I live in St. Louis, MO, but my heart and soul hang out at the beach. I am a multi-genre, award winning writer and member of St. Louis Writer's Guild. I am a seasoned pre-k teacher, on line writing instructor, wife, mother, Nana to ten. Hopefully, something I say will make you smile, further your writing career, or inspire you to write from the heart, too.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho it's off to work we go
Blogger friend, Liz at No Excuses, wrote about the
jobs she's had. I thought I'd share my work experiences, too.
I was a senior in
high school and member of FBLA, Future Business Leaders of America. We were
allowed to work half day and attend school half day. My first interview was at
the state mental hospital. My directions were to take the Arsenal bus and get
off one block west of a particular street. Having no sense of direction, I saw
the street name and got off the bus. My interview was at 1:30 p.m. By 2:00 p.m.,
after having wandered through an open door and WARDS, I finally found the
office. The interviewer was in a meeting and wouldn't be available until the
next day. I nixed that job!
My next interview was in an old house that served as
the offices for the Board of Education. I would earn $1.00 an hour. They hired
me that day and put me to work. Hunched over, I filed for four hours. My head
was splitting and I knew for certain that was not the job for me. Not for
twenty bucks a week minus taxes!
Third interview was at Stanley Photo, a family owned
photo finishing plant and retail store. I started in the plant doing a variety
of chores for $1.25 an hour and gave half my check to my parents for household
I was assigned to an NCR billing machine to ring up
processed film. I proved to be the fastest biller across the nation and could
ring twice as many packets as anyone in the other fifteen plants (which became
Fox Photo). Next they moved me to the office. I liked my new title, but related
better to the plant people. Another office worker, a recent college grad and I
were sent to the phone company for switchboard operator training. I out-performed
her in every way, yet they gave her the job as relief switchboard operator.
Upset, I complained to my boss. He said I was more valuable in the office and she had a
degree. In the end, I proved right and she couldn't handle the job. When she
quit two weeks later, I became the full time switchboard operator receptionist and
absolutely loved that job. It was a big old fashioned cord board that you see
in the movies. My hands were so dexterous and I could handle fifteen calls at a
time. Loved-loved-loved when it was busy.
One faux-pas, I was at my office desk when the phone
rang at 10:45 as it did everyday when Tina, the previous receptionist called to tell me she needed a break. I
answered with, "Hi, do you have to pee?"
My male boss said, "No, I need to
see the files..." OMG I was 17 or 18 and so embarrassed. I worked there
until I was almost 20, then moved to Alaska to be with my former husband in the
Five years later, with two children ages three and
one, I worked for a year on weekends 3-11:00 p.m. at a telephone answering
service. That wasthe
most interesting job. The switchboard was three times the size of the one I was
used to and I worked alongside another operator. We answered calls for hundreds of business in town, from insurance companies, repair companies,
psychiatrists...oh boy those were some fun calls! Answered for concert and fight
promoters for Ali and the greats. It was fun to be on the fringe of all the
Then one day my daughter's preschool teacher asked
me to cut some figures out of construction paper. I did that for two days and
then offered to volunteer. And
that was the beginning of my career as a preschool teacher. After two years as
an aide, I was assigned my first class of three year olds. My wages barely paid for the kids' tuition, but I was thrilled and fulfilled.
Years later I was taking an evening adult ed business
class at a public school. The coordinator walked into my typing class,
introduced herself and asked what each of us did. When I told her, she said,
"See me after class."
She asked if I was interested in a position as early
childhood instructor. Coincidentally, I had applied for that very job two years
previously, but they had chosen a college grad. The coordinator asked about my
education. I told her I would enroll in college in the fall if I were hired. When I mentioned my mentor's name, a pioneer in early childhood who had taught four generations, my new boss said she knew her. As we conversed we realized that we had met years before when she was 17 years old and had brought her bunny to my class when I was a teacher's aide. Small world.
I enrolled in college and have never stopped taking early childhood and continuing
education classes. I have attended seminars, workshops and conferences...and
here I am going into my 38th school year, having taught at four schools.
I have taught adult writing classes, school age summer
camps and early childhood teacher education seminars and parenting workshops.
I am blessed to be able to do what I love.