Posted by: Naima | May 3, 2008

The Summer Job Search

Coming home from school is always a little abrupt. All you want to do is sit around and watch re-runs of all the trashy television you missed during the year. Then, suddenly you realize that hanging out on the couch cannot be an 3-month activity. A job is necessary. The thought had been lingering since before I came home. I thought about interning at some publications in Chicago, but I figured that making some cash this summer would be really nice – especially since I plan on going abroad next school year. So I made my summer plan: take some summer classes and have a job. The summer class thing is going well, I can register once I get some medical information in. The job part is always a little more difficult. My range of jobs, during and before my time at Bates have included Ronj server, Ladd librarian, camp counselor, server at the Taste of Chicago and waitress. I have been serving food to people for a while, and I decided I had no desire to clean after hungry people this summer. Instead I wanted to work in retail, switch things up a bit. The only issue with retail though is that a lot of places in the city require you to have two years of retail experience before giving you the application. Understanding that I would not necessarily be able to get a job in retail, I decided to hold on to food service as a last resort. To start my job search, I took a stroll down Halsted Street, home to Chicago’s Boystown.

Boystown is an area that fully embraces Chicago’s homosexual community. It’s located a couple blocks from my house and is the home to the Gay Pride Parade in June. While on this job-searching stroll, I decided to do something out of character for me, I entered an adult store and inquired about a retail position. Long story short – a few days later I am an employee at Tulip, a “toy gallery” focused on particularly educating women about their sexuality. What was great about my interview is that the manager looked over my resume and asked me to elaborate about the types of classes I was taking at school and other extracurriculars I was involved with at Bates. When I talked to her about my volunteer work with Outright L/A (a queer youth organization in Lewiston), we discussed how important it is to provide safe spaces for all people, especially those who feel marginalized. The manager explained to me that the main goal of this store is to create a safe space for women, in particular, to discuss their sexuality. This last year at Bates, some friends and I took a gender studies class that opened my eyes to so many layers of sexuality. I felt like Commons conversations were so often occupied about questions of gender roles, sexual definitions, and orientations. Working at a store like Tulip, which is dedicated to providing different types of tools – ranging from toys to gender studies essays to short text books about the body – for discovering one’s sexual self, is an extension of the conversational journey of sexuality that I immersed myself in at Bates. I’m really excited to meet some new people, learn about different lifestyles and not serve lattes for a few months. Plus, it should be good to continue my sex-ed where my ninth grade health class left off. Although I’m still kind of nervous about the whole thing, when your comfort zone consists of sweeping coffee grounds and scanning library books – why wouldn’t you want to branch out?

Peace and then some,

Naima

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