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Temping and Other Odd Jobs

I took a temp job last week, to help fill my summer days (and my summer bank account). I’ve done substitute teaching and temping a few times over the years. It’s a good way to gain different experience and, well, extra cash is always good.

I’ve had a variety of jobs in my lifetime. My first actual paying, (and Social Security deducting) job was as an extra in a movie when I was in Kindergarten. I don’t remember much, except being fitted for costumes, eating lunch cafeteria style and sitting on a bus waiting for my fifteen seconds of fame. I don’t even know if I made it into the final cut of the film. But I earned $20 towards my SS/Medicare income. It shows up on my annual statement, followed by a large employment gap.

My next real job was at the movie theater. I guess I had a theme of the entertainment industry. I made popcorn and sold tickets for minimum wage. But I did get to see the middle of a lot of movies.

I also worked at a casino. I made sandwiches and salads for the coffee shop and room service. I once made a sandwich for Wayne Newton. True story. I also saw Dean Martin in the hallway. I learned how to make fresh squeezed orange juice and chef salads.

I moved on to college and got a job at the mall. I let a very pregnant Mare Winningham use the employee restroom and learned the proper way to fold Levi’s. But I couldn’t get enough hours and had to miss a lot of football games, so I moved on to bigger and better things.

That’s right. I got a job at McDonalds. I was the drive through girl. And no, I never asked if anyone wanted fries with that. I did have someone order a Big Mac, no bun. This was long before the low-carb craze was in. It turned out, he was just getting it for his dog. It wasn’t all that bad, I got half price meals during my shift and worked enough hours to pay my rent and didn’t have to work Friday or Saturday. It got me through my first semester of college until my financial aid was approved.

I worked at a preschool for about a year. Since I was studying to become a teacher, it was really good experience. There are a few little cherubs I will always remember and a couple I can’t ever forget.

The best jobs I had in college were the on-campus jobs. I worked in the Financial Aid Office as part of my work study program. The best part was helping students find jobs. The worst part was covering for the main receptionist, fielding phone calls from angry students about why their financial aid had been denied.

I also worked at the campus bookstore. Best. Job. Ever. I got to handle books every day. Mostly textbooks, but hey, it was the printed word. And a few calculus equations, and anatomy diagrams. I worked around my class schedule and my boyfriend at the time (fiancé by the last semester) worked there too. We were super busy at the beginning of the semesters, and again at textbook buyback (not our call as to what you get back on your books, don’t get mad at the poor student workers). We also got a discount on books and clothing. And, we formed a co-ed softball team. I still have the jersey, but it’s pretty ratty by now.

I’ve worked as a nanny, afterschool day care, and substitute teacher. I taught Kindergarten through sixth grade before “retiring” with the birth of my second child.

I took temp jobs, doing everything from receptionist to checking sodas for expiration dates to data entry. One of the more interesting temp jobs was invoice matching for the hospital. I had to make sure everything from copy paper and rubber gloves to breast implants and cadaver bones were in fact delivered to the proper department before they were submitted to accounting for payment.

I’ve also worked as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk.

My current day job is as a Para Educator (teacher’s aide) and Yard Duty. I enjoy being on the support staff of the elementary school where my kids went. In a lot of ways it’s like being a grandparent. I get the joy of helping young people learn and grow, but with not as much of the responsibility. Plus, I have time and energy left over for my real passion–writing.

As a writer, every job I’ve ever held had given me experience I may someday need to use. And everything else, I just make up.

Just about the only job I haven’t done is modeling. Maybe it’s because I am only photogenic from the back? Or at least, my husband only takes pictures of me from behind.

So, what kind of jobs have you held? What’s the strangest? Most fun? Worst job you’ve ever held?



Author of Contemporary Romance. Wife. Mother. Educator. Sports fan. And I once trained to be a model, but I don't look like one. Most days I don't even wear makeup.

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