12 Monkeys: Jobs I’ve done…

As promised, below is my list of jobs blork has done, in roughly chronological order. It does not include babysitting my nieces and nephews when I was 15. It starts with my first real paying (summer) job and proceeds to my current position. It includes a few volunteer jobs, but only those ones which I consider to be, or have been, of some value.

This is an interesting exercise, because I’ve always had a phobia about being stuck “without options.” I’ve always envied these people who manage to find a way to scrape out a living wherever they are, doing whatever it takes. I’ve always feared that I can’t do anything worth getting paid for, that I was condemned to a life on the margins of employment, getting by on unemployment insurance cheques and under-the-table pizza delivery jobs.

Then I look at the list. While few of the jobs have a lot of career potential, I find it amazing that I’ve always managed to find work when I needed it.

Please join in and make a similar list on your blog. But remember: this is not a meme, it’s a monkey!

  • Glider pilot training school: ground crew. Best perk: free flying time!
  • Part-time sales clerk: electronics shop. I was still in high school. It was great for beer and gas money.
  • Waiter: rough & tumble tavern in Sydney, N.S. (The Shingle Inn.) This job only lasted a couple of months. Then I went back to being just a customer.
  • Newspaper circulation gopher. Don’t ask…
  • Encyclopedia Salesman. One day. I swear it was for only one day!
  • “Auditor”: small town cable TV company. Climb utility poles and bust cable pirates. Best perk: learned how to pirate cable.
  • “Under the table” construction worker. Hey, I’m a Nova Scotian who was unemployed at the time. It’s a rite of passage.
  • “Director of Internal Publicity” (read: poster-maker) for UCCB Student’s Union. Lots of fun, and free tickets to events!
  • Part-time kitchen helper in a mental hospital. I sometimes wished the inmates had been running the asylum.
  • Part-time sales — Men’s wear (The Bay). A dirty job but someone had to do it.
  • Delivery/setup/operator for college audio-visual department. I did this part-time while I was a student — and simultaneously doing the three jobs mentioned above. It was a busy time.
  • Photo editor — university student newspaper. So rad!
  • Photo editor — university student yearbook. It’s not like I wasn’t already taking photos. I swear, half the photos in the 1985 St. F.X.U. yearbook are from me…
  • Tree Planter. Flies! Damn flies!
  • University housing office clerk (summer). A dull job, but it produced a number of good drinkin’ tales (as in, tales to tell while drinkin’.)
  • Videographer for a pilot project from the Nova Scotia Hearing & Speech Clinic. It’s amazing what you can do with no money but a dedicated team.
  • St. F.X.U. Student’s Union President. More free tickets to events!
  • Communications coordinator for a student lobby group (SUNS). Basically a summer patronage job for having been a good SUNS supporter during my year as Student’s Union Prez.
  • Photographer’s assistant/portrait photographer. The job that brought me to Montreal.
  • Industrial kitchen ventilator cleaner. Under the table. And very, very stinky.
  • Human pharmaceutical guinea pig. Don’t ask. Really.
  • Asshole. Which is to say, telemarketing agent. This didn’t even last half a day, and the whole time I was dreaming of being the heroic whistle-blower.
  • Shipping clerk/truck driver: lingerie factory. Woo hoo! Bras! Slips! Fuzzy pyjamas!
  • Photo researcher — stock photo agency. I don’t think I’ve ever had a boss who infuriated me more than that one.
  • Proofreader/editor (systems theory books). The dullest books on the face of the earth. But at least it got me going down the editorial road.
  • HazMat technician. I got to travel to the (*ahem*) pristine Canadian arctic — and to mop up hazardous materials when I got there.
  • Totally illegal and unqualified food inspector. I’m really not going to say anything about this because I don’t think the statute of limitations is up yet…
  • Travel guide writer/photographer. One of those things that’s a dream job when you apply, a nightmare when you’re doing it, and a dream job in retrospect.
  • Forum moderator, online community (Café Utne). I’ve been doing this since 1995 so that makes me, like, way cooler than you.
  • Technical writer (four different companies). This one qualifies as “career.” And I’m ready to change. Any suggestions?
  • Webmaster (volunteer) for the local chapter of the STC. This is how I learned about making Web sites.
  • Technical/Marketing writer Technically, this is included in the “four different companies” mentioned above, but I thought I would list it separately since marketing writing is so different from hardcore tech writing. Still… any suggestions?

So? How about you?

25 thoughts on “12 Monkeys: Jobs I’ve done…

  1. Where in the arctic were you a chemical cleaner? My lovely and brilliant plus-one designs PCB barriers for DEW line sites in the Canadian arctic.

    She jokes that her time spent in PCB-clogged dirt has made her “as fertile as a bag of sand”. I’m probably in the same boat due to a microwave with a large hole in the top (unnoticed for 2 years). Wee! Kids with flipper-hands! What fun!

  2. 12 Monkeys: All My Jobs

    Ed at Blork has an entertaining idea for mass blogging on a particular topic. The first one is “List all the jobs you’ve ever had, with comments where appropriate.” So here you go: Paperboy. It’s very weird here and now,…

  3. Optimus, I was on the DEW line, at about ten different sites. Mostly in the central and western arctic. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to Baffin Island.

    Michael, you go!

  4. Monkeys!

    As per Blork’s Twelve Monkeys, here are the jobs I ‘ave ‘ad: Leaf-raker. After our school’s annual fundraising autumnal student-slave-labour leaf-raking extravaganza, a few people still needed leaves raked and a couple of the known-to-be-poor students …

  5. Oops, sorry about the double ping – it must have pinged you automatically through the link in the post when I first published. Sorry!

  6. Mine are up -the first really personal post I’ve ever made to the Montreal City Weblog!

  7. Monkeying on

    Spurred on by Ed and Martine’s monthly monkey idea (there is also a French version), I’ve been thinking about all…

  8. Monkey!

    So yes, this month we’re asked to list all the jobs we’ve ever had. Ok that shouldn’t be too painful.

  9. The jobs, the jobs

    Much as I hate to draw gender lines, while reading a few of the participants in Blork’s monkey business I noticed that almost all the boys listed newspaper delivery as first job while almost all the girls listed babysitting. And…

  10. Interesting – what I’m noticing so far is that most of us have cool and/or interesting jobs [or job prospects] until the IT industry enters our lives and then it’s all downhill from there. Resistance is futile?

  11. 12 Monkeys

    I didn’t think I was going to participate to 12 Monkeys, not enough jobs for my taste but I’ve been thinking about it and remembered a couple of things so…

  12. Monkey Jobs

    As seen at Steves, and as requested by Blork and Martine: 12 Monkeys, a the list of the jobs/employments/freaky positions…

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