Women’s Work

I was reading a blog this morning that contained a post about all of the writer’s previous jobs. This got my mind stirring.
I have never in my life been on a straight path to long-term career goals. I know that sounds purely lazy and uninspiring, but it is me. Take it or leave it. I have always chosen a path of happiness. I have had to move many times in my life, and each time I have to start over.
A clean slate.
My mom believes this is exciting and cause for opportunity. I have not always agreed with her, but she is right. As much as it can be frustrating and lonely, starting over just opens new doors.
I am getting ahead of myself.
The reality is, I just like taking work that fulfills me in one way or another.
For example:
Job #1 Baskin Robbins
15 years old. LOVED ice cream. Loved this job.
Although between puberty and loads of tastes, my ass grew big time. Not good.
Job #2 Cashier at the local LaGrange grocer, DeVries.
Lasted 3 days. I kept charging people $2,000 for their milk and eggs. The cash register and I did not get along.
Job #3 Subway Sandwich Artist.
17 yrs old. I loved this job. Not so much the work, but the people I met. Don’t ask me why, but it was a hangout for some people at night. I almost lost the tip of my pinkie opening a 5 lb can of tuna. Tough work.
Job #4 Painting Houses.
A free tan while you worked. The radio on all day. I was the only girl, which was fun. I avoided the tall ladders after falling off a 3 footer into a bunch of prickly bushes.
Job #5 Painting Fire Hydrants.
Seriously, I did this. I spent an entire summer painting every fire hydrant in the Village of LaGrange. Someone would drop me off and I would pull a cart full of my supplies from hydrant to hydrant. I would get picked up for lunch and eat with 15 village workers who cracked me up. Then they would drop me off again until the end of the work day. I was by myself all day, but it was not a bad gig. It was kind of like meditation.
Job #6 Activities Director For Formerly Homeless Mentally Ill Adults
I got this gig as a volunteer through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Philadelphia. This job made me grow in ways I never thought I could. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. That was just the first day. I fell in love with the residents there. I think about them often. This job is an entire blog entry in itself!
Job # 7 Peace and Justice Programs Intern at Xavier University
Loved the work I was doing. Loved who I worked for. Loved who I worked with. It never, ever felt like a job. I could have stayed there forever if it was normal to be an intern forever.
Job# 8 Activities Director at Day Program for Mentally Ill adults
This job did not come without it’s challenges, but I enjoyed my team and knew I was doing good work.
Job #9 Activities Director for Veterans with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
I LOVE THE ELDERLY! There. I said it. This job was so fascinating and fun. The people I worked with were the sweetest most interesting people I have ever met. The WWII generation is fading and there are so many stories to be heard. When we had move from NJ, I had to say goodbye for good. I knew that most of them were not living long enough for me to come back and visit. There were a lot of tears that day.
Job #10 Temp at a school furniture company
It was my first temp job. We were newly married and just moved back to Cincinnati. I couldn’t find work for the life of me, so I went to temping. I scored the jackpot on this one. At that time, the company was small and just starting out. There was an awesome energy with each and every sale. The people I worked for were awesome as well. I loved it so much that it led to…
Job #11 Inside Sales Representative for online school furniture company
I sold school furniture over the phone and it rocked. I had never seen myself as someone who would love sales, but here it was. I was good at it too, which just motivated me more. I also think being part of a company during it’s small beginnings really had me emotionally invested. Plus, I really liked working for my boss and with my co-workers. This one was pretty awesome. Then we had to again. Just when I thought I had to say goodbye, they offered me…
Job #12 Outside Sales Representative for online school furniture company
The company created this job for me. For ME! All I wanted to do is achieve at this and make everyone proud. Well, let’s just say that I quickly learned that inside sales and outside sales are very, very different. I was was too much of a coward to walk up to a school and do a cold call. I tried, and tried, but I just did not have it in me. I then had to say goodbye.
That’s when I took the opportunity to go to culinary school. But as you know, instead of becoming a chef, life had a different path for me…
Job #13 Mother
Need I say more?
Job #14 Jazzercise Instructor
I wrote about this one already, but let me tell you that it is great having a paying job again. Not because of the money, but because of the joy it is bringing in my life. It is nice to have goals, to have community, to have commitment. I have these things being a mom, but there are no tantrums in this job, which is nice.
To top it all off, there were loads of babysitting jobs as well during those years.
Jack of All Trades.
I have been pretty lucky though, I have to say. My jobs have been great.
What were some of your craziest or favorite jobs?

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