Thursday, May 22, 2008
Where We Worked
Most of my friends' parents worked manual labor or trade jobs of one kind or another. Some worked for the telephone company; some were electricians; some were plumbers; some painted water towers. My mother worked in box factories until she had to go on disability in the early '70s for health problems. She hated not working and even tried returning to her job until she realized she couldn't do it anymore. My father was a roofer for most of his life, though he took about seven years off to try to make it on his own cleaning rugs and washing walls, but he eventually went back to the roofer's union and stayed there until he retired in 1989.
Growing up in Burbank, you had to be industrious. In grade school, I walked dogs and sold things. I sold knives (yes, knives), concert T-shirts, bootleg cassettes...whatever I thought I could sell. My first "real" job wasn't until my senior in high school when I worked as an usher at the Orland Square movie theater. Mostly, as an adult, I've been a teacher, but I've also worked shipping and receiving for a small electronics company, worked in a cafeteria, scored standardized tests, worked as a file clerk (or something like that...can't remember my title), did data entry, greeted people at a new mall (the most humiliating?), gutted buildings for surplus, worked in a library (mostly processing books and, once again, doing some shipping and receiving)...and on and on.
What did (do) your parents do? What do you do? And what jobs have you had -- the good ones, the bad ones, and all the ones in-between?
1970. Me and my father. The photo-booth at Zayre's.
2008 (this morning). Me and my father. My backyard in Winston-Salem, NC.