Saturday, May 19, 2007
I was thinking the other day about the different jobs I have held in my life. There are not very many. In fact, for a 43+ year old guy, I'd say that I have held very few jobs.

My parents never asked much of me in terms of chores around the house. I generally would sort of follow them around and try my best to help with yard and house work but I rarely had assigned "chores".

Mom and dad built a new house for us when I was between 4th and 5th grades. I spent a lot of time at the new house "helping" ... at least I hope that I was helping. It seemed to me like I was though now I sometimes look back and wonder just how much help I really was.

As I reached about the age of 12, I started mowing the lawn with at least some regularity although mom and dad still did their share of it, too. From about the age of 11 on we lived in a house that had a large wooded yard. I really enjoyed helping to clear it out and keep it looking nice. Over a period of a couple of years, we took a very overgrown couple of acres down to a nicely treed and mown area.

Probably around the age of 12 and for a few years after that, I did the odd babysitting job. I never enjoyed it but it made a little bit of money for me. I remember once telling two squabbling siblings I was watching that they could go ahead and hit each other. I was never asked to come back again. I also remember babysitting a recently potty-trained boy who kept peeing in his underwear. We went through probably 15 pairs of underwear that evening. They never asked me back again either.

My summer between 8th and 9th grade, I babysat three days a week as I recall for two boys. I think I maybe earned $10 per week. I was basically these peoples' slave for the summer. In addition to watching their kids (who were pretty well-behaved), I had to clean the house and do laundry, prepare lunch for the entire family, and have dinner started at the end of the day. However, my reward was that I had money at the end of the summer to buy a bright red Schwinn Traveler III ten-speed. It was something like $125 which really was a lot to spend on a bike back then. This job really taught me that work is exactly that -- "work".

One summer in early high school I had the idea of trying to wax cars for people in order to earn money. (This was before The Karate Kid movie came out, by the way.) I put an ad in the local newspaper but didn't get a single response. So much for my car waxing career.

The summer between my sophomore and junior years would have been the first summer after dad started the business. That was the first of several summers when I would work out in the plant. Usually my job there consisted of running parts on one particular stamoing press. I greatly enjoyed it and, dare I say, no one has ever come close to the production speeds I would run on that press. It was a blast to see how fast I could run it and to always look for ways to tweak and speed up the process. I was earning about $5 per hour which was a lot of money and I was determined to be worth it.

During high school, I would also work some after school in the factory. I remember once cutting out of school a little early to go to work. The assistant principal followed me part way, trying to figure out who I was but I lost him when I got on the highway. I was a real rebel. Also, on senior skip day, I went to work rather than to the nearby lake with everyone else. I was also one of just a handful who served detention because I admitted that I skipped school and my parents didn't cover for me.

During summers in late college, I started working for dad's business more in the office rather than in the plant, doing primarily sales and marketing types of things.

In college, my campus job was working in the Writing Lab. I was there supposedly to help other students with their writing skills. I also occasionally would have to oversee evening study sessions for the football team. Rarely did anyone ask for help so often my work time gave me extra study time. Sometimes I would help the English profs with administrative things. I remember some other students being upset that I had a rather easy campus job. I figured somebody had to do it though. And it was for the whopping amount of something like $3 per hour as I recall.

I also worked for the local weekly newspaper. That was an interesting job as the company always seemed to have plenty of drama and office politics going on. I held several jobs with them. I would proofread and write news stories. During my senior year, I wrote their weekly feature article for something like $15 per article. I would get to go out and interview local community members. I really liked that. I also got to go to news conferences with two famous citizens who hailed from the area -- Phyllis Diller and Hugh Downs. That was neat. The editor of the newspaper really seemed to try to give me fun things to do. He was a mentor of mine and I learned a lot from him regarding newspaper writing and layout, as well as just being nice to people.

I also did some work for the newspaper's related printing company. I helped them do design work for some of their clients. This was back when things were very much done by hand. It was a lot of fun and a neat opportunity for me.

When it came college graduation time, I thought some about law school and I also interviewed for some sales and PR jobs. In the end, I felt that the job where I could start at the most advanced level would be at dad's company. A couple of years later, being a pretty frugal young guy who worked hard to save money, I was able to buy into a small equity stake in the business. Pretty much the same equity I hold today.

My time at Classic is sort of a story all its own ... for another day.

  posted at 5:04 AM  

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Draw The Line said...

I have had lots of jobs over the years myself. I worked in a grocery store, truck driver, steel worker, tool maker, and the very best stamping press operator there ever was or is. I also wanted to be a lawyer but because I choose a different path in life I sort of messed that up.
My other path in life is a story all it's own too.


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Todd M


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