My Xanga friend, Old Hat, posted an entry called “Paying Jobs” recently.  Here’s my list of “paying jobs” that I’ve held over the years:

1.  Babysitting

2.  Jewelry store gal – first job out of high school, I worked for a small town jewelry store as a clerk.  My responsibilities consisted of cleaning the glass cases of finger prints, showing possible selections to customers, cleaning jewelry, and working the engraving machine on Father’s Day.  I engraved money clips, lighters, the backs of watches, and such. The store also sold the usual gift items like crystal, porcelain knick knacks, and such.  I got my mom a crystal box for her birthday, not realizing it was actually a cigarette box.  I felt so silly, but she kept it anyway. 

3.  Drugstore clerk – I went to work for the drugstore that our family had done business with since I was a baby – the jewelry store job was kind of stressful because the man who owned the store was very difficult to work for.  My dad actually had to go get my last paycheck when I gave my notice because the jeweler was so ugly about my quitting.  The two years I worked at the drugstore were really good, though.  I typed prescription labels, set out the medications for the pharmacists to fill the bottles, kept inventory, worked the cash register (an old manual one with big black keys that made a delightful “kaching” sound when you slammed the bottom drawer shut) … I worked here for two years while I attended junior college.

4.  Copy Center tech – When I went off to Sam Houston State, I worked in the copy center at the Newton Gresham Library.  I kept the machines full of paper and toner, cleared paper jams, that kind of thing.  Not terribly challenging, but it did give me a little pocket money.

After graduating from college in ’86, I had an incredibly useful degree – a B.A. in English with an emphasis in technical writing.  My minor was in History … it’s funny when I look back at it, because the degree doesn’t seem all that useful, but it actually meshed rather well with the work that I did over the years (as you will see).

5.  Circulation Supervisor – First job out of college was the Circulation Supervisor at Texas A&M in Galveston.  Ran the circulation desk and became known as “Conan the Librarian” because I blocked the records of all the graduating seniors until they either returned their overdue books or paid for them.  A&M did not charge late fees on library books at that time and so there was no motivation to return books.  I managed to retrieve about 2/3 of the missing books and the rest were paid for.  (No graduating seniors were permanently harmed by my action – they all graduated on time.)

6.  Rare Book and Archives Assistant – Moved over to UTMB’s Moody Medical Library (also in Galveston).  I worked on organizing the archival papers of different professors of the medical school, as well as different medical organizations.  In addition, I researched and wrote annotations for different exhibits featuring different things like the books we had on Phrenology and a collection of medieval illuminations … while I didn’t head up the project, I assisted with an exhibit of da Vinci’s anatomical drawings, and that was quite interesting!  Gave tours of the rare book collection and assisted researchers with the collection.

7.  Legal Secretary – While the aforementioned gigs were very interesting, they didn’t pay enough to finance independence.  Almost twenty five and still living at home, I was ready to get on with life!  So I went to work for a large law firm in Houston.  Over the 8 years I worked there, I worked in the attorney employment office (pretty cool – helping wine and dine the smartest law students from around the country), the international law department, the corporate department, the real estate department, and then finally landed in the intellectual property department.  That was a blast – helping prepare applications for fascinating inventions, clever trademarks, and also helping my attorneys defend those properties.  (That technical writing stuff from college finally came in handy here.)

8.  Stay at Home Mom – A year after my daughter was born, we moved to Huntsville, Texas and I left the law firm.  I’ve been a stay at home mom ever since, except for the following things that I’ve done from home, between my family responsibilities:

9.  Secretary – I did assorted secretarial chores for a property management fellow.  Did the billing for a storage property he managed, as well as the random typed letter, etc.

10.  Scrapbooking Consultant – For five years I was a Creative Memories consultant – teaching people how to organize their photos (that archival experience above came in handy, eh?)  My writing experience strengthened my mission to emphasis the importance of journaling, as well as preserving the photos.  Because if you don’t know who the person in the photo is, or where they are, you might as well just throw the photo away!

11.  Secretary (again) – I had a friend who opened a law firm specializing in bankruptcy and I did some secretarial work for her from my home for a while.  Then she got an offer to work for a large firm and decided to take the job.  So my secretarial days finally came to an end.

12.  Small Business Owner – I now have a business selling custom blinds and plantation shutters.  I’ve been doing this for ten years this coming December.  It’s a good job, but I am ready to do something different.  I’ll let you know what that is, if I ever decide to do it!

4 thoughts on “Paying Jobs

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