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Launching My Career

Posted 05-11-2014 at 06:41 AM by Nostroke
Updated 11-12-2014 at 12:23 PM by Nostroke

Itís 1969 or 1970 and i am about to launch my career on Wall St. I'm fairly desperate to find something that doesn't involve delivering or deep frying chicken-a position that might lead to a future. In pursuit of this, the previous week i had met with a Personnel Agency on Nassau St in downtown NYC. I had come to them via a Times Newspaper Ad for an ĎAccount Clerk-Manager Trainee-FEE PAID, 10K after one yearí. Remember the year folks. A lot of inflation has occurred since then.

Iím not sure how it works currently, but back then there was a HUGE fee that had to be paid to gain a job through these agencies and they were the only ones advertising for work. The big companies left it all up to them to advertise and screen for their routine positions. Donít hold me to it but I think the fee could wind up well over 10% on the yearly salary they were able to foist on you. Anyway this was a FEE PAID job-the employer covered it and i wouldnít have it any other way.

I dont recall the name of the Personnel Agency but i do remember it was Mike Merritt who interviewed me. After fumbling badly through the interview, giving asinine answers-nervous as a hamburger in Mama Cassís kitchen, Mike announces i have the THREE THINGS that Paine, Webber, Jackson and Curtis is looking for. Iím thinking three things? What three things could i have demonstrated? Nervousness, quiet farts, and idiocy perhaps? ? I have no degree and no experience in anything other than Chicken Delight- Period! WTH?

So he hits me with my 3 skills and they were so lame i donít remember them but very much along the lines of 1) Youíre breathing 2) You want a job 3) You can probably find your way to 30 Broad St. He was right. I do find my way over there where I am hired on the spot and made to promise that i would not reveal my allegedly higher than usual salary of $105 per week to any of my fellow workers!! ďReport back here to the Personnel Department next Monday at 9 AMĒ.

So the big day arrives which i had prepared for by getting hammered the night before at Foleyís Bar. Actually being 20/21 and Irish, I prepared for most days in this fashion.

I have on my best and only suit, Iím running a few minutes late but still excited about this first day in a Ďreal jobí. My friend is outside in his 68 Mustang which i climb into before too too long and we are off to the Train Station. I am so Fn thirsty from the previous nights shenanigans. I am truly suffering-there is no moisture in my mouth whatsoever. As dry as you have ever been-Iím drier. Bottled water has not yet been invented and Iím dying. I cant wait to get to the train station. My kingdom for a splash of moisture.

We arrive at the station 8-10 minutes before the train is due. My buddy heads to the Platform and i head to the soda machine. Im in luck -Itís only 15 cents and i have a quarter!! Relief is only mere seconds away. I put the quarter in-I hear the dime change hit the slot but something is wrong- Where is the cup drop sound? Absent that is where! NO NO NO! I watch stunned, steaming and helpless as the coke flows unhindered down the drain. Could this really be happening at this worst possible time? You bet!

For the next 5 seconds im cursing, grumbling just way overpissed but within those 5 seconds a worse situation develops. Something very strong. Something fast, furious and noisy is happening in my gut. I have literally only seconds until a powerful explosion occurs. This suddenness has only happened on one previous occasion and that did not end prettily. Oh please donít let my first day end like this because if the worst happens, this day and my career are over. I will have to walk 2.5 miles back to my house as well because no one is letting me into their car and i wont blame them.

I go running to the menís room. Itís 10 cents to get in the main door!! Huh? But wait i have that one dime change from the soda machine. I put the dime in-still doubting whether i will ever make it to a stall. I get inside relieved for half a second but now i cant believe my eyes-Itís another dime to enter a stall!! Except for one-the last one that is, the one that is never cleaned. I run down there, open the door and inside is the filthiest stall you have ever seen which is one thing but sitting on the bowl is an equally filthy passed out homeless person. He actually has a line of toilet paper running diagonally from his shoulder to his belt line. Does he long for the days when he was a Hall Monitor? I didnít have time to ask or throw him out if i was inclined to touch him, which i wasnít.

So now i have 2 seconds to make the decision-down and under or up and over!? In my best suit, i chose the latter and drop down inside a stall no more than 4 seconds later. Two seconds after that there are explosions, eruptions, trumpets, bugles etc going off in this stall. I am making Jim Carey in the famous scene from Dumb and Dumber sound sophisticated and refined!!

So right as that situation corrects itself, i hear the train rumbling into the station. Iím on the run again 25 yards and then up two looooooooooong flights of cement/concrete steps to the platform, arriving out of breath, heart pounding and sweating. With 20 seconds to spare i jump on the train-ticketless. I will have to pay the surcharge for buying the ticket on the train.

I know many many adverse events occurred this day but unfortunately due to the long passage of time, I am only recalling the major catastrophes. Suffice to say something negative went on during the train ride as well as on the SWEATY Subway ride. I know I was introduced to the 14th street crowd this day. When the subway stopped at 14th street, no one departed but a wall of people just pushed onto the already full train yammering happily in some foreign language. The ones in the front were just being pushed on by the pleasant folks behind them. No concern was shown for life or limb-theirs or ours. This would become a daily thing at 14th street. I remember asking my mother ďMom who ARE those people?Ē Being from the burbs, she didnít know, I didnít know but they sure were Ďdifferentí.

I arrive at 30 Broad Street and stop to take a breath in the AC. I wipe my head with a napkin and look at it. Itís not pure jet black but it is grayer than you would ever think considering i had showered 2 hours earlier. This too would be a daily thing.

I make my way to the Personnel Dept on the 16th floor and check in with the receptionist. Iím told to have a seat and Mr So and So will be with you shortly. I sit there a good 15 minutes waiting for So and So. I am the only one there. Now the turmoil in my gut begins again but no sweat there is a rest room right off the reception area and it doesnít require dimes. I make my way in where I repeat my performance from the White Plains Train station at about 3/4 speed. Im happy that this should do it for the day.

Im still sitting when I give her a flush. WHOA! NO NO THIS CANT BE REAL! Nothing is going down. It is all coming up and over, splashing on the floor a second or two later. Meanwhile i leap from the seat simultaneously yanking up my pants but i just cant make the escape-the water and i use the term loosely catches about a 2Ēx8Ē area on the back of my suit jacket and ALSO an equal sized area on the back of my pants!!

I pray someone will come through the door with a shotgun and shoot me but no such luck on this day. I do my best to clean and dry what i can while hoping no one but the shotgun guy comes through that door. I emerge from this ghastly arena, wet panted, coat in hand. I hang it up while positioning the offensive area out of the view of any potential eyes.

Thankfully the reception area is still empty and i debate whether i should inform anyone of the unfortunate condition of the Rest Room. Is this really how i want the Personnel department to remember me? I would be mortified for my entire career. Hell no- I stay silent. By the time Iím interviewed and sent to the Mutual Funds Department-things are pretty dry but I AM WELL AWARE OF WHATíS THERE.

This fine day starts my career and I know Iím going places!!

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