50 Stories, Week 39: The Ride

Lately I’ve been thinking about the journey from where I began, when I was first able to grasp the concept of working for something, to where I am – having left my career mid-March (conveniently in line with a global pandemic) and about to embark on graduate school. Some people’s paths are clear from day one. Some people know what they want and how to go about getting it. I am not one of those people. I’m not even like an airplane – having a destination in mind, the wind moving me here and there as I course correct, eventually landing where I set out to all along. No, I am continually discovering what I want, being more specific, peeling back layers and not worrying so much about the destination. It’s not that I have faith I’ll arrive where I want to, but that I’ll be ok in getting there – no matter where there is. Because, as Buckaroo Banzai reminds us, no matter where you go, there you are

I digress.

So I thought if I wrote down all of the jobs I had, somehow it might become clear – this pattern, this connecting of the dots to get to where I am. Here is what I can recall, all the jobs I’ve had, in order, before I began my PR/communications career in 2003:

  1. Delivering newspapers w/my Dad before sunrise
  1. Babysitter to all the neighborhood kids
  1. Expediter in drive-thru at Burger King (I took this job so I could stand near Dan Ayotte who I was madly in love with.)
  1. Scooper at Hayward’s Ice Cream Stand (I took this job so I could both wear a short skirt and eat all the ice cream I wanted.)
  1. Cashier at sporting goods store 
  1. Cashier at International Fare, gourmet food store (they had Nashua’s first espresso machine so I was, in essence, Nashua’s first barista)
  1. Server at Charley’s Restaurant (where I met the sweetest man, Mike Anderson, and briefly contemplated throwing away my naive idea of moving to California. He took me sailing, come on!)
  1. Delivery driver at Domino’s Pizza on UNH campus (I have incredible empathy for all delivery people since this job. Handing out pizzas to drunk frat boys who ‘misplaced’ their cash is a job no one does willingly.)
  1. Server at Martha’s restaurant
  1. Assembly Line Worker, Overnight Shift at Sweetheart Plastics Company (I came back from living in California for a few months to get my head on straight(er) and my father drove me back and forth to my two red-eye jobs without complaint. He was the best.)
  1. Bakery assistant, Early Morning Shift at DeMoulas grocery store (this may have cemented my love of baked goods, but more importantly was the first time I understood the zen-like state of accomplishing something before dawn.)
  1. Server at Alpine Grove catering (I met another sweet young man named Jude who thought I was the smartest girl he’d ever met. I am forever grateful for his morale boosting.)
  1. Cashier at SeaWorld’s orca exhibit (this was short lived since I ended up protesting all that SeaWorld represented and lost the job.)
  1. Telemarketer at San Diego political non-profit (this was the job that always felt like it lasted 427 hours.)
  1. Cashier at shave ice stand, Mission Beach Boardwalk
  1. Topless dancer at Pure Platinum, gentlemen’s club (also short-lived because after a while of sitting down and listening to the broken hearts of the men who frequented my daytime shifts, I realized I wasn’t earning enough money to wear tassels.)
  1. Sex-ed instructor at Planned Parenthood, after-school program (I think I was paid in condoms and literature.)

18. Server at Grant’s Village, Yellowstone National Park

19. Nude model at SFSU Art Department

  1. Assistant at Nancy Hayes Casting agency (this was great training for life, watching people audition over and over again but not taking it personally when they weren’t chosen.)
  1. Assistant at Varitel video, post-production facility
  1. Admin Assistant at Baobab Safari Company (where I met the wonderful woman who became my friend and was at my son’s birth, along with giving me a love of east and south Africa.)
  1. Server and Maitre’d at Restaurant Lulu (where I had far, far too much fun and debauchery, while also gaining an appreciation for truly great food)
  1. Maitre d’ at Jardinière restaurant
  1. Account Assistant at Paladin Staffing, employment agency
  1. Administrative Assistant at Evolution Global Partners, venture capital firm (where I met the Australian and had my marathon fundraising needs met)
  1. Executive Assistant at RedEnvelope, an online gift marketplace

And then I found Goodby, Silverstein + Partners, or they found me, and my 15+ year career took off. I’ve since worked at seven other PR and advertising agencies. What a ride it has been, especially those early days at GSP. So, looking back on 30+ jobs in 36 eligible working years, is there a through line, leading me to my current destination?

I think the only common denominator is me. A person who says yes, onwards and upwards but also backwards and sideways. I think this next adventure is going to add another wonderful layer to look back on. Can’t wait to see where I end up.

(Just realized I missed a summer as a stagehand at Santa Rosa Repertory Theatre. So, basically, I’ve held an average of a job/year of my life. Crazy.)

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1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Our commonalities continue to charm me, amaze me, and comfort me –
    I, too, am an airplane.
    Traveling, aimlessly – but for a round-the-world ticket in my backpack – I had tucked Buckaroo Banzai’s wise words in my passport. Who, exactly, even knows who that character is? Should have known YOU would…as I said – charmed, amazed, comforted.

    I also can’t wait to see where you end up!


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