Tag Archives: friends

Jill of All Trades


Every once in a while, someone asks, “What did you do before you became a writer?”.  I seldom participate in these conversations, because I’ve always been a writer.

Now, if you want to know the jobs I’ve worked other than as a writer, well, that’s a different kettle of fish.

So, for fun, here is the list of all the jobs (or at least one ones I remember) I’ve held since I’ve been old enough to have the Feds and the state pick my pocket…er…I mean earn a paycheck.

  • Babysitter
  • Waitress
  • Tour guide for Victorian homes
  • Assembly line worker (lawn mowers)
  • Assembly line worker (food processing plant)
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Teacher
  • Tutor
  • Maintenance worker
  • Hotel Maid
  • Check Processor (ran the machine that recorded bank transactions for the day)
  • Check Processor (hand-checked daily credit transactions)
  • USDA Compliance Agent (I went around to grocery stores who applied to accept food stamps and made sure they qualified. This actually was one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had.)
  • Proposal Writer
  • DSL Tech Support
  • Cable Tech Support
  • Computer Tech Support
  • Telemarketer
  • Small Business Startup Consultant (still do this now)
  • Hat/Coat Check
  • Receptionist
  • Telephone operator
  • Dispatcher
  • Bookkeeper
  • Cashier
  • Vacuum cleaner Salesperson
  • Retail
  • RL Polk Surveyer
  • Telephone book delivery
  • Jewelry designer

Those are the jobs I remember off the top of my head. I didn’t count the 3 hours I worked at Wendy’s. Didn’t seem fair. I also did not count the five years of being a Candy Striper or nine years as a chat host on AOL, though both of those volunteer positions took up WAY more time than any volunteer position should (but I loved every minute of both!).

What all this work experience has done is give me plenty of fodder for my writing. I also met some very interesting people along the way, some of whom I am still friends with now. I also learned that, even in jobs where you think you aren’t learning anything practical, you come away from the job with a new skill set. For example, I know how to remove the core from a head of lettuce without slicing it, can tell you what every number on the bottom of a check stands for and the materials in a stained glass window.

So, I’m a Jill-Of-All-Trades, Master of Some, but learner from them all.

So, what interesting jobs have you held, and what lessons did you learn?

 

 

 

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I’m A Writer?


On an almost daily basis, someone asks me the following:

“When did you become a writer?”

“Why did you become a writer?”

“When did you know you wanted to be a writer?”

“How did you become a writer?”

I don’t think I’ve ever asked a doctor or a lawyer when, why or how they decided to enter their professions. Didn’t ask my mechanic the last time he fixed my car (though, in hindsight, considering what he charged me, I should have!), nor have I asked my hairdresser, cop buddy or my mother who is a retired nurse any of these questions.

However, all of the specific people I mentioned above (read: Hi, Mom!) have asked me repeatedly. And if they have asked, I’m sure many others have wondered.

So, with that in mind, here is when, why and how I became a writer.

The short answer: I don’t know. It just happened.

Seriously.

Sure, I could lie and say I had some great epiphany while walking in the forest, or near the ocean or in the desert, but it wasn’t a spiritual revelation.

I’ve always liked to write. I wrote my first short story when I was six, received my first writing award when I was seven and won my first writing competition when I was eight. Teachers constantly commented on my writing abilities. The term Gifted Writer was all but tattooed on my forehead. I rocked essay tests (to the chagrin to one high school history teacher  who thought giving an essay test was the ultimate way to humiliate his students), and while my college classmates were sweating coming up with a 10-page paper, I was striving to shave away the five extra pages I always seemed to have.

Outside of school, I wrote for fun. I finished my first novel when I was 12. I wrote a bit of poetry when I was in high school, and always kept a diary or journal.

But even with all that writing;  even after reading Master of the Game and The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank and wanting to write Just. Like. Them…

I still didn’t consider myself a writer.

Years passed. I still wrote, but mainly for myself. I because a business consultant, business teacher, and eventually a proposal writer.  But even when I had a job with “writer” in the title, I still didn’t consider myself a writer.

Even when I wrote a column for two publications and provided business articles for several others, I STILL didn’t consider myself a writer. Writing was still just something I did…

Then one day, about 4 years ago, I was hanging out with a group of friends, and someone I only knew in passing asked me what I did for a living. Before I could answer, another friend replied, “She’s a writer.”

My friend’s bestowal of the title kinda shocked me. I started to protest, but then my friend continued, telling the other friend about things I had published and what a great writer I was.  I was forced to smile and nod acknowledgement, even though it still felt like phony to me. Sure, I wrote for a living, but in my head, I wasn’t a writer.

A few weeks later as I was preparing to back up my hard drive, I opened my “Documents” folder.

I had over 1,000 documents that I had written. Papers, articles, business plans and other writing projects I had completed, in folder upon folder.

That’s when it hit me. I might not believe my own press, but my friend’s pronouncement of me as a writer combined with a vast array of documents I had actually written could not be denied.

I was a writer.

And I’ve been one ever since.

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