"I'd like to know all the jobs you had before becoming the master of junk."
All of them? Well, I'd better get started, since this is going to be a long post. (I don't really consider myself to be a "master" of junk. Most of the time, I hardly feel like I know what I'm doing!)
The first time I remember being paid for doing a job for someone else happened when I was about fifteen or sixteen. After my parents divorced, we moved to a different city for a while and lived in a basement apartment. I don't remember why, but our apartment flooded, along with the one next door to us. The landlord paid my brother and me to clean the carpets after the repairs were made.
Not long after that, I started mowing the lawn for a woman who worked with my mother.
The college I went to required that all students work a campus job at least ten hours a week. I worked a variety of jobs throughout my college career--the dishroom in the cafeteria, janitor for the Baptist Student Union, the children's room in the library, teaching assistant in the Spanish department, the direct mail department of the fundraising office, grader in the Basic Math program, and finally student instructor in the Basic Math program.
After graduation, I moved to Louisville to attend seminary. I did one night as a banquet server for a temp service, but pretty much realized it was not for me. I worked in the produce department of a large Kroger for a while. I would come in at five in the morning and core pineapples. I worked in a bookstore for a while, but it went out of business. I worked as a janitor on campus, then took a job at Lowes as a cashier. I held both of those jobs for a while.
It was around this time I met Keith. He helped me get on at the homeless shelter where he worked. I was the overnight guy there for the longest time, working the graveyard shift. At the end of my shift, I would get everyone up for breakfast. We both worked there for a while, then we both went to work for state as Food Stamp and AFDC workers. At the same time, I moved from the homeless shelter to become resident manager of a transitional housing program.
Somewhere around here, I also started working in the nursery at my church as a paid worker. I did that on and off for several years. One Christmas, I was a mall Santa.
I left the state job after three years, realizing that I was burning out massively. I cleaned houses for a while after that, then worked in a friend's print and design shop. After that, I worked for an agency that placed adults with mental handicaps in factories and other job sites. I served as a crew leader/supervisor for groups of workers. I thought I'd be working there for a while, but I was offered a job at a local agency to do HIV/AIDS education and prevention services.
The director who hired me left, and the new director got rid of many current staff members, including me. However, the old director hired me at his new agency to design and implement HIV training programs for agencies that served the homeless. I went from there to a statewide agency that worked with housing and homeless agencies. That job required a daily commute to the state capital, which wasn't any fun.
The commute finally did me in, and I went to work for the county government in staff development and training for the social services department. The city and county governments merged, but I stayed on there for nine years, until I was fired in the midst of a huge department upheaval.
I had been working in the adult continuing education program of the school system teaching computer programs on the side, so I continued to do that and picked up some extra hours there. I worked a couple of external contracts for them teaching more computer classes. I moved over to the basic education side of the program and taught math classes to adults looking to get their GED until I left that earlier this year.
And that's my checkered employment history. Next time, I'll get to Linda's question and talk about where the junker evolved out of this.