What were you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I think it's interesting to find out what kind of jobs/careers others have held. Stu was a paper boy, bus boy, mechanic (mostly brakes) and then a Paramedic/Firefighter for 30 years. Pretty straightforward.

Me...not so straight. LOL! Let's see...there was the obvious childhood jobs. Babysitter, selling greeting cards & stationary door-to-door, writing a neighborhood newspaper (4th grade...hey, my next door neighbors paid me 10 cents for it....LOL!) and even picking and selling watercress (even though I had no idea what it was, my partner in the biz did).

High school started with working in an onion ring stand one summer, then on to Woolworth's 5 and dime as a cashier, pumped gas at my father's gas station (yes, checked the oil and cleaned front and back windshield's too), ending with waitressing and dishwashing (with a little short order cooking tossed in).

Moving to Florida right out of high school, I became a carhop at an A&W (no roller skates) followed by my first full-time job as a long distance operator for Southern Bell in Miami. A move precipitated a job change and I became a ward clerk at the local hospital (way before computerization...all doctor's orders were hand-written and I got to interpret them and place the orders). I moved on to working in a doctor's office as the receptionist, bookkeeper and general office-do-all clerk.

From there a variety of jobs followed...full-charge bookkeeper (furniture store, nursing home, underground utility construction company, aerial crop-dusting service), grapefruit packer (never had such a physically demanding job before or since), waitress (from diners to hoity-toity restaurants where we carried live lobsters to the table for meal selection), clerk in an auto parts store as well as a Mercedes dealership and eventually moved into the computer world.

I started as a...are you ready for this title...backup relief computer operator trainee on a system that used paper tape for input and mag-stripe cards for output. Phew! But fortunately for me, the move from accounting into computers was a natural. I loved it! Through a lot of on the job training mixed with college courses as needed (and afforded), I moved from entry clerk to programmer to operations to programmer/analyst to operations management to programming specialist and on and on through various levels of management, culminating in VP of Client Services for a reseller.

Once I left the computer world and the career that I fell into, I did several more years as a PC specialist for the underground utility world, a stint as a fiber-optic construction inspector and then some specialized work for a real estate company.

In addition to working, I have had a side business of some sort or another for the last 25+ years. These have ranged from Personalized Children's Book Printing to Off-site Backups for Small/Home Business, PC Consulting for Small/Home Offices and a cleaning business. In the last 15 years also dabbled in web design, freelance writing (for the web and for print) and newsletter writing.

So what did I want to be when I grew up? Initially I wanted to be a nurse like my mother. Then in my teens I wanted to be a dancer. By the end of high school I was interested in physical therapy. Instead marriage intervened, followed in a year by the birth of my son. Life changes...

So where has your life twisted & turned in the job world?

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu


  1. This is a great idea, Donna. A lifetime review!

    I didn't work much as a teenager as we lived on a farm and I helped out there mostly with haying. I did have a short stint in a grocery store demonstrating product. Don't even remember what it was!

    Once I started working I moved to the city and started working as a clerk-typist for an insurance company, then got married and moved from the city back home where I got a job working for the town as a clerk, then on to a towel manufacturing company where I calculated bonus for the people in the plant, then in to Accounts Receivable (which I hated), from there to a teller/ledger-keeper at a bank, then on to a two girl office where I did a little of everything office related. We developed, processed and sold calf feeder.

    I returned to the city after the marriage didn't work and worked as a secretary at State Farm till I was promoted to a claims handler, then claims adjuster and to claims specialist. After 26 years I was laid off so went to work at Nortel as an administrative assistant, then promoted to executive assistant. When our group was purchased by another high tech firm, I remained an executive assistant till my retirement in 2004.

    Wow! Didn't realize my memory was that good.

  2. Sounds like a great topic...think I will do my response in a blog post today. Thanks for the suggestion and all the info about you and Stu...another neat way to learn more about you.

    Have a great day and time with Nick & Terry.

  3. I worked at Mr Gatti's Pizza as a teenager, became an elementary school teacher (grades 3-5) then a middle school teacher (grades 6-8), then a fitness instructor (aqua aerobics, step, weight lifting, and spin/cycle), and a boot camp instructor.

    Now, I'm a champion dish washer, bed maker, and top chef in our RV :)

  4. Once out of College I was a CPA for many years in an Accounting Office. Then I went to work of one of the clients as their CFO. Now all I do is ride my big scooter! I think I need a jacket that says, He!!s Accountant on the back!!!

  5. (I spent a lot of my teenage years hanging out at an A&W in Riviera Beach, FL)

    Secretary for a State Farm insurance agency.
    Admin. Asst. for RCA, General Electric, Bosch Automotive

    Human Resources - Supervisor, Manager

    Last full-time job was Director of Employee Benefits for Gaylord Entertainment.

    Best job - Retirement!

  6. At 15 I made pizzas, 16-17 I pumped gas, and worked in the pro shop of the oldest established golf course in the US. 18 I made donuts, and at 19 I carried a colt 45 as a Military Policeman. Then it was a tank mechanic,after the army I tried heavy equipment operator, then an insulator. Now I.m a full time husband showing my wife the great USA in an RV.

  7. Soldier, tanner, computer chip maker (photo-lithography), x-ray tube research and development technician, and correctional officer for 20 years. I was a janitor and gardener on the side quite often along the way, as well. Most of it sucked but it fed, clothed and sheltered the family.

    I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It shows.

  8. Interesting post! I fell into teaching and lasted 13 years. Then I was in sales. A temporary job led to 8 or 9 years at an accounting firm doing all sorts of administrative/computer things. Once we hit the road full-time, I worked for NPS as a seasonal maintenance worker, then interpreter. I had a few other short-term jobs too including being a bag lady for Safeway! I started writing and now write and publish RV books. I'm not sure this is what I'll do forever- time for more adventures!

  9. As a teenager I cut weeds for the Dept. of Agriculture. I had a plot of land about 3 square feet and I used a pair of scissors to cut each weed and blade of grass in that plot. Used for all kinds of cow food experiments. Graduated from Business College and became a secretary for insurance adjusters. From there went to work as a Secretary for the IRS. Worked my way up in the IRS to a Senior Analyst in Washington, DC and then went back to Customer Service for the IRS in Montana. Love my current job - retired.

  10. Oh I love this! As a kid I always wanted to travel...

    For a while I thought about Airline Stewardess but back in those days they had restrictions for height. I guess 5'3" doesn't cut it, LOL!

    I always wondered where the long haul truckers where going so that popped in my head but I'm not a mechanic so another dream put on the back burner.

    Then the military sounded good. Yep! That's it I'm joining the Navy and that I did. Eight years of service but wish I had done more.

    Like you Donna, marriage and babies intervened and I fulfilled my duties; became a stay home mom.

    Although during my military time (reserves) I worked for McDonald's (where I met hubby), Sears (clerical) and the Credit Bureau (courier).

    After the kids were older I worked at a Mortgage Company as the main receptionist, cashier at Safeway then went back to being a stay home mom. Ten years later I'm still enjoying the home life.

    Now in my mid 40s and getting ready to move back to Washington (6 months) plus my baby graduates high school; I'll get another job to start the RV Fund!

    I'm not sure what that job will be... :)

  11. Now let's see...My first job was soda jerk at a newstand at 15, then worked at a floral shop. Jr. College and an Associate's Degree, next I was a Nurse Aide at the hospital, , next was selling Tupperware, then Avon, and then came..beauty school!..Of course, then I was a hairdresser, then a travel agent, then back to hair and owned my own shop. THEN, I was an Optometric Ass't., teacher's aide....back to Optometric Ass't....and finally LAZY BUTT RETIRED!!!
    Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it!!

  12. Wow, make me go back that many years!
    Waitress, Firefighter (yes a female one), Radio Announcer, Auto Body golfer (sweeping etc), landscaper, insurance agent, underwriter, adjuster, call centre manager (telephone answering service), insurance broker consultant/marketer, bartender, mom.
    (there are more, but this is the short list for now).
    Most important job left at the end of the list :)

  13. Gosh, Donna, no wonder your nickname is Froggi -- you hopped from job to job a lot. LOL

    My only job in high school was a film route - rode my Cushman scooter all over Tampa picking up film to be developed from the various mom and pop drug stores.

    After high school, I did a short stint doing photostat and microfilm processing for the clerk of circuit court. Then went to a glorified radio & TV repair school and got a grounding in electronics (albeit vacuum tubes) that led to a job with EMR, Sarasota, as a Sr System Tech. Worked on the data transmission system for Gemini (among other things). Got laid off, and moved to Palm Beach in 1965 to RCA and got my start working on computers. (Yes, like you, it used a paper tape.) Jumped to CDC and worked at sites in NM, France and England. Jumped to DEC, Univac, GE, KSC (systems engineer in the shuttle firing rooms)and Harris in Palm Bay, FL. Finally, moved to the St Pete area for, what is now, Raytheon. (Who axed me last August at age 70 after 15 years). Started out with computers in hardware and swiftly switched to software. Spent the last decade doing web application development.

    Donna, like you again, I moonlighted writing fairly often. Was an About guide like you in the late 90's. Just ran across two Western Horseman mags from 1960 (do the math, they're half a century old!) while cleaning the office -- they contain the first two paid freelance articles that I ever sold.

    All, in all, it wasn't a bad 50 year career for a kid who had the smarts, but not the bucks, to go to college.

  14. What a great way to get to know fellow bloggers!
    My jobs included pharmacy clerk, teacher (preschool thru high school) executive secretary, employment counselor, corporate trainer.
    My favorite jobs though are mother and wife.
    Blessings, K

  15. I lay out the varied career path I've followed in my Blogger profile. However, as a kid, I did the usual paper route, "Grit!" door-to-door sales, lawn mowing and odd jobs. My first "real job" was at 15, a chicken processing plant (now defunct) where I unloaded 75 pound crates of chickens from a truck. I moved up to "Chicken Dipper" next. I dipped live chickens into melted wax and then hung them upside down onto hooks on the line. The next station was right beside me and there they cut off the heads and exsanguinated the birds before skinning (the other line plucked after killing, my line was the processed chicken line where older birds went to canners). I only lasted half a day at that job - I quit at lunchtime. Spent the rest of that summer as a field hand on a dairy farm. Still dirty but not as gross. LOL.

  16. Gee - my working life has been boring - aside from baby-sitting, and working in a boarding kennel during high school, I've spent the rest of my life in IT - for the same gov dept. I'm now a stay-at-home with retired husband person - just over 1 week so far. Its my favorite job yet!

  17. Donna, You have had most varied work life. I guess one could say that - other than a world of experience in the computer world - you know a little about a whole lot of things. I place myself in that category too. I have researched, written, produced and directed many journalistic mini and long form TV documentaries, on a multitude of subjects, all over the world.

    Other things I did:
    - Cleaning my father's company mill-work shop on Saturdays. I swept and dumped all the accumulated sawdust from a week's worth of cabinet making.
    - Till age 14, I washed my father's employees cars while they were on construction sites. That was after school daytime and weekend work.
    - Worked in my father's lumber yard and hardware store too.
    - Worked construction jobs...numerous and varied.
    - Played in a rock band - traveling long distances most weekends.
    - DJ in a small market radio station.
    - Made grocery home deliveries for a local food outlet.
    - wrote TV commercial scripts while in university.
    - Following completion of university, worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - in numerous Canadian cities for 15 years - before striking out on my own and forming a TV, film, video and multimedia production company that I operated for over 15 years.

    Yours has made for a most interesting life. Stu's background mirrors a lot of what my own friends did before locking into a career. Most interesting feedback from readers too. Good idea.

  18. Rene, you reminded me of two things I forgot. In high school, I also pumped gas at my father's gas station. Then in later years I worked in an auto parts store then in auto parts at a Mercedes dealership. Guess I'd better add these to the blog post. LOL!

  19. Wow, fun post and comments. Here is my list of my various jobs. Started by working for my dad at our Dairy Queen and then as an assistant in a dental office. In college I worked in the cafeteria and cleaned houses. Then full time dental hygienist in family practice and perio. Took a summer off and did temp work for a collection agency and a clown (really a real clown). Back to dental hygiene, then FT mother, basket weaver selling at craft shows, PT at an antique store, back to PT hygienist, photographer on the side, and finally an instructor in a Dental Hygiene program. I am so glad for all my jobs each gave me a new and different perspective on life.

  20. I think that I could summarize ALL my jobs - and there were many, in 2 words: Writing Software. I was hooked on computer since Hight School, and immeiately after the army I had my own company in Israel. Since then, in mant shapes and forms and to this day - that's what I do.
    As a side jobs, or volunteering - I was a paramedic in Israel, but that's about it...

  21. Loved reading everyone's comments. For me, I headed in one direction (Teaching, like Mom), and ended up in a totally unexpected new start with a career in the Military. No teaching jobs when I graduated from college in 1973 in Maryland. One summer day, at a County Fair in Md, I ran into an Army Recruiter and with No Job Prospects, I decided to check it out. Well, I enlisted in Oct 73, and just retired from Dept of Army Civilian Career in 2007. In between I was a Russian Linguist, an Intelligence Analyst, Commissioned as an Intelligence Officer serving in various assignments including Jump Status for 2 plus years with MI unit at Ft. Bragg, NC. Then transitioned to Dept of Army Civilian career but stayed in the Reserve Component. Adding it all up was a combined 32 yrs. Met and married one husband and we adopted two Korean girs. Sadly our marriage ended in divorce 10 yrs later. Met my now and forever Husband Doug. He has one daughter and we now have 3 grandchildren too. Doug was an Active Duty MI Warrant Officer, a Defense Contractor, and finally a Dept of Army Civilian. For 23 plus years we worked and lived in Germany, travelled a lot overseas, and ended up in Atlanta, Ga in 1990 and been here ever since. Work life was exciting, challenging and enabled me to start off as a soldier and move up the ranks as an Officer. Staying in the Army System as a Civilian also gave me a chance to do many different kinds of jobs as a specialist, a manager, and special projects type person (read that as "a job nobody usually wanted", a short term experimental project"). Life was never dull and now Doug and I are fully retired and share our home with our 2 long haired Dachshunds. Whew... that's all she wrote.. Have a great day all. Karen

  22. Gee this was fun! Lets see my first job was a stock clerk in a cumberland farm store at 14. Then on to Mcdonalds as a fry cook. A car hop at What-a-burger. (Where I met my Hubby). Then a clerk at Army-Navy General up to a store Manager. A Waitress at a pizza joint, then a waitress/cook. at an Italian resteraunt. Then a clerk at Zayre's until I was a store manager(Until they closed down as Ames)Then Wal-mart,Dollar General,Lane Bryant for awhile, until I had enough of the retail world, and took my current job with The City of Plant City as A Inventory Warehouse Manager. Been here 15 years so far.Ed on the other hand was a carpenter from the get-go with several small companies then a sulfuric acid operator at the phosphate mines for 10 years. Then after getting laid off several times one year he took a carpenter job with Polk County and has been there for 24 years now as a supervisor.


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