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September 05, 2011

In Labor

Hank Phillippi Ryan:
So, the unemployment rate is more than nine percent, and that means a shocking one in ten of us is out of a job.  That means nine in ten of us are  counting blessings.

In my family, the moment we turned 16 we had to get a job.  Do I have to, I wailed? Nope, my step-father said. Only if you want to live at home and eat at home.  I went from door to door, applying for work, and finally got hired (this was in 196--7?) at a dry cleaners.

Dry cleaning The guy behind the counter came out with a form for me to fill out, and I picked up a pen to do so.

Left handed? he said.

Yup, I said.

Sorry, he said. I can't train you if you're left-handed.

No job. And, as it turned out, no summer of being exposed to PCE and TCE and other hideous carcinogens.  I finally got hired at the Dairy Queen, where the scariest thing was calories. ConeThe world is an amazing place.

I'd planned on being--in order: a cowboy, a waitress, a stewardess, 

a ballerina, an actor, a geneticist (until I attempted chemistry)  a lawyer, Perry mason

the lawyer for the mine workers union, an English teacher, a disc jockey.

The reality: I've been a proofreader at a publishing company, a saleperson at a dime store, a clerk in a record store (my fave) and then Vote 4an organizer in a political campaign,

a radio reporter,Microphone

 a legislative aide in the US Senate, an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine, and then, for the past 35 years (!) a TV reporter.

 Oh, and an author! (Lovely.)

 So on this Labor Day, we wonder:  what do you do for a living?  Is it what you thought you would be? Did your labor life turn out the way you planned?

 And if you're looking for a job, the Tarts are here to help. Feel free to say so--and list your qualifications!  Maybe the power of Lipstick will create a connection.



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Let's see now...I've been a car washer for the California Highway Patrol, bucked hay (for one summer), worked in a gas station, served in the US Navy as a cook, worked in all manner of restaurants, made donuts, drove an ice cream truck, delivered books, delivered pizza, been a manager/projectionist at a porno theater, done inventory work at a warehouse, been a writer, resold things at a flea market and been a babysitter.

I've also been a REDACTED and a REALLY REDACTED, both of which were fun and quite lucrative.

My current job is as a courier. The pay isn't thrilling, but it's a dead easy job and I get to drive around on somebody else's nickel.

Oh, boy. Sales clerk/manager in a toy store, sold used cars (in Vegas!), employment counselor (these were all during school; amazing what we'll do to get through.)

Managed a bookstore for four years, sales rep for publisher which brought me to Houston [back in the 80's, when expense account questions were rarely asked and never answered... good times...;)], joined a Big Oil Company, moved to another Big Oil Company, then a third BOC, got 'right-sized' in 2002 and have owned and operated a licensed firm specializing in computer forensics ever since.

Oh yeah.... I scribble a little something now and then...:)

Let's see...handled snakes (while pregnant and not fit for anything else), stood for knife thrower, had blades shoved at me through a box, sat in electric chair, sold tickets for rides, handled canvas, was (many years ago and a lot of weight ago) an ecdysiast. Winters working bars and clubs.

Once I 'settled down' I worked in a beauty school, as a maid, waitressed (but not for long), lab technician in a fabric dye plant, aid at home for unwed mothers and ran my own ceramic shop for 10 years. (Getting paid for playing in the mud...every child's dream job)

Today I do very little. Manage a couple websites and knit.

My jobs in order: acting in theater and films; police officer; substitute teacher; disabled students counselor; tutor . . . Back to School . . . More jobs: technical assistant on the school library’s Brittle Books Project; identify Iroquois collection at museum for purposes of repatriation; research assistant; develop and lead course for graduate students in education; student minister for a church without a minister . . . um . . . actually they hired me then the minister took off for Florida. This hugely impacted my sense of call - like HELLLLLLLLLLLP; psychotherapist; medical and theology student counselor and advisor; program designer and developer for medical students; faculties of medicine and divinity; then I graduated; medical school administrator.

Now I’m on - like forever - disability leave. The good part is I have a lot to write about!

My first job was as a part-time mail clerk at my college; then part-time bank teller. My first full-time job was as a statistical clerk at a non-profit organization and for 25 years I've worked as a research professional at various publishing companies, and the last year and a half at a financial organization again as a research professional.

OMG, Hank, you worked at Rolling Stone?? When are we going to get some blogs on THAT subject???

Babysitter (starting at age 10--big family), waitress at a family diner, cleaning classrooms after school and two summers, ironing a boyfriend's shirts, making glamorous clothes for my mom and her friends, time clerk at a safe factory (day job during college, nearly all-male factory), security guard at Casual Corner (for one terrifying day), sales clerk, assistant manager at a drug store, bookkeeping clerk, employment agency flogger (making cold calls), inventory control clerk at a petite store--where I eventually became a buyer--one of my favorite, but hardest jobs.

Then shift. Assistant at Merrill Lynch to five brokers, assistant to a life insurance agent, life/health/accident agent myself (for nine years). Editing for Rod Pennington and various others. Shift again, because of kids. Kitchen designer for a year, also a favorite job, but the company went belly up. Writer/sewing teacher/professional speaker for 15 years, sewing editor for online craft magazine, co-owner of web enterprise that went belly up after 9/11, freelance writer and editor for a knitting magazine, certified educator for a software patternmaking company, and business consultant.

And bookkeeper/tax preparer for the last 29 years, for my husband's business, and for family members. Which is the only thing I'm still doing, in addition to taking care of two homes and properties. Which is plenty, thank you.

Isn't it interesting, where we've all been in our work lives?

In order: Usher/box office at a movie theater showing the "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Fun, learned a lot, made next to nothing; Campus tour guide; book keeper; sandwich store manager; Steak n' Shake assistant manager; manager, Domino's Pizza; Manager, wedding cake store; driver, Domino's Pizza; IT guy; IT Director; IT guy & pizza driver.

What I do now didn't exist when I was in college, made planning for the future difficult. For that matter, delivery pizza was in its infancy when I was in college too.

One of the dumbest things I saw working in IT in K-12 schools was "What do you want to to?" as an 8th grade project. Suck ups want to be a teacher, goofy boys a professional athlete, most sit in the big stand bys, nurse, doctor, lawyer. The number who even take the next step after high school is almost zero. The number who head in that direction, about 1%. One teacher tasked me with explaining to one young man that his goal of NBA star might need a backup plan. Given his grades were not good enough to get him to the 10th grade, much less a scholarship and his game sucked as well, I was able to convince him that maybe he should look at a plan B.

Two layoffs in three years taught me to always be looking. If you are in the St. Louis area and need an IT specialist, my resume will be online later today.

Oh, my - waitress (they weren't called 'servers' in those days), factory worker (drill press - yikes!), proofreader, police/fire emergency dispatcher, data entry clerk, Federal court deputy clerk, graphic artist/proofreader (again), database designer, conference organizer, stringer for the local paper, village public relations manager, graphic artists (again), web designer, tech writer...

And always I write.

And when I was told I couldn't get a job at 46 because I didn't have a degree, I went back for a bachelor's AND a master's, and now can't get a job because I'm a)overqualified; b) too-long unemployed; or c) too old at 53, although of course they don't tell me that to my face. :-(

So...I keep writing, waiting for my efforts to actually produce income.

Childcare provider for 2 months; Stanley Home Products Dealer (My Grandma Brown was a long time Stanley Dealer and wanted to win a recruitment contest.); Dairy Queen Counter Girl and short order cook; Cook/chef at local bar & grille on a golf course; Door security at college library; student secretarial assistant for college history department; data entry & filing clerk for a local heating & AC contractor (lost this job when the steel industry went belly up in the early 80's as most of the company's business was servicing AC to local steel mills crane cabs and offices.); Church Secretary (Lost this job when I tried to go back to work after the birth of my daughter. Asked to come in at 9:30 instead of nine and was told I cut into the ministers prayer time and was fired. I think it was prejudice against working mothers.) Long period of being a stay at home mom and volunteer; Tried to go back to work in school cafeteria as a substitute lunch lady, but hated it and quit. I just hate doing dishes which was low woman on the totem pole did.; Now it's back to volunteering on whatever projects interest me.

Yes, I'm looking for work - if anyone needs biology and/or martial arts consulting for their books, you know where to find me :)

We have some amazing skill sets! In approximate order, I've babysat/done housecleaning, worked retail at the Gap, worked at McD's; part-time college jobs included receptionist, typist, reader to a blind student, biology stockroom tech (where I was the fastest test-tube washer on 2 legs), nude model for life drawing classes, and editor of the student paper. Among many others.

I worked as a teaching assistant in grad school, then straight into college teaching when I finished. Failed to get tenure at my first job (politics) and was happily employed at my second - teaching, advising, and basically being in charge of the entire undergraduate biology program - until my salary and opportunities for advancement came to a halt. Also taught martial arts.

So now I teach one class at the University twice a year, teach a bunch of martial arts (karate and jiu jitsu), and do consulting/writing work for Biology textbook publishers. I love the latter and would love more such work!

So far, I think Judith's stint as an ecdysiast wins for most fascinating!

And yes, I did have to look that one up. Well worth the time it took, too.

Started out on the Teen Board for Burdine's which is actually a way to get 13 year olds to work retail in their Jr. Depts. Then I was a cashier for my dad in the Burdine's shoe dept. After basketball season we worked part time as cashiers for the Food Palace. Then taught dance, did outdoor drama, taught Musical Theatre Dance for St. Cloud University Summer Stock. Taught gymnastics for Tallahassee Tumbling Tots and dressed windows for Mr. A's Mendelsons. Joined Fusion Dance Company. Taught elite gymnast for Muriel Grossfield School of Gymnastics. Lead Dancer and choroegrapher for A Tribute to Liza and One of a Kind which took me all over the world AND I got paid to do something I still adore! St. Pauli Girl. Did Commercials and TV extra work and modeled. Back to retail managing 3 Star Styled stores (dance wear). Styled hair and make up for 3 of their catalogues also. Became office manager for those three mail order phone, fax, e-mail catalogues. Became the design coordinator for same company which involved all kids of dance wear and costumes. All the while (30 years) choreographing musicals for the big theatres like Broward Center for the Arts and teaching dance. Since being used and laid off by another costume company I've been a costumer and dance teacher mostly but still sing and dance and act in community theatre. I tried doing commercials and TV again but they are just...I don't know...sleazy people.
I'm trying to stay true to my calling which is dance but will probably end up scanning airplane parts soon. When the knife hits the chopping block the arts are the first to get cut!
I did write articles for the River Cities Gazette and have written a few plays. I love to write.
Hopefully a man will fall in love with me soon and will help support me and I can enjoy the last 20 or so years with him.
Or not.
I still want to be an audio book reader or a news reporter like Hank.
Sailing around the world would be nice too.

Oh, you all are so INTERESTING! Xena, you struck a chord with the "teen board." SIgh. We ALL wanted to be on the teen board. Wass it as cool as it seems?

Peach! We're both DQ alums! Isn't that great?

Yes, Alan, the high school thing. How many people really know, then, what they'll be? You can have hopes or dreams or some family default--but the way the world works, you can never have PLANS.

ANyone turn out the way they'd planned???

What an amazing array of skills and talents. Makes my prewriting years sound so dull - farm work, then various secretarial jobs. Judith's led a fascinating life and she was actually one of my resource for carnival info when I was writing SLOW DOLLAR. (Thanks again for sharing, Judith!)

I became an IBM machine operator at an insurance company and was rescued by my DH of forty-seven years.
I bemoan the fact that I did not pursue more fulfilling work but have had the best job in the world, actually..taking care of my family.
When I moved to the US I got my driver's license and obtained work as a bookkeeper, bank employee and then stayed home for a while.
I then took a full fledged travel course but veered off in being a teacher assistant, bookkeeper and bank teller and sales rep where I was robbed three times at gunpoint.
I am now home taking care of business, helping DH who is a diabetic, watching a grandchild and just making a whole new life interacting with the great people here at TLC.
I knit, I READ and so I am.

I wanted to be a teacher from the first day of kindergarten, and worked hard for a scholarship to pursue that dream, which was yanked away the year before graduation (demographics, fewer students, teachers being laid off). My clerical work at Prudential became an invitation to be that office's first female sales agent (one more thing in common with Karen).
The skills from both areas of Prudential work were very helpful when I finally found a teaching position seven years after receiving my teaching degree. Storytelling became part of my teaching, probably the most useful method for teaching and for discipline, as stories reach deep.
Now, retired from teaching six classes a day, I help teach aqua-aerobics at the Y (once a teacher, always . . .) and tell stories at schools, parks, retirement centers (and have two CDs available), so if anyone needs a storyteller or a CD . . . www.storytellermary.com

Revisited yesterday's blog late, so putting this here as well:
Denise, you are right about essential oils -- I can tolerate real citrus and lavender. The Better Life products use only natural scents and no harsh chemicals

I love my day job. (I'm pretty sure I've said that here before.) I'm the Director of Media & Marketing for a nonprofit marine mammal education and research facility in the Florida Keys. Basically, I'm paid to write and talk about dolphins, sea lions, manatees, ocean conservation, etc. I work with a wonderful group of people and we consider ourselves a family. I learn cool stuff about dolphin cognition and behavior. We offer programs for visitors, including those with special needs, wounded warriors, military families. I have seen some amazing things in the last ten years. I'm also a trained manatee assessor and member of our Manatee Rescue Team. When I tell people that I love what I do and where I work, it's the absolute truth.

Prior to this, I worked most of my career doing something in advertising or p.r. at radio stations and ad agencies.

The two worst jobs are tied: two weeks and two days at a boardwalk souvenire shop and three years for a megalomaniac bully of a boss with big anger issues.

I wanted to do acting when I was little, wanted to be a teacher later, and for some time really wanted to become a politician. Finally I decided to do law just for fun and because at the age when I had to decide something all previous dreams stopped inspiring me for different reasons. After I started working in a small law firm and stuck to it. I switched later for business and international law.

Hank, heck no, I did not end up the way I thought and hoped I would! My life ambitions were to be either a dress designer or a private eye.

(pause for riotous laughter)

But I'm happy with how my life turns went, even though I practically fell into all of them accidentally. If I knew then what I know now I would have studied more science in high school, and would have gone to college to learn forensic science. But I would not have had my three wonderful daughters, so it's all good.

HA HA HA NOTHING in my LIFE turned out like I PLANNED it!
I've been a photo-snapping elf for Santa at a mall, a typist (and underground editor) for a right-wing newspaper, a computer operator on a farm, and a software engineer. In between, there were the requisite bouts as a waitress, hostess, and receptionist.
These days, I give horseback riding lessons and write a weekly humor column. Oh, yeah, and books. I write books.

Did anyone else have to look up ecdysiast?

A neighbor told my mother she always knew that I would "end up an old maid schoolteacher" -- and decided that since I divorced and didn't marry again, she was correct . . .

Actually, I did end up doing what I thought I'd do: teaching. I said I was going to be a teacher when I started high school and I did.


On the way there, though, I was a car hop, a costume creator, a scene shop worker, a secretary for. . .five(? maybe more, I'd have to dig out my resume') different firms, an employment recruiter, dispatcher for an oil company, and a live-in counselor for troubled children. Then I finally used my degree and taught for a decade.

Now, of course, I sell books, general ones for a while and now I specialize in mysteries. No money in it, naturally, but a whole lot of job satisfaction.

Oh, how amazing. Put us all together, we could rule the world, right? (And hey, why don't we?)

Dress designer--I forgot I wanted to be that, too, Karen! I was very big on mermaid skirts.

How important was school to you all, and to your careers?

Well, there's school--as in traditional college--and then there's specific classes tailored to train one in skills one has interest in. I went to college for a year and a half, and then embarked on a lifelong learning odyssey that had virtually nothing to do with traditional education, but everything to do with following my heart. And I think I've become a better educated person because of it.

My college major was Police Science, which would have done nothing for me, in the end. But I've taken Accounting and art classes, loads of sewing skills classes, courses focused on business consulting and investment vehicles, and a wonderful kitchen/bath design program, as well as several self-publishing courses. Writing classes were valuable, as were a multitude of pattern drafting/manipulation classes. The human body is so complex, one of the most complicated figures of all to design for. Gardening, cooking, and a bunch of other crafts classes, too. And I recently learned to can.

So traditional school: not so much. Lifelong learning opportunities: still seeking and learning, and I hope to continue to do so!

I studied sociology with a math minor with the idea of either being a social worker or working in a research department, and that's where I've been ever since.

Sometime I think that life is like the song in the musical "Carousel" where Julie sings "What's the use of wond'r'in" because as I see it we cling to the things that we love and are familiar with and nothing else matters IMHO..


Nope, I am not doing what I planned to do, which was teaching. Like Storyteller Mary, I found that demographics,an overabundance of teachers when I graduated from college,etc sent me off in different directions.

But to get back to the beginning: I babysat for my younger siblings as soon as I was old enough to be left in charge. I also babysat for the children of a cousin. In HS, I had an after school and vacation job as a junior nurses aide at a local hospital. Duties included delivering and emptying bedpans - oh,yuck - delivering meal trays, feeding patients who needed help, making beds,etc. In college, I worked as a playground counselor, had some short term temp jobs each summer before playground season began. Often, these jobs were in a factory setting, and included things like packing hair color products, or sifting through crates of empty hair color bottles to remove the ones that broke on the way to the factory. Did a short stint helping log the results of surveys sent to men who tried out the company's first hair color for men. This was before computers. Our progess was slowed by our hilarious laughter at some of the responses.
After graduatiion from college, I worked for a number of years operating a bookkeeping machine in the trust dept of the bank where I had my college loan -the bank's way of making sure I had access to some money with which to repay the loan, I guess! They employed a number of other would- be teachers in similar jobs. I went back to school at night for paralegal certification , and ended up working for about thirteen years as a real estate title searcher. Around sixteen years ago I was laid off from the last place where I worked as a title searcher. For the next two years I worked a variety of temp jobs. Some were short term, some were long term. During that period and continuing for about for about a year after obtaining permanent employment, I worked nights as a telemarketer, selling books. All I will say about that job is that at least I liked the products! Oh, and that I believe that Hell cannot be worse than being chained to a desk and trying to convince people that reading books is just as important as sitting at a computer all night!

For nearly fifteen years, I have been working in a public office, where duties include assisting people in applying for different sorts of aid,as well as doing the more bureaucratic sorts of things - all of which help make the wheels turn! All in all, I DO like the job, especially the conntact with low- income elderly residents and with disabled vets.
For nearly fifteen years I have been working

Oops! I forgot to include that I also bred, raised, trained and sold all sorts of exotic birds. And even though it wasn't a job per se, I also spent a few months making money via games of chance from which 99% of the chance had been removed. Cards were involved, as were rich & drunken frat boys.

I never made plans, too busy trying eek out a living. Skipping odd jobs, my paycheck jobs were motel maid, laborer in a factory that made plastic flower pots and frisbees, book store clerk, mushroom picker, cannery worker, kennel worker, accounts receivable clerk, tavern waitress, bartender, factory worker in a shop that made plate glass windows and doors, back to bartending, clerk in building materials store, back to bartending, postal clerk, general store owner and operator, postmaster, retiree. That last is the best because there's plenty to do when and if I want to.

Hmmm...babysitter, clerk at the Sears catalog counter, secretary, policy typer and transcriber at a insurance company (summer jobs), manager of an art gallery, co-director of an art foundation, marcom manager...and...writer!
Hub is looking for a job--he has an MBA in general business mgmt. from Harvard Business School, experience in marketing--both agency side and brand side--small division management, etc.

I did the usual babysitting, then office temp, labourer in a pulp mill, office temp, shop girl, aerobics instructor, door girl at a night club, office temp, did my apprenticeship for typesetting, did that for a number of years, now I am an office clerk.

I never had any big future plans, my family was very blue-collar and there was more of a push to get my Grade 12, get a job, get out of the house. I guess I always thought I would get married, make babies etc. I did get married, didn't like it, figured out at 24 that I didn't want to have kids and the rest is history. I keep trying to be a lottery winner but that hasn't worked out for me so far!

My 2.5 year stint as a labourer in a pulp mill was interesting in a dirty, cold, gross kind of way. The pulp mill was the biggest business in town, over 2,000 men and about 60 women. Not as fun as one might think, aside from the lovely men of this blog, my dad and a couple of others, men are pigs . . . at least in quantities like that place. It was a unionized work place and I got a pink slip every 2 weeks, if I got 30 days in I would have automatically been in the union. A few years after I stopped working there I came across this great pile of pink slips (yes they were actually pink) and recycled them.

I left the place because I was blacklisted. I refused to do a particularly dirty & dangerous job because there wasn't any room on the lock-out bar for my lock (a safety measure). I had full rights to refuse the work but conveniently me and about 10 other women got blacklisted the same week and about 10 guys got their 30 days in. Would I have wanted to get full-time work there, NO, NO and more NO.

I've mainly always been an office worker but a few years ago went back and got my MLS with the thought of being a librarian. No jobs are really opening up for that at a level I can afford so for now I have my day job and focusing on the creative in my side work. Getting veryuch into photography and want to do themed Photoshoots in the VA area and also take people's pics they already have and create photobooks for them.

I played Winnie the Pooh at Sears one Christmas, at age 16. The costume was the scary part. You looked out through mesh in the honey pot and the shoes were size 13, so getting on and off the escalator, which you couldn't see from the honey pot, was particularly terrifying. Think Bigfoot in a burqa.

Waxing philosophically lately, I was discussing life in general with DH.
We lost a lifelong friend to leukemia this past month and that will put your life in perspective if nothing else.
Myriads of choices are there at different times.
Opportunities come and go and we can chose to latch on to them or not.
But bottom line for me is how generous people can be.
In pursuit of a dream a person will often give a hand up or a tip or just plain be encouraging.
So I would say that on this Labor Day we can give thanks for not only the monetary gifts that a job provides but our other passions and pursuits that keep us going when the day job is a grind.
I thank anyone who has ever given me encouragement in this life.

Peg Cochran--i hear that Harvard Press is looking for some..ah, not quite sure. Trainers, team leaders, something like that? Your husband might want to check it out.

Gaylin, that's a book!

Elaine Viets--the blog provides a whole raft of book ideas for you!

And Marie, thank you...

Let's see. . .I've been the director of a community foundation, a true crime writer, operated a plant nursery, been a cattle rancher, a high school teacher. . .oh, wait, those are what my heroines have done! I think I'll claim their jobs, since they're more interesting than the ones I've had!

I've been a babysitter; Department store gift wrapper (at Christmas times); daily newspaper feature editor (small paper, so also did general reporting, regularly covered county school board meetings and one small town in the county's Town Council meetings in addition to writing features; also did headline writing, proofreading, and copy editing as needed, which was pretty frequently!); church Director of Christian Education (part-time); summer newsletter editor for Church Assembly Grounds (aka Conference and Retreat Center); English teacher; office assistant (receptionist, typing letters from dictaphone, editing an ezine, co-ordinating volunteers to do mailings, and overseeing the mailings process, etc., etc., on a part-time contract basis); and Golf Course Pro Shop Attendant (front desk--part-time, beginning summer of 1996 and continuing year-round--but still part-time--since 2001, front desk work--checking in golfers, making tee times, etc.).
Since I currently just work that one part-time job and have to pay for my own health insurance, I would love to have another part-time job that I could do at home. I left teaching after 21 years to move in with my parents to help them 10 years ago; I "froze" my retirement since it is reduced by 5% a year for each year you are under 62, and I want to try to hold out as close as I can to being 62 before collecting it. But I need to be at home, especially since my dad died, as my mother has trouble walking and standing for very long,and needs help with housework, etc. Something like proofreading that could be emailed to me would be a great job for me. I enjoy doing mailings, but I don't trust ads you see for that kind of thing--I'm always afraid they're not legitimate, or are for something I really don't want to be involved in!

My original ambition was to be a veterinarian and work in a zoo with exotic species. In the days when scholarships for women were extremely rare I was told I had the choice, if my stepfather was going to pay for higher education, of being a nurse, a teacher or a secretary...as he put it, "something fit for a woman".

I did get to at least play with some exotic species, though; the lion cub that rode on the go-cart in the motordrome, the animals in the menagerie, did some dental work on a hippo, fed the aligators, had agoutis and capybara for neighbors that would come visiting.

I worked in delicatessens in San Francisco and Marin County, California (think either men in drag or rich folks prepping for a day on the boat) during high school and college. Then I did a stint in the accessories department at Nordstrom (I can tie a scarf in many, many ways) before getting my first real job in college admissions for a small women's college. Then the writing jobs began ... technical, marketing, journal articles, etc., which is the career I still have. It wasn't until I was 33 that I wrote a word of fiction, interestingly enough.

Hank, school was my career. It's kind of a tradition. How long can you stay here before they force that degree on you? Is there a degree beyond you can stay on for? A fellowship? A certificate? A job in the library? Anything?

I've had a bunch of different jobs and three or four 'careers', most of which never ever entered my mind when I was a child dreaming of being a doctor and a writer (well, the writer part came true, and the doctor part evolved into the Traditional Chinese Medicine physician role that I've been loving for the last 13 years). I never even heard of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine until I stumbled across it 19 years ago; there was no such thing as multi-media producer (to my knowledge) when I was five; and did I ever even dream of being a radio producer/presenter? No.
But, it's all been great fun. Hank, schooling played a big part in my work life; not because it was specific (except, of course, Chinese medical school, which was kinda essential!), but because high school, college and grad school kept opening my mind and my sense of self to far greater possibilities than anything in my home or daily life had done.

I'm not looking for work, per se, but no health care practitioner stays in business unless there's a steady flow of new patients coming in the door; I'm always open to referrals!!

Laraine, you're a doctor of Chinese medicine? Wow.

I don't feel so scattered after reading all of this!

Jobs - pre-college graduation: farm labor pulling weeds in bean fields (which influenced college attendance), gas station attendant/Jr. auto mechanic (embarrassed my brother), "check-filer" @ BofA (horrific job when you're dyslexic)

College Jobs: Career Center & Property Accounting Clerks. (one was returning books to library shelves via Dewy Dec & totaling time cards for work-experience students) (the other was tracking anything over $500 w/an ID code). Once again, jobs not so great to have with the dyslexia. Restaurant hostess-waitress-line cook, kitchen manager.

Post College: "Information Specialist" for a Architectural/engineering firm, Commodity broker (managed/sold cotton future and option contracts), Customer Information Services for Ag company (managing databases); Ag Commodity Software Trainer & Support; return to Chef for 6 mo, and now back to Technology Project Management gig but in the "Health Information Technology" sector this time.

What did I want to do as a kid? I wanted to to have a "career", travel for my job, make money and meet lots of people and tell them what I know.

What did I major in college? Poly-sci/Ag Business.

I use to travel a lot - adored it! Now I'm stuck in the same office - telling people what I know ... certainly doesn't meet any "career satisfaction" goals - but it's employment - and keeps the mortgage paid - and me fed. That's what counts in this economy, right?

Carol B--was it at all fun to be a wrapper? I always secretly thought that would be great..

Judith,you are full of surprises!!

Tammy, can we have scarf time at Bouchercon?? THAT is a talent..

Nancy P, that's...well, okay.

Reine, :-) And Mit, yes, indeed!

My employment career is so limited compared to all of you. Office clerk and department store clerk while in high school and college. First job out of college was as an accounting clerk. Then I was hired by the company I still work at after 35 years. I started as an accounting clerk, moved up in various positions in project finance. A boring rut to some but a rewarding and happy little rut for me.

It's so interesting to see how many of us have such varied, if not checkered, backgrounds. What a fascinating collection of jobs we've all had!

My husband has been a nature photographer/filmmaker since college, for nearly 45 years now. It's a good thing he's been able to make a living at it, because at this point it would be pretty darned hard to switch gears. Personally, I can't imagine slogging along at the same old, same old for that many years. Maybe because I've been cooking and cleaning for that long, eh?

Let's see, I've been a babysitter, hotel maid, fast food service worker, factory employee, administrative assistant, IT specialist (laid off), network administrator, systems administrator (laid off), IT specialist at a bank, computer operator for consulting company (laid off), tech writer for a government agency. I absolutely hated working for the government agency. I spend 2 months staring at the ceiling waiting for them to give me something to do. Now part time janitor. Along the way, I've managed to get bachelor degrees in information systems, technical writing, graphic design and I'm working on my master's in library sciences. What I want to do is web development but I need more programming classes. I'm job hunting again and part of my problem is that I'm hearing impaired and most employers want phone skills which I suck at.
Am I doing what I wanted to do when I was a kid? Nope. I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher but I'm finding I have no patience for today's kids so it's probably a good thing.

My first typesetting job was for a small Croation newspaper, Hrvatski Glas . . . run by an old rich lecherous Croatian guy. I did everything from the typesetting to the packaging and mailing. And I never really new what the paper was about - it was in Croatian! That was some SLOW painful letter by letter typesetting.

Knew not new . . . and to think I was a typesetter!

Mo. a happy little rut is a very nice thing.

Oh, my gosh, Gaylin--you set type in a language you didn't understand? That is AMAZING!

YOu are all so fascinating! Happy Labor Day to all!

Hank, Gift wrapping was sort of fun. I never could master making bows, but I can still--even ALL these years later--pretty accurately estimate what items will fit in what boxes and how much paper it will take to wrap whatever it is! It made a nice Christmas break job while home from college for the holidays!

Carol B, very very cool.

I was a babysitter first. Then went on to work at the ever popular (ugh) McD's. Worked a few summers at my church camp as a waitress and then counselor. My senior year, I was a 'nanny' for two neighbor children until I went off to college.

While in college, I worked at the local state (mental) hospital in the geriatric ward as an occupational therapist. In other words, I got to do arts & crafts. :) Then, back to McD's for my senior year of college.

As I was studying Travel & Tourism Operations, we were also required to work in the travel agency. Side note: they still use the same computer terminals as when I was there! So, after graduation, I went to work at a local travel agency.

Left there, and went to a corporate travel agency. Their pay was based on favoritism, so I didn't stay long and then came here. I came to this pharma co, and have been here almost 24 years, although the name was modified a few times, and then we were acquired the other year. Sigh.

Am I doing what I always dreamed of? Heck no. I wanted to be involved in music. I love to sing and play piano. But, performance wasn't feasible, and going for music therapy would have meant two colleges to cover all the courses that I would have needed. Plus, my father is an a$$ who didn't think I could sing anyway, and so wouldn't have contributed anything.

I still sing. I love to bake. But I would love a side job. Something book related (not an author) would be awesome. I have been freebie editing for a couple authors, and for a friend who is working on his first book. But, oh, to be a professional copy editor or reviewer? LOL!

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