Five on Friday: Job Satisfaction
I feel very fortunate that I enjoy my line of work and find it interesting. It’s not always the best thing in the whole world, and god knows I love taking a break from it all and travelling, but I have to say that I don’t dread going to work. It makes me feel useful and intelligent (for the most part). This week, I thought I’d share five of the random jobs I’ve held previous.
1. Camp Counselor
I worked for one summer as a camp counselor for a pre-kindergarten camp that was held at a school about a mile or two from my home.There were three counselors for a group of 30+ four-year-olds, the youngest group at the camp. Kids at that age are so small and so annoying, but also so adorable. I spent a lot of my time taking them to the loo (of course they can’t ALL go at the same time, but only realise they have to go once you get back with the first group of kids), and listening to kids cry. I am really good with kids who cry a lot because I tend to ignore them until they make sense again and somehow, this makes kids stop crying.
2. Retail slave
Doesn’t everyone have a job like this at some point in their lives? You spend a lot of time placating customers, rushing around to get stuff out of "the back room," fixing displays, and balancing the till at the end of the night. Oh man, how I hated counting the till at the end of the night and making sure it matched what the register thought it was. It was easy mindless work, especially fixing displays that customers mangled (why does someone always go through the display directly after you’ve got the whole bit sorted?), but god was it unfulfilling. To this day, I try not to ruin displays of clothing unnecessarily and will usually put products back in the right spot instead of just tossing them anywhere.
3. Data entry machine
Somewhere around middle school or high school, I taught myself to touch-type using some free trial software I downloaded off the Mavis Beacon site so that I could take the higher paying data entry jobs offered by a local temp agency. The lowest paying jobs were receptionist or phone bank work and the highest (degree-less) jobs were data entry jobs. You got paid anywhere from $10-12 per hour for data entry, while the other jobs paid from $6-8 per hour. The agency also offered higher paying jobs, but they typically went to people with accounting skills. As a data entry person, I worked at all kinds of random places from a Chinese shipping company to a a huge corporate business to a tiny survey company that had us entering information from hand-written surveys from employees of various companies. Reading those surveys was incredibly amusing, and it made me quite happy that I didn’t work at any of those companies.
4. Leather sofa store monkey
I took a job at a local leather store one summer, and if you know anything about New Jersey in summertime, you know it can be unbearably humid and hot. Of course it was ridiculously hot and humid that particular summer and every so often the air conditioning would go out at the store and we’d have to close because no one in their right mind would want to shop for leather furniture when it’s 35C in the store and the entire place reeks of warm leather. I wasn’t allowed to be a salesman, but I did spent a lot of my time wiping the dust off everything in the showroom, phoning customers to let them know that their orders were ready, and entering customer data into the computer as needed. It was incredibly boring because we rarely had anyone come in and the two guys I worked with were total jerks. I think the store is probably out of business now.
5. R&D food packager
In the town where I grew up, there was a well-known snack food manufacturing facility that made everything from cookies to chips to candies. I worked there in the packaging department, which was right next door to the baking area where my friend worked. When we first got the jobs there, I remember thinking his job would be more fun. Baking cookies all day sounds like a great time, but it turns out that his supervisor was very strict and he had to spend his entire day on his feet doling out exact measurements of cookie dough from pre-mixed recipes. When we had lunch, he reeked of cookies. Actually, we probably both did.
My job was to go to the cookie baking room, pick up whatever we were packing that day, bring them back to the packaging room, and help pack them into boxes that were then distributed to various tasters around the country for evaluation. We packaged everything from new kinds of candies to all kinds of cookies to different formulations of chips. There were two ladies who spent their entire days gluing small white boxes together for us, and the rest of us counting out the correct quantity, slipped them into a small plastic bag, and sealed it up to go inside the white boxes. We got to eat the broken cookies and chips that didn’t make it into the package (we were only supposed to pack the most-uniform looking pieces). For some reason, I have such fond memories of this job; it’s probably due to the fun people I worked with. They made such a difference.