Jobs I’ve Had

  • Advertising Time Buyer (Radio and Television–and sometime Account Executive, Production Assistant, Copywriter.  We did direct response: “Send $9.95 by midnight tonight”)
  • Barista (though I owned the cafe)
  • Beer Puller (“Bartender” would be too classy for that one)
  • Car Salesman (Datsuns… remember them?)
  • Cemetery Custodian (Buried Montgomery Clift’s mother)
  • Copyboy (During Watergate… now that was fun)
  • Deliveryman (On a number of occasions)
  • Dishwasher (In one place, even made Chief Dishwasher–whoo-wee!)
  • Editor (Dissertations, fiction, non-fiction, books, monthlies… oh, who knows?)
  • Educational Counselor (Don’t ask)
  • 4-H Organizer and Bicycle Safety Demonstrator (“Benny the Talking Bike”–I’d say “Don’t ask,” but used that up already)
  • Freelance Writer (Kids, don’t try this without supervision)
  • Garage Worker (Some mechanical work, general dogsbody)
  • Gas-Station Attendant (Nights along Rt. 80 in Iowa can be a little odd)
  • Grounds Crew (Cutting grass, scraping bleachers, and much else for a small college in Michigan one summer)
  • High-School Teacher (Private schools, both Quaker… one a boarding school)
  • Inventory Control, Domestic Purchasing, and Domestic Traffic Coordinator (A thankless job)
  • Janitor (My wife doesn’t believe I was ever paid to clean things, but I was… and more than once)
  • Packaging-Machine Cleaner (Haven’t eaten a Cheese Doodle since)
  • Paperboy (As a poor grad student?  Well, work for them’s what needs it)
  • Parts Clerk (Auto dealership: the guy sitting next to me smoked five packs of Kents, each shift)
  • Peace Corps Volunteer (Working with oxen in agriculture and with reforestation projects)
  • Poolroom Supervisor (Not what it sounds like)
  • Printer (And Printer’s Devil)
  • Professor (I never would have believed that one)
  • Retail Clerk (In my own store, among other places)
  • Reporter (Once, for a short time, for a daily newspaper.  Didn’t like that much.  Writing for an environmental monthly proved more satisfying)
  • Shopkeeper (Running a store is much more than clerking)
  • Short-Order Cook (Served Marvin Gaye and his band at closing one night)
  • Shredder Operator (Industrial Size, for a Junkyard)
  • Sink Maker (Well, I drilled the overflow holes)
  • Sno-Cone Machine Operator (At Woolworth’s)
  • Supermarket Bagboy and Stocker (Are there still IGA’s?)
  • Temporary Office Help (Being able to type 80 wpm got me through any number of periods of unemployment)
  • Tutor (“Yes,” I would say, “you can write, kid”)
There are probably more, but who’s counting?

2 thoughts on “Jobs I’ve Had

  1. Oh the shame, the shame of all the literary lemmings who follow each other into the C, now inflated into an A. I think of all my criticism of students is that they are not courageous thinkers and/or outrageous thinkers and doers. How can they be? Look at their leaders: salespeople at the helm of the academy; salespeople in the corner offices. They know not greatness, but market force.

    BTW: I include mortician's assistant on the jobs I've had. I learned embalming by doing, hands on. Perhaps the best preparation I could have for my present position as an academic.

    Ah, it's Halloween night, but it's our daytime occupations that have become the scariest justifying what Shor made clear cannot be justified.


  2. You remind me of Richard Armour, who wrote how, because he realized that peace was dead, President Kennedy established the Peace Corpse and assigned a military man, Sergeant Shriver, to maintain it. Maybe we need more morticians in academia….


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