Daily OM: Lesson 2 – Work

blue ridge mountains bannerFriday is here! It’s been an odd week this week, mostly due to issues at my job. I have one coworker who has been out for two weeks with COVID, plus both of my bosses have been out due to exposures at their kids’ daycare facilities. I mention all of this to kick off today’s theme: work.

For those who missed last week, this is part of my (hopefully) year long series as part of my writing course with Daily OM called “A Year of Writing to Uncover the Authentic Self.” Each week will have a lesson and a writing prompt. I’m hoping to keep up with it all year, but keeping up with things is also not my strong suit. Wish me luck.

As I said, this week’s topic is work, specifically careers or jobs. It’s funny, because I’ve never really thought of having a career. Jobs were something to help pay the bills, a necessary evil that had to be borne in order to be able to afford the fun stuff. This was especially true when I had jobs that I hated, but it’s still mostly true even though I have a job I like. Except when I was a lot younger and wanted to be a professional musician, I never sat down and said, “yes, this is what I want to be when I grow up.” And not just because I still don’t feel like a grown up, but because I think I’ve always known that I would find most of my satisfaction and enjoyment outside of any career path I might pursue.

Let’s take a look back in time to see what some of my jobs have been, shall we?

  • My first job was at the carpet cleaning company where my mom worked. I didn’t do much, mostly random office things like filing and cleaning out the supply closet. The owners of the company were family friends. I actually worked there a second time helping out when they were short staffed.
  • I’ve worked in retail twice, once at an arts and crafts store and once at Target. Both times were exhausting, both physically and emotionally. People can be incredibly rude. I truly believe that everyone should work in either retail or food service just so you can learn how NOT to treat other people. I am always super polite to cashiers, wait staff, and others because I know from experience I may be the only nice person they’ve had that day.
  • I’ve worked as a leasing consultant at a couple of apartment complexes, which definitely had its perks but was ultimately a job I was not suited for. The best perk – getting a discount on rent if you live there. The problem was that I was younger and much more insecure and shy when I was doing this. I’m also not a sales person. At all. As soon as someone told me an apartment didn’t work for them, I didn’t try to convince them otherwise. I was almost always last in commissions because of this. Still, sometimes it was fun to show the apartments and we would occasionally have events like pool parties or cook outs that were a good time. I think the most memorable experience I had was my last day working at one of the apartments. They had a tradition – on your last day, they would have a little going away party, which would end with the departing person getting thrown in the community swimming pool, fully clothed. Yep! That happened!
  • The job that I held the longest, off and on at least, was at a law firm. This was a large, multi-state firm that had offices from Florida up through Michigan, although it wasn’t that big when I first started out. I worked in the administrative office doing bookkeeping and assisting the office manager. It was a fairly high stress environment, particularly as the company grew. I actually quit and came back to this place multiple times, one time walking out without giving notice because I was so upset. They still took me back a year or so later. I was very good at what I did and they knew it. In the end, I finally left for good because the stress was literally making me sick. This was when I found out that I had fibromyalgia and, wouldn’t you know, a lot of my symptoms started decreasing in severity once I left that job. Weird, huh.
  • In between one of my stints at the law firm, I went back to school to get my degree in English literature (which I’ve never actually used – I guess I did consider a career as a teacher once but never got very far with it). While I was there, I received a work study grant in which I worked at the university library. This is by far my favorite job I’ve ever had. I worked in the cataloging department, which helps process all incoming material to the library and getting it ready to go out on the shelves. It’s a lot of stamping covers, sticking in barcode stickers, inserting a metallic strip into the spine of the book that would set off the detectors at the entrance (this stuff was called “tattle tape,” which I thought was hilarious), and ironing on spine labels. The best part about this job was that if there was a book that I saw that I wanted to get, all I had to do was put a sticky note on it with my name on it. Once it was done processing and officially scanned into the library’s collection, it would be handed over to me and I could take it to the check out counter. A dream job.
  • After I finally left the law firm for good, I ended up applying for a job through a staffing agency. I didn’t get that job, but the agency liked me so much, they hired me to be their receptionist. I was soon promoted to work in the human resources department, which was nice because it meant I got a private office. This job was a bit weird though. There was actually very little to do. My supervisor knew that I spent most of my 8-hour work day doing nothing and she didn’t really care or mind. However, if the owner of the company was there, I had to pretend to be busy doing . . . something. I actually got a lot of reading done when I worked there after I discovered Kindle Cloud Reader (so you can access your eBook library in a web browser). It was while I worked there that I rededicated myself to blogging for real. I started trying for more ARCs, I started going on blog tours. It was kind of nice, in a way, although having not much to do made the work day seem sooooooo loooooonng. I eventually left because my daughter was having issues in school and we were contemplating pulling her out and homeschooling. Working a full-time job would be difficult, and thankfully, they were very understanding.
  • And now here we are, present day. One of the best things about my current job is how I got it. As I said, the staffing agency where I worked before this really liked me and was very understanding when I had to leave to take care of my family. When they got a request for a part-time bookkeeper, they thought of me and thought maybe a part-time job would work for me while still giving me time to take care of things. And they were right. I currently work at a bakery in their office, handling invoicing, paying the bills, and writing paychecks. We don’t just do baked goods, however. We also do catering and a fairly large wholesale business. The part of the business that I mostly work with though is fundraising. You know when your neighbor’s kid is selling stuff to raise money for their softball team? We do that! Local groups can sell our products, mostly frozen prepared foods like chicken pot pies, and raise money for their organization. I get to help school teams and clubs, church groups, scout troops, and lots of other folks raise the money they need to keep going. We had a scare when COVID first hit (I started there in January 2020, so yeah), but we’ve kept going and it’s been great.

So yeah. It’s been a long road to get here, and while I still don’t necessarily think of it as a “career,” I have found a place to work where I feel like I am doing good. I like my bosses, I like my coworkers, and I genuinely feel like I am appreciated for what I do. I also love that I am doing good for the community. It’s a much better feeling than, say, when I worked at the law firm that mostly handled foreclosures and bankruptcies. So much more rewarding. Sure, there are bad days, but everyone there pulls together and has each other’s backs. It’s a really nice feeling. This is the first place that I’ve worked that I can see myself staying there for a long time. I am very, very lucky.

Categories: Daily OM

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