Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Three

In 1974, I was in kind of a bind.
I had just graduated high school, and my secure place of
employment for the past six years was no more. It was time to
grow up and make some decisions.

I had been an animal lover ever since I was a kid, so I always
assumed that I would end up being a veterinarian. The problem
with this was, I had never really excelled in school. I was a C
average, and the subject of math...which was never my strong one of the most important things you had to take to
go into any kind of doctorate field.

I was not able to find anything else interesting to me, and then
there was the subject of how to pay for college even if I wanted
to go. I wasn't going to get any scholarships with a 2.8 grade
point average. It was becoming obvious that I wasn't

In retrospect, I probably would have been happier as some kind
of field naturalist, where I could combine my love of nature and
outdoors with my interest in wildlife and biology. Had I
realized then that my life would have ended up as a series of
low-paying, boring, and insecure jobs, you can bet I would have
done a lot better in school.

It turned out, in my senior year of high school, that the father
of one of my best friends...who had his own car wash
business...needed some extra help on weekends. Since I knew
that my current place of employment was about to end, and my
friend also worked there, I jumped at the chance.

It was not unpleasant work, being at the end of the line and
drying the cars as they came off the line, and on top of the
normal pay we would get tips from the customers. It was
actually quite enjoyable when the weather was nice.

Cars were not very high tech in 1974, so the good thing about
working in the car wash was that we could sample first-hand
the newest cars (and the oldest ones too), and see how well
they hold up.

We got to drive them all...(if only the 50 feet or so from the
end of the tunnel where they come out, and over to the drying
area)...and for that brief drive I could determine if the car
was comfortable or not.

This gig lasted about a year, and since I was now out of high
school, and not going to college, it was time to find full-time
work. I managed to find a job in a little manufacturing plant
not far from my house that fabricated decorative molding for
the walls of motor homes. I was making $3.65 per hour, the
most money I had ever made yet!

It was a steady 40 hour per week job, my first real job.
Now, a majority of the time I worked the night shift, and
often on Saturdays as well. Little did I realize at the time
that this was going to be a trend for me...about half of the
jobs I have had in my life involved working nights, week-ends,
and holidays.

I have worked so many Christmases in my day that it no
longer seems 'odd'. Which is a shame. It takes away the
'specialness' of the day once you get too accustomed to it.
At my present job, I no longer have to do this. It sure feels
good to actually have a day off on Christmas these days!

Peace be with you.


  1. I'm glad you finally get to enjoy have CHristmases off!

  2. Looking back it is amazing how much priorities and opportunities have changed for us over the years, it sure feels good to end up with one where you don't have to work the nights, weekends, and holidays.

    I actually had one job I was hired to do when asked which shift I was going to work the reply was---Nights, Weekends, and Holidays.

  3. It's really bad when you work days, at a desk, for half your life, change careers and work some gosh awful shift work... till you are old enough to retire. Definitely easier on younger folk.

  4. :)

    i've really enjoyed reading all of these.
    sorry i haven't said so sooner.

  5. The Italian Restaurant sounds like a great experience. Your reminiscings are bringing back memories - I began my first "real" jobs at 12 also - peeling rails, bucking hay, driving tractor, cleaning house @ $4/hr., babysitting... I also remember not giving the future much thought. If only foresight were half as clear as hindsight!

    I'm anxious to hear more! :-)

  6. I have been humming a song ever since reading this. Can you guess which one? Huh? Can you?

  7. I'm reading this and I can't believe that you made about 4$ an hour! It seems so weird to me!:P I'm glad you have your Christmases to yourself and your family now and I'll be anxious to read part 4 of this!:D Oh, and we can download the songs, right?

  8. Sarah, does $4 an hour sound high to you or low? I guess back then, for a kid my age, it was pretty good. I never got 4 bucks an hour for babysitting, though, like Susan.
    Of course you can download the songs if you want, thanks for flattering me.

  9. I can relate to working holidays. As a former barber and stylist I worked a lot of holidays. I am thankful to be a stay at home wife and mother now. When I do return to the workforce I plan on just finding something pt while kiddo is in daycare. My career will always be wife and mother first.
    On a side note when my father was in high school he worked in a casket factory.

  10. I spent about 13 years doing shift work...It royally sucked. I totally understand the no holday off...I'm glad you are back to a "stable" schedule where you can enjoy those days again...I'm pretty sure you will get used to having them off again..(I did)

  11. Joe, I also spend a lot of years doing shift work, working weekends, and holidays. When you work nights, it's like your living in an alternate universe. And your friends that work days jobs, think nothing of calling you when you're in the middle of your sleep...

    You've got me looking back. I think I need to do a Job "inventory" also...