Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spending Diet - What Jobs Have I Held?

While thinking about saving and spending and the spending diet yesterday, I started thinking back on all of the various jobs I have had over the years and thought it might be interesting to share all of the various things I have "been" in my forty six years.  So, here's the list:

Bakery sales - I ate more than I sold.  Which was okay because the stuff was made in a rat infested basement at the mall and they're lucky I didn't get food poisoning.  So really, I was more of a food tester and guinea pig for $2.14 an hour.  They weren't even paying me minimum wage, which I don't know how you get away with.  I guess the fact that I was 14 helped in that respect.  So I felt somewhat justified in helping myself to a few pieces of bread and some cookies.  This is not to say it was the right thing to do.  But such are the facts.

Library book shelver - Great job for the summer, but got my bike stolen after an argument with my mom because she wanted me to ride to work and I wanted her to drive me.  Looking back, I see her point (now that I'm the mom with kids wanting to be chauffeured), but then I got huffy and ran out of the house without my bike lock.  When I came out after my shift, the bike was gone.  I can't remember how long the job lasted after that, but it probably wasn't too long, since I didn't have a driver's license yet.

Cothing sales - I worked at a store that sold clothes for really skinny people and bought a few of the items they carried since, at the time, I was a really skinny person.  I couldn't fit through their door now, but since they no longer exist to my knowledge, that's okay.  When they cut my hours down to 4 a week because they had hired too many people, I went to

Furniture store office help - This job was a pretty good one and I was pretty competent at it.  I kept at this job while going to the local community college for a year to study interior design.  But then I decided that I really didn't have an eye for the interior design of a dog house and transferred over to George Mason University where I became a

Student and part-time babysitter - Several days a week I would show up at this couple's house so that the mom could go to work at her job as a nurse before her husband got home from his day job.  I liked the kids, but I liked the income more, because it allowed me to keep my car at school.  This was the first (I'd like to say only, but keep reading) job I got fired from.  Okay, it was totally my fault.  I had one boyfriend that I brought over to meet the kids with me and then I broke up with him to go out with Justin and brought him over to meet the kids.  The people probably thought I was a complete slut and when I stopped showing up when I was supposed to because I preferred Justin to the kids, the mom called me up and said they needed someone who would actually stick to the schedule.  Bummer, but I was too in love with my future mate to care too much.  Leading back to

Furniture store office help - This job didn't last long, but at least I was the one who quit.  Again, I just was too interested in spending time with Justin.  And at this point, we decided the prudent thing would be to move in together and the apartment was nowhere near the furniture store.  And...I dropped out of school and needed a full time job, leading to

Selling furniture - Although I didn't have a flair for design, I seemed to gravitate to the furniture stores, didn't I?  Since I needed to pay half the rent, I thought this was a slam dunk way to make money.  It turns out that sales is really harder than you'd think and I wasn't even earning the money they advanced every payday against your commission.  When selling turned out to be harder than I thought it would be, I started interviewing, leading to

Compressed Gas Association - seriously.  There really was such an organization and it was a guaranteed hourly wage.  The problem was that I wanted to do word processing and I ended up sitting at the reception desk and doing customer service.  There was a psycho in the mail room that they wouldn't fire who would grab the packages out of my hands and everything I did was micromanaged.  I don't do well when I'm micromanaged, so I started thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life.  Justin and I got married and I started looking around at various law firms.  I found

Nighttime legal word processor - This was perfect.  Justin had gone to bartending school and was working nights at a bar at Tysons Corner mall about a mile away and it was way more money than I was making at the Association.  Plus, I was doing word processing, which I've always enjoyed.  This was back before computers and they still had those big old 5 1/4" floppy disks and the huge boxes that passed for hard drives.  I started kind of paying attention to the documents I was working on and decided legal might be something I was not only good at, but interested in...a budding career which led me upstairs to

Legal Secretary - Okay, it was corporate law, which was boring as hell, but at this point, I had figured out that there were things in the legal profession that were actually interesting.  My parents offered to pay for paralegal school and I jumped in with both feet and loved it.  I spent three years working for the President of the Virginia Bar Association (which was kind of cool and he was really nice) and got my paralegal certificate.  Leading to...

Legal Assistant - My all time favorite job and I learned more at this job than anywhere else I have ever worked.  My boss was the managing partner of a very small law firm and I was his assistant.  He liked the golf course more than he liked practicing law (although he was a damned good lawyer), which was fine with me because I learned how to write the more simple documents, how to file the paperwork for divorces, and how to work a personal injury case from the time it came into the office until settlement or trial.  This was really fun stuff, except for the occasional nasty divorce where custody got ugly.  I was good at it.  I was also starting to have kids by then and, when Jamie came along, it became tough.  I was trying to work a job that really needed 50 hours a week and I had a baby that would not sleep at night.  My boss depended on me and I loved that, but it was a lot of pressure.  I just couldn't do both and finally, after first going to half time and trying to do a 50 hour a week job in 25 hours and failing miserably, my bipolar breakdown happened, resulting in

Stay at home mom and part-time bookkeeper - I was pretty good at the part-time bookkeeping, but I really sucked as a full-time mother.  I love my kids and would lay down my life for them.  I just didn't want to spend 24/7 with them, wiping noses and getting them juice boxes.  When the third kid came along, I pretty much fell apart.  After three or four days in the local nuthatch, I became officially

Disabled - Okay, this part of my work "history" really sucks.  I wasn't coping, I wasn't functioning, I wasn't mothering, I was a crappy wife.  Even the government agreed that I wasn't able to function and that was from the government's own doctors.  And, to add to the fun, my fibromyalgia was getting worse.  I simply couldn't fake healthy or sane anymore.  This was when I decided it was time to finish my psychology degree, leading back to

Student - Back to GMU I went to finish out that bachelor's degree, resulting in the student loans that I will bear for the rest of my life.  I got the piece of paper and realized we simply couldn't afford for me to go on to the graduate level.  My kids spent their days at school and with the babysitter and I wrote papers and studied.  School is really my favorite profession and if someone would pay for it, I would do it forever.  But, sadly, it doesn't work that way, my degree program ended, and I was back at home with the loan payments coming due every month.  But, the government still agreed that I was batshit crazy (and they really weren't wrong), so I kept receiving benefits.  After the kids finally got to the age where they didn't need me so much, I decided I needed to get out of the house.  Despite the strain that working put on me mentally and physically, I really wanted to work.  I found my last "paying" job in town here and became a

Typist - Okay, that wasn't my title, but that really was the job.  What it meant was that I typed up dictated reports and made appointments, tried to keep my anxiety level down, and failed miserably.  The job lasted a year before they asked me to give my resignation.  I had failed miserably in society and so this was the second (and absolutely the last) job in my life where I was fired, because I simply can't take that kind of personal rejection ever again.  Nor do I have any desire to sit in an office with people who don't like me for no reason I can discern.

But.  While I was working there, I started writing children's books.  It began with one simple idea and the work took off.  When I was asked to leave the typing job, I decided maybe I wanted to add "writer" to my resume.  Plus, the hours were great and no one was going to check and make sure I had put the toilet paper roll on correctly or pushed the lock on the file cabinet in to their exact specifications.  (Yes, I totally have extreme anxiety, but these people had issues.)

So, end result...I now bill myself as a "writer," with two illustrated children's books, one of which is out to two different publishers.  The longer it's out, the happier I am, because the more likely someone actually has it in their slush pile and might read it.  And if they read it, they might want to pay me to do something I'm pretty good at.  I never seem to run out of things to say, so if someone wants me to blather on about something for a certain word count, I am happy to comply.  I have five completed children's book manuscripts, two of which have been illustrated, the blog, and a guest column coming out this Wednesday on the And Then She Saved website (believe me, there will be a link to that on here this week).

At all of these jobs except the writing, I have received compensation.  And I have managed to spend every dime of compensation I received.  I was good at some of the jobs, sucked at others, had a mental breakdown, and realized I'm just not going to be able to hold a "real" job ever again.  We'll hope this writing thing works out.  Apparently, I am no longer able to fake sane long enough for people to see that I am a pretty competent person.  And my inability to focus on anything for more than 30 seconds doesn't help.

So...there you go.  In case you were curious, you just got my whole resume.  My work history in probably 2500 words.

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