The Corporate World, the Retail World, and Why I’m Turning into Liz Lemon

6 Feb

When I told my retail co-workers that I was going to have to severely cut down my hours in order to work at a company temporarily to gain some field experience for my major, I received a mixture of shock and praise. One of my co-workers, a 40 year-old surfer dude who has sympathized with me in the fact that I sometimes want to run away to Vancouver and just become a waitress and people-watch for the rest of my life, seemed to be the most shocked. “I just can’t picture you going over to the dark side,” he said while shaking his long hair, which has more highlights in it than my own, from side to side. Another co-worker told me that she admired the fact that I was trying to get out into the real world and away from constantly juggling twenty things at once, helping customers “shop” (in other words, going to fetch items for them while they stand there), and dealing with women who are obsessed with gingerbread houses.

The thing is, the corporate world is vastly different from retail. You certainly have less crazy people to deal with, you don’t have to worry about overexerting yourself physically because you sit at a desk all day, and you don’t have to wear a polyester-blend shirt in unattractive colors (well, unless you have bad fashion sense…then it’s your own damn fault).  Most importantly, it isn’t as newsworthy–coming home from a day at a retail job, for example, might invoke more interesting stories than coming home from a normal job. I can list at least ten crazy things that happened the last time I worked at my store off the top of my head (one involving a dog chilling out in our stock room), and the only thing I can think of that’s even slightly crazy about my “big girl” job is that I discovered that Mac computers don’t have a “print screen” button. I guess Steve Jobs is just too good for that. I also find that I have more to talk about with my retail co-workers: they share my love for Watchmen, Xbox 360, and obscure alternative folk music. I realized, therefore, that a good happy medium would be to apply for a job that embraces my inner geek, which is why I applied to the associate brand manager job listed for the card game Dungeons & Dragons. I think that I will probably always be involved in retail or some way or the other, but my heart is set on finding a nerdy company to work for who will welcome me with open arms.

Speaking of nerdy, I’ve recently realized, after discovering the amazing show 30 Rock, that I am slowly turning into Tina Fey‘s character of Liz Lemon and I actually don’t mind. As I approach the age of 22 being single, constantly slaving away to either school or work, and binging on unhealthy junk food, I see that my future of becoming a Liz Lemon is imminent: living alone in an apartment, putting credit card collectors on speaker phone while eating dinner just to pretend I have company over, and trying to tape together a bra because I am too busy fighting off people to get the last hot dog at the hot dog stand to go out and buy a new one. I will have gone through five short-lived relationships with men who don’t understand my quirks, sarcasm, or preference for nachos and beer over a five-course meal. And you know what? I’m okay with that. The thing is, Liz is kind of stuck between the personalities of the retail and corporate world too: she has to do her job and act responsible, but at the end of the day all she wants to really do is make fun of people and talk about Star Wars (or in my case, Battlestar Galatica). Either way, as I begin my slow approach towards a new  career, I can only hope that I am able to balance the constant tug-of-war between my inner nerd and the stuffy corporate world as much as Liz Lemon does.


6 Responses to “The Corporate World, the Retail World, and Why I’m Turning into Liz Lemon”

  1. mightydustbunny February 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    I feel your pain. At least you’re farther out the door of retail than I am. I’m the same age as you and I’m still not making any steps toward any of my dream jobs. At times I do feel like Liz Lemon despite having a boyfriend for three years, but since he lives on the East and I’m on the West, it’s hard, so I end up eating like her. Kudos on that side job, my friend!

    • Retail Robot February 9, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      Meh…I don’t even know if what I’m in will ever lead to my “dream job”. I just plan on making enough money to be able to occasionally travel/retire early. But that’s easier said than done!

      Ah yeah, I totally admire people who are able to have long-distance relationships–I could never do it! Another thing I didn’t mention in this entry is that Liz Lemon always seems to attract losers/men who aren’t good enough for her, and I seem to do the same thing, so I’m stepping back from the dating world for a while.

      Thanks!! I hope all has been going well! 🙂

  2. mightydustbunny February 9, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    I still think that’s pretty good. I’d be happy to have enough money to travel. I can travel, just I’d have to save a large chunk of money.

    As you can see from my blog, I haven’t been so well, but I’ll live.

  3. alonewithcats February 10, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    I read somewhere that originally the character of Liz Lemon was supposed to be a mom struggling to juggle work and home life, but the writers (i.e. Tina Fey, Queen of Comedy) decided it would be better to start off the series with her not “having it all,” so that viewers can watch as she strives to achieve balance in her work and personal lives.

    So, what I’m saying is, we all have a story arc, and at 22 yours is just beginning. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be as awesome/nerdy/quirky/lovable as ol’ Liz Lemon.

    • Retail Robot February 10, 2011 at 8:36 am #

      The whole “single mom” thing is so overused these days (and I can’t relate to it), so I am very glad Tina Fey stepped in and changed Liz’s character!

      That’s a very good (and inspiring) way of putting it! 🙂 One can only hope!


  1. Modern Woman « Retail Robot - May 19, 2011

    […] Luckily, the house party was broken up by the police before I could come back with a witty, Liz Lemon-ish response about how I really just came to the party for the food and Natty Light. But, looking […]

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