Posts tagged ‘life’

September 21, 2010

September Listography | Day Twenty-One


all of the jobs I’ve had in my lifetime
I think this list is inclusive but I may be blocking some out :-/
1.  Taco Bueno — my first job at 16. I lasted for two weeks and my parents were never so happy to stop smelling tacos in their car on Sunday mornings on the way to church.
2.  Chick-Fil-A — my second job at 16, at which I lasted a full six weeks. I left to join a fun little group of women at a mall kiosk located just outside the Chick-Fil-A doorway. Basically, food service wasn’t for me and I just wanted to stop wearing uniforms.
3.  Attendant at a fruit and nut kiosk — my last job involving food, although this was really just bins of dried fruit and nut mixes. I mostly just stood around and snacked on the fruits. Not sure if I lasted a full six weeks or not. It got old pretty fast.
4.  Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio — I didn’t work again until after high school graduation, and then I was blessed to get a much better job while I took classes at the community college. I was still in the mall, but in the two years I worked here I learned more about makeup and skin care than ever before or again. Being the late ’80s, this was a prime period for such a job, as hair was big and makeup very creative. It was a great lot of fun playing with the products and dressing up for work regularly, and I actually really enjoyed giving makeovers and consultations. That kind of training never goes away, even if the styles do. Plus, I was the only employee of mother-daughter owners, so I got some really great gifts of jewelry and bling. Definitely some great perks!
5.  Live-In Nanny (twice!) — My first year living away from home was my third year of college, and I just lost my mind. I rarely went to class, though I had fun in the evenings, and my grades showed that habit with a string of failed courses. My junior year had been a bust, and I was fully confused as to what I wanted to do with my life. When I moved to school I’d begun the Fashion Merchandising program because my mom had raved so much about it during her recent semesters, but when I began attending class I realized that “fashion” meant “sewing” and “design”, neither of which appealed to me. Computers were barely in homes at the time, so there was no such thing as graphic design, and I can’t draw to save my life. My semesters included sewing courses and art courses, and I just gave up. When the semester ended and my parents questioned me about the breakdown, all I could think to say was how miserable I was in the program and how I had no interest at all. Of course, the next question from them was, “Then what do you want to do?” I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I said I felt like I would like social work and psychology, both of which had been interesting courses in the midst of my hellish semester. But I really didn’t want to do anything at all, so I sought something for the summer that would allow me to live away from home until classes started up again. That led to a short stint as a live-in nanny — first for a period of 3 weeks taking care of two elementary-age sisters and trying to deal with a divorced man who was actually looking for a woman to perform the household duties his wife had done before (that’s absolutely not me!), and then a few weeks later in New Jersey, where I moved after two phone conversations with an agency owner and then an unmarried couple with four children between them. I wasn’t smart enough to keep my emotions from clouding my judgement, so I took the New Jersey job and went to live in a closet-sized room and care for all four kids. (It was only supposed to be the man’s two sons but once I arrived it became a houseful.) My experience was horrendous and definitely something for another post, but I lived there long enough to miss the start of the fall semester. I also lived there long enough to know that the life of an au pair just isn’t for me.
6.  Childcare Counselor at a short-term juvenile shelter — While living away at college, I was still within driving distance of home, so I ended up getting a job back in that town when I started seeking something in my chosen field (at the time) of social work. The title “counselor” really just meant corrections officer, wherein my job entailed making sure the kids followed the rules, ate their meals on time, got off to school on time, went to bed on time, and didn’t sneak out of the house at night. Over the holidays I worked the night shift, so during that time my job was simply to stay awake all night and make sure everyone else stayed asleep. Not a difficult job but I did discover a great love for working with troubled teens. Which led me to seek that field after college.
7.  Holiday Retail Clerk — I searched for a career position for a full 18 months after graduating with a bachelor-level psychology degree only to discover that you really can’t get anywhere in the field without a master’s degree. Burnt out on school, I chose not to pursue it and finally just took whatever job would help pay the bills. The first thing that came along was back at the same mall where I’d begun my work life. This time I sold imported handicrafts at a place called Haus of Bavaria, and I learned more about strange little trinkets than I’d ever need to know. It was short-lived and boring, but I feel like I finally paid the retail dues.
8.  Wilderness Camp Counselor — I finally got a chance to work in my field after the 18-month search and ended up in a last-ditch camp for emotionally disturbed teen girls that happened to be located in the heart of an East Texas forest. The girls lived there year-round and the counselors worked 4-5 days straight with a midday-to-midday 48 hour off-period during which we were allowed to leave the camp. Everyone lived in open structures built by the girls’ own hands from the trees surrounding us, and we ate camp food for every meal. On weekends we cooked in our individual campsites over open fires and washed dishes with water boiled over the same fire. It was pioneer living at its best. There’s a lengthy post to be written about this experience, which lasted only 3 months of a summer, but the heart of the matter is that I realized my own heart wasn’t ready to be that closely involved with teens facing such depths of pain, bitterness, rage, and violence. God used that experience to bring me back to Him, but the job of it was more than I could handle at the time.
9.  Receptionist at a small realty office — God directed me to the office of a man I’d known from church while growing up, and in the process of learning how an office is run I found a spiritual mentor who helped guide me to a real relationship with Christ. The job was basic, and being in the early days of Windows, I was able to really learn computers for the first time, but I began walking a path that I’m basically still on. That was 15 years and a lifetime ago, but my best life memories are tied to that job and to my spiritual growth under Charlotte’s tutelage.
10.  Receptionist at a title company — the realtor’s office was a temporary gig while the regular receptionist was on maternity leave, but God provided a new job to begin immediately after the temporary one ended. It lasted for another year and all I can really say for it was that I was surrounded by some of the most arrogant and shallow personalities I’ve ever known. Not a pleasant experience, to say the least.
11.  Assistant to Music and Media Ministries at my church — I stayed in this job for more than two years despite a distinct lack of respect for one of my bosses, but only because the other boss taught me more than anyone had in my life up to that point. I was able to learn more software than ever before, was given more creative freedom than any other time, and was encouraged to dive deep into exploring personal computers as a tool for improving skills and life in general. It was the dawn of browsers for dummies and computers in every household, and I jumped in headlong to teach myself whatever came into my purview. I disliked my job most of the time, but I loved what I was learning. And that truly did change my life.
12.  Customer Care Rep at a start-up ISP — I made a connection through that job at the church and finally found my way out of the small hometown and into solo city living for the first time. What seemed like a perfect opportunity was actually a misguided attempt by the company’s owner to capitalize on the emerging dot com industry. What he couldn’t see was that “dot com” was on the down-swing and near its demise, which meant that I and half of my co-workers were let go within two years. The company went under entirely six months after that. I wouldn’t trade those two years for anything, as I learned so much about networking and the internet and the future of personal computing, and I experienced true independence for the first time ever.
13.  Receptionist for an investment broker — a friend of a friend had need for a part-time receptionist back in the hometown and Dallas employment was tough to come by, so I ended up back where I’d begun. By this time I had realized that I had true skills as an administrative assistant, that my attention to detail and perfectionism and inquisitive mind were perfect for office management, so I just continued on that path. I’ve never had any true “career” ambitions, per se, but I’ve come to know my strengths, so it made sense to continue doing what I was good at when someone needed the help. This job was always meant to be a temporary thing, though it still lasted for a year.
14.  Administrative Assistant at the local community college in a newly established corporate training program — because our office was located on the college campus, this job was actually a great deal of fun. I was one of four staff members who included a fun-loving Executive Director from the corporate world, a gentle-spirited training coordinator who had been in the Air Force, and a boisterous giant of a man who ran the college’s continuing education department and was also retired Air Force (a colonel). The military men and I shared one large room divided into three work areas by flimsy cubicle walls, and the atmosphere was constant laughter. I’ve never enjoyed a staff so much as I did those guys at the college. And I learned a lot about workforce training, submitting data to the state for grant funding, and even organizing a county-wide vision conference in a very short time. I always felt respected and important in that job, which isn’t something an administrative assistant gets to feel very often.
15.  Finance Ministry Assistant at my church — After the college I was able to finally make a move out of that little town of my adolescence, taking a job at my new church home. I’d never worked in a financial position before, but God is very good at taking me where He knows I need to be, and this position was full of great perks in the workplace. For the first time I was surrounded by a host of Christian women, something every woman should get to experience, and my job responsibilities were only half as important as the relationships I made while there. I became responsible for payroll, for recording donations, for keeping track of incoming data, and I learned principles I’d never encountered before. I had an incredible supervisor who was also a friend, and I shared lunches with co-workers and enjoyed gift exchanges and celebrations and even Bible studies with the women I saw every day. My time working at the church truly did my heart great good.
16.  Office Assistant/Webmaster for a student travel ministry — Up until just a couple of months ago, and currently on a part-time at-home basis, I worked for a local ministry that coordinates educational travel for student groups across the nation. My job involved a lot of record-keeping and shipping of materials, and fairly quickly after my hire, my duties also expanded into managing the company’s website content. All of the little bits of information I’ve learned over the years, plus my own personal exploration of web design and creative resources, allowed me to contribute something beyond what my resumé promotes. And though I wasn’t able to stay with the company any longer, I still love the website work and love that I have that experience for the next phase in my life.
With each job I’ve held there have been new skills to learn and new realizations of my own strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know where I’m headed next, but I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned up to this point. It’s not a career and I have no pointed direction toward what I want to do, but what I do have is a varied skill set and a drive to keep learning and improving. And so far in my life, that has worked very well for me.

My Listography was inspired by the site of the same name and list-maker extraordinaire Andrea at hulaseventy


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March 28, 2010

go ahead. tell those stories.

 celebrate the mundane

You are extraordinary. I hope you know it.
You have a very unique life with unique experiences.
What you deem to be “mundane” is actually
quite interesting in the context of your whole life.
I hope you’re celebrating these
little slices of your life by documenting them.
Photos + Words.

Becky Higgins (adapted)


November 19, 2009

Clean Sweep, Part One

My last post certainly elicited strong responses from friends and family, most of which was shock and confusion. I expected that! But each time the topic came up, I was quick to remind everyone that I would never have posted photos of my disheveled flat if I wasn’t planning to clean it up very soon. I’m fairly transparent and open, but I’m certainly not stupid enough to believe that no one would call me on the laziness and general disgust of the situation. I expected that, too, and fully intend to be accountable for my state of living. To that end, this is the first in a series of posts showing the “After” — allowing everyone to see that I do, in fact, enjoy a clean space and am fairly proud of what I’ve managed to bring together in the four years I’ve lived in this one apartment. And so we begin…

from the front entry   looking back toward the front entry
from the front entry looking toward the entry
from the kitchen entry
cabinets + stove counter near pantry
stove + counter
There is a reason that I never want to put food storage containers away when they come out of the dishwasher. I have only one good cabinet for such storage, and it’s inconveniently placed. Plus, as you can see below, I have inherited more than my share of plastic. (Family, if you’re reading this, I’m good! I won’t be needing any more storage bowls, thanks.) I just can’t get motivated to restack these towers of plastic each and every time I take 2 or 3 of them out of the dishwasher. Not to mention that I have to sit on the floor to do so. It’s just far easier to put them on a countertop and let them pile up. Judge me if you will, but this is one thing that’s not likely to change.
lower cabinet storage for plastic containers

Stay tuned for Part Two, coming next week!

August 28, 2009

things that are good for the soul

41.  creating a friendship through words alone, and developing that friendship without once meeting face to face
42.  doing your best, above and beyond what is required, and then receiving unexpected praise
43.  finding newborn pairs of baby dove in the same nest, in the same place, again and again throughout a single year
44.  providing a comforting touch to a stranger
45.  allowing yourself to be swept away
46.  viewing, up close, the work of a master
47.  staring into the night sky
48.  taking a day “off” from everything
49.  hearing complete and total silence
50.  writing it all down

more things that are good for the soul
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