Working for a Living… confessions of a hit and run employee

I am keenly aware of the hardships of those who are stuck in a job or career that no longer, if ever, brought them joy. I love what I do, don’t get me wrong, but since deciding to publish my stories, I have realized that soon I will walk away from my full time job in pursuit of something else, and that makes some of my days now more trying than they have to be.

If you read my previous post, Random Vs. Random, you may have gathered that this is something that I do and have done several times during my life. I have to admit, I do have a hard time staying put. I have never, previous to my current job, held a position longer than 3 years at any given location, and now that I am in the process of transitioning again (I can say that this time because I didn’t just walk in and say ‘I quit’ and am actually not leaving for a few more months), I find myself reflecting on all the different types of jobs that I have held over the years…

Church Nursery Worker – My first job, I kept the nursery at our church on Sunday and Wednesday night. This was back in the late 1980’s, so $5.00 an hour was really good pay for 16 or 17 years old, even if it was only a few hours a week. I loved the kids and the experience I gained knowledge about being responsible and having people count on me.

Fast Food – During that time I also worked at a local fast food place one entire summer, and that was a crazy hectic time and a real eye-opener to see people / women in their 20’s and 30’s working at such a place. Minimum wage back then was $3.35 an hour, and it was important to me I think to see how hard life could be if I did not keep my head on straight and make it through school. I also worked at a second such establishment for 1 full year while attending college, and developed a deep loathing for the smell and demands of such a job. I would have to be pretty desperate to accept such a job today.

Flower Delivery Driver – I delivered flowers for a florist who owned a shop and attended our church for about 3 months time. It was a fun job, and I would pester the designers when I wasn’t busy to teach me things about how it all worked. That is the one thing I can say about all of the jobs I have held – as long as there was something new to learn, I didn’t mind it so much and rather enjoyed all those little bits of insight.

Data Entry Clerk – I did this job in several forms over my life, particularly as a temp when I just needed some income without the commitment of a full time job. It helps that I am proficient at so many types of software programs as well as being experienced at typing (90 wpm) and overall keyboarding with 10 key by touch. Thinking back, this was one of the easiest types of jobs, if all that was required was entering the data, but talk about monotonous… no that did not last long at all.

Substitute Teacher – if you have college hours and want a new appreciation for educators in our country, you should try this one. I did it twice, and I guarantee it will open your eyes as to what the men and women devoted to the betterment of our youth face every day. All I can say is, you haven’t lived until some 10 year old kid throws their book across the room and calls you a ‘bitch’ because you are just the sub and you still expect them to complete their assignment.

Medical Billing / file clerk – another fun one. Actually, I kept this job about 2 years, but after having my 3rd child I realized I needed something that paid better or all I was doing was working to pay the daycare. It was during this time that I cross trained to work with the social worker and the office manager to help them with higher level functions of the business, as well as spent time working with nurses and techs. Of course, I grilled everyone I could when I got the chance and was always eyes and ears open to take in what I could about the processes that were going on around me. All in all, I spent 2 years at the company, but my duties changed several times while I was there, so it wasn’t like I did the same exact job for 2 years straight.

Debt collector / patient accounts manager – I almost hate to admit this was a job I really got into. I had various numbers of employees who worked under me, so I did training and oversaw the ins and outs of the process. What I enjoyed most was organizing the process, as the office had no one in this position before I took it on, and I came in to clean it up and make it work, and I was damned good at it. However, after almost 3 years, I got restless again, and with no way to move up, I moved on. I guess you could say it was good timing, because this office actually closed not long after I left… good intuition.

Retail manager – I did this job at several locations over the years as well. My first and favorite was shoe department manager, and as a severely OCD type person, there was just something about perfectly aligned boxes in numerical order that made me almost high. That was my longest stint, lasing just over 2 and a half years and 3 Christmas seasons (I started there as a seasonal employee and moved up after the holiday). When I went back with the company a few years later, I took on different departments, and the last time I worked for them I worked in the back office taking care of the money and deposits, spending less than a year at each position after I left the shoes. A real shame that chain closed down completely… I really liked that store. My favorite part of this job – training the seasonal and new employees… what a blast.

Accounts Payable Clerk – if you don’t know what this is, it is the person who pays the bills for a company. It is also not as easy as it sounds if it is done properly. I loved and hated this job, as so much of it depended on other people doing their job well for you to do yours. I only did this for a year or less and I moved on, taking my plant and walking out at lunch one day. I also had this type of work as part of my duties from time to time, and it is just the sort of thing I could really enjoy if it paid well enough to make it worth my time.

Accounts Receivable Clerk – again, this job did not last long, only about 3 months. I had done this particular type of work in various other positions and the lady who hired me told me if I was good at it she would pay me well. Apparently, my definition of well and hers were two different things, and after my 90 days and she finally told me what my pay was going to be (and she claimed it was more than she had ever given anyone), I left. Should have pinned her to a number up front and not wasted the 90 days.

Receptionist – I have only done this job under the most dire conditions, as I detest answering phones and playing errand girl. I think I will starve before I do this on a daily basis again.

Teacher – yup. High School. And I truly love my job. If all I had to do was walk into a classroom and teach, it would be the coolest job ever. However, there are many things that go on outside that make it the most stressful job I have ever had. I am not even going to rant about all of them here; all I am going to say is this – classes are too large, budgets too small, and teachers don’t get paid near what they are worth. Sometimes you make a real difference in a kid’s life that needs it, and that can give you the best feeling ever. Too bad feeling good about your job doesn’t put food on the table. I may go back to this again some day, as I do love it. I just don’t need it right now, and need to get away from it more. Maybe a small private school next time.

Accounting / Auditor – I held this job for about a year, and I knew it was only short time when I took it, as I was finishing my bachelors and planning on changing towns. However, I loved this job too, as it was just the kind of detail work that I take pride in. It also was pretty independent, and any screw ups were mine. I could do this again some time, no problem.

Small Office Manager – I actually ran a small office in it’s entirety for about 6 months. I loved this job too, as it was all mine as well. However, there was actually one man who owned two separate businesses housed in the same building, and although I enjoyed my side, the girl who had the other side was very into drama, and I had a better offer fall into my lap and decided to move on… sigh. The good thing here, I learned all about both sides of the business, as I did any time I worked as a bookkeeper / accountant, and so I have knowledge about 4 separate industries that I would never have had if I never took on those little jobs.

Newspaper Delivery Driver – I moved to east Texas for a couple of years and found a small town in the midst of a group of small towns and rural areas north of the metroplex. It was a great place to live, but the economy was horrible, and many were out of work. The first week I was there, I attended a job fair for a new retail store where a couple of thousand people were applying for 80 positions, and that was my first time to see such desperate conditions. I was in shock. I started off at my favorite retail chain, but they closed that store, so I took this job just to pay the bills for about a year… and I loved it!!! It was mostly independent work, with lots to do and learn about. However, the industry is dying, or it appeared that way to me, and I eventually left the area and moved back closer to home and my mother. The best part of that job – where else can you drive 80 miles per hour down a dirt road at 2 am and get paid for it?

I did try to go to college right out of high school, but it actually took me 12 years to earn my degree. I also took classes for nursing, and decided that wasn’t for me, and changed my major 2 more times before finishing with a BS in management. Looking back at this list now, I can say one good thing about it – I do have a lot I could write about, and I am sure that I will.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think a lot of us “creative types” have hit and run employment pasts 🙂

    Like

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