Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Illustrious Career...Part Thirteen

I know I am probably boring y'all with these dumb work
histories...but I find more and more that I am doing this
for is forcing me to remember all this.

And, unfortunately, we really are barely half-way done...
there are probably another 15 or so episodes left to go...
so I guess all I can say is you can disregard them if you
like...or not...and I promise when done I will return you
to your regularly scheduled programming. But for now, I have
to do this, I am learning a lot about MYSELF.

So, even though I may lose followers, I must continue...

1983 actually turned out to be a good year for me. Just as my
unemployment benefits were about to run out, I found from a
friend in my apartment complex that the grocery store company
that he worked for...Smith's Food King...had a need for some
warehouse workers. Not only were they paying twelve bucks an
hour...which was more money than I had ever made...but they
were willing to train me!

We worked in a distribution warehouse for Smith's Food King,
loading produce onto the trucks for early morning delivery to
the different markets in Southern California.

This was called 'picking'...we would get a 'pick list' from
the manager, which outlined a list of all the different items
a specific store had ordered. We rode electric pallet jacks
around the different locations in the warehouse, selecting
what they had ordered, loading it onto the pallet, and then
dropping off the pallets into the trailers.

We are talking produce...fruits and vegetables. I learned all
about the different varieties of pears, apples, melons, potatoes,
onions, etc. Thanks to this job, I can go to a supermarket
today and recognize what kale, kohlrabi, jicama, and banana
squash looks like.

This was a very good job for me for a number of reasons:

1. Obviously, since this was a produce warehouse, it was
refrigerated...nice and cool, just the way I like it.

2. It was fairly hard physical labor...we had to lift 100 pound
sacks of beans and rice, 75 pound boxes of bananas and melons,
and we had to work quickly. I liked all this because the physical
part helped keep me in decent shape, and the work was just hard
enough to keep me comfortable in the chilly environment.

3. Did I mention that I was making TWELVE BUCKS AN HOUR??
IN 1983?

4. And here is another good was graveyard shift, which
freed up my daytime hours to try to find some education.

Now, I did not want to ever have to go through another year like
1982, and I knew that Smith's was closing stores over time, and
that this job would not last forever. So I decided that I would
go to some kind of school and learn something that might be
helpful to me. Since I worked nights, I thought I could go to
school during the day.

Not college, though, I would never be able to afford that. And
besides, there was still nothing that interested me there anyway.
Since I was living in Orange County, California, and I knew that
housing was expensive, I decided that I would go to real estate

Century 21 was offering a school that was, as I recall, not too
expensive...they figured they could get you licensed and
educated, and then dump you into their ranks to sell houses. I
later learned that since you only make money if you make a sale,
it was no skin off their neck to let you work out of one of their offices.

So for about 6 months, I worked the night shift at the warehouse,
and then went to school from 9:00 AM to noon. Then I would go
home, study, and get some sleep. It required learning all about
laws, regulations, loans, and CCR's (Codes, Covenants, and Regulations).

It was hard, but I did take and pass the exam...I became a
licensed real estate agent! Could this possibly mean that I had
finally latched onto something that would actually take me somewhere??

Peace be with you.


  1. Heavy lifting, for sure. Good thing it was cool! (and 12 bucks an hour sounds great for '83)


    So glad you found something that interested you!


  3. I've thought about trying real estate. I'll be waiting to hear how you liked it.

  4. At least at Smith's, as you pointed out, you learned some valuable things about food. So that was something. I am assuming you did not really like real estate since you pointed out in your last post that finding passion in your work has been difficult. I wonder if your trying to revisit all the various types of employment you have had is your way of discovering if you actually really did like anything you have tried. In any event, it is self discovery to self reflect and I for one am enjoying learning about your past. It is really the building blocks to who you are I think all your readers will find it interesting to discover the man you have become from your journey in the past. So keep it coming and I for one will keep reading and commenting.

  5. Thanks for the comments...but real estate turned out to be just another blip on my radar. You have to work it for a few years before actually making any money...
    I will be out of touch for the next 2 days while we bring The Daughter to summer camp in Kerrville I won't be able to visit for a few days.
    But it will no doubt be excellent blogging fodder!

  6. Warehouse Picker!! Great job....$12/hr in 83. Wow I started my legitimate working career (where the govt. could tax me) in 83. I remember being stoked because i was getting $3.65/hr. Plus you got to drive around the electric pallet jacks and who doesn't like that..they are very cool...

  7. Having a real estate license can come in handy. I used to think about doing that, but I need a steady income or I freak out. It was too risky for me to actually try it... sigh... I live inside the box...

  8. I'm kind of like Kristy on living inside the box, the comission work never suited me I'd take that 12 bucks an hour first :)

  9. :)

    i'm glad you're doing this for yourself.

  10. Still not bored, lol! Bring the other episodes on! I'm still awed at everything you did and how much you put into it..working nights and going to school during the day? Don't know how you did that!

  11. Joe - I think your work career should be the dictionary definition for "variety". You never worked as a mortician, did you? That seems like the perfect "graveyard" shift! Ha Ha! Ok, bad joke. I just can't believe you stayed in "hell" (ITT Canon) for 3 years! You should be in MONTANA, fishing every day and selling fish to the local stores. Now THERE's a good job fer ya! You like a challenge and a good challenge it would be! You'd get rained on some days, sunburned others, have to sit on the ice in the winter, maybe even have to fight off some local competition now and then. Those bears are pretty territorial! I'm anxious to find out where you are now. Maybe I can talk you out of it! ~wink~