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 expenses.

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 army.

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 was  the 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 excitement.
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.

Care to reveal your early jobs?

 

9 comments:

Janet, said...

Wow, that's hard to follow. When I was 18, my cousin talked me into going to the laundry and working with her. Our mother's both worked there. I lasted about 2 days, before I got sick from the heat and I quit. She lasted one week. Then I got a job for the state as a clerk/typist. I eventually became a secretary. I loved the work and met many interesting people and my office was in our Capitol Bldg. Couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting. After working for 5 years, I got married and we moved to another town. I couldn't drive and didn't have a car, so I had to quit my job. I've been a stay at home wife and mom ever since and never regretted it.I now write and hope someday to make money doing what I love.

Val said...

My most interesting job was as a pricer/cashier at a large insurance salvage store in Springfield, Missouri. Such a wacky cast of characters could not be imagined. AND I got to take a polygraph, though not by choice.

BECKY said...

Very interesting jobs! You already know about my short lived waitress job at Woolworth's! I once quit a job after ONE DAY. I was so miserable, it was all I could do to return after lunch! (And I was an adult!)Too long to explain here. LOVED my part-time job at B&N!!

Daisy said...

Most of my jobs have been in libraries, although when I was a teen, I did do babysitting, housecleaning, and worked at an ice cream stand for a while.

Sioux said...

Linda--You've inspired me to think about my jobs--some crazy ones--and post something about it at some later point.

My first job was at Dairy Queen, and despite being surrounded by chocolate and sneaking chocolate and making deliberate "mistake" sundaes so I could put them in the walk-in and eat them later--I didn't get tired of chocolate (which my parents swore would happen).

As expected--your work history is just as fascinating as you are, Linda.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Scrubbing neighbor's steps and babysitting were my first paid jobs. Then I worked at a corner confectionery filling the cooler with soda bottles and dusting shelves. I worked as a waitress at Woolworth's in downtown St. Louis then in the candy department and snack bar at Sears then I worked as a clerk-stenographer for the Army. Those jobs were by the time I turned 18.

Bookie said...

Wow, what a list of experiences and all to draw from for writing! You have inspired me to a future post of my own, but I will say here first job was babysitting and then a summer job doing an addressograph...like your filing, not a long term work desire.

Joanne Noragon said...

My early years were as checkered as yours. Interesting how all those skills we learned for a buck an hour served us well all these years.

A Plain Observer said...

hmmm I like the one where you asked the boss if he needed to pee. that would be me making the assumption that it's a different person and bursting out some comment