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Posts Tagged ‘dental tool sharpener’

Micrometer, image public domain, Splarka

-micrometer, image public domain


Jobs I’ve had over my entire life, in no particular order? It was hard to remember them all. And it seemed like there were so many more.

Isn’t it strange that we spend most of our lives working jobs in which we wonder what we’re doing there? I’ve always been envious of those who knew at age 6 they wanted to be a lawyer, doctor, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Yes, I know people who are working jobs they knew they wanted to do when they were kids. For me, following my true heart has been a long time coming. Decades have been spanned. But no time wasted.


1. Sharpened dental tools micrometer in the left hand, metal blade in the right, moving with precision and care against the spinning wheel next to a stack of 15 grades of polishing and grinding stones. You need good eyes and coordination and a humongous box of Spiderman Band-Aids for the nicks and cuts. I’ve still got a scar on my hand.

2. Pumped diesel for semi-trailer trucks – heavy, hard work. The truck dip sticks were as long as I was tall. I smelled like grease at the end of the day. I looked like James Dean – T-shirt, tight Levi’s, those tan workman’s boots. I was in shape back then and played tennis every morning that summer at the high school with a friend.

3. Wound huge reels of magnetic tape on to cassettes – 1972 – clip fat reels of magnetic tape on a steel machine that looks like an old reel-to-reel. Push the red button on Led Zeppelin, the reel winds off until a code on the tape tells the sensor to stop. The cassette is full of tape. Quick, razor cut splices tape. Next cassette.

4. Tended snack bar at a local golf course – ate all the hot dogs and slushy iced Cokes I wanted. I actually liked that job. Worked it right before I left for college. The people were nice. They tipped well.

5. Pumped gas and checked oil – at a city Alert station (back when gas stations still did that). I also painted the curbs white every night because the manager was a meticulous perfectionist. I wore an orange jumpsuit with my name over the pocket. I swear.

6. Supervised about 30 people as a middle manager in a national healthcare company – the greatest job when the company was start-up. I worked my way up from data entry. I took the job as a temp after art school (I was up to my eyeballs in student loans), the longest job I ever had – 9 years. Wasn’t so fun later when the company merged with another healthcare giant in San Francisco. Two different cultures that clashed.

7. Worked as a counter clerk at a Husky station – My first job when I moved to Montana in my 20’s. I rode a welded red bicycle that winter (no car) that I’d bought with $20 I’d scraped together. It was dark and cold when I got off at midnight. Soon I would buy a powder blue VW Squareback from a friend. I loved that car.

8. Dusted the furniture, washed the dishes, ironed the family clothes – That was how I earned my weekly allowance. Oh, how I wish I could have earned it mowing the lawn (I love to mow) and taking the garbage out like my brothers. No – check that. No garbage.

9. Hand picked cherries near Flathead Lake in Montana Shortest job. I think it only lasted a month. Breathtaking view. Unsteady ladders. One cherry at a time.

10. Babysat the kids – didn’t every young girl do babysitting?

11. Installed microscopic volume controls into hearing aids – Red Fox road, I always loved that name. I did this 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, with tiny tweezers, peering through a microscope, every minute of every day.

12. Worked as an independent freelance writer & consultant – doesn’t every writer do this?

13. Performed data entry for a local fan company – Yes, fans. This was a temp job. Only lasted a few months.

14. Worked at the on campus library (work-study) while I was in art school – One of the greatest jobs I ever had. What’s not to like about shelving books about art & artists in between printmaking and art history classes.

15. Pumped gas at a Chevron station one summer in Montana – I’m just realizing how much gas I’ve pumped in my life.

16. Coordinated project data entry and filing for an accounting firm – no, I was wrong. THIS was the shortest temp job ever. One day. They thought I knew accounting. Crossed wires between agency and client. They called the next day and said not to come back! One day.

17. Shoveled snow – from the driveway of an 80-year-old woman who no longer wanted to do it herself (although she could have). This woman had spunk.

18. Worked as a clerk for a large bookstore chain – seemed like a good idea at the time, a smooth transition between the corporate world and creative writing. Below zero walks and midnight bus rides with the nightstalkers.

19. Cleaned hotel rooms at a Class B Missoula motel chain – this lasted exactly one week. It was the grossest thing I ever did. I hated it. And have great respect for those who can tolerate other people’s stinky dirt and grime.

20. Dug fence post holes and strung barbed wire fence on a cattle ranch – only a weekend in Billings. But it was so much fun. Fresh, clean air. And those mountains. Thick leather gloves recommended.


Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

-from Topic post, Job! What Job?

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