"No one cared who I was until I put on the mask." - Bane, The Dark Knight Rises
Call me a sucker, but I can still remember how excited I was to get my first job. I wasn't necessarily in a hurry to grow myself up at the pulpy end of fifteen. But having a little authentic authority scratched me right in the secret bitterness I had for the patronizing nature of false childhood authorities like student council.
I quickly accepted the offer put forward by the manager of my Ohio hometown's local mall, or "the Small" as it was semi-affectionately known, to play Woody the Bear, the Small's less-than-semi-beloved mascot. The Small was having some sort of event, and to celebrate, I donned a full-on Disneyland-style sauna suit and walked around the mall greeting anyone who was stoked to see a six-foot teddy bear. It was murder on a July afternoon, but it was rewarding to walk around and have the little ones cautiously then enthusiastically approach and give hugs.
I didn't realize it during my first job. And I didn't realize it during my second job. But when I got to my third job - doing a corporate phone survey - I finally realized that there are bad jobs and there are BAD jobs. And when there are kids who are happy to see you, whose memories you can be a part of, the job can't be THAT bad.