Working for a Living

In celebration of Labo(u)r Day, I thought it might be fun to take a break from issues of weight loss, fitness, and/or maintenance for a minute. But just for a minute.

Last year, after 30 years of working for a living, I entered the world of the unemployed. I was fortunate in that I had ample time to prepare for it and received a nice severance when I left The Company, which has given me time to consider what exactly it is I might want to do for the next 10-15 years of my “career.” I was thinking about the jobs I’ve had through the years. Considering my–ahem!–advanced years, it’s unusual that I’ve only worked for four companies. Three, if you count only the jobs I’ve had as an adult, and one of those three was for only six months.

The first job for which I had income taxes deducted was at my cousin’s ice cream shop. I was 16 years old, and I made $1.60 per hour. And that was as a supervisor. :) It was for only one summer, and I wish I could say I learned a lot, but I didn’t. I saw it as a paycheck and nothing else. (Ironically, in many respects that’s how I had come to view my last job, too.) I also saw it as a great place to get free ice cream, which resulted in my first significant weight gain. Ugh.

I’ve been thinking about and trying to define my dream job. Something involving road trips and travel would be nice. I love exploring places and meeting new people. Maybe I can explore possibilities as a hotel/motel reviewer. I’ll get started by updating my online travel site reviews of last year’s hotel stays. You never know, some bigwig in the travel industry might be blown away by my observations and thoroughness.

But enough about ME, I want to know about YOU. What was the first “official” job you had? What would be your dream job? Are there any steps you could take to realize it?

It’s back to fun-with-fitness tomorrow! :)

23 thoughts on “Working for a Living

  1. I’m 31 years working for my current employer, pretty much the only job I’ve ever had. Last year we had lots of separations and I came very close to taking a severance package and was thinking that I might look for a career change into maybe teaching school. Work is so stressful and unsatisfying that I’m thinking I made the wrong choice in staying.

  2. My first paycheck job was working in a nursing home kitchen. You never knew WHAT would come back on the trays: false teeth, a glass eye (who eats without their eye in??)… It was worth it for the mashed potato fights, though :) Now, 30 years later, I will be studying to become a dietary technician so I can work in…you guessed it…a nursing home! LOL

  3. Oh you really hit home for me with this post. I quit my great part-time HR job over a decade ago to stay home full-time with my boys. But a couple of years ago, I decided I was finally bored and ready to look for part-time work again. But what?! Seems to me that it should be something I really want to do, that makes me feel happy to work, that is something Oprah would think of as my “passion.” I have no idea what it would be, so am still sitting here. Sigh.

  4. Fun post Cammy… first job beyond babysitting – McDonalds at 16. I worked the cash register. At that time you actually had to figure out the change & I was the best at it for getting it right! :-)

    dream job – Fitness model but ain’t gonna happen without some $$ to fix the face so they would want me….. we all know that it is about looks in that field…. steps I am taking. at least keeping fit for my age! 😉

    Also would love to just be paid to talk about fitness & the benefits of eating right & lifting weights! OH YES! LOve to get to kids early so they know I have been there & done that so I can relate…

  5. I was shoveling driveways at 5, at 7 I was selling potholders, at 8 I was doing hand crafted “dippy glass” flowers and sold them door to door (3 for $1.00) and by the time I was 10 I was doing custom embroidery work (mostly for weddings). At 13 I worked the egg farm (my second tax paying job) as well as the orchard (my third)

    My first tax paying “non-farm” job was when I worked the pet department at the five and dime. I was paid $1.45 / hour, and had to cover for the lunch counter when the waitress went on break.

    Because I worked around school for years, I took odd jobs and temp contracts quite a bit, and even after college working as an engineer, I worked for contracting agencies through the 80s and 90s, which meant a series of jobs rather than a permanent hire. Back then, of course, many companies were switching to contract work to save money on benefits, and even my dad was competing for the same work I was.

  6. My first “real” job was McDonalds. And I slung fast food for the next 8 years, through late college years. Can’t complain, except that it helped add layers of fat to my ass.

    Actually, your ideal travel reviewer gig is sounding pretty dreamy to me! Otherwise, the only dream job I ever gave thought to was to be a marine biologist as a kid.

  7. My cousin retired from her position as school secretary and now works as a hostess/tour guide for a travel company. Is that something you’d be interested in?

  8. Hi Cammy,
    I am from a small town that had a weekly newspaper. My first official job was cleaning the newspaper’s office once a week, when I was 15 years-old. They were old school and it was the 80’s, so it was not computerized. I was scraping wax-backed pieces of newsprint-in-process off the floor with a razor. But it really was easy work and that is how I paid for my first car… a 1974 Hornet :)
    My dream-job would be writing, which is why I have a blog… maybe I’m not sitting down and writing the Great American Novel, but I am at least practicing.
    As for what I do, I’ve spent most of my working career in social services.

  9. My first job (tax-wise; not counting babysitting, etc.) was as a clerk typist for a vocational ed program when I was 16 (my HS counselor got me the job since I was the only one in his summer school class who could type!). Dream job would be providing non-sports commentary during baseball games (reporting on things the players do in their downtime, for example). :)

  10. My first official job was working as a gymnastics coach. I think my dream job would be working for a health and fitness magazine or traveling 3rd world countries, caring and treating patients in a hospital as a nurse. I know, two completely opposite dream jobs.

  11. I have had so many jobs it isn’t funny. My first was working at my grandparents’ photo shop. Then I did lots of jobs at college. Tons of food service. All while trying to subsist in my career as a musician. Had a lot of gigs, but hard to pay all the bills.
    Then on to being a veterinary technician, retail business owner, house flipper, and currently a transcriptionist. And I am only 42 LOL!

    My next dream is a cafe/cupcake/muffin shop or something. Or a bed and breakfast.

  12. My first job, other than babysitting, was when I was fourteen and I was a waitress in a restaurant a few interstate exits before a big amusement park with flags. During the summer it was a “family” restaurant, but the rest of the year it was pretty much a truck stop. I worked there full-time during the summers and on weekends during the school year while I was in high school. My original salary was 75 cents an hour plus tips. $8.00 to $10.00 a shift in tips was typical when it was busy, but during the winter, it was not busy, so a lot less.

    I learned a lot at 14 when I found out that the boss was paying the gorgeous cheerleader (who “started” after I did) $1.00 an hour. I can still feel the sting of making this discovery, and hearing him fumbling his words when I confronted him about it.

    Additionally, it was quite a Peyton Place. I should write about it sometime, as my dream job is “best-selling author”. HAH!

    While I did other things yesterday, I watched/listened to “The Sound of Music”. Back to “Climb Every Mountain…….”

  13. First job was helping out at a neighbors sandwich shop. Completely under the table. Next was Winchelles donuts,counter girl. At soon as I was 17 I applied at the mall. Worked in merchandising for years. Then I went back to school, got my degree in horticulture. Worked as a florist for awhile. Now I am working on my real estate/property managment licence while working at a real estate office doing clerical work.

  14. My first real job (aside from babysitting) was as a “page” in the local library. I was 16. I reshelved all the books. It was great for learning all the books and authors–I was a whiz at being able to rattle off the authors of any book you cared to name. I was NOT allowed to shelve (or even handle) the “starred” books–too risque for a juvenile. Many years and three degrees later, I became the branch manager of that same little library. Sadly, they had done away with the “star” system, so I never did get to examine that shelf of risque books!

  15. At 26 and 11.5 months, I’ve had a bunch of different employers, mainly because I work in an industry that’s generally freelance/contract work.

    My first official job was working as a camp counsellor when I was 15, which I kept up for 3 summers. Then I was a waitress (at a country club, then at a steakhouse) as well as working 3-4 month contracts on various TV productions, whenever I could. After graduating University, I landed a solid job as a production coordinator for a national TV show and was lucky enough to work there for 3 years/seasons. When I moved to NZ, I picked up waitressing again until I got my foot back in the TV world’s door and I’m now working as a production manager.

    Dream job? I would absolutely love to be a photographer. Fashion/beauty/editorial. Or a photo retoucher. I love the freedom and creativity of it and, looking ahead, it would hopefully be something that would hopefully provide a little bit of income while still allowing me to stay home and raise my (future) kids.

  16. I did all kinds of things until I was 16 and could drive and get a real job. My first paycheck was for stuffing and hand addressing envelopes for a developer. I worked evenings in the same office space while the telephone solicitors were on the phones trying to set appointments – this was back in 1969.

    If by my dream job you meant that I possess skills I don’t actually have, I would be a writer. I always wanted to be a writer.

  17. Oooh, a travel-related job would be awesome!

    When I was a Junior in high school my mom got transferred to a little town in Texas called Big Sandy. The school was in a building where grades K-12 were all together. I had 3 actual classes (one of which was shorthand :P) and I had 4 studyhalls. They wouldn’t let me out early so I could get a job, so I quit school. My mom’s employer gave me a job as secretary to the comptroller where I learned all about general ledger and how to take messages and file. I worked there for almost a year, bought a car and was thinking I was all grown up. Then my mom got transferred back to Houston.

    After trying to get a job in the real world, someone at an employment agency told me that without a high school degree I could only work someplace like McDonald’s. So, I went back to high school at age 18, graduated a year later than my class, but at least I did it.

    Dream job? I’ve always wanted to be an art teacher.

  18. My first paid job was as a sub in the county school lunch program; they would call me in as needed to work in various school kitchens. Stirring vats of jello up to your armpit and making french toast sticks by the thousands was actually pretty fun! :)

    As for my dream job … I’m still trying to sort all that out. Not sure what I want to do with the next phase of my life … all I know is that I don’t want to be doing what I’ve been doing …

  19. My first taxed paycheck came from Mr. Steak where I worked as a waitress at 15. I have such compassion for wait-staff since I was one.

    I worked in the veterinary field while going to college. My childhood dream was to be a veterinarian. After working in the field, I decided I didn’t like aspects of the industry.

    I believe I am living my dream job as a Mother (which is strange because as a young adult I didn’t want to be one). I love it. I’m not always good at it, and there are times I really, REALLY want a vacation from it, but I wouldn’t change careers at this point.

  20. I love reviewing places. Though I have never done it professionally, I have reviewed cafes, pubs/bars, etc. It’s a heap of fun and it helps small businesses get the word out.

    My first real paying job was as an embroidery machine operator. I started before I legally should have, but I was working for my grandparents. It was the perfect job for me because we’d get long run jobs (like elaborate embroidery for school logos) and I’d use the time between setting up things for writing.

    Which takes me to my dream job, which is being a novelist. I’ve been published a couple times, but only for non-fiction in anthologies (Chicken Soup, anyone?). I have some “issues” I’m trying to work through when it comes to my writing right now, which are what I have to deal with if I have any shot at making it in the business.

    If I couldn’t make it as a novelist, I’d love working as a proofreader or editor in a publishing company. I love editing!

  21. What a fun post!

    I did lots of babysitting until I was old enough for an official job. One summer I took care of 2 kids from 8:00 – 5:00 Monday – Friday for $50/week! My first taxed position was at a local discount store as a cashier.

    My dream job changes all the time. I think it would be fun to offer tours to Paris, Italy, and other European countries for people who want to experience not only The Mediterranean Diet but try on the Mediterranean Lifestyle. I think we can learn so much about eating for health and pleasure by immersing ourselves in cultures who already do it.

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