Do you remember your very first job?
What about your worst and best jobs?
As most girls who were twelve years old, my very first paying job was being a babysitter. I’d have the honor of caring for anyone from newborns to kids who wrote on walls with crayon. They were under my short tut-ledge for a mere $4.00 an hour. I would slowly brainwash their little minds into starting bad habits like leaving the toilet seat up and teaching them how to belch the A-B-C’s; slowing moving onto the next family.
My least favorite job was working as an Admin Assistant for a trailer rental company. These were trailers that would be brought to construction sites and left on site. Eventually, they would be brought back where we would have to tear down the inside spec build and rebuild it based on the next client’s spec needs. It was my first job interview after being home for almost two years with my son. Since I had been out of circulation for awhile, I really wasn’t sure if my existing skills were still up to snuff, so to speak. The job sounded great from the ad, and I took the interview while I had pink eye and strep throat at the same time. I was kind enough to not shake hands, and explain why — if they hadn’t already figured it out by my “Bob Costas” makeup job.
Unfortunately, I got the job. The atmosphere in the place was very cold, and I don’t mean by temperature. There were three other women that worked in the office along with a few sales people. The sales people were very good to work for. However, the women were extremely territorial and would get offensive if I asked if I could take on any additional work. It appeared to me very quickly that I was overqualified for the job and unintentionally shoving myself into other women’s job descriptions. The job itself was pretty mundane. The only exception was when I was allowed to tear down trailers with a sledgehammer for two weeks.
I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is to tear down walls and 2×4’s with a sledgehammer; using a crowbar to strip away trim. I would also climb on top of the trailers to hammer in aluminum on the roofs. After about six months at that job, I had had enough of the drama (and sinus infections from all the trailer dust), and left for a web development company.
I think my best job was my longest held job. Let’s face it — I think the longer you are at a job, the higher the risk that it would be the best job you’ve ever had. I mean, why would you stay there that long unless you were forced to? Last time I checked, we didn’t live under socialism.
Tellabs started out as a contracted position. I was given the position at the time when the telecom industry was thriving from the upsurge of the wireless industry. They were probably hiring at least 500 people monthly on a world wide basis in order to keep up with the demand for their products. As a Project Manager (they called them Project Engineers back then), I was assigned a certain customer and had to make sure that all of the people working on a specific project kept to their timelines, troubleshot any unforeseen obstacles, provided customer service to the client, etc.
The job was like second nature to me. I loved it and gained many friends and a wealth of experience during my tenure. And, as with any particular job that you’ve worked at for a number of years, you are bound to encounter obstacles. Those obstacles were in the form of lay-offs after 9/11.
I think most people who were working in any type of industry saw a drop in the economy after that tragic and historic event which changed the way we live today. I survived at least ten layoffs by my count, but through the good-byes and new hello’s, I weathered the storm until April of 2008 when I decided to leave Tellabs and pursue my dream of owning my own business.
I knew I was going to miss the people and the dozens of stories we could re-tell with hilarity and a good dose of sarcasm. Crap, these people were 80% of my life for ten years. Some of them are like family. But, the creativity in me was screaming to jump out of my skin.
I left complacency behind for the uncertainty that lay ahead.
I made the right choice. But, there are times when I wish when I turned my chair around I would see my old cube-mate, Jodi. I would complain to her about the guy on the conference call that we would be on — he wouldn’t stop coughing and wheezing. We’d put the phone on mute and make jokes while a conference call was taking place. I’d make fun of her banging on the keyboard with her acrylic fingernails — it sounded like she was finely chopping onions with the precision of Ron Popeil’s Chop-O-Matic.
We had chair races down the hallways when nobody was looking, and we would always celebrate everyone’s birthdays. We had code names for people who were coming down the hall — consider it our home made version of the “Bad Weather Alert System” — and Jodi would give me all the “dirt” that went on in the office, because I was always the last to know.
We were completely, without a shadow of a doubt, exceptionally professional.
Best. Job. Ever.