I was in my bed in that slim space between being awake and asleep when I realized I was in my 30’s and hadn’t been to grad school yet.
I got my first ever paying job through a family friend. My mom’s college friend ran a (now defunct) television production company specializing in lowbrow A&E Biography specials (RIP), afternoon cooking shows for the Food Network, and occasional documentaries for HBO. I was shy and willing to earn minimum wage spending all summer inside, reading the internet. My first summer, I pitched subjects for a Biography special on murderers. I spent a lot of time on Crime Library, got familiar with the filming policies for both federal and assorted state prisons, and eventually one of my suggestions became a TV episode! “First Person Killers: Ronald DeFeo,” (about the guy who inspired The Amityville Horror) aired sometime in 2006, and I have still never seen it.
In addition to handing out programs, I scheduled the other ushers and occasionally ran the sound booth. Perks included choice hours and the ability to wear colors. The highlight of this job was meeting Aretha Franklin backstage. She called me Stewart and asked me to bring her a hamburger.
I broke into my current industry through a meandering and long process of leaving jobs for similar ones that were slightly better. Though I’ve met a lot of people through my various jobs and am still in touch with many, I haven’t been able to work this network or my other friends much for job connections. Mostly this has been because I’ve moved cross-country twice, and I spent most of my career in a small niche industry which doesn’t have many jobs open in general.
As a 34-year-old woman with a college degree and a solid history of being promoted and beloved by supervisors, it’s a little sobering to look back and realize how little of my job history is fulfilling work designed for grownup people. Temp jobs not included.
The breakfast interview is akin to going to the dentist’s office: you have something in your mouth while the person in front of you asks important questions.
For one glorious summer, I roamed my old day camp flirting with counselors from around the British empire with 7 year-old girls in tow (a delightful age, too young to distrust adults but old enough to have insights into the universe).
Two years in and I’ve succeeded in my one and only goal: to not send any inappropriately adorable otter videos to my clients.
I quit the PR assistant job after three weeks, and my dad said, “You should probably stop quitting jobs for a while.”
Thanks to the generous wages afforded by a company monopolizing a nation's dairy industry, I never worked during the school year, except for a single day, done mostly as a favor.