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Monday, August 29, 2016

My First Seven Jobs

About three weeks ago, Pickleope wrote about his first seven jobs. It got me to thinking about all the jobs I had before my forced retirement. His list was quite interesting. Giving insight into a different world than mine. So now I have thought about it and won the argument with my other personalities  and decided to unleash my first seven jobs on my blog.

Babysitter: When I first embarked into the tough world of  money-grubber, (by the way, if you Google the word "money-grubber", Trump's name comes up in the list of results. I shit you not!)my mom and dad were the ones that got me started in the business. We were stationed in Germany, I was twelve at the time and my mom got me a job through her friend who needed someone to watch her two kids when she went to the PX and Commissary. For all you non-military out there a PX is basically an on-post military small style Walmart, without the grocery section. A Commissary is a large grocery store for military personnel only.

Anywho, I was asked to watch her two kids for a couple of hours a month for 50 cents an hour. It wasn't a hard job. It was nice to read and play games for a while and get paid for it. After a while, word got out that there was a babysitter on -post for 50 cents an hour. I had more work than I could handle.

Wire-wrapper, Repair Operator:  I put in my application and was called three days later to show up for classes. The company was going to teach me to wire wrap and solder for a few days and then put me on the"floor" to work. I was so excited because this was my first real job. When I finally got on the work line, I was put in the first slot which started the assembly line. I was so fast at wire wrapping that the other girls were complaining so they moved me to the last step on the line which was to wire wrap a color coded wire harness to the board before it went off to testing. I was so fast at that, that I started repairing the failed wired boards. The supervisor saw this one day and decided they needed a repair operator to fix tested boards before they go on to another department.

So I was given the job of repair operator because I was fast and knowledgeable in electronics. The work was hard but rewarding.

Photograph Processor: I started working nights at a photo processing plant. You know, when you used to send in your negatives to have them enlarged or just wanted your film role developed and processed. I was one of the workers who cut your developed pictures from a spool with the negatives and stuffed them into your designated envelope and then into a basket to be taken to the various places around town for you to pick up and wonder why the top of your Uncle Joe's head got the top lopped off in all your bad pictures that you took over summer vacation at the lake.

I wasn't a hard job. It was just so fucking boring. Just match up the pictures with the negatives. Once in a while, we would have to wake up one of the girls who fell asleep at her machine and then stop your  cutting machine to go help get her envelopes straightened out. So many times that happened, even to me once and we somehow made it through the night. Sometimes we had to notify the FBI and the police if a role of child porn was developed and processed and we just happened to catch it.

Switch Manufacturing: I got a job at a switch manufacturing plant. Basically, I worked in a factory assembling flip, toggle, and three-way wall switches. The job was based on speed and you got paid according to how fast you could go. I was pretty good but as the months passed my arm was giving me trouble because it was a highly repetitive job. Thus it was a lot of wear and tear on my shoulder joints. It was also a nasty job because it required the use of a grease agent for the switch to move inside its housing. The grease was corrosive to the skin and my complaint about it lead to the girls wearing gloves. A very easy but boring job.

In between jobs I had to quit working in the manufacturing field due to injuries and surguries on my right shoulder. I decided to go to college to be able to work in the medical world. I had money that I saved so I took classes that would get me into either the nursing or laboratory tech field. it was two years of prep and then two years in the program. I found out through my school counselors that there was a five-year waiting list just to get into the nursing program. So when I got the letter from the MLT program in my second year of prep, I jumped at the chance and took it. The funny thing that happened after I was accepted, I got the letter from the nursing program.

Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT):  I was hired shortly after passing the national exam for MLT. I was given the job as a generalist MLT at the hospital where one of my professors just happened to work. Lucky me. Now a generalist means you are able to do any job as needed in the lab. In a hospital lab there are many jobs that I do and as a generalist, I had to be proficient in all of them. They are phlebotomy, hematology, blood bank, serology, urinalysis, chemistry, special chemistry, and microbiology. I had to learn all the machines inside and out, how to fix them, clean them and perform quality control, and calibrate when needed. In dealing with patients,I had to learn patient care. I had to remember JCAHO, OSHA, and HIPAA rules and regulations because we were tested yearly.

I started out working day shift for two weeks until I was familiar with everything in the lab and then moved to evening shift and occasionally weekend nights and holidays. I was on call at least one week out of each month.

Medical Lab Tech (MLT) - New Location: This was basically the same job as my last, only I changed cities because I got married. I was still a generalist but my work schedule was nights 10:30 pm 2:30 in the afternoon to 7:00 a.m. the next morning. Monday thru Friday. My partner and I didn't have to work weekends or be on call.

I worked hematology, serology, urinalysis, and blood bank while my partner for the night would work the chemistry side and microbiology. It was fun because we had no supervisor looking over our shoulder. We did our patient samples and then at midnight cleaned and performed quality controls and sometimes calibrations on all our machines. We were responsible for doing this every night and it lasted for two hours unless we had a machine break down, then it was both of us trying to fix it and get it running and passing QC before the morning run*. Sometimes we would be on a machine for hours.

 We were also part of the floor watch team. If someone abducted a baby we would have to leave the lab and be on the lookout for anyone coming from the stairs or elevators. My favorite time was spent in ER talking with the nurses and doctors when there was no work to do. Making friends in the hospital was a good thing especially if you didn't feel good during the night shift. It meant free care.

* Morning run - was when the phlebotomist went up onto the floors to collect blood samples from patients after the nurses put in the orders.

The orders would come to us through our computers and the phlebs (fleebs), usually two of them at 2:30 am, would put them in order according to room numbers and floors. Then divide them all up between themselves and at 3:30, grab their gear of tubes, tourniquets, alcohol pads, and needles and the patient labels to collect blood from designated patients. Sometimes if the phlebotomist had trouble collecting a blood sample from a patient, we would have to go and try our luck.

I eventually had to retire from my final job because of health issues with my back and knees. I only had six jobs in my life so far, unless you count housewife.

 Now if you want to shed some light on what kind of work you did in your first seven jobs, then please enlighten everyone. This was fun to do and it gave me something to blog about. I encourage you to do the same.


  1. I'm not surprised to hear you were so quick and competent at your various jobs! Too bad health issues came to plague you. Your comment about baby abduction intrigues me -- did that happen a lot at the hospital you worked at?

    1. No one ever tried to take a baby while on my watch. There were a lot of times that the nurses forgot to take the alarm bands off of the babies before going home with mom and dad, thus setting off alarms which made us run like hell. But, no. Never an abduction of a child.

  2. Wait, you had to start work at 2:30 pm and work until 7 am!?! That's not a shift, that's a lifestyle. Also, when I was growing up, I wanted to be a photo processor, sorting through people's memories and secrets. Alas, it never came to be, but I guess, from reading your recounting it looks like I dodged a bullet of boredom. I'm happy to have inspired a post.

    1. SORRY, my mistake. I crossed out the 2:30 and put 10:30 pm. I didn't get much sleep last night.

  3. I have had some real shit jobs. Donkey work. Military, where I was paid $65.00 extra a month for hazardous duty pay in Vietnam. Teaching; which would have been all right if all the students were orphans. I always worked for the money and it sucked.
    I served my time in the barrel and I like where I am now.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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