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    Does Taco Bell count? I worked there while pregnant. Working around food while pregnant sucks, but the heat was what killed me. That summer was so hot, and I didn’t have air conditioning in my car or at the house we were renting, so being hot at work was unbearable. I went on maternity leave and never went back.

    — Lindsay Flint, advertising production coordinator
     

    I learned three things working at Cracker Barrel: People are very passionate about their biscuits and cornbread, don’t get overconfident about how much food you can stack on one tray and always wear your nonslip shoes, no matter how hideous they are. 

    — Evan Allen, editorial intern
     

    I briefly worked at Cracker Barrel in Sellersburg, Indiana, after graduating high school. They still had an indoor smoking section! I had to wear slacks, an Oxford shirt, a brown apron and a nametag. At a house party one night before a hosting shift, a friend grabbed a Sharpie and wrote “Kathy” over “Katie” on my nametag. I didn’t notice the next day but my manager sure did. He sent me home and told me I could return when I was in uniform. My friends still call me “Kathy.”

    — Katie Molck, contributing writer
     

    During winter break in college, I worked on the assembly line in the back of a Honey Baked Ham store. I operated a roaring blowtorch, blaze melting the sugar rub into a glaze that hardened as it cooled. That crust scorched my plastic-gloved hands through the gold-colored foil wrapping. Hot damn, hot ham. For lunch, the boss would put out slices of meat, cheese and bread. I always ate turkey.

    — Josh Moss, editor
     

    At 16, my first job was at Cottage Inn. Then I worked at Ramsi’s for three days. I was a busser, and while every other position (hostess, server, dish washer, food runner) seemed to have a single task, bussers cleared and wiped tables, took dirty plates to the dishwasher, moved clean glasses to the drying rack, refilled drinks, rolled silverware, cut lemons, hauled laundry sacks of dirty towels to the back of the building…. On top of that, the older waitstaff took advantage of us high school kids. I didn’t need the money, so I quit. My last food job was at Dairy Kastle, during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. The only sink was unreachable during peak rush hour. Sugar nearly glued my fingers together.

    — Jenny Kiefer, associate writer
     

    I worked my entire way through U of L at BW3. I would literally walk in to pay my tuition with a wad of cash. After graduation it was difficult to give up the easy money, so I did my “real job” and kept my restaurant gig two nights a week until I had my daughter. I miss that cash money!

    — Mandy Wood, advertising account executive
     

    I worked at North End Cafe for several summers during college but was never really good at pleasing people and juggling things under pressure. One time I accidentally served someone pancake batter instead of chilled avocado soup.

    — Mary Chellis Austin, managing editor
     

    Over the course of 20 years I worked in about 10 restaurants, from a bagel shop to Proof on Main, as a cook, server, bartender and manager. Front to back, as they say. One of the restaurants had an infestation: roaches in the ice, coming out of the phone receiver, scurrying across tables. They were sprayed at night, and I vacuumed up the roach sea in the morning. You couldn’t walk without crunching them underfoot. I dreamed they stowed away in my pockets and pant cuffs.

    — Suki Anderson, art director

    This originally appeared as the Inter-Office Memo in the May 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo: Pexels.com

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