Surviving Your Minimum Wage Shit Job

Because of the ever-rising price of whores and pot, since the age of 18 I’ve been forced into the working world. Because I have no idea what a “cover letter” is and have no fucking clue how to “prepare for an interview,” I’ve been forced from one minimum wage job to the next, barely escaping slitting my wrists from boredom. As Wayne Campbell once said, “I have a large collection of name tags and hair nets.”

I’ve been at video store clerk, a copy boy, a pizza delivery driver, a dishwasher, a hot dog vendor, a valet and a restaurant host. Trust me, none of them are as distinguished and exciting as they sound. Through out my many years of slavery I have learned how to get paid $4.50 an hour and feel good about it. So if you are stuck in a dead end job or are looking into a life of pain under the all mighty dollar, let me help you with your journey into minimum wage hell.


Really the most important part of working a minimum wage job is getting the fuck off work. You don’t want to be there and those six to eight hours are going to crawl by like you’re in limbo. Clocks are your enemy. You must ignore them at all costs. Your first reaction to being bored at work will be to see how much time you have left. YOU’VE ONLY BEEN THERE AN HOUR! Don’t check the time. This means never wear a watch. If you have a cell phone, tape a little piece of paper over the clock. If there are large clocks around your work, you must concentrate on not looking at them. If you wear glasses and are in one place for a long time like a desk or a cash register, you can tape a little piece of paper over your vantage to the clock. The less you watch the time, the faster it will crawl by. I’ve been so bored I’ve counted each minute down by the second! Don’t let this happen to you.


During your first two weeks on the job, you can be a complete fuck up. They will let pretty much anything slide for the first two weeks (except punching customers; my best friend punched a homeless man on his first day at Jamba Juice for slapping him across the face, and he was fired immediately). This means take forever to do everything. Don’t think you want to go in and impress your boss by how efficiently you work. This is a minimum wage job! Your boss is doing coke in his office and calling his ex. Take your time. Find out how long you have to do each task and take as long as possible. This will: 1) make time go by faster, and 2) let you get away with doing far less work. I’ve made the mistake of being a great employee in the first month and then when I hit my “quitting itch” and slowed down, everyone got a little suspicious. Also everyone else is probably working at a snail’s pace because they are either half-retarded or stoners, and you don’t want to make them look bad. Your coworkers are your friends. They are going to help you steal shit.


The world provides and we take that shit. The most important thing is, don’t steal anything in the first two weeks. You need to learn the flow of customers through your store and detect the employees who are already stealing or are easily influenced. Finding the right “buddy” can be tough but it is always do-able. The stoner is almost always a sure bet. Look for anyone who isn’t really doing their job or has a general “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. Sometimes the best workers are the ones really robbing the place blind. Go around to different employees and complain openly about the boss. If they start going along with it, just keep pushing it farther and farther. Personally, I will never be the one to suggest the crime. If you work somewhere long enough, the crooks show themselves. But sometimes, you must go solo. If you are working alone, never admit to another employee what your doing. If a new guy comes in and suggests something interesting, never admit you’ve been racking for the last two months. Act like this is his new idea!


Working a shit job is all about the little breaks. How many bathroom breaks can you take without looking suspicious? How long is lunch? Do you have to clock out for lunch? What happens if you “forget?” Can you take smoking breaks? If you don’t smoke, start; It’s a great stress reliever and always a great excuse to get the fuck away from that horrible building. Sometimes I’ll just walk out of the store when no one’s looking. Walk around for a while and slip back in. Half the time, no one notices. When they do, it’s so strange they just assume it’s something important. Don’t ever do this when your boss is around though.


This is a tough one for me because I have a different philosophy than most. Really, it depends on how much you like your job. If you like it enough to keep it, do what I do: NEVER be late. What is that extra five minutes? Is that really gonna make your day? I doubt it. If you are on time every day, you can get away with ANYTHING YOU WANT and they won’t fire you. You can be the most lazy, ignorant, son-of-a-bitch employee they have, but if you show up on time every day you would be surprised how they treat you. Take it or leave it.


Dealing with the slave master himself (or herself) is usually the hardest part. The boss in a minimum wage job is either a felon, a drug abuser, a retard or the owner. And no matter what they are, they are sure to be complete assholes. You must get inside the head of your boss. All they want is to feel important because they aren’t. How you react is based on two things: 1) are you stealing shit, and 2) do you care about your job? If you say yes to either of these, you want to provide this feeling of superiority for your boss all the time. Address them as “sir,” complement them and always look like you’re hard at work. If you feel shitty about being so nice to someone so horrible, do little things to get back at them. Putting boogers in my boss’s coffee has always made me happy. Accidentally spilling liquid on their papers is another. Also, asking the same question every week about something really simple always drives them crazy. If you answered no to both those previous questions, then who cares how you treat them?


With any slave labor job you will find a time, usually after two or three months of working, when you just can’t fucking take it any more. This is because every shit job is repetitive and takes the intelligence of a monkey. You are gonna want to quit so bad that every second is gonna feel like pulling teeth. You are gonna go crazy. This is where you really have to ask yourself two questions: 1) Can I get a better job than this?, and 2) How badly do I need this money? If you decide you have to stay with it, I promise it gets better. After about two weeks to a month, the itch will go away and you will turn into the kind of robot monkey that you meet at every store you shop in. If you decide to quit, have some fun with it!


Giving your two weeks’ notice is for LOSERS. Personally, I am scared shitless of confrontation. I tend to go with the never-show-up-again-and-turn-off-my-cell-phone move, but there are a lot of fun ways to quit. Once I had my friend call and say I broke both of my legs in a car accident. Another time I snuck into the store in the morning a left a note saying, “Gone snowboarding, won’t be back!” I realize neither are as exciting as telling your boss off in front of the whole store or just plain old setting the place on fire, so use your imagination!

Working a minimum wage job is HARD! It’s hard to get through a day of sleeping in the bathroom, picking up after annoying customers and trying not to count down the clock. Like Chris Rock said, “You know what minimum wage means? It means if they could pay you less, they would!” I guess my biggest piece of advice is to find a job that gets you things. If you drink a lot of coffee, work at a coffee store. If you don’t have enough money for groceries, work at a restaurant. If you make a zine, work at Kinkos. If you aren’t getting anything extra off your job, then you’re just selling your soul for minimum wage. And if you’re doing that, at least get high.