She Worked Hard for the Money

As I continue to look for work, and go on interviews, I’ve been thinking a lot about the jobs I have had through the years. I worked at NILS Publishing for 22 years, working my way from Assistant Editor, to Director of Editorial Production. And another 6 years at Kaiser Permanente, as a Managing Editor/Communications Manager. But even though those jobs covered a significant portion of my life, they are not the only jobs I have had. Here’s a little stroll down job memory lane, as best as I can recall, in chronological order.

Salesgirl, Michael’s Resort Wear. My first job. I was 15 and lied about my age. The store sold muumuus to cruise-bound old ladies, and bejeweled sandals. One of the owners had been a Gidget, apparently the highlight of her life. This was at Northridge Mall, but within a couple of months, they had closed down this location, fired everyone but me, and made me manager of the other store in Fallbrook Square. What were they thinking?

Drench a Wench, Renaissance Faire. I was 16! I would sit on a bale of hay, with other scantily clad wenches. Drunken men would throw sponges at us, and if they hit us, we would have to kiss them. Oh, the 70’s! Probably my most scandalous job, what were my PARENTS thinking to let me do this? Oh yeah, they didn’t know!

Store Clerk, The Genie. Lasted 3 days. Enough said.

Nanny to infant and three year old boy, private home. Ugh!

Messenger Clerk, Chatsworth Public Library. This was the job that essentially put me through college. I loved it! Working in a library was a dream come true, shelving books, repairing books, putting on puppet shows, and occasionally, getting to work the front desk. First crack at any new book that came in, unless it was on reserve. Did I mention I loved this job? And when I left, my sister took over for me.

Production Assistant, Unnamed Production Company. I don’t remember much about this job, except that the owner, who was a friend of my parents, was going through a divorce and midlife crisis and was very unhappy. This made for very unhappy days.

Administrative Job, Other Unnamed Production Company. This was a temp job, which turned out to be VERY temp. The first day on the job, I was warned not to lock the bathroom door, as it was broken. I forgot, and they had to break down the door. I was not asked back.

Copy Technician, Teledyne. My grandfather worked there. For a summer, any time a copier broke down or needed toner or paper, I would have to put on a white lab coat and go fix it. This was after I had quit the library job to go to Europe. Fortunately when summer was over, they rehired me.

Catering Lackey, various companies. My first experience was working for a kosher catering company, at a wedding. They did something called French Service, where you held the heavy, hot platter full of food on your left arm, and served with your right hand. The vegetable course included potato balls, which turned into missiles in my clumsy hands. After the potatoes projectiled off of a bridesmaid, I was retired to the kitchen. The catering gigs were as varied as birthday parties for spoiled children, to bar mitzvahs, to lovely wedding receptions. It was super hard work, but great money. This was during my early years at NILS, where I desperately needed to supplement my income.

I’ve never been afraid of hard work, or doing what it takes to get the job done. I would come home from the catering jobs filthy and exhausted, and never wanting to see another Rumaki appetizer as long as I lived. The next weekend, I would put on my little tuxedo shirt and bow tie, and do it all over again. At NILS, when they still owned a printing facility, we would be called on from time to time to help out. I loved working the shrink wrap machine and drilling holes in the loose-leaf pages! I’m excited to see what the next position brings me. It probably won’t involve sitting on a bale of hay, or projectile potato balls, but it is sure to be an exciting adventure all the same.
The end, for now


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