Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Brief History of Employment

First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. Posting political and/or controversial topics is always a little bit terrifying. In real life, I shy away from confrontation and avoid arguments at all costs. However, when something is really important to me I feel it's my duty to be open about it. I'm glad we could have an informative and respectful conversation, even when we have differing views. My readers are definitely the best ones on the whole Internet!

Moving on! (For now, anyway.) I had hoped to have a recipe to post today but I've been in a major cooking rut and have resorted to pasta, stir fry or veggie burgers almost every night this week. Instead of regaling you with photos of those delicious but boring meals, I thought we could take a walk down memory lane and look back on all the jobs I've worked since the age of 16.

Off topic? Perhaps. But when you spend 40 hours a week at a desk job, it's hard to not think about work. (Trust me, I've tried.) Below is a brief history of my life as a productive member of society.

The Bagel Shop
I worked at a bagel shop on Long Island when I was 15 years old. I was basically a short order cook, bagel slicer, coffee maker and cashier. It was very hectic and I was very bad at it - I broke the coffee maker and sliced open my fingers on a regular basis. Also, I only knew one way to cook eggs so everyone got them scrambled no matter what they ordered. The job lasted approximately three weeks and culminated with the owner of the shop asking if perhaps I would like a job sweeping the floors after hours. I declined, saying that I would rather find a job that I was actually good at.

The Public Library
At the end of the Summer of Bagels, I turned 16 and got a job shelving books at the public library. This was definitely my best job ever - I met great people, read a million books, and had a good time. I even dated one of my co-workers (a fellow page!) AND discovered vegetarianism in the stacks. Pretty awesome. I worked there for two years, until I graduated high school and left Long Island for college.

The Registrar's Office
I was a student assistant in the Registrar's Office for three years while in college. It was an easy job (mostly filing and mailing out transcripts for students). I made my own hours, often showed up hungover, and got to register for classes weeks before registration even started. I never got shut out of anything! And I still get free transcripts to this day.

While working at the Registrar's Office, I also had a part time job at Borders as a book assistant. Yes, I worked two jobs while going to college full time and STILL graduated with honors! Boo yah. This was a good job, but I don't remember it that well. Oh, college.

The Beach
During college (I had a lot of jobs in college) I went home each summer and lived with my parents. Two of those summers included working at the beach near our home in the permit office. This job was super awesome. Everyone got their permits during the first two weeks of June and then weeks went by where I sat in my office and helped absolutely no one. I started drinking coffee the second summer, spiked with Bailey's of course, and read Anna Karenina. Those two things combined made the slow days go by a lot faster.

After college and one final summer at the beach, I moved to Nacogdoches and got a job working in the book section of Hastings. I actually liked this job. If we are all born with one super power, then mine is shelving books. Seriously. I can dismantle and put away a towering cart of books so quickly, it would make your head spin. The only downsides of this job were: drama (so much drama!) and salary. I got paid $5.95 an hour, and that was only because I had a college degree. I worked here for almost two years (and accrued the majority of my credit card debt making up the difference in pay) until I finally found a better job. Good jobs in Nacogdoches are hard to come by and I was very lucky.

The SFA Library
I worked at the library for almost three years, but during that time I had four positions. I started as a library associate in the East Texas Research Center, which was pretty boring. When I graduated with my MLS, I was promoted to Actual Librarian, and I got to work in the Digital Projects department, which I loved! And then I was promoted again, to head of Digital Projects, which was just amazing! Until my department was dissolved and I was moved back to the ETRC, as the university archives librarian. Wah, wah, wah. I didn't like the archives and I didn't like the work I was doing (plus drama! So much drama!) so when I saw another opening across campus, I jumped at it.

Which brings us to today, and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Today, I am a Research Development Specialist, which means I help faculty find and apply for grants. It's a lot of paperwork but there are some creative aspects to it as well (like reading and editing proposals and making websites). I really like my office-mates and I'm glad for all the new skills I'm learning. Will I work in grants forever? I doubt it. I'm only 28 and retirement is a long way off. Until then, I'll keep working, paying my bills, and doing my best to enjoy whatever it is that takes up 40 hours of my week.

What's the best job you've ever had? How about the worst? I love hearing about other people's experiences, so please leave them in the comments!