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My First Job(s)

Linking up with Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday...First Jobs

When I was in 8th grade my family moved to Syracuse, NY and my dad went back to school to get his Masters in Journalism.  He got a small two-bedroom apartment in married students' housing.  My sister and I shared a very small bedroom and when my brother came home from college for Christmas he slept on the pull-out couch in the living room.  The great thing, though, about living in married student housing was that almost all the other families had little kids.  And little kids need baby-sitters.  Our apartment block had eight apartments and it faced another building of eight apartments.  My parents would only let us babysit in those two blocks, but that gave us a job many weekends.  That was when I learned to not read stories about Jack the Ripper late at night when you're alone in an apartment responsible for somebody else's kids!  This is a picture of our family when we lived in Syracuse.  It's not great quality, but it's all I've got.  I'm the blonde and we won't talk about my sense of fashion.

From there we moved to Colorado and for three summers I worked with Child Evangelism Fellowship teaching Five Day Clubs.  If I remember right, we had to raise our own support.  At the beginning of the summer we would go to a Bible college campus in the foothills, but I can't remember what the college was called.  We had a week of training where we learned how to tell the stories, how to lead a child to Christ, and about our own spiritual growth.  Then during the summer teams of two to three young people would teach Five Day Clubs in the homes or backyards of people.  Think of VBS come to your house.  We usually did four a day, so they were pretty busy days.  One summer my sister and I spent the summer in Durango, CO and taught clubs there.  Here's a picture of my sister and I with a friend during summer training.

My first real for-pay job was a couple of hours a day my senior year.  I rode the bus into downtown Denver every day and was a file clerk at the Social Security Administration.  I did a lot of filing and some errand running.  

I had fulfilled all my requirements to graduate by December, so I got a full time job the second semester of my senior year. My sister-in-law worked at GEICO and told me there were openings there.  So I became a check typist at GEFCO which shared a building with and had the same parent company as GEICO. 

This building has since been torn down.
 GEFCO stood for Government Employees Financial Corporation and GEICO was Government Employees Insurance Corporation.  We mostly provided banking and insurance services for military personnel.  And what I did all day was type checks.  But it was good money.  We had reviews every three months which, if positive, resulted in a raise.  There was a lot of motivation to increase productivity and to move up in the company.

And then it was off to Cedarville University (College back then).
 My first two years I lived with my great aunt just across the street from campus.  I had a job cleaning late at night, but my aunt would not be able to sleep until she knew I was home and she had to get up early to go to work.  So I asked about the possibility of another job and landed a job as evening receptionist at the Campus Medical Clinic.

Cedarville's Campus Medical Clinic in 1980.  This building is no longer in existence.

 I had that job all four years and enjoyed it.  The nurses I worked with were great and things were pretty slow in the evenings.  We mostly had athletes coming in to use the whirlpool, etc.  

After college my first job was teaching in a small Christian school in Morganton, NC.  I have pictures somewhere, but don't seem to have any on this computer.  This was culture shock for me, for sure!  I went from the constant intellectual stimulation of university to a pretty redneck area.  I was complaining to a college friend of mine on the phone one night and he told me, "There are things to learn from everybody.  Just because people are different doesn't make you better.  Try to learn what you can."  That was some of the best advice I've ever received!  My class had 15 boys and 5 girls.  I came in late in October  and was already the third teacher.  I learned a lot about classroom discipline and management that year, but I sure did love that crew of kids.  I also learned that the five girls could cause a whole lot more trouble than the 15 boys!  I mentioned culture shock.... I had a very bad non-Southern habit.  I should have known better from visiting my cousins in Texas, but "ma'am" and "sir" were not part of my vocabulary.  The principal called me to his office one day and said, "I understand you have some discipline issues in your class and that you allow the kids to speak disrespectfully to you."  I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained, "You must require them to call you 'ma'am'.  Furthermore, you are disrespectful towards me in that you don't call me 'sir'."  By the end of the first semester I was as good as any southerner in my proper use of "ma'am" and "sir"!  I shared an apartment with another teacher and we had the best landlord and landlady anybody could ever ask for.  They were truly our substitute parents who doted on us and took care of us.  And my friend was right, by the end of the year I had made friends and had learned to accept people who were different from me.
Me back when I was young and skinny.

From there I moved on to Africa, so that's a good point in my life to end this saga of my entry into the work world!


Reba said…
Wow! What an array of jobs! That is so funny about the "sir" and "ma'am" because nowadays, some people are offended when people call them "sir" or "ma'am."

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