Monday, September 05, 2011

My First 31 Jobs

The number of jobs listed below doesn’t seem extraordinary to me but people are always amazed at the number of variety of jobs I held prior to settling into my now-concluded, nearly four-decade career in community/destination marketing.

So just for fun, I’ve tried to catalogue them for family history purposes. There are 31 in all. Only the first 9 were on behalf of family. The other 22 were paid jobs.

Overall I held these 31 jobs during the span between when I turned 4 years old and 24 years old. After that I began my career in community marketing, spanning 37 years (with a 20 month hiatus) in three different cities, the last 21 and 1/2 of which were on behalf of my adopted hometown of Durham.

If you’re wondering, yes, that longevity is unusual. Last I checked the average for an exec in a Destination Marketing Organization is 5 years, primarily due to the intensity of the work and political meddling or interference or retribution all too common to such partnerships, sometimes from the private sector, sometimes from the public sector and sometimes from both.

Both in my career and with the exception of one of the prior jobs below, I loved each job and found the work meaningful and challenging, something reinforced when I read an op-ed piece yesterday by the authors of a book that came out during my cross-country trip this summer entitled The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work.

However I really have no idea if holding 31 other jobs before settling into a career is that unusual. I was lucky to come of age during a span when people seemed more willing to “give” opportunities to work to young people. I owe a great deal to each of the employers below for the things I learned and the confidence I gained.

On this Labor Day, as I make the list below, I’m thinking of each of those folks who had confidence in me and taught me about work and all of those Americans anxious for jobs to return:

From age 4 until 9:

  • Drying dishes
  • Washing dishes
  • Saturday housecleaning
  • Yard and barn chores
  • Milk cow herder/milker
  • Cattle roundup
  • Livestock branding assistant
  • Horse groomer
  • Tractor/plowing

From age 10 until 15

  • Newspaper delivery boy
  • Lawn mowing/yard care laborer
  • Sprinkler pipe mover
  • Irrigation siphon setter
  • Hay bale bucker/stacker
  • Pick-up truck camper-top manufacturing assistant
  • House exterior scraper and painter
  • Asparagus harvester

From age 16 until College

  • Grain/'seed truck driver
  • Grocery bagger/stocker/check-out clerk
  • Gas station attendant/oil and tire changer
  • Forest service pine beetle sprayer
  • Motel pre-opening laborer
  • Mayonnaise vat mixologist/delivery truck driver

During College

  • County garbage truck loader/driver
  • Valet parking attendant
  • Campus facilities inventory taker
  • Taxi driver
  • Youth conference coordinator/supervisor
  • Holiday department store stocker

After graduation from college until law school*

  • Engineering die-cut assistant
  • Aluminum mill plate inspection supervisor

*Note: I began what turned out the career of a lifetime in community/destination marketing while attending law school at night.

1 comment:

Bill Geist said...

Reyn Bowman: Asparagus Harvester. It has a nice ring to it :)