From Night Shift Obit-Writer to Corporate Monkey: An HR Exec Reflects

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.

Every Job I’ve Had: Anti-Sweatshop Agitator, Tutor for the 1%, and More

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).

Developer, Farmhand, and Other Jobs I’ve Had

Library Book Cataloger at a university library, September 2006-May 2007:

I spent about 10 hours a week my freshman year cataloging newly acquired books in a cubicled, fluorescent-lit, linoleum-tiled 70s-era wing of the otherwise breathtakingly gorgeous main library. I would grab books from a big pile, scan them in, classify them, and then place them in new piles; I have no idea what happened to the books before or after my work. The highlight of my year was the week I had to catalog an enormous collection of smutty chapbooks about transvestites. On my last day, the two full-time employees in the next cubicle admitted that they’d admired my outfits all year and wish they’d said something sooner. I felt ready for a more dynamic, involved job. Programming Intern at a small tech company, June-July 2007:

I failed to get an exciting computer science internship at Microsoft for the summer, so back I went to Oklahoma, my home state. Fortunately, the tech consulting firm of a family friend hired me as a part-time paid intern, and for two confusing months I walked to the office park about mile from my childhood home and pretended that I knew something about programming in C#, a weird, Microsoft-y variant of the C++ programming language. It was my first experience with client work, and my first experience in reading New York Times articles while I was supposed to be on the clock.

Undergraduate computer repair tech, September 2007-May 2009:

Every Job I’ve Had: Zaxby’s Fry Cook, Dressing Room Attendant, And Intern at Entertainment Weekly

The first thing anyone teaches you about getting hired is it’s who you know. That’s kind of how I got my first job. A friend of mine worked at a small pizzeria that was named after both the owner and the owner’s son. This friend was also errant; two weeks after I’d dropped off a resume (why??????), I got a call from the owner telling me that my friend hadn’t shown up to work and asking would I be interested in covering his shift?

From Botanical Gardens Intern to Anthony Bourdain’s Assistant

I quit the PR assistant job after three weeks, and my dad said, “You should probably stop quitting jobs for a while.”

Every Job Ive Had: Data Entry, Dog Food Factory, And an Almost-Architect

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.

Every Job I’ve Had: Real Estate, Nonprofitry, and a Ladyblog

Looking back it seems so gradual that saving the world and being a writer, my two life’s goals, have become increasingly separate from what I get paid to do all day. While it’s taken some getting used to, I am learning to like it this way. There are certain benefits to severing your creative endeavors from your financial needs. And the rhythm of my days and weeks at a boring desk job still allow quiet moments here and there where I can take a minute, or even a few minutes, and write.

Every Job I’ve Had: Business Intelligence, Fancy Cranberry Sauce, and JournalismJobs.com

I have heard there is a hidden job market. I have listened to countless stories of people getting jobs via friends or friends of friends. In the decade since my graduation from college, I have had virtually no first-hand experience with these phenomena. [byline] I am a shy, introverted person, and I find it difficult to ask for favors. I’ve forced myself to do so on a few occasions, but I don’t think I’ve been very convincing. Although people have “put in a good word” and “passed along my resume” a few times, their generous acts have never resulted in a job or even so much as a freelance assignment. So I look for posted jobs and apply to them. I have been lucky enough that this has worked a few times.

My No-Bullshit Hiring History: Kitchens, Concert Halls, Banks and More

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.

Borders, Bluestockings, And Box Offices I Have Known

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.

Every Job I’ve Had: Park Ranger, Camp Counselor, and Cruise Ship Entertainment Host

I became an employee of the federal government pretty much by accident. I had meant to be searching for (do I even have to say unpaid?) summer internships in theatre production on my university’s career services site. At some point, though, I clicked through to a different search category and ended up perusing recreation and leisure jobs that actually paid money. Thusly, what would have been my eventually illustrious career as a high-powered Broadway producer ended before it had even begun.

Every Job I’ve Had: Public Housing, Ivy League Conferences, and a Lit Mag With Barfing Dogs

The summer prior to my last semester of college I had worked as a Guest Services Representative in the Conference Services department of an ivy league university that I did not attend. It was a sweet job that paid $12.00 per hour, came with a free apartment, and required very little of me. I had gotten that job through my friend Molly who had worked there the previous summer, and she had gotten it because she has the sort of family members that know people. It was the director’s first year in the program, so at the end of the summer she asked for written suggestions on how the program could be improved. I wrote a seven page essay about how things could be run more smoothly, which led to a phone call the following February asking me to run Summer Session housing. I loved that job, and I was good at that job, but I was hellbent on moving to Chicago, so when the director wanted to hire me on full time at the end of the summer I declined. I recently saw the job she had wanted to hire me for posted on the university’s website, and it started at $52,000. That was not something I knew at the time, and also I was 22, and stupid.