Rated: 13+ · Article · Biographical · #1019228
Do people often ask, "What do you do for a living?"
|When I'm in a social situation, being introduced to new people, it seems that a person can't avoid some version of that inevitable personal question: "Where do you work?" or perhaps "What do you do for a living?"|
For many years I responded with a hum, haw, and some humorous stammer about the weary wiles of day-to-day deskdom and the eternal and infernal challenges of worldwide weakening wages related to whatever earning situation I have found myself in at the time.
I'll admit to having experienced the number years and general life experiences of one a Baby Boomer, now in the year 2011. I've had lots of jobs, several career paths, and at least three stabs at university education exploring diverging personal interests.
I can't share the good and bad of my resume, lessons I've learned with experience and scars to show it, memories of my most deeply cherished relationships, and all the work-related idiosynchrocies I've developed during my life in one typewritten sheet of paper.
Most people in their 60s, or rapidly approaching "retirement age", were high school graduates becoming college students, protesters, and soldiers who left their homes and families to serve as the military forces, during the Vietnam conflict, until its end in 1972. We started with minimum wage jobs. The smart and fortunate hippies of the Sixties studied diligently for an education toward a degree leading to a professional career.
Then, we became of adult age, we married once, or twice, and most Boomers had a child or three, adding new and mature love as treasured life experience, and too often the heartbreak that comes from living life as reality, rather than reality tv programming. No commercial breaks in life, and no guidance of an executive producer, or writing staff.
Instead of showers of presents and achievements, you may find yourself doing without for the one you love, or becoming resentful and perhaps used, because the "going without" doesn't seemed equally aproportioned.
Years pass, and families perhaps don't work out as well as anticipated. We consider the situation, and others make a change--sometime we changed jobs, or careers, and some time we split up families because that seemed the best for all involved.
Our parents, your grandparents, or most specifically that generation of Americans who fought in World War II during the 1940s in both as combat soldiers on land and sea abroad, as well as the females, the home front defenders--as single women women on the home front who evolved into a special force of national enablers, creating an ecomonic potential which had never before existed. Those women paved the conceptual path towards women's liberation.
People tend to stereotype you by the kind of job you have. I am not what I do.
I've had lots of different jobs in my life, but I don't know if any of them is who I was then, now, or ever will be. I've had jobs in housing, apartments, residential building and remodeling, retail, fashion, entertainment, education, tutoring, and consulting. I have been myself, doing what others directed me to do, and earning a living. But now, when asked what I do for a living, I confidently answer, "I am a writer."
One day a young woman asked me, "Why do you want to be a writer?" She was in disbelief that as a writer, I don't get paid all the time. I don't travel to an employer's office five days each week. I work from home, sometimes persuing projects I've found on writing job hunting web sites.
"I mean, you write even if you don't get paid?" she gasped in disbelief. "There's no way I'd work without getting paid for it!"
This person couldn't conceive of performing a task and not receiving pay for it. In mid-2011 economics aren't driving the masses of unemployed into volunteer opportunities, though it could well prove the back door into a paying job for those who try this path. Jobs pay the bills. Fortunately, many people are able to turn jobs into careers that they actually enjoy. Philanthropy isn't dead.
A writer is what I am. It's what I feel called to do. I write almost every day. I create expression through the artistry of words. I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, so I'm well trained in English, History, English as a Second Language, and education. I taught throughout Texas during my dozen years of classroom teaching experience--too many of those years in the sixth grade. It became a difficult year for the teacher before she walked away from the classroom. Now I write and persue other interests and activities.
My unemployed, economically struggling, 20-something acquaintance absolutely couldn't fathom why someone would do something for which they weren't guaranteed monetary compensation. I've had jobs I've loved and jobs I've hated. Working for money is not the point of all careers. Ask a police officer.
My personal passion is the love of writing about ideas, facts, and stories, and the accomplishment and pride one gets with positive feedback and helpful reviews. Someday, I hope to make money in some fell swoop self-publishing project, but in the meantime I write mostly what I want because I want to. I research personal questions. I am as curious as my three Siamese cats. My interests are quite varied, When I want to know something, I write down my discoveries as articles to share with others.
Our society tends to not only stereotype but also actually judge people by the job they hold. For many years, I didn't enjoy admitting to being a teacher, because of the straight-laced reputation that goes along with the profession. I didn't feel free to always be myself when I was a teacher. I don't like being pigeonholed. I don't fit the mold, mostly because it is my nature to wander outside the "given" lines of behavior. However, It's easier to view the world through "pigeonhole-glasses". I've been on the other side of those glasses too. Freaky people freak me out, on first consideration.
The saying used to be "you are what you eat," but I feel a change is in order. I'd prefer to think of myself as the sum accomplishments, and learning experiences, of the jobs I've had throughout my life. I thought I'd share some of the jobs I've had in the recipe of me.
For several years I worked in the apartment business. First I was a leasing agent, then promoted to bookkeeper collecting rent for 1,024 units and filing eviction papers in district court. Eventually I had the title of assistant manager, and then finally manager.
An apartment complex is a team job, and I was fortunate to work with some really fine people. I had one boss who became a big brother type supervisor. a friend, and helped me advance to adulthood in my early twenties. When there had been a murder in my local area, he went with me to the gun store and saw me through buying a .38 Smith and Wesson. I've parted with the gun since, but I miss the friends I knew as coworkers and tennants.
When I was 17, and a senior in high school, I worked for the Greater Houston Builder's Association. I went to school and worked in the afternoons. It was a great senior year job, a half-day of business experience every Monday through Friday. I typed some, took care of massive bulk mailings of our magazine, and had the opportunity to see how a "board meeting" actually works. From my recollection, board meetings required a full liquor cabinet set up, and it was there I drank my first bourbon. These were another great set of people, and I was the kid who got kidded.
College jobs didn't amount to much, but I had several. I worked as a hostess, wearing evening gowns each night, when Don the Beachcomer opened in Houston. An elegant job, though it didn't pay much money. I enjoyed walking around a restaurant full of people eating good food, and having a nice evening out together. I strutted the entire restaurant, like a model ready for a photoshoot. Oh, yes, I did some runway modeling in my early 20s too.
I worked at Pizza Hut as a waitress in Austin. My fondest memory of that job was the group of three teens who came in and ordered a jalapeno pizza. I'm not ordinarily mean, but their water was extra slow in arriving. I knew there would be no big tip involved.
I worked as a hostess cashier at a restaurant like Denny's. It's called "Town and Country Restaurant" and is still open in Corpus Christi. I've never had much experience in a restaurant kitchen, and I haven't had many waitress jobs, so I guess I don't cook, and I'm not great at remembering things.
I was in management training for awhile. The manager told me to get a box of eggs, that's a gross, that's 144 eggs. My superivior set me in front of the griddle one slow afternoon and told me to cook eggs until I could get them over easy without breaking the yoke. Sometimes I can pull off over easy in my kitchen now, and it doesn't even take the entire carton. Restaurant work is fast paced, and I found the people to not be as nice as some other businesses.
I worked as a cocktail waitress in a private club, after my divorce at age 24. That's when I went through my (late) teenage rebellion, and went through the most uncautious period of my life. Another story, needless to say the money was as little as what I wore, but I did wear clothes. Some girls go further than that to get by. A pretty little neighbor girl is a stripper, or was for a period of time. No clothes, though I always thought she dressed extremely well, cute figure too. Another story.
I worked as a temporary secretary for Kelly Services in the 1980s, and had time doing lots of different filing and typing, and go fer ing jobs. I always wated to be the boss, instead of the underling secretary. Mother never could understand that. She loves being a secretary like I love being a writer.
I've learned skills and different things about people in every job. I sold tall clothes at a retail store. That was a good and bad job. I had first choice of size ten clothes that came in the store, but all my salary went for clothes. I do like to dress, but then I write casually clothed.
I retired from teaching about 15 years ago. For almost two years I studied toward taking the state exam to be a Registered Veterinary Technician, and the second year I also worked in an animal clinic. My classes included anatomy and physiology from a nurse's text, plus additional books, and labs, and dissections.
For several years I had a pet sitting business that I called Critter Sitter. I enjoyed my people clients and pets, but eventually my home pet family took over. I now live with two bigs dogs, and three cats, and they provide me with enough daily pet challenges.
So throw all these jobs in the blender, turn it on different speeds for different chunks of time, and you come out with me.
There's no simple answer to who a person is. People are as diverse as their experiences, on the job, and in their personal lives. To define a person without having shared experiences is difficult, if not impossible.