Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Six

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...
I found myself unemployed.

Peace be with you.


  1. I have that guy come to my facilities once a year... He is a good guy and I think the only reason he does the job is the same reason you talked about...Big cloud as he dispels the have certainly had a diverse professional career I think that's pretty awesome...Can't wait to hear what's next :)

  2. That sounds like an awesome job, with the exception of, you know, the owner running off with the cash...

  3. Sounds like an interesting work to me. It's great to learn more about you!
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. Firing off gas in a parking lot... I could totally do that! And to think, you got paid.

  5. I'm with Ms A getting paid for discharging the CO2 units in a parking lot is a benefit you don't get with most jobs.

    I have seen the boss running off with the money and leaving the employees unemployed before, daughter showed up for work at a restaurant to find the doors locked and the owner as far as I know still hasn't shown up, bank accounts empty and employees due a check, some people make it easy to hate them.

  6. Ummmm, Jimmy... I was talking about the more personal kind of (embarrassing) gas...

  7. Mrs. A....I never got paid for discharging THAT kind of gas!

  8. This actually does sound like a pretty cool job. I would think for safety reasons, you'd make lots of sales- who wants to play around with fire?

  9. I think it makes a person most interesting who has experienced many different kinds of jobs. You become well rounded as well as appreciate more what other people do. I am just wondering...will this saga continue on into 7,8,9,10 and so on...if so I am looking forward to reading and learning more!!! I am boring in that I have had the same old job for 25 years!!!

  10. Actually, Dr. S, my current job is around my 35'th there will be quite a few more installments.
    You are lucky to have the same job for so long, especially in the medical field.
    I agree many jobs has made me well-rounded, but it has also caused a lot of anxiety, strife, fear, and frankly...a feeling that I am a bit of a 'loser' career-wise.
    But I am not complaining, because now I am on my last job, and hopefully can retire in less than 10 years, and then look back on it all and be glad it is over. And I also appreciate the blessing that even HAVE a job.

  11. That sounds like a pretty cool job - what did you do after you left that?

  12. OK Joe - I think I lost count already and you're still 19? 20? It sounds to me like you had a lot of ambition and creativity, even if not a lot of foresight - but few of us do! I remember back at those ages. I was oblivious to opportunities I passed up! I remember when my dad considered buying the first McDonalds franchise in our valley for $28,000. The price was outlandish and he didn't want to go into that kind of debt! Hindsight is a blunt teacher.

  13. It sounds like you're one of those people who can pretty much do anything if given a chance.
    your stories are great!

  14. Awwww damn it for that owner! And you liked the job..that's the part that really sucks..You're certainly leaving me wondering what job you did next!