Someone asked about your first seven jobs on the twitts:
What were your first 7 jobs?
Babysitting, janitorial, slinging coffee, yard work, writing radio news, voice-overs, data entry/secretarial
— Marian Call (@mariancall) August 5, 2016
It's especially interesting to me because I have on again, off again conversations with a peer or two about how the employment history of academic trainees makes a difference. In essence my position boils down to thinking the more you've learned to work hard in shitty jobs, the more you are able to see academic science as a fine privilege that deserves a little bit of hard work. And the less you see it as your entitlement by birthright that functions as an optional vocation that should reward you with a comfortable life regardless of performance.
(#7firstjobs might be entertaining)
My answer was:
1) baby sitter: Probably the first thing I ever did for cash. 11 years old? maybe? It was basically the covering for the parents going out on a date type of deal. So, very easy work putting the kids to bed and watching television for a few hours. We didn't have a teevee so that was part of the compensation as far as I was concerned.
2) lawn mower: I always mostly enjoyed the mowing of my own lawn as a kid. A straightforward job with a clear endpoint. And you could look at your work and see a difference. So I mowed a few lawns around the neighborhood. Not totally sure start and end dates but lets say before the age of 12. Pretty easy money.
3) forestry labor: pulling christmas trees out of the woods in knee high snow, fertilizing and trimming trees in the summer. tree tagging. maple sugaring. clearing stuff from place a to place b. off and on from about 8 or 10 to mid teens, I think. Learned all about getting the thing done, no excuses*, in this stint. And about actual hard work. And, eventually, something about the rewards of being the guy the boss can trust to get the thing accomplished.
4) table waiter: for a few years I worked summers at a Gordon Conference location. three meals a day and all the breaks in between to screw around with the other kids who worked there. high school years.....MAN we had fun. One summer at a real restaurant- better money, shorter overall hours, but way less fun.
5) contractor crew: Dumb labor of "move all this heavy shit over to where the skilled people are" to start. Also "hold this". Eventually learned a little bit of framing, sheetrocking, insulation and some other stuff. Formative job for sure. 10 h days, 4 days a week. Work, home, eat, shower, sleep, off to work again. Trying to get in my bike training- remember that post work scene in Breaking Away? Like that. Working next to 40-50 y old guys for whom this was all it was ever going to be. Boss who rode you no matter the fact you were a dumb laborer (in pay) because he expected you to act like an experienced carpenter. Another really clear lesson about being the guy who gets shit done- my friend joined the crew at same time and was fired in two weeks. Ended a bust ass exhausting summer and went back to school where I wrote a tuition check for essentially the entire amount I had earned all summer (lesson learned, Dad, lesson learned).
6) dishwasher: really brief stint in a nasty, cramped kitchen of a pretty chi chi resort restaurant. The meals we got when on shift were phenomenal, but the work...I may never have been so grimy in my life before or since. Had some exp with industrial dishwashing due to number 4 but...ugh. This blew.
7) music festival roustabout: Built staging, ran spotlights, picked up the talent from the airport. Don McLean (American Pie fame) was an asshole. Remaining Mommas and Poppas were cool. Bonnie Rait concert was amazing.
How about you, folks? What were your first seven paying gigs?
*One of my favorite lines, issued in the context of putting hay into pickemuptrucks, from the boss of this outfit (who is kind of uncle-like in my development as a man): "Don't wish it up there, Randy!".