What’s Not On My Resume

I’ve been a nurse for roughly a bazillion years, but it’s all the stuff I did before that, the stuff that isn’t on my resume, that’s really interesting.

My first job, like most girls’ first jobs, was babysitting.  I watched a neighbor’s little boy for the summer.  He was school age, and we spent all day every day either at my next-door neighbor’s pool or with him watching TV and me reading a book.  I made him a BLT and french fries every day for lunch (really, I did) and let him drink as much Coke as he wanted.  And no, I never put any sunscreen on the little brat, either.

I worked a little at my mom’s office, doing filing, and a little at my dad’s office doing about the same thing.  But working at Dad’s office was super-cool because it was on campus, and there’s nothing a fifteen-year-old girl enjoys more than running errands on a college campus, pretending to be a college student.  It rocked.

I worked at Burger King, where I wore an ugly polyester uniform and dumped a gallon of French dressing all over the cute manager I would marry many years later.  I worked at Western Sizzlin’ as a salad bar girl, obviously not having learned my limitations after the French dressing incident.  I learned the proper way to cut up cantaloupe and watermelon, a skill that has served me well my entire life.  I went home smelling like steak, which made me envy my friend working across the street at Baskin Robbins.

Then I went off to college.  I worked as a lab tech in a biology lab.  Sounds cool, like I washed test tubes and chatted about important scientific discoveries a couple of hours a day, right?  Not so much.  I was responsible for cleaning the mouse cages and then disposing of the bodies after “sacrifice day”.  I’d come in to find bags of frozen mouse carcasses in the freezer and have to load them all up and haul them down to the basement, where I’d throw them into a metal drum with other dead animals.  I hope the techs working with the big animals got paid better than I did.  And as for the sparkling scientific discussions?  Most of the time they were talking about who got the drunkest the night before.  Oh, except for the one guy who spoke only French and seemed angry all the time.

In the summer I worked for a pediatric neurology clinic, which was fascinating.  I passed out during a spinal tap (have you seen how long those needles are?), memorized all the idiosyncrasies of the half-dozen doctors so they’d scream at me less often (excellent training for future jobs), and learned to cross-stitch (we got an hour for lunch every day).

Then I worked at a cashier at Winn Dixie.  Another fabulous polyester uniform – WOO HOO!  This was before “Paper or Plastic?” was a question, and certainly no one was using their own bags or doing U-scan.  I learned to bag groceries properly, and I feel secure in the knowledge that I can out-bag anyone working at my local Kroger.  People didn’t have debit cards, they wrote checks.  And you couldn’t write a check unless you had a Winn Dixie check card.  Which led to a memorable incident when a middle-aged woman wearing inch-thick makeup, stilleto heels, and a feather-trimmed blouse tried to pay with a check and didn’t have a card.  I sent her to the customer service desk (like I’d been taught) and the store manager came running back over, pale and sweaty, stuffed the check into my hand, and whispered, “APPROVED!”.  I glanced down at the name on the check as I was sliding it through the machine: Preston Madden.  I’d just refused to take a check from Anita Madden, kind of the Paris Hilton of Lexington, Kentucky at that point in time.  That could explain why I was never invited to her Derby parties, huh?

What were your jobs growing up?

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25 thoughts on “What’s Not On My Resume”

  1. Oh, this is seriously one of your best posts EVER!
    I will concur that your food chopping skills are the BOMB, and how have I never heard the Anita Madden story before?

  2. This is awesome! I especially like the description of the angry French speaking guy. My first job – other than working in tobacco – was to sit in a motel room for 8 hours a day making cold calls to people trying to sell them a photo package. I wasn’t very good at it. I got fired. I’ve been nice to telemarketers ever since.

    1. Oh! I didn’t even think about tobacco – I could do an entire post on that: why I have wicked tobacco settin’ skilz, but am completely incapable of topping, cutting, or housing. And now I feel guilty about being nasty to telemarketers. sigh.

      1. I started a post on tobacco setting a few months ago, but it never did come together right. My sis and I were in high demand for our mad skills at one time.

  3. I babysat for 3 little boys……I found marijuana growing in a pot on their deck. The parents gave me a car to drive…a GREAT BIG ca

  4. Cadillac, bright green with a white top and white leather interior. I also worked as a pharmacy clerk in a small pharmacy connected to a very small hospital and doctor’s office. My boss was always very willing to let me taste anything on the shelf. I once asked to taste something that caused everything in my mouth to become very numb. I had to wait on customers and sounded like I had marbles in my mouth. My boss laughed uncontrollably (behind his tall counter) for about an hour or so. I also had to count back change……a skill I had lots of trouble with. I just don’t have the math gene. There was no cash register, only a cash drawer. Balancing the drawer at the end of the day was also a challenge for me and was told by my boss that he almost thought he was going to have to “let me go”. Thankfully I learned enough to keep that job. The cool part of that job was disposing of all the “control” drugs when they expired. I had to sign my name to an elaborate form as we flushed them down the toilet……..don’t think you can get rid of them that way anymore.

  5. Cool descriptions!

    My first real responsibility that paid was a paper route, from about fifth grade until I graduated from high school. A dog bit me the first year, keeping me from marching in a big parade with the school band (very small school, 5th-12th grades were all in the same band). In later years, I would usually read a book while I walked the 25-home route very slowly. My most famous customers were the parents of Cliff of Cliff’s Notes. Really. Very sweet old couple.

    In the summers, agricultural work — detasseling corn, walking soybeans (my fav — loved the scythe), putting up corn. Mom would buy us the day-old bakery’s Hostess products for our lunch desserts and we could even take a frozen can of pop to keep the lunch cold, back when the cans were made out of steel. Occasional babysitting during those years, of course. After my first year of college, I was a lifeguard at the village swimming pool, which was a hole dug in the hilltop next to the park, lined with clay and then sand. Lots of chemicals to keep that water swimmable. Between freshman and sophomore years of college, I was a waitress in a restaurant where the cockroaches were so big, patrons thought they were mice. What do you say to that? “Don’t worry, they’re not mice, they’re only cockroaches….” Oh, and the busboy would steal my tips.

    Then came my office jobs –first, an answering service, with three old-fashioned switchboards with cables. At busy times, it was one person per switchboard. During the evening or overnight hours, one person for all the boards. Then, I was a receptionist at the state retirement office. That’s the job that made me realize I needed to work in something I loved, so I tried out for an accompanying job at a junior high school, and worked there during the school years until some editing landed in my lap and I realized I needed to go back to school to become an editor. My last really bad job was one summer during the accompanist years. I walked door to door gathering information for the city directory. To this day, I’m nervous about asking people personal questions about anything.

    1. You had some educational jobs! Can you imagine most young people today trying to handle a switchboard with real cables? No calls would ever make it through 😛

    1. At least the animals involved weren’t groundhogs . . . or giant patriotic beavers. I would have sent you a warning if that were the case 😉

  6. My most favorite were the summers in high school I was a lifeguard at the local waterslide park. All my friends worked there and we had so much fun. Those were the days when I brought home a pay check and could spend it however I wanted, because I had a roof over my head and NO BILLS. Sigh.

  7. I work at the movie theater on Dixie Highway. If no one showed for the last showing of the night, we would get to close early and go home.
    If we knew it was a bad movie and would get to go home, we would pop extra popcorn so we could take it home!!!
    If we knew people would show, we would add crushed BBQ chips, extra salt, etc to the popcorn to pay them back for making us work late.
    Man, I hated that job!!

  8. What colorful jobs! I had a string of babysitting jobs and spent one summer as a mother’s helper, living in the household of a doctor, his wife and their four children, including 3 boys! I also was a camp counselor at an sleep-a-way camp for urban youth. There was a lot of fist fights, runaways, and smoking–and I was in charge of the 10 year olds. Yep, these jobs are not on my resume.

    Loved your post. Just stopping by from LBS!

    1. Hmm, perhaps that camp counselor job SHOULD go on your resume, especially if you’re applying for some sort of management position! Kind of an “if I could handle that, I can handle anything” sort of entry 😉

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  10. I always wanted to be a checker in the grocery store. I babysat, worked at Penney’s & a high end children’s boutique. I worked at a car dealership, a donut shop, the college library (before computers or security sensors), and a collection agency.

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