The Chicken Soup Incident: First Days at Work


The first day of work at any job is nerve-wracking. It’s like the first day at school, but you don’t get any breaks, or time to talk with your friends, or play that box game where you connect one dot at a time and then whenever you “get” a box you put your first initial in the box and go again. You know? Does anyone know what that game is called?

I don’t really have much to say about most of my first days at work (or school, for that matter) but I have this fun little anecdote swimming around in my head and just have to get it out.

But first, I have to tell the story about my first few weeks of teaching at my first Actual Teacher job (which I consequently got fired from, which I wrote about here). I was teaching a bunch of 10th graders who didn’t give a fuck about me and really just wanted to look cool in front of each other and also there were always the nerd who wanted good grades. One of the students even came up to me a month later while I was helping with the Bagrut and told me he had received a 90 on his most recent English test! Haha, what a nerd.

So this 10th grade class had the normal curriculum of like, learning vocabulary about the environment and food and obviously present perfect, which, as an American English speaker, is ridiculous and nobody should ever have to learn the present perfect tense. Oh, you have gone to school? Why can’t you just say You went to school? There is literally no difference. American English is the best.

So anyway, I saw chapter 1 had vocabulary words like “synagogue” and “church” and “mosque” and also for some reason “supermarket” (? I don’t know, maybe it was the list of places people go when they’re sad?) and I had the brilliant idea to make a whole lesson about a soul. What is a soul? What does it represent? What is religion? You know, all the big questions these teens who attend a normal non-denominational school should talk about. In an English as a Second Language Class.

I start class by writing “soul” on the board. And ask what it means. And then I try to get the students to like, talk more deeply about their idea of a soul in English. It didn’t go well. They were shocked. What was my assignment for them after this? I told them nothing. The discussion petered out almost immediately. Knowing what I know now, I would love to try this lesson again, with a different approach. But, it’s something I can look back at and laugh about.

Anyway, the other first day of work I had was when I worked at this “High Tech” company (I don’t know what High Tech is. To me, it’s just every kind of job that isn’t like, being a doctor or lawyer or grocer or whatever) where I was to be a Content Writer and write about the benefits of turmeric and omega-3 capsules that are vegetarian and don’t have a fishy aftertaste! The company was in an apartment building, which I’m sure is illegal, but like, it’s fine I guess. So I go to Modiin and I have to get up super early in the morning to do this job because I like very far away from Modiin and also do not have a car and also I brought those fingerless gloves as well because I’m always cold, and if your job is just typing for 8 hours a day then you gotta keep your fingers warm! I’m in the room (the en suite, it has an attached bathroom with a real working shower!) with my manager and a senior writer. The senior writer was very pregnant and I was to take over some of her tasks when she went on maternity leave. We were sitting. It was fine. We were typing.

Then, I get this horrible urge to fart, which is bad in an office, and even worse in an en-suite bedroom-turned-office with two other co-workers sitting like right next to you. But hey. I did what I had to do. I farted as silently as possible and said nothing.

Then, a second later, the pregnant lady asked us, “Do you guys smell chicken soup? I smell chicken soup.”

I kept my mouth shut. But boy, what a memorable first day at work.



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Alana Schwartz

Alana Schwartz

English teacher by trade, story writer for fun