The first job I had in Seattle was on the twenty-second floor of Two Union Square, a building that shows up here quite a bit. I was a telemarketer for a company that sold Long Term Care Insurance. In fact, that was it’s name, Long Term Care Insurance, Inc. The office was a relatively welcoming place – a nice view, plenty of light, friendly co-workers, and 25 cent candy bars in the vending machines. My job was to cold call senior citizens and try to arrange appointments between them and salesmen. Before finalizing an appointment I had to screen them for health problems that might make them ineligible for the insurance: “Do you walk with a cane?” “Is it a standard cane, or does it have a little platform with four feet at the end?” I was 18 years old, and sounded like it, so I felt that I lacked a certain level of credibility.
I really got a kick out of our floor manager, who’s name I’ve finally forgotten. He was a young energetic, How to Win Friends . . . type. He rattled off a steady stream of his own convoluted motivational slogans, “A carpenter could build a house without an architect, it’s just going to look a little funny.” During my first shift I decided to make a project of keeping a journal of his various aphorisms. But I only recorded two or three quotes. I quit after my second shift. I couldn’t manage to reconcile my class schedule with the job. I offered to stay for the two or three days that remained before classes started, but the manager waved me off.