Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Jobs

J was another tough letter for me, but after kicking a bunch of different J words around in my head, I started thinking about jobs and all of the different jobs I've had over the years. So, jobs it is.

My first job was working at Arby's when I was 16. While fast food is definitely not glamorous, I actually loved this job, as I worked with a great group of fellow teenagers, and I made a lot of friends there. In spite of dealing with grease, dirty tables, and rude customers, we had fun while working, and I have fond memories of the job. I also loved having my own money for the first time. I made $3.35 an hour, which seemed like a great deal back then.

While I was in college, I spent one Christmas break working as a "perfume girl" for Elizabeth Arden Red Door perfume. I had to wear a red dress and walk around area stores asking customers if they would like a sample of Red Door. I never sprayed anyone without their consent, but regardless, some people ran from me as if they feared I was going to douse them with perfume. I couldn't really blame them as I would hate that if someone did it to me, but I still couldn't help but laugh sometimes at the expressions of horror on their faces. Some reacted as if I was carrying a machine gun instead of a bottle of perfume. Regardless, I enjoyed that job, as it was fun to be at the stores during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season. And I had graduated to $10 an hour by then, so I felt like I was rolling in it, and one step away from buying a penthouse on Park Avenue.

I worked as a social worker throughout most of the 1990s, and moved from one job to another quite frequently. I was a case worker for children's services, an emergency clinician at a psychiatric hospital, and a medical social worker for a dialysis clinic, and two different hospices. I changed jobs so often as I was always trying to find one that suited me, until I finally realized that I just wasn't suited to be a social worker. I still learned a great deal from these experiences though, and particularly from my time working for hospice. It sounds odd, but I learned a lot about life through seeing so much death.

I've now worked as a librarian for a small college near my home for quite a few years, and I've been lucky to have a job that allows me to explore my love of writing by researching and writing articles for academic journals. I've also found volunteer work to be extremely rewarding, and I've enjoyed writing for Best Friends as much as anything I've ever been paid to do.

I'd love to say my next job will be as a full-time writer, but I know I've got a long way to go for that. Still, I'm glad to have taken the first step, and I've learned to never say never!


  1. What a CV! I'd love a job in a library. I'm sorry I didn't train for that when I was younger. (You have to have the qualification in Ireland even to get the entry level jobs.)

  2. Jobs is a great topic. You have me taking a stroll down memory lane. My first job was in fast food as well, Hardees, and I enjoyed it for all the same reasons you did. Every other job I've had has been working with kids. Working in a park during summers, preschool teacher, and then on to public school, where I've taught alternative high school, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.

  3. Working in a library would be great. My first job was as a hostess at a restaurant.

  4. This is a great A-Z topic! Jobs are always interesting, even if we don't realize it at the time. (They make great material for writing!)

    I was a librarian for a number of years and did quite a bit of writing for academic journals, too.

  5. Your past jobs sound interesting, and the perfume one reminds me of the scene in Elf when Buddy walks through the department store and the lady says, "passion fruit spray?". Have you seen that? Funny!
    Have a good week. :)

  6. Holy moly 3.35 an hour?! Sheesh. Being a librarian sounds really cool...Maybe I should convert from counseling to librarian as well :)

  7. Very good choice of topic. First jobs are always such fun as you didn't have to earn enough to feed yourself. :-)

  8. what a colorful, interesting AND GIVING work life you have led.
    You have an amazing soul to be able to do much of the work that you have done. My father-in-law was in Hospice care last fall (before he passed in November) and we had my mother-in-law in Hospice care 6 yrs ago...I could never handle it at all. You are an Angel. Same holds true about many of the other jobs you have had. Compared to many of those writing is a piece of cake!

  9. I've been a dietitian, a bookseller and for the past dozen years, a children's librarian. What I've always wanted to be is a writer. I've written several manuscripts, and am continuing to do so. My skills are getting better all the time. Like your wish, perhaps someday soon, and with a bit of luck, I'll have the job I always dreamed of.

  10. Wow! That's quite a diverse CV -- which makes it the perfect foundation for your ultimate dream job :D

  11. This was fun to read. I always seemed to work in restaurants...yuck. but that's ok, because that's where I met my husband!! (he was my boss!!!)

    Heres to both of us having new jobs as full time writers in the future!!!

  12. Never say never!

    I've had a lot of jobs too. Server/Waitress, receptionist, temp, substitute teacher, cook, dishwasher, jewelry salesman, flower delivery girl, day care teacher, summer camp leader etc . . .

  13. @Aine, thanks! It's interesting how the certifications are so different in each country. I definitely can't knock working in a library, I've always loved them.

    @Tim, that's great you've had so many jobs working with kids. I'm sure all that experience makes you a great teacher.

    @Carrie, it's funny how many people started out working in restaurants. I sure wouldn't want to do it now, but I enjoyed it back then.

    @Michelle Mach, thanks! Oh, that's interesting you worked as a librarian too!

    @Michelle Teacress, oh, I forgot about that scene in Elf, but you're right! LOL I loved that movie, how funny. :D

    @Michelle in a shell, yeah, the $3.35 sounds so crazy now, but I thought I was making big bucks back then LOL.

    @Retired Knitter, that's a good point, it was fun having the money without having to worry about any responsibility!

    @Caren, oh, that's so nice of you to say, thank you. Hospice does amazing work, I really admire the people who work in the field. I found it very draining after a while, but I'm still glad to have had the experience and to be part of such a great organization.

    @Catherine, it's interesting how many librarians write as well, I hope we will both have success! Good luck with your manuscripts, fingers crossed for both of us!

    @Samantha, I hope so! :)

    @Nicole, oh, how fun you met your husband in a restaurant! Definitely, fingers crossed we can both say we are full-time writers soon! :)

    @Angela, it's interesting to learn all of the different jobs people have had. Delivering flowers sounds like fun, I would imagine people are usually glad to see you when you show up with a bouquet. :)

  14. My first job was at Del Taco. I now live down the street from their head quarters. It was the most fun job I had!

    then, I worked at a movie rental place, which I will be blogging about for the letter L. (I'm behind, still have to get to K)

    then, the rest were boring corporate type of jobs. funny, I met the best customers via the least paying jobs! :)


  15. Julie ~
    Interesting subject to take on...I could "never" do it...simply way, way, too many jobs for my head to think about - more than 40. I do recall though, that my first hourly wage was 85 cents per hour plus tips, working at a Dairy Freeze that served great hot food too. Wow! $3.35 would've been a fortune! LOL

  16. @ahhsome, that's how I feel about my first job too, it was the most fun! I will be curious to read your L post about the movie rental job. :)

    @Kathy, how funny, the 85 cents definitely beats my $3.35. The Dairy Freeze reminds me of Dairy Queen, I'll be hungry for that all day now. :)


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