As a shy and socially awkward fourteen-year-old who had never been employed before, I applied to be a bus-girl at a local restaurant and, to my surprise, they actually hired me.  I was really nervous, so I showed up 45 minutes early to my very first day of work. Just in case.

Immediately upon entering the establishment, I was yelled at by a very angry lady who looked like a gypsy and smelled like gin-sweat and cheap cigarettes.
Terrified, bewildered and desperate to make the scary lady happy, I went looking for the kitchen.  I found some plates, a tray of lettuce and some croutons.  I tried to arrange those items into a salad.  I didn’t really know how to make the kind of salads the restaurant made, but apparently I was supposed to know and I didn’t want to look like I was incompetent, so I just tried to improvise.
After making the best salad I possibly could, I brought it out to the gypsy lady.
The gypsy lady stared at me in disgust for a few moments and then ordered me to go chop some tomatoes for sandwiches.  I scurried off to the kitchen to try to figure out how to do that in a way that wouldn’t make her any angrier at me.
It turned out that I was pretty okay at chopping tomatoes, so the lady asked me to chop up some cucumbers.  And then some parsley.  And then bread.  A few hours passed in which I was continuously ordered back to the kitchen to chop something or prepare something or pour something.  Sometimes I would do a good job and the lady wouldn’t yell, but other times she looked at me like I was the most incompetent worm-person ever to slither across the face of the earth.  Then she would slowly erupt into a banshee-like scream and stare into my soul like she was trying to explode it with her eyes.
I felt like crying.  I had no idea that jobs were this hard.  I didn’t know that I was supposed to know how to do everything on the first day.  Was there something I was supposed to read before beginning work? Was I missing some vital employee instinct? How did other people do this?  What if I got fired?  I felt like an abysmal failure.  I couldn’t even put bread on a plate right.  How was I going to survive in life if I couldn’t even put bread on a plate correctly?  My future was dead to me.
At some point during the day, I was back in the kitchen chopping tomatoes (I was good at tomatoes!) and I was interrupted by a man who I would later learn was the restaurant manager.
For a moment, I felt absolutely sure that I was going to be fired on the spot.  I couldn’t do a single thing right.  If I tried to please one person, I ended up pissing off a different person.  THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO WIN.
But then…
..then the pieces started to fall into place.
And indeed there was a mistake.  Apparently a new prep cook had been scheduled to start work the same day as me.  He didn’t show up for his shift, so when I walked through the door 45 minutes early, the gypsy lady assumed that I was the prep cook who was coming in late.
The misunderstanding was cleared up and I began training for my duties as a bus-girl.
The gypsy lady did not apologize.