Sunday, January 27, 2008

So What do you do to earn a Paycheck?

The subject of jobs has been on my mind quite a bit in recent years. Probably because of the difficulties I see my husband go through in trying to find one that's a good fit for him after ShopNBC did their coporate sweep-thru and decided to get rid of anyone over 45 with long-term benefits and hire all new college grads. What does one do when they are 50, uneducated, trained in programming TV shopping shows, and don't want to leave the Mpls area to go work for another TV show? It's been a frustrating, yet enlightening journey for us. I think of my own journey in the workforce, and two things stand out in my mind. Two yrs. back when I worked for Mesaba Airlines, I had an interesting conversation with a recently retired high school assistant principal who trained with me for the part-time ticketing agent job. He stated he took the job so he could fly back and forth to Phoenix for free to play golf. I thought, man how nice... I took the job as my second job to make ends meet. He then started to whine about how he had worked as a principal for 32 whole years and deserved to be retired and continue to receive a pay-check from the school district for the rest of his life. His demeanor and tone was as if no one else in the world had ever worked that hard or that long. Well, as you can imagine, I just about wanted to slug him.... because I thought... ONE job? ONLY 32 yrs? AND a paycheck with full insurance benefits the rest of your life????? I couldn't keep my mouth shut... so I proceeded to tell him that I was about the same age he was...that I had worked a total of 21 jobs, most 2 at a time, and when I added up all my years of service at those jobs it totaled 85 years ---- and I didn't expect any of those jobs to be sending me much of a paycheck in the mail to live off of for the rest of my life. I'm not saying that someone who's worked 32yrs doesn't deserve to retire with a pension, but I am saying there are many others out in the work force who work even longer and two jobs at a time that will never see such benefits, and he should be mindful of those in that situation before he starts whining in public about how tough he thinks he's had it. While in retrospect, it would have been smarter for me to have followed the route he did, my life didn't turn out as such. Dad always preached at me to be a dental hygenist... but did I listen? Nope, I was much more interested in fashion design during my college years. Which leads me to the other thing that stands out in my memory. My daughter once made a comment when at a family gathering with my brother and sister that stuck with me...I unknowingly interpreted it incorrectly, but spent years thinking it meant they were successful in their jobs as they owned businesses and there I was.....someone who had not been a success at brother quickly responded saying "well she raised you and your brother all alone and look at you both now, I'd say that was pretty successful" .... which got me thinking.... about jobs and what defines a person's success. I can say that I've always pretty much enjoyed working at the many jobs I've had. I can say I've just about always had more than one job at a time. I can say that I've had way more experience in life working my 21 different jobs than most. I've done everything from cleaning a government post office building, to admitting bleeding people into an emergeny room, to selling women's under garments to cross-dressers at Daytons, to sliding into an icy ditch with a bus full of kids, to loading an airplane and giving the captain the signal it's OK to back away from the gate, to sitting in a live taping of a Tide TV commerical, to translating conversations for deaf people across the US thru their TTY's, to throwing people their morning newspaper, to sitting with a kid in the counseling office comforting them because they're scared to go home and tell their Dad they just got cut from the Spud Hockey Team, to processing legal court documents for an attorney, to helping educate people about the importance of chiropractic in their lives.....and still cleaning barf up off the floor of a school bus! And, I know this is not the end of it for me. I'm sure I will still be working for many more years to come with more experiences ahead of me....which makes me wonder, just what it will be? Who wants to hire a Grandma in their late 50's??? Greeters at Walmart right ? Which all leads me to an experience I had this weekend which caused me to post my random thoughts on jobs down on paper here....I used the elevator at the Excel to head on up to the 3rd level. To my surprise, there was an elevator attendant on duty! The "Art" in me made me strike up a conversation with her. She was a gal about my age.... big smile on her face and cheery voice. I asked her if this was her regular job to which she replied "Oh Yes ! and I love it!" I noted she had a chair to sit on while on duty and a radio station overhead. She said she listened to WCCO as they gave out the weather, the news and good talk radio. I just couldn't believe that someone could support themself and enjoy a job just riding up and down the 4 or 5 levels of the Excel all day long. There's no windows to look out, no fresh air...just an 8x8 cubicle with people in and out and that weird feeling in your stomach of going up and down all day long...... and this lady enjoyed this! What a comparison to the man who expected to retire after his 32 yrs at a school. I used the elevator several times that day as I moved from seat to seat...and when I left I asked her exactly what she liked about her job and know what she said very excitedly ? "Nancy Kerrigan got on my elevator today and man was she pretty! That just made my whole day"..... how simple a job can be for some of us huh ? I believe that lady felt she was a success in every way.


Ria said...

Okay...I get the point of your post...but...just for the record.... I KNOW I never said your brother and sister had sucessful businesses and you were never a success at anything.

G'ma S said...

Gosh.. Really? My interpretation must have been wrong -- had thought it was said during the time we were celebrating Sheri opening up Scoops...but thanks for clearing that up for me -- I feel better now :-)