Monday, October 17, 2005

1-800-JENNY-CRAIG

This is just part one of many, many parts of this sorted tale....and it's all true...

I found an ad in the Hartford Courant for a weight loss consultant position at Jenny Craig. I was unemployed and needed to either find work or move back to Cleveland and live with my parents. My entire reasoning for moving to Connecticut was to help my aunt run her café and now she was closing it. I figured it was time to make a preemptive strike against my karma. Since I’d spent the last year of my life fattening everyone up with homemade pastries, working at a diet center was the only way to the settle the score.

I called the number listed and left a voicemail saying that I was interested in finding out about what the job entailed. I didn’t know anything about losing weight. I’d gained about twenty pounds during my freshman year at Kent State and lost it on my own. But I can’t say that I’d really made a conscious effort to. It’s sort of happened by osmosis. I didn’t go back to Kent, started working full time and since I wasn’t sitting around smoking pot and stuffing my face with Wendy’s and Taco Bell, somehow the pounds just melted away.

After leaving that message I found myself getting even more curious about what it meant to be a “weight loss consultant”. I’d actually get to learn all about how to lose weight, and working for a big diet guru like Jenny Craig would expose me to all the secrets of how the rich and famous do it. And I’d get paid for it! I’d actually be doing something to help people, something to help them out of the misery that goes along with being overweight. I’d be like a medical professional, but then would I need to know stuff like a real dietician or nutritionist knows? I quickly began to doubt that I would ever be qualified enough to consult overweight people on how to lose weight. What the hell did I have to offer? What did I really know about diet and exercise? How was I supposed to figure out how to teach someone what and how much to eat? I was sure that you needed some sort of background in nutrition to know what you’re talking about. I’d never be able to get this job.

A couple days later the phone rang, and a woman named Amy was calling about the message I’d left. She sounded really friendly and professional and asked me about my previous jobs. When I’d told her about how I really didn’t have any experience in the diet industry but I was still interested in learning she didn’t baulk at my ignorance. She asked me to send her my resume` and when she had time to look at it she’d give me a call to set up an interview. Resume`? I didn’t know how to make a resume. I didn’t even know what one looked like. My fiancé`, John worked in an office, he’d know how write one of those.

When we sat down at the computer to type one up, I realized it was going to be one of the most pathetic looking resumes ever. “Okay, first you need a mission statement, or a goal,” John said. What was my mission? “Like my mission in life? Well, I should say something like; My mission is to become very healthy, or help others become really healthy. It should say something about eating right if I want them to think that I really want the job.” I had no idea what I was talking about. John suggested that maybe we should keep it simple by stating that my objective was to obtain a weight loss consultant or entry level position at Jenny Craig. Wow, he really knew what he was doing. There’s no way I could ever sound that professional.

I felt squeamish when he starting asking me about every job I’d held in the past five years. But I’d only been working for three years, I said. Unless I could count my summer jobs, would that be better? Then it would look like I’d been working for a long time and that I’d had lots of jobs. I was sure that the more jobs it’d looked like I’d had, the more impressed Jenny Craig would be. John said that long resumes with lots of different jobs would only make me appear unstable and unreliable. What would I have ever done without him?

I looked at the finished product with a sense of pride. There it was, neatly typed, my entire employment history. From August of 1995 through March of 1996 I’d worked at Discount Drugmart as the Manager of the Cosmetics Department. I was really only a cashier located at the makeup counter, but I was in charge of all the stock and inventory, and since I was the oldest cashier at that counter that pretty much made me a manager. From April 1996 through March of 1997 I’d been the assistant manager for the RoseCart Café. I waitressed and took inventory, and the owners had given me some extra responsibilities that they just couldn’t trust the teenagers with, like counting cash and making bank deposits. Then from March of 1997 through September 1998 I’d been working at Celia’s Café and Deli, my aunt’s place, as a manager, cook, waitress, cashier, and buyer. I did everything anyone who works in a restaurant does, especially when only three people work there.

But wait! There's more....to be continued, dot, dot, dot.

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