Sunday, September 20, 2009

Workin' For A Living

by Beth

We've been spending quite a bit of time at my house discussing careers. My son just started his senior year of high school (sob!) and is looking at colleges which means he's also trying to decide what the heck he wants to do with his life.

Luckily, he has some working experience as over the summer he held three part time jobs. He mowed three lawns, worked as a busboy/counter guy/dishwasher/some-time cook at a local restaurant and is a Dietary Aide at our hospital (which is a fancy way of saying he washes dishes and fills food trays :-)

His job experience had me thinking of the jobs I've held over the years. My first job was counting and wrapping change at a bank downtown. Really. They had this little room with a huge change sorter/wrapper where I'd work for a few hours a week. I had to cut open the bags of loose change (already sorted, thank goodness) pour them into the machine and then load the wrapped coins onto metal trays. The trays were then stacked in the safe.

My next job was at the same bank but as a teller. I held this position twice: once the summer after high school and then later right after I got married until I had my son.

I didn't go back to work until my son was a few months old. I put my cosmetologist license to good use and worked in a hair salon for all of three weeks before deciding my true calling was that of a stay-at-home mother.

When my kids were little, I worked for my father and two brothers in the office of their contracting firm. And let me just say that as much as I love my family, and though I stayed at that job for years, there is no way I'd ever work for them again. 'Nuff said *g*

Luckily, by that time I knew what I really wanted to be when I grew up: A Romance Writer! Today I'm blessed to be able to do what I love for a living and I hope to have this job for many, many, MANY years to come ;-)

So let's talk jobs! Here's my husband's list:

Hardest job - lawn care at a local cemetery. The mowing wasn't so bad but he had to trim around the 100+ headstones. And since this was before weed whackers, he had do to them all by hand *g*

Weirdest job - growing crystals that were cut in to wafers to make the chips for integrated circuits.

Shortest amount of time he held a job - 30 minutes. That's right. He'd just started a new job when he got the call letting him know he had a better offer at a different place :-)

What was your hardest job? Your weirdest? Most fun? And can anyone beat my husband's record for shortest time employed?


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place
Have Fun


Helen said...


That was a short job 30 min LOL, I started work in a bank when I left school at 16 and stayed there till I left to have my first child was then a stay at home Mum for 10 years and to help with the money I minded other peoples kids for them at one stage I had 6 pre schoolers my first 3 and my girlfriends first 3 who are all basiclly the same age. That was hard at times and I still don't know how I did it but I think back and they were fun days.
I then started work washing dishes at the same place I am still working but am now a superviser so I have worked my way up and have been there for just about 20 years.
So I have really only had 2 jobs other than the full time mother housewife job which is still going.

Hubby used to work at the race tracks and pick up glasses then when he left school he worked packing shelves in a supermarket for 3 days and left so he could get his pay to buy tickets for us to see Rod Stewart then he worked in a bank as well till we bought our house then started in a paint factory till he was made redundant 15 years ago and has stayed at home ever since because of a disability.

Not very exciting I am afraid but they have all helped pay the bills.

Have Fun

Barbara Monajem said...

My shortest is about 8 hours - for a janitor service cleaning doctors' offices. The work wasn't so bad, but the supervisor stressed how picky about cleanliness the doctors were, and I didn't think I was obsessive enough, so I quit. I was probably plenty obsessive. LOL.

My next shortest was taking inventory at supermarkets. I got fired after a week because I wasn't fast enough. You had to do a lot of estimating; I wanted to count (and perhaps recount) every single item to be sure I was completely accurate. Now... pfft. Estimating would be fine.

I love being a writer. Hopefully I can keep this job for a while!

catslady said...

Nothing exciting - secretarial for the school counselors (I did get to neb around though lol). I then worked as a secretary/admin. assistant (same thing really)for 15 years and then when the kids weren't too young did deposing for a court reporter out of my home for about 3 years. The best thing I did was let my two girl work at a grocery store which assured them that college was the thing to do lol.

Jana Oliver said...

During one summer I was in college, I worked as a maid at a Holiday Inn during the day and at a candy & card shop. The candy shop gave me a permanent sweet tooth. The housekeeping job taught me to tip those folks for all their hard work. It also taught me I did not want to be doing that job when I was in my fifties. Great incentive to get an education.

jo robertson said...

Interesting topic, Beth. I'll bet NO ONE can beat your husband's short-lived job, but thank goodness he wasn't fired in that short a time! LOL!

I remember doing retail as a teenager, but that was back in the day before machine sorters, so we had to do all the coin sorting and wrapping by hand. Ugh, thankless job!

My most interesting job was a country paper route, which meant I got to throw the papers from my car and I weaved back and forth across the streets and tried to land the newspapers on the porch.

You'd think with a teaching degree that doing such a menial job was embarassing, but I actually enjoyed it! I cleared about $1000 a month and got to say home with my baby. Getting up at 4:00 in the morning wasn't all that bad either.

jo robertson said...

Congrats on getting the rooster, Helen.

Wow, only two jobs in your life; that's got to be a record. Nowadays most people change their jobs like they change their underwear!

I admire you baby tending. It takes a lot of patience.

Beth said...

Hey, Helen! Congrats on nabbing the Rooster *g* What do you two have planned for the day?

I think the most exciting job I've had is being a mother. There's no money involved but it sure has been interesting - and fun :-)

Sounds as if both you and your husband have a very interesting work history. Thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

LOL, Barbara! I would've counted and recounted, too *g* I like to double check my figures.

Isn't it great to be able to work at something you love? I can't imagine doing anything other than writing!

Beth said...

The best thing I did was let my two girl work at a grocery store which assured them that college was the thing to do lol.

LOL. Good point, Catslady! My son may love washing dishes but he does appreciate the money he's making *g* Plus, he's learning how to deal with co-workers, bosses and being responsible. All good things :-)

Beth said...

Jana, your comment about the candy shop makes me think of my brother-in-law. He owns a bakery but he never eats sweets. I guess he's had his fill after all these years *g* I'm pretty sure nothing could turn me off of sweets or ice cream. Actually, I'd like to work at an ice cream shop just to put that theory to the test ;-)

Beth said...

I'll bet NO ONE can beat your husband's short-lived job, but thank goodness he wasn't fired in that short a time!

ROFL! Good point, Jo!

I bet I'd enjoy a paper route like you described! Here, they put the paper in the paper box so there's no weaving - although the person who delivers our paper does spin out quite often :-)

Too bad the job is so early, though. I am NOT a morning person and I'd be worthless at any job that started before 8 am ;-)

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! See if you can come up with a hard, weird job for the GR ! Keep him out of trouble!

The hardest job I ever had was as the director of an animal shelter. I only did it for a year because my husband demanded I quit. He said the stress and sorrow was destroying me and he was right. I was the person who walked through the shelter every day and picked which animals had to be put down because they'd been there too long or because we needed the room. I hated it. I always insisted on being there to hold the animals as they were put to sleep. I was qualified as I had been a veterinary technician for five years. I just wanted someone familiar to be with them so they wouldn't be afraid. I held them and petted them and talked to them until they were gone. In one year I held 1247 animals as they died. The doctor was a cold-hearted, callous, burned out vet, but those animals didn't know that. I made sure of it and it nearly drove me mad. I kept telling them they were safe and everything was fine and it wasn't. I felt that I betrayed them even in being kind. I won't ever do that kind of work again. And as Forrest Gump says "That's all I have to say about that."

The weirdest job I had would have to be the night manager at a funeral home job. The guys who worked the night shift were all characters and you never knew what kind of practical joke they were going to pull on each other. Gurney races down the halls, taking naps in the hearses. Definitely an interesting and fun place to work with LOTS of atmosphere.

Shortest job? As a telemarketer for a lawn service. One evening of six hours of calling people and trying to get them to let the lawn service come out and give them an estimate. I DESPISED it in spite of the fact I was quite good at it. My Mom got me the job as the owner of the service was a friend of hers. I came home that night and said I would rather dig graves in a Louisiana swamp than ever do that again.

Most fun job in the past? Easy! Opera singer. Sleep til noon. Get up eat brunch. Rehearse. Eat a light meal. Go to theatre and sit in chair for hair and makeup. Sing from 8 until midnight. Hear lots of applause. Go out to eat. Go to bed at around 3 AM and get up at noon the next day to do it all over again.

My current job (managing a bakery for Wal-Mart) is fast becoming a living nightmare. The only good thing about it is that is inspires me to finish this book and the next and the next so I can finally become what I want to be - a published historical romance writer!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, he's due for a trip down under! Yay, you!

Beth, I really enjoyed your post. I had no idea we had first jobs in a bank in common! I used to dream about counting cash - horrible, repeating nightmares. Did you have those?

Love the stories about everyone's jobs.

Anna Campbell said...

I've had lots of jobs in my time. At one stage, a year counted as long-term employment. I think some of the problem was mine - there were things up with which I would not put! I didn't have a job in high school and uni because I used to go home to help on the farm - it's all hands to the deck in a rural family! My first job was at the ANZ Bank. My shortest job was a week as a housekeeper in a really beautiful house in Chelsea. Among assorted other disasdvantages, the incontinent Highland terrier did it for me. I could not see a future for me cleaning up doggy dunnits! Not sure I've ever had a really weird job. Probably the housekeeper one counts. It was sure weird at the time!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Helen! He's coming down to Oz! Yeah! :>

Wow, what interesting jobs everyone's had. :> Mine are pretty random and uniteresting. I've worked retail, at a bank, managed a bookstore, and waitressed at a pizza joint. Did all that all the way through school, then did the corporate executive thing.

All in all, I'm with you Beth, I like the writing/mom jobs best. Hopefully, like you, I'll get to do them for a long, long, long time!

Louisa, I was ROFLMAO at the night watchman at the FH thing. As most of you know, I teach that body disposal class b/c I used to be in the funeral business - another interesting job direction - and that SO sounded like some of the guys I worked with! hahah!

Sympathies on the shelter job, too, Louisa.

Beth I can't beat the 30 minutes either. The shortest I ever had a job - five days - same reason as your DH, I got a better offer somewhere else! Grins.

Louisa Cornell said...

ROFLMAO at La Campbell chasing doggie doughnuts! Is there a photo in existence of the Incomparable La Campbell in a housekeeper's uniform with matching pooper scooper? Inquiring minds want to know.

I knew you would love the FH job, Duchesse, darling! The night we took delivery of the body of a man executed for a series of horrible murders was a night I will NEVER forget. Lets just say it involved a new hearse driver, a disappearing body, screaming and the use of lots of ketchup. Not to mention another near murder when the poor hearse driver realized what the guys had done. I swear at times it was like being head zombie wrangler on the set of Shaun of the Dead. They were extremely respectful and serious in the exercise of their duties, but any downtime was spent trying to scare the bejeebers out of each other.

I live for the day when there are no unwanted pets and the only shelters in existence are no-kill shelters. My brothers call my place the Lunatic Dog Asylum and Retirement Home. All of my dogs were rescued from shelters where they were doomed to execution because of mental problems and most of them live forever. My oldest dogs are 18, 15 and 14 at the present.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa said: I swear at times it was like being head zombie wrangler on the set of Shaun of the Dead. They were extremely respectful and serious in the exercise of their duties, but any downtime was spent trying to scare the bejeebers out of each other.

HAHAHA!! I think its a universal thing with funeral directors. They do such important, serious work, and are so serious and respectful, as you said, that when they can, they let loose. I've always said they throw the wildest parties and tell the dirtiest jokes. Our guys used to pull some serious pranks too. One of our guys would always slip open the door to the embalming room, slide a hand in, turn on the lights and then let the door close. He always said it was so the ghosts would head out before he came in. He ALWAYS did this. One day another of the guys got there first and stood in the dark waiting for "Joe" to slip his hand in and hit the lights. Door opens, hand slides in and WHAMMO! the other guy grabs "Joe's" hand. We thought he was going to have a stroke. I don't think he ever orgave them for it, but they laughed like goons for weeks on that one.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa, sympathies to on the old pups. It's hard when they get that old 'cause you know you've only got so many years left with them. :> My "old boy" is 13 - which is old for a Dalmatian. The "new guy" is 4, so we'll have him for a bit, I'm thinking. grins.

Buffie said...

Ooooh ooooh, takin' what their givin'

Sorry, you had me doing my Huey Lewis and the News impression :-)

So many great responses. Not sure if my answers will be as interesting.

As a teenager in high school, I worked at a local Del Taco (mexican fast food). Personally I felt it was a great first job for me. I enjoyed interacting with the people in the drive thru and eventually prepared and cooked the food. No one can roll a burrito like me :0

My senior year of high school I moved on to an office job. I worked at a collection agency doing some of the accounting work.

After that I moved on to the Federal Government. I was a secretary there for 10 years. Some offices were great, others were nightmares (boss sleeping with a co-worker and causing everyone stress!)

For the last 10 years I have worked for a real estate law firm. Currently, I am working in the foreclosure section. Not a great thing to do, but I enjoy MOST of the ladies I work with and the partners have been very flexible with me when it comes to the family's schedule. They even let me work from home for a year when my youngest child was born.

I have to say that the hardest job I have ever held has been that of MOTHER. Man, it is really tough, but the rewards are so sweet.

Louisa Cornell said...

Thirteen is awesome for a dalmation, Duchesse! Kudos!

My brothers call the 18 year old doberman/shepherd Timex, because it seems like she is going to keep ticking forever. She really doesn't know she is an old dog. The only sign of age is the bronchitis she gets every winter. It comes earlier and lasts longer each year. Of course my vet told me just to give her nyquil. Now we think she just coughs to get the nyquil which she drinks straight from the little cup. My brothers' other nickname for her is "the old rummy." They say she isn't really sick. She's just a nyquilaholic.

Yep, that prank with the lights and the hand grabbing somebody sounds like the crew I worked with.

Donna MacMeans said...

Thirty minutes! That has to be a record, Beth.

Let's see...throughout high school I was always babysitting. My first job that generated a paycheck was working quality assurance one summer. In order to raise money for a teen canteen, a group of us organized an impressive gathering of teenagers to put labels over a misprint on cigar boxes printed by a local company. The whole effort was managed, supervised and staffed by local teens. I started out checking to make sure the color matched labels were properly placed, and then was "promoted" to keeping track of how many boxes each person produced and then paid for the work (we paid the kids working in cash). Maybe this project was a precursor for my career many years later as an accountant.

In between those years, I've been a concession stand worker, a receptionist, a shipping/receiving clerk (that's where I learned to rip a phone book in half), a bill collector, a file clerk, a telephone solicitor (desperate times call for desperate measures), and a sales clerk in the jewelry department.

Once I graduated from college, I was an auditor in one of the big eight accounting firms. I left that job to be a business executive at a food services distributor and then started my own tax/accounting business. I still have my tax practice but prefer to spend my time crafting romance stories. Who knew taxes and romance would mix?

Donna MacMeans said...

Louisa -

Kudos to your husband for making you leave the job at the shelter. My heart breaks just thinking of you holding all those poor animals while they crossed over. So sad. I'm afraid that's not a job for the kind-hearted.

Who knew we would have a telemarketing job experience in common? I hated it. I was calling with a "survey" about air conditioning. It was really a way to talk people into a sales appointment with a air conditioning compnay. The paycheck paid some bills, but turning in my notice was a real pleasure.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Beth, fun blog! Counting change must have been a great job for a creative type. Your mind could just wander while you did the work.

My jobs have been pretty banal--worked in menswear at a couple of clothing stores, tutored at my old school, was a research assistant for a law lecturer and then as a solicitor in a law firm. The strangest job I had was a three hour shift for a local currency exchange company. We'd go out to the airport at some ungodly hour of the morning and get on Japanese tour buses to change Yen into Aus dollars. We'd get off the bus at a very seedy part of town with a briefcase full of cash and get a taxi back to the airport. It paid really well, as I recall and was a pretty easy job. And now I'm a romance writer. Huge change in direction!

Helen, yay, you got the rooster! Have fun with him today:)

PinkPeony said...

Hi Beth:

My first, weirdest and hardest job was when I was sixteen and I worked in a hospital lab as an assistant. I'd taken chem early in h.s. so they trained me to mix reagents, make agar plates, and process patient samples in the bacteriology dept. It was interesting but it could be pretty gross at times. The pathologist took me under his wing and let me sit in on some post mortems and show me interesting things they'd pull out of bodies. :) I was also trained as a phelbotomist. I had to take patient's blood samples at 0630 every morning and get them down to the lab so the the docs could have the results before they did their morning rounds. I was low man on the totem pole so I got stuck with weekend and holiday shifts and anyone who has ever worked in a hospital knows the holidays in the ER are no fun.
I worked in the trade section of the student bookstore when I was in college and also for a catering company. I loved being around all the books and they offered me a job as the assitant buyer when I graduated but I wanted to stretch my wings and leave the college town environment. I loved working with the caterer, but it was the most physically taxing job I've ever had.

Beth said...

Louisa, those animals were so lucky to have you there with them. I can't imagine how hard that must've been on you, though.

I love hearing about your jobs! You've really had some interesting experiences :-)

I can't wait until we can celebrate your first sale! We all believe in you *g*

Beth said...

I used to dream about counting cash - horrible, repeating nightmares. Did you have those?

LOL! Not that I can remember but I still have to have all my money facing the same way and in order from highest bill to lowest *g*

The hardest part of being a bank teller for me was getting people to come to my window. The counters were high and since I'm only 5'2" they couldn't see me ;-)

Beth said...

The shortest I ever had a job - five days - same reason as your DH, I got a better offer somewhere else!

His record still stands! *g*

Jeanne, I LOVE your body disposal workshop! I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of putting a dead body in one of their stories :-)

Beth said...

Ooooh ooooh, takin' what their givin'

ROFL! Buffie, I'm so glad I'm not the only person who thinks in song *g*

How great that you were able to work from home! And I totally agree with your statement on motherhood. Sometimes I think there should've been job training involved or at the very least, a manual ;-)

Beth said...

My brothers' other nickname for her is "the old rummy." They say she isn't really sick. She's just a nyquilaholic

LOL! At her age, she deserves to indulge in nyquil *g*

Beth said...

Wow, Donna! You have a very impressive resume *g* And look at all the skills you've acquired such as ripping those phone books in half :-)

And your books are so wonderful! Taxes and romance certainly DO mix!!

Beth said...

We'd go out to the airport at some ungodly hour of the morning and get on Japanese tour buses to change Yen into Aus dollars.

Christine, that doesn't sound very ordinary to me! Some days I feel as if I'm working in 3 hour shifts. Actually, some days when I'm running kids here and there it's like I'm working in 30 minute shifts :-)

Beth said...

The pathologist took me under his wing and let me sit in on some post mortems and show me interesting things they'd pull out of bodies

LOL! Oh, my! I wouldn't have lasted a day there, Pink. I guess that's why I was in the small room counting change instead of being around anything that could cause me to pass out :-)

PinkPeony said...

Beth...looking back, the pathologist was a very interesting guy. He was single, in his late thirties and lived with his mother. Hmm..I could pen a story about him.

flchen1 said...

Hmm... let me see...

Hardest job (besides the one I've chosen now, the whole mom thing!) is probably the one I had just before I stopped to be home with the kids--I was an editorial manager for an educational software company. The work itself was OK, but the company was going through quite a bit of transition and the managerial aspects of the job were painful, to say the least. I can't say that I miss much about that now, although I do miss some aspects of working (regular paychecks, regular interactions with adults where I feel like I'm an accomplished person...)

Weirdest job was probably in college, when I did tape back-ups for the some of the university computers. Work started Friday nights at 2am, and went until I finished. I worked alone, mostly, in the rooms with the mainframes. The machines and their cooling systems were noisy enough I needed to wear headphones as hearing protection, and the night hours completely threw my schedule out of whack ;)

Most fun? I also worked at the university bookstore, and loved getting a discount on all the books :) Also, it was glorious being surrounded by all those lovely new books, although I shelved mainly computer books, which were a lot less interesting reading to me ;) Or, maybe what I did part-time a couple years ago, where with a couple friends, we created custom baby and other photo announcements and cards for people. Not much cuter than baby pix!

And nope, can't beat 30 minutes! I tend to stick things out way longer than I ought in most cases!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hmmmmmmm, jobs, huh?

Uhm...30 years as an OB Nurse..22 as a L&D not much to it at times, hate it at times, wouldn't want to do anything other than this...except write!

Judith Anne said...

Weird job: Way back in the early
90s, I worked at a furniture store for six weeks. Employees couldn't use the break room because one of the sales staff members was living in it.