I fancy myself a writer.

My first jobs

Mandy in uniform

Look how adorable I was in my Air Force uniform!

Recently, Vikki over at The View Outside wrote an interesting blog post on her first job. I enjoyed reading about her first job experience and thought it would be fun to revisit my own. Then, thinking of my colorful job history, I thought it might be even more fun to give you a list of all of the jobs I have done. Brace yourself.

I got my first regular gig in the 8th grade (age 12-13.) I worked as an after-school nanny for a family with six kids. While I was technically only paid to watch the three youngest (the three oldest weren’t much younger than I was and were supposed to be watching themselves,) I was ultimately responsible for keeping all six alive.

The three oldest were all boys, and all terrors. I’m pretty sure at least two of them had crushes on me. So of course, they liked to torment me. Because that’s what boys do at that age when they like a girl. I worked somewhere around twenty hours a week for an entire school year until the family moved away. Then I was back to working the occasional weekend babysitting job or cleaning up my neighbor’s wooded lot once or twice a year.

When I was sixteen, I got my first regular non-babysitting job at Arby’s. That lasted about two weeks. The restaurant manager walked off the job without notice about a week after I started. The owner put a young, immature shift manager in charge until he could find a replacement.

Our new interim boss immediately ran home and grabbed her hair curlers (while on the clock) so she and a couple of her best friend/coworkers could sit in the back and do each other’s hair. Meanwhile, they left me and another sixteen-year-old new hire to run the place despite the fact that neither of us had a clue what we were doing. That was a terrible experience, wanting to do a good job and being left to sink with the ship while the captain did her hair in the back.

When I got a call to interview at a small, family-owned diner, I jumped at the chance to escape Arby’s. A year at the new job was enough to sicken me on fast food. My next position was sales associate in the children and boy’s departments at JCPenney. When I graduated from high school, I thought I wanted a job with full-time hours. So, I moved from retail to hospitality where I spent a summer cleaning hotel rooms.

Cleaning hotel rooms is disgusting. After only three or four months of that, I moved to Wal-Mart. I worked there for about a year before being offered a nice pay raise to work at a Subway sandwich shop. Next, it was off to the sweatshops where I sewed gloves in a factory for about a year. That one really sucked. That was the job that prompted me to finally get out of the dead-end town where I grew up.

Then I joined the U.S. Air Force where I worked as an intelligence analyst. Which was way more boring than it sounds, believe me. My ex pressured me to separate from the military when I was pregnant with our first child. I was a stay-at-home mom for a little while, until I realized my husband at the time was incapable of earning enough money to support his habits, let alone a family. (I now realize five husbands couldn’t earn enough money to support all of the habits I didn’t know he had.)

I then cleaned offices on one Air Force base, followed by cleaning base housing on the next. I worked at Wal-Mart again for a few months. After my ex was kicked out of the military, I was the first to get a job (he was too busy laying around watching TV during the week and partying with his friends on the weekend.) I worked as an assistant manager at another Subway sandwich shop until he was, by some miracle, offered an excellent human resources position at a corporation an hour away. Like an idiot, I quit my job and let him drag me to a city I hated in the name of keeping our family together.

Luckily, I found a new job right away and spent three years processing payroll at a university. That’s when I finally decided to go back to school. I worked full-time while attending two different colleges and earned my Bachelor degree in three years (all with a child at home – two if you count my ex who to this day cannot be considered an adult on any level.)

Ten years and three degrees later, I can add SMS search guide, freelance writer, freelance editor, editor-in-chief, lead copywriter, and college instructor to my list of jobs. Have I forgotten anything? Probably.

So yeah, I’ve been around. Hmm. I wonder if it’s a bad idea to share just how much I’ve been around. I can see how you might think I’ve been rather promiscuous as far as jobs go. I can’t even tell you exactly how many jobs I’ve been with! Let’s just agree that I’m well-rounded.

What’s your number? Please share in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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