Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April A to Z Challenge: J is for ...

J is for Jobs
Although my fondest wish in life was to be a stay-at-home-mom, I have nevertheless been very grateful for every job I have ever had. When I needed to work, jobs magically appeared, and I have never had to pound the pavement looking for one. I’ve learned many things because of my jobs and I believe I am a better person because of them. Care to go with me on my employment journey? (This should be more fun than just posting my resume online.)

1. Detassling corn.  When I was fourteen, detassling was my first job. It’s a tedious job, where you walk down selected rows of corn, pulling the tassels out. We don’t do it just to be mean to corn; the tassel, which has the pollen, is pulled so that the pollen from other rows of corn can sneak over to the tassel-less corn and pollinate it, producing a supposedly superior corn. I was fired after one week.
  Worst part of the job: Working in high temperatures with high humidity, getting dust and pollen in your eyes (it swells them shut in the morning,) getting your shoes stuck in the mud, smelling the body odor of your co-workers, worms, and not having anyplace to go to the bathroom.
  Best part of the job: Getting fired.

2. Bishops Cafeteria.  I worked there from ages 16-31. I started in high school, working the salad bar. Later, I got recruited by another Bishops location and transferred there to work as a person who rings up tickets, then later a cashier and bookkeeper.
  Worst part of the job: Smelling like food when you get off work, wearing hairnets (real attractive, I tell ya,) and dealing with an occasional irritated customer.
  Best part of the job: The hours were perfect for students, I learned excellent customer service, I met wonderful friends there, got five weeks of vacation a year, and the best benefit of all: BEST. FOOD. EVER.

3. Avon. You all know what Avon ladies do, don’t you?
  Worst part of the job: I spent most of my earnings on product.
  Best part of the job: I got to spend most of my earnings on product.

4. Teen Learning Center.  I tutored teen girls who lived in a group home. I helped them with chemistry, history, Spanish, English, physical science, government, algebra and geometry.
  Worst part of the job: I had to work until 10:00 p.m. and I was working three other jobs.
  Best part of the job: Watching the girls gain confidence in their abilities, and in some cases go from D to A students.

5. Pro-tech Hearing Aids. I assisted audiologists in setting up appointments, cleaning hearing aids, and doing hearing tests.
  Worst part of the job: The store wasn’t as busy as we would have liked, forcing it to close.
  Best part of the job: Seeing a person’s face light up when they tried on their hearing aids for the first time and could hear again, having weekends off for the first time ever, and working with great people: Jess, Katie and Mike.

6. Gateway 2000.  I started off answering customer complaints over the phone, then progressed to processing paperwork, then worked on a team that handled sensitive issues for executive management.
  Worst part of the job: Mandatory overtime, the nature of the job being that we only dealt with extremely angry people, high stress environment.
  Best part of the job: Learning new technology daily, finally solving a customer’s problem, being a part of a world-wide organization (it really expands your world-view,) getting fun “spiffs” such as t-shirts, mugs, etc., getting to see famous people at your company parties (Allman Brothers, Santana, War, Brian Setzer from Stray Cats, Ted Nugent,) knowing you were a part of something huge, and working with amazing people.

7. Cellular One/Alltel.  I managed a cell phone store for eight years.
  Worst part of the job: Dealing with no bathroom for several years, having to skip lunch and dinner frequently, staying past closing when customers still kept coming in or refused to leave, having customers call at home at all hours when they couldn’t get cell phone service, having customers show up at your home when they needed help and the store was closed, and working 50-60 hours a week.
  Best part of the job: My bosses were amazing. They would surprise me with things like a car, a video camera, a new color printer for home use, a laptop, gift certificates, random $500 checks and other little tokens.

8. Teaching. I now teach literature and composition to twenty-seven 7th-10th graders in a homeschool co-op.
  Worst part of the job: During the summer I have to go four months without the kids.
  Best part of the job: Seeing kids make connections between what they have learned and other areas of life, hearing their funny stories, watching them excel, getting to see my son at school, and simply being in the presence of fantastic personalities.

I am sincerely hoping there will never be a #9.


  1. Wow, you have my dream job. enjoy while you can. Take it from an old timer, teaching can be very full filling, although only teaching I did was at home (my younger siblings and then helping my kidswith their homework)

  2. No place to go potty in a cornfield? Ahem, uh, I'm just sayin'.

  3. Hi Randi
    I loved this post. That was a much better way than just listing your jobs next to dates. I think I'll do that with my 25+ jobs.

    You've had quite a range of job experience and I enjoyed reading about every one of them.

  4. Munir: You are so right--it is a dream job. The kids are amazing. Loved your post on Jasmine!

    Auntie M: You had CG and me laughing at your comment! I'd rather hold it. :)

    Ken: Wowza! 25 jobs! I think I WOULD like to hear about them. Thanks, Ken!

  5. Thanks for sharing Randi! You're such a gifted and generous teacher. All your students are very lucky. I wish I could join your literature class. I promise that I would do my homework. My boys laugh that I'm the perpetual student. I think it's wonderful that you helped those girls in the teen center job. You're making a big difference in this world.

  6. septembermom: Thank you so much, Kelly! What nice things to say. I will let you come to my literature class as long as you promise to help me teach. We can be loquacious together! :)

  7. I'm sorry Randi, I read this post and I have to agree strongly. I'm very much hoping that you will have a #9 job and it will be "Professional Novelist". I would be greatly disappointed if that never happened, although teaching Literature to kids would also be one of the greatest jobs in the world, how else can we share the addiction? :P

  8. juliegoose: Hmmm. I really like the ring of "Professional Novelist." Of course that would involve my learning how to type with more than three fingers, so I don't know. :)


You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

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