The song finally ends. The megaphone crackles.

“It’s a two song minimum, honey.”

Sometimes the desperation for a job and the panic of not having rent money gets in the way of common sense. In this case, it would be to accept defeat and get down from the bar. Call it a night and circle want ads in the morning. Not to keep dancing in a trashy dive bar where the bartenders encourage quickies in the bathroom.

“Let’s hope the next song isn’t a slow one,” comments a bartender with braided pigtails.

Another upbeat country song begins. Going by my last performance, it is clear I need to do something other than dance. Like the singing coyote, what I need is a gimmick. My eyes fall to the lone female. Two is better than one I figure.

“You! Get up here! You know wan-na!”

She responds in a baby doll voice. “I’ve always wanted to dance on the bar.” Her hopeful eyes look up at me, glazed over in a way only a kitchen made narcotic can do.

“Then get on up here, you crazy lady!” I pull her up next to me. She stumbles as she stands, her thin figure hidden by a men’s white T-shirt. Her stringy brown hair falls flat in front of her face and over her eyes. She’s missing one of her back molars but I think I am the only one who can tell. Basically, this is girl is stone’s throw away from sitting out by the local truck stop taking whatever she can get for a blowjob. Which makes her perfect for making me look good. Of course, assuming that this isn’t a bar full of truck drivers and/or vagrants.

Almost instantly, the men in the bar swarm to her and gather at her feet. I pretend not to notice the snub and attempt to capitalize on the attention she is getting by dancing harder and faster, much like an insecure cheerleader overcompensates by yelling the loudest, forcing everyone to look at her and not the real star of the squad, that damn Kelly Kapowski girl.

Any hope of gaining attention was lost when she removed her white T-shirt, leaving a pair of pale floppy breasts exposed, sunny-side up.

“Tits at 8:15! Tits at 8:15!” yelled American Flag into her stupid megaphone.

My right eye began to twitch with suppressed rage. How dare she? I was the one who invited her up, the one who made her bar-top dancing dream come true, the one who desperately needs this job. And here she goes, getting naked and distracting everybody, taking their focus away from where it should be: on me. Now I have to deal with the fact that I am standing on a bar next to a topless woman whose name is Gina.

This is officially not how imagined my night would turn out.

Since I wasn’t going to join her and go topless myself, I decided the only other option was to acknowledge the situation and support her in her nakedness.

“Whoo! Yes. There it is. Yes!” I clapped my hands hard, in vain. It’s not like anyone was paying attention to me, not with a pair of boobs jiggling about.

As she twirled her tits around on the bar, I sensed it was time to for me to get down. I lowered myself from the bar and back to the sticky floor. I felt a disorienting mix of things: embarrassment, anger, shock and oddly enough, accomplishment. Even though none of the bartenders would look me in the eye, I still thought I did okay. I mean, I made it through the two song minimum. I waited for American Flag to tell me when I could start training.

“At least you gave it a go.” American Flag said as she wiped down the bar with a rag and walked away. Excuse me, what? She didn’t care about giving me a job at all. She probably didn’t even remember my name. Later on after her shift, she’d refer to me as “that girl” who came in and skipped on her bar. How depressing.

A biker came over to talk to me, probably out of pity. “Can I get you that shot you hollered for? Whatever you want.”

I looked at American Flag who was now licking Gina’s face. Maybe not working here was a good thing. For everyone involved.

“Yeah. Make it a Jack.”

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Getting Fired: Tips or How To

I am an expert on how to get fired.

As of this writing I have been fired about eleven or twelve times, not counting the times where I decided to fire them for decreasing the value of my life. I’m not sure if this is a higher than normal number for someone in their mid twenties but I know most of my friends do not shift jobs as often as I do.

International superstars tend to have hard time living a traditional life.

The first time I got fired was when I was sixteen. I was spending my summer working at the movie theater, smiling and tearing tickets. It was a fun job. I got to see movies for free and all of the cool kids were working at the mall at the time so I felt cool by default. 1 It was only a matter of time before I would be invited to “the property” 2 and have my first beer. This would then lead to not only my first boyfriend but first appearance at second base. Cut to an amazing yet completely believable sequence of events (with a makeover montage in the middle) making me the most popular girl in school and the homecoming/prom queen. However, some people try to hate on me by saying it was a bet and I cry. But then I stop crying because I realize I have inner beauty and they don’t. What? This is beginning to sound like the movie She’s All That? Hmm. Never saw it.

Anyway.

One afternoon, I went in to check my schedule for the week. Except I couldn’t because there was a blank space where my name used to be. Simple computer error, I thought.

Here’s something I found out that day that’s true for most places. If your name is off the schedule, chances are you’ve been fired.

“You missed a shift.”

“What?”

“Friday night. You were supposed to work.”

“No I wasn’t.”

“Here’s last week’s schedule.” My manager said, in a way that implied I was about to be served.

Sarah Walker/Friday Night 5-CL

Damn it. Argument invalid.

“Well I didn’t know!” I yelled.

And my manager just shrugged his shoulders, his tiny badger eyes revealing not a sliver of empathy. His indifference really pissed me off. I was never late, did my job, and brought joy to those seeing a movie. But one honest mistake erased all that. I didn’t say anything else to him and stormed out before I started crying what I call my “angry tears”.

Here’s what I learned from that experience.

  1. Your value is nil working for a corporate entity. You are only disposable. Upside? So are they.
  2. It’s easy to move on. If you don’t let your anger/resentment/ego hold you back you’ll find that your life usually improves or at the very least becomes more interesting. The next day I went to the beach instead of spending it in an empty mall.
  3. There are plenty of other jobs out there if you just think outside the box. I know this is hard for some people to hear, especially in these “tough times”, but it’s true. After I got fired from the movie theater, I got a better job as a lawyer’s assistant. I was not at all qualified for it, but so what? International superstars never let a little thing like qualifications get in the way! I took a chance, learned some new things, developed a great friendship with my boss, and got closer to my goal of buying a car. I consider that a win against the system.

Speaking of the system, getting fired is a great way to beat it. Too many people get sucked into jobs they hate, mindlessly putting their time in as life passes them by. I was just at my hometown mall and I saw the same manager who fired me, STILL working there. That was ten years ago! If he’s happy, awesome.  But if you’re not and can’t get up the courage to quit, you should try to get fired. Seriously.

Here are some of my techniques.

Stop going. This works well at the beginning of a new job. There’s little attachment and your bosses are still testing you out. If you don’t show up for a shift it makes it easy for them to fire you. Especially when you don’t answer the phone when they call. If you’ve been at a job longer, you might feel guilty doing this. That’s ok. You can use a different method.

Point out to your boss that he/she is stupid. This is a really fun one and you usually see results. Depending how fast you want to get out of there, you can either say it point blank or drag your time out with sarcastic comments that cut deep. Example:

BOSS: Today we’re going to feature the filet mignon.

YOU: Cause soooo many of our customers know what that is.

This response is brilliant because not only are you undermining your boss’s choice for the special, you’re also getting a dig in against the restaurant! Say it in front of your co-workers for extra smoke on that burn. This technique can be modified for any work environment. Bonus points if you include a derisive snort and eye roll.

Do the least amount of work possible. I love this one. Most workplaces encourage this thing called “initiative”. I don’t understand it. Why would I want to interrupt my daydream fantasy where Zac Efron is feeding me grapes to do some menial task like file papers or answer the phone!?!? A good way to address this request for initiative is to say you’ll get on it and then not do it.

Fake a complaint. Perfect for the Ferris Bueller type of worker. Like Ferris faking sick to get out of school, you’re going to fake a reason to get fired. This is best used in corporations that bend over front to service their customers. Here’s what you do. Create an alias (be creative). Write an email complaint about yourself to the company’s main website. Include phrases such as: Never in my life, tell all my friends, felt ignored. Aim for two complaints a month. Offer a quizzical look when questioned about the complaints and then say you won’t let it happen again. Do the same thing with a different alias two weeks later. Continue until desired results are achieved.

These are just a few ideas to get started. You can even try Linda Evangelista’s technique, read it here: https://thatsnotreal.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/superstar-tip-38/

In no time, you’ll be out of a job and on your way to a better life, perhaps even to international superstardom like me. Feel free to leave other suggestions below!

1. I wasn’t

2. The property was a patch of dirt sandwiched between two orange groves. It was a place perfect for bonfires, sing a longs, and bad teenage decision making.

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