Working My Life Away

Since J. and Crystalare playing, and I don’t have a post scheduled for today, I thought I’d share my work history, too.

A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Le...

A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Leonhard Building at Penn State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a couple of interesting things about my work history.   Job #1 started when I was 6.   Job #9 started when I was 21.   I’m 33 now.

  1. Paper route.   I delivered the local ad-rag.  The route was split with my brothers.  When I was 6, my share of the route was just the street we lived on.   I think I had 8 papers to deliver.    Later, that expanded to almost half of our tiny town.
  2. Odd farm jobs.  I spent some time doing whatever needed to be done on a local hobby farm.  That means everything from helping shore up a sagging wall in the barn to raking walnuts off of the yard.
  3. Dishwasher at my school.  My freshman year, I gave up a study hall to wash dishes and serve lunch.   My school was K-12, so I’d eat at the same time as the little kids, then wash their dishes and serve lunch to the rest of the students for $4.25/hour.   I kept at it until my senior year, when I decided to relax a bit.
  4. Construction.  Working with my Dad, until I fell off a ladder and severed a tendon in my finger when I landed.    Easily the most difficult boss I’ve ever had, but it was excellent preparation for every other job I’ve ever had.   His philosophy was that if he had to ask for it, I should have already known he needed it.  Try carrying that training into another job and see if they complain.
  5. Dishwasher/Cook.  I turned 16 and needed a job to afford a car that I needed to get a job.  Nasty cycle.   It took a couple of weeks of looking.  Apparently, if a teenager puts on a nice shirt and shows up to the interview on time, he is way ahead of the curve.   It took about 2 months to go from dishwasher to cook, and I kept the job until I was 18.   I was working full-time all through high school.
  6. Palletizer.   I spent 9 months standing at the end of a conveyor belt, picking up 50 pound bags of food powder mixes, taking 3 steps, and putting them on a pallet.   We averaged 1500 bags per night.     Fifteen years later, I still can’t comfortably button the cuffs of most shirts.  When I flex, my forearms look like I have an unhealty “adult” internet addiction.
  7. Cook.  While I was palletizing, I had a second job as a cook at a bar, working for a guy who was trying to avoid turning a profit by drinking his main product.    This was 5 miles from the other job, and my car died right after I started, so I biked from job to job.   In Minnesota.  In the winter.   I was a lean, mean popsicle.
  8. Machine Operator.   I moved from the sticks to the Minneapolis area and was immediately hired to be run a CNC machine based on a friend’s recommendation to his boss.   The pay was great for an 18 year old with no skills.  I worked 5 twelve-hour graveyard shifts.   The job mostly consisted of putting a little chunk of metal into a machine, closing the door, pushing a button, and sitting down for 15 minutes.  This is the period of my life that trained me to shop for books based primarily on thickness.
  9. Bill Collector/System Administrator.   After Brat #1 was born, 12 hour graves got to be a big pain.  I’d work from 5 to 5, come home and make sure my wife got at least 4 hours of sleep, then I’d sleep for 4-5 hours and go back to work.   Brat #1(who is now 13 and about 6 feet tall) needed to be fed every hour, so solid sleep didn’t happen for months.   I took a pay cut to work normal, day-shift hours.    I ended up working my way through college by collecting on defaulted student loans.   Shortly after I graduated, I got promoted to be the system administrator of the collection system, responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of debts flowing into and through our system correctly.    I had a security clearance allowing me access to the Department of Treasury’s computer system.   After a few years of this, the company decided that there were too many people with the same job description, so 5 overworked admins got laid off while the 6th got screwed with far too much work.
  10. Software Engineer.  This is now.  I write cataloging and ecommerce software, while managing a small team of programmers.  I spend half of my day working on customer software estimates, training, and assisting on sales demos and half of my day writing code.  I’m kind of a big deal.

That’s it, if I don’t count my side hustles.  I’ve been earning a paycheck for 27 years, and have only had 10 jobs.

When did you start working?  How many jobs have you had?

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    1. I started working at 15 at a grocery store. Then I was a short order cook for two restaurants. Then I worked with mortgages, and now I work in a credit department. So, five jobs. I learned something from all of them. I think working is a great way for kids to learn self-respect and responsibility.

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