Monday, September 6, 2010

celebrating work

To me, Labor Day is that one last sweet day to savor summer things:  burgers on the grill, a little reading time in the backyard with some ice tea, maybe an early morning walk to listen to the birds.

But since we are celebrating work today, I was thinking about all of the jobs I have had in the first half of my life.  It all started when I was thirteen, and became the go-to babysitter in the neighborhood as I had infant experience (thanks Heather!).  At fourteen, I was old enough to be hired on at Mr. Bunns, where I was the counter girl and ice cream treat maker.  The next summer, I graduated to short order cook, and came home smelling like deep fried shrimp and french fries.

I continued to babysit regularly, building my fund to buy school clothes and someday a car.  I was hired at Patterson's Menswear through the OJT program at Bemidji High School, and each day of my senior year I left school at noon to go and work.  What a wonderful job!  The Patterson family was so kind to me, they trained my in every aspect of retail, and while I worked for them I did everything from tailoring to accounting, display to sales, and managed the tuxedo rental deparment.  I continued to work there after I graduated high school, to earn money to head off to college.  In my quest for college funds, I even sold Avon in my spare time.

Once I made it to UND, I had to support myself and held many jobs (often at the same time!)  I was a waitress/hostess, typed research papers, worked at the North Dakota Museum of Art, was a resident assistant in the dorms, worked at a craft store at the mall, did calligraphy for local businesses, was a ceramist assistant at the UND Craft Center, taught craft classes, and made and sold wheat weaving and corn husk dolls.  (seriously).

The day after I graduated UND, I started my new job at North Dakota State University in Fargo, where I managed the art and engineering department at the university bookstore.  Two years later, I was hired in to the training program for Northwest Fabrics and Crafts, and a few months later became a store manager.

Target hired me away in 1990, and there I was a merchandise analyst, a marketing assistant, worked in merchandise presentation, and became a buyer.

I have been a baby sitter, a cat sitter, a house sitter.

I have crafted dolls and rabbits and quilts and dried floral arrangements in antique containers, which I have sold at craft shows and home shows.

Mike and I started our flight simulation business fourteen years ago, and I have done everything from cleaning the bathroom to preparing payroll, but I have never controlled a flight.  And I don't really want to learn how.

And most recently I opened my Etsy shop.  I wonder what other labors the second half of my life will bring me?

What about you?  What was your most unusual job?  Your favorite job?  Your ickiest job?  I would love to hear YOUR stories.

Hope you can take some time on this Labor day for a little relaxation of your own.

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