Not Ready To Call It A Career Just Yet…

DW Dalrymple

DW is a Proud West Virginian from the top of the middle finger, a former political hack/public servant and alleged rock-n-roll savant. Forever a student of the School of Life. You can find him on Twitter @BIG_DWD

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26 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    I marvel at kids who have finished college with only one or two jobs on their resumes, and I see how much they pity the fact that I had over a dozen by the time I finished my BS.

    But I wouldn’t trade those many and varied work experiences for the world.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I was thinking along similar lines as this article when the symposium topic of Pizza was announced. I spent two summers delivering pizzas. Great job, always had pocket money and the checks went straight into the bank. Not the first or last job I ever had. I definitely had more physically-demanding jobs over the years.

      I don’t regret any of them either. I see them now as character-building. Actual character-building. Some people seem to use that term to mean character-revealing, as if their small jobs were their first opportunity to show the world their immense value. They were character-building for me. I had no character when I started working, and I kind of do now. Those kids who graduated college without much work experience were never forced to build their character, and sometimes it shows.

      My dad used to tell me that the HR people favored graduates of full-time college programs, but he would always hire the night-school people when he had the chance. I think he had the right side of that argument.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Pinky says:

        If I go all the way back, I’ve worked as a farm hand (multiple times, doing pretty much everything on a farm), a paperboy, a pin setter for miniature bowling lanes, a mink skinner, multiple jobs as a general laborer (warehouse, construction, etc.), forklift operator, a dishwasher, slaughterhouse cleanup, punch press operator in an aluminum die casting plant, Gas Turbine Tech (Navy), CNC stone cutter, hotel front desk, IT support, IT Admin, IT Management, Aerospace Engineer, and now Engineering Tools Developer.

        When I was an IT Manager, I’d get so many resumes for IT Technicians that had one, maybe two previous jobs, and wanted me to hire them because they knew how to use Windows. Just blew my mind. My assistant would get those all the time, but she hired for lab monitors, not techs, so no previous experience was not a bad thing.

        My first IT job I got without having any IT experience, but by that time, I had already purchased a custom built PC, Played Ship of Thesus with it at least once, stripped off Windows 3.1 and installed WinNT 3.5, figured out 3.1 sucked for video games, did a dual boot config for gaming, and worked out all the basics of IP networking (and could speak confidently about all of that).

        Couple that with my already extensive work history, and I was hired on the spot.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I made the farming-to-IT transition myself. I didn’t think of doing it via mink skinning, though. In retrospect, that seems the more obvious path.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Pinky says:

            It was a regional thing. Lots of mink farms where I grew up. I did more work on dairy farms than mink farms.

            Eco-Vandals from elsewhere* would regularly break in and release all the mink from various farms, which would then proceed to destroy the local eco-system and cause farmers with chickens no end of trouble.

            *locals would never be this stupid.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              So how do you get mink oil out of them? Do you just squeeze them in a press an olive, or do you shampoo them a lot and then separate the hair oil out of the salon’s wastewater?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

                They are mink, all you have to do is annoy them somehow, like giving them food, or water, and they will spray it on you.

                Seriously vile little creatures. Making expensive coats is about all they are good for.Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          My work history is probably just as picaresque as yours, even continuing on into adulthood. I’ve probably done every menial non-farm job you could think of.

          I recall reading recently how having jobs, even summer jobs, during high school is becoming a thing of the past, at least in the middle class parts of town. Imagine never having to interact with anyone that wasn’t just like you! I’d certainly be poorer without the experiences I’ve had.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

            Grew up rural and poor. I didn’t have to contribute to the family operating fund, but if I wanted anything that was not a hand-me-down, or from a thrift store, or food in a black and white box, I had to pay for it. That included bike and car purchases and maintenance.Report

        • I am so boring. Aside from a job sweeping up at the local pool hall in the early evenings*, it’s all been pseudo-academic of some sort. Even when I was a peon at the ag field lab, I got some of the credit in the paper for new methods for the care and feeding of odd micro-climatology measurement equipment. Damned well deserved it — my method for adjusting a diffuse radiometer took three minutes and could be done by eye, versus 30 minutes of table look-ups, hand calculations, and bolting the working bits at odd angles.

          * When I was a high school freshman in rural Iowa, one of the leather-jacketed seniors at lunch said, loudly, “Cain, I want to talk to you.” Everyone figured I was going to die right there in the cafeteria. The reality was that one of the elderly members had died and the senior wanted me to put his name on the now-available slot in the cue rack. He bribed me. Even in the clean-cut crowd, a pack of cigarettes from that senior in particular bought me a lot of “cool” cred.Report

    • DW Dalrymple in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      ……I would’ve traded a couple! Haha-thanks for reading.Report

  2. Aaron David says:

    Yeah, work-related injuries do suck and are painful. I spent two years recovering from a rather (it seemed at the time) slight accident, but when they really dug into the physical issues it was causing me, a supposed two-hour surgery turned into six (they had to dig bone shards out of my spinal cord.) Now I walk with a cane much of the time, as other things reared there ugly heads in the time since.

    So, I seem to be mostly retired, at age 48. Nice, if you can work it out.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I’m reminded of the “Hey Mon” sketches from In Living Color. “Only got one job?!?”

    I went from working a bellhop job on Saturdays (from 11 to 3!) to… oh, jeez. Retail work in a toy store, dishwashing, mopping floors at a college cafeteria, and all sorts of crappy min wage jobs through My First Real Job With Actual Benefits. According to this, I’ve been in the workplace for only 3 recessions (I honestly thought that there’d have been more) and I am a *LOT* more recession-shy than the new kids we hire at work. (I hoard my vacation like I expect to be laid off/outsourced next month. They don’t.)

    I hope that, now, I have the job I’ll retire from.

    But when I was a kid, most of the grownups I knew had jobs that they thought they’d retire from and the guy who knew he wasn’t going to retire from his job was somewhere between severely underemployed and eccentric.

    We’re moving from a high-trust labor force to a weird copy of the one in 1984. Proletarian, lower party, and upper party.

    As a member of the lower party who started in the proles…

    Ah, I digress.

    Good essay.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Wait, not in the proles. Among the proles.

      When I worked in the retail jobs and restaurant jobs, I noticed that I was surrounded by two groups of people:

      1. People who wouldn’t be doing this in 10 years
      2. People who would be doing this in 10 years

      I was always the former.Report

    • DW Dalrymple in reply to Jaybird says:

      When I was in jr high the teachers used to get bent out of shape because they knew anyone could walk into the mill and make twice as much as a teacher with ZERO education. That was true for decades. By the time I got to high school that wasn’t the case anymore. Those days are long gone.

      Thanks for reading.Report

  4. JoeSal says:

    Kids who mow lawns for profit at 11-12 years old appear to value sweat equity.

    The long march out of Taylorism has a way to go.

    Few realize what it is like working in sheet metal shops, it’s like living in a house with couch sized (or longer) razors coming and going at random.

    Good stuff.Report

    • DW Dalrymple in reply to JoeSal says:

      I wanted a new ten-speed, that was my main motivation. With all the hills around here it opened up a whole new world as a kid by expanding my range! Haha

      Thanks for reading.Report

  5. atomickristin says:

    I really really enjoyed this. I’ve worked all kinds of jobs too (including shit jobs, literally) and I wouldn’t trade any of them. Thanks for writing it.Report

  6. Chip Daniels says:

    I think I need a cigarette.Report

  7. Frank Benlin says:

    > The holiday was envisioned as a day to re-acquaint with each other after the kids have returned to school

    Completely missing the point, in many places children don’t back to school until after Labor Day in order to protect the tourist season.Report

  8. DW Dalrymple says:

    Interesting perspective. Easter is not supposed to be about a rabbit either…. go figure. Thanks for reading.Report

  9. Frank Benlin says:

    It’s funny how there are 24 responses yet only 21 comments.

    The discrepancy is because there was a very lengthy (yet interesting) comment about the history of Labor Day and how it was really Labor Union Day. Both Chip and I replied, and now all 3 comments are gone.

    Why did this happen?Report

    • It was removed by me. While it went into a lengthy comment that had points perhaps worthy of discussion, it started with an entire paragraph that hinted and impugned the motives and indeed questioned the ability of the author to write about the topics in the piece, most of which were his own experiences. The former – rigorous and tough challenging of the ideas and premises of articles – is fine. The latter – as is the long standing policy here of not attacking the writers personally – is not. If that individual wants to try again without getting personal about the author themselves they are free to do so.Report