It was still 1976, and I landed a job with the Atlas Fire
Extinguisher Company. I needed to take a swift training course,
and then was required to take a test in order to get licensed.
It actually was not an unpleasant job...I got to drive a company
van, and it was out-fitted with lots of cool mechanical
equipment. I was also pretty much left on my own, so I didn't
have any bosses breathing down my neck.
It was the first of many jobs I had where driving was involved.
Whether it was servicing something, selling something, or
delivering something, I was to have lots of jobs that entailed
being a driver.
This job with Atlas was a semi-sales job, in that I would show
up at the office every morning, and they would hand me a stack
old invoices for various business around LA County. Technically,
these business were required by law to have their fire
extinguishers checked, tested, and re-filled every year, but the
sales part of the job was actually getting them to do it.
So I would just drive around and talk to the managers or people
in charge of each business, and try to get them to spend the 20
bucks to have their units tested.
It was fun when I got to do the CO2 units, because they had to
be completely discharged. Those are the ones with the big
funnels on them:
And when you fire them off, you get this huge foggy cloud that
fills the entire parking lot with cool smoky-looking gas. Ah
yes, very cool.
Occasionally I would make a sale as well, and I would get a
pretty good commission from this. It was also nights and
weekends off. I think, had the owner of the company not
absconded with the profits, thus shutting down the company,
I would have stayed there for a while. But it was not to be...
again I found myself unemployed.
Peace be with you.