Monday, August 15, 2011

The Ghosts of Jobs Past - Part 3

The Accounting Department
As odd as it seems, when I went to high school in the late 1970s, college didn’t seem all that important.  Instead of taking a lot of college prep courses, I’d taken half day data processing classes at the brand new vocational school our district had opened.  I remember the counselor trying to talk me out of going to the career prep center.  She tried to lead me to a more academic path, but I knew that what I wanted was a job and computers sounded like fun and they also sounded like a path to a job, so I stuck to my guns and went to vocational school.      
I am the oldest in a family with seven kids, and I knew that if I’d had a plan for my life and really wanted to go to college, my folks would have done what they could to help.  I also understood that since I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, college seemed like a waste of time and money.  I’d earned some cash in high school and I really liked the freedom that came with having my own money.  I didn’t really mind the responsibilities that came with it either, so after two years of training in data processing, I graduated from high school and my computer teacher kindly recommended me for a job in the accounting department of a local trucking company, and I entered the full time workforce.
Since I was still living at home and I had a cheap but dependable used car, I was able to spend a lot of my earnings on myself.  I bought clothes and tickets to concerts, I went on trips, paid my own car insurance, had a blast, but really had nothing to show for it.  I am glad I had that time when the stakes were relatively low and I could make mistakes with little consequence and was able to get a lot of dumb ideas out of my system. 
All the time I was working I noticed something about a lot of the people, particularly the women, I worked with.  Most of them were not that much older than I was, but most of them seemed so defeated.  It wasn’t just one kind of person who fell into this category, but almost everyone seemed miserable.  I still don’t know if they felt trapped by their circumstances or if the were just profoundly unhappy, but for the first time I took a good hard look at my future and decided that I needed a better plan for my life. 
Luckily too, a lot of my friends did start college right out of high school.  None of my friends went away to school, but there were two good universities and a community college all within an easy commute from our homes, so they all worked part time and went to school full time.  I wasn’t ready to quit my job, but I did decide to start taking basic classes at the community college in anticipation of going to college full time once I decided on a plan. 
I worked at that trucking company for about two years, and learned that sometimes the best thing a job can teach you is what you DON’T want to do with your life.  Sometimes a job can give you a place to take a break and gather some resources to make the next big leap.  Lest you think everything about that job was terrible, one of my coworkers set me up on a blind date with her fiancée’s divorced buddy.  I went out with him a few weeks before I moved away to go to film school, ended up dating him for eight years, and we’ve been married for over twenty five years.  All in all, it was not a bad deal, if I do say so myself.
The Butcher


  1. Hey! Stumbled upon your blog link on Upcyclers—your blog name captured my attention right away. I liked your writing style and decided to follow you after reading just one post. That's unusual for picky little me.

    Since you're on the Upcyclers team you must have an etsy shop, but I don't see a link to it here. What's your shop name?

  2. Welcome! I am honored to make the cut. My etsy shop is SockMonkeysAndBacon and I have a link to it on my page about me titled "The Butcher" at the top of the blog. Unfortunately my etsy shop is not especially well kept right now, but as the weather cools down and people come back inside, I'll be listing more.
    I wandered around your shop and the pjs are really lovely.