Callbacks that never came

By Annie Piekarczyk

The first week I came to college, I had one big goal: to get a job. I was willing to work anywhere, almost anywhere. The weeks before school, I would look online at The Daily Illini for any jobs that were hiring. I called the bookstores more than a few times and probably annoyed the heck out of ’em. I was just very set on getting a job, any job (almost).

I had previously worked for over a year at a fast food chain restaurant, some of you might know it: Chick-fil-A. It’s more of a southern thing, but there’s actually one in the Union.

“Hi, welcome to Chick-fil-A. This is Annie. May I take your order?” Even now, that sends shivers down my spine, not to mention the mandatory, Stepford-Wives-like phrase, “my pleasure,” after every completed order.

I didn’t love the uniforms or the smell of chicken every day, but it was a job, and I really loved the people I worked with; they made all the difference. Let’s not forget that paycheck every two weeks either. Georgia’s minimum wage at the time was a mere $6, but it was certainly better than nothing, especially when those raises kept coming.

I learned a lot of stuff working there: how many ice chips Mr. John wanted in his sweet tea (again, a southern thing), that a large lemonade was $2.02, and just how burnt Mrs. Pat wanted her waffle fries. Helpful things, right? Well, maybe not so much. But I’m a people person, and overall, I just loved talking to the people.

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    So that first week I came here, I was set on finding a job. I wanted to have a little extra cash, to stay busy and to meet new people. I picked up applications, filled them all in, and walked back the next day to hand them in pretty confidentially.

    Then I waited.

    A few days, a week, a month. And here I am now. I never heard back from any of the jobs I applied to during that first week of school. I think they might have lost my application … yeah, right. I have to say, I’m a little bitter about it all, even though it’s been longer than a month.

    It’s like a first date when the guy says he’ll call, but he never does. Then you’re left just anticipating when the phone will ring. When it’s your best friend, you’re disappointed because that’s not who you wanted to hear on the other end, which, let’s admit, is pathetic.

    I just couldn’t believe that the seven places that I applied to hadn’t called me back. I wasn’t too picky about where I applied, either. Let’s just say if there was a “help wanted” sign out front, I was there.

    That just goes to show the early bird does not always get the worm. In fact, I bet some guy that applied a week or two after me probably got one of the jobs that I applied for. He’s probably making some good money, eating out here and there and not thinking twice about whether to buy that really cute persimmon pea coat that would look incredible with my blonde hair. No, I bet he’s not thinking about that at all.

    So I didn’t get one of those jobs I applied for at the beginning of the semester, but I wasn’t completely unlucky.

    I was fortunate enough to get an internship, which in the long run – cross your fingers – will be more helpful and give me a step-up in the broadcast journalism world. It’s really amazing, actually. And here and there, I really don’t know where I’d get enough time to have a big part-time job. The college life is hectic, and I’m lucky if I get to see my best friend for a few minutes at dinner.

    Maybe it was fate. Maybe I wasn’t meant to get one of those jobs that I applied for.

    Maybe I’m not supposed to buy that adorable persimmon pea coat. On the other hand, it’s really not that expensive. I just have to cut down on the Insomnia Cookies.

    Annie is a freshman in broadcast journalism and was really happy and surprised to see her mom and dad drive up this weekend from Georgia.