Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reinventing Myself

Creating a timeline of what I've done to make money over the last thirty one years is an insightful exercise, especially in these economic times. When I entered the job market, a person was expected to find a job, settle with it and keep until they retired and yet it took me over a decade to begin learning a skill which I now consider my career.

In 1980 my BA degree in Anthropology from the University of Georgia rendered me a laughing stock for any jobs available in my area.  I had no basic job skills; I couldn't even type. I went to an employment agency to find job. They found me one picking up and delivering crown and bridge work all around Central Georgia. If I could have stayed in just this one job I got right out of college at the Dental Lab, I'd be retired and rich. I would have learned to work a trade, had a fabulous 401K or whatever those retirement accounts are called.  I don't know because I don't have one.

I left the dental laboratory. But before I did that I got married and had a child. My husband and I went out drinking with the boss on a regular basis. The boss began hitting on me. I refused him. My marriage sucked. The baby was sick all the time. I was completely suckered punched by life and I quit the job, two days before the money vested in me would have become mine. This revelation from my boss came later after I could not claim the money. Quitting was a bad life choice if I wanted to have a settled and prosperous life making crown and bridge work  -except it wouldn't or couldn't have worked out - not with a boss hitting on me, a sick child and a bad marriage. I left this job and went straight to work at a dentist office cleaning children's teeth and there I battled a huge pelvic infection and was fired six weeks into the job. I went home with my year and a half old son and licked my wounds for about six months. Then I went back to work.

I got lucky this time, getting employment from a woman psychologist. I was hired because I told her I could type a little bit and she didn't realize how much typing the job entailed. She regretted her decision for awhile, but she allowed me to learn to type on the job and I also learned to file insurance and medicaid and typeset psychological reports. Soon enough, I became reliable and competent. While working there  I read the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual from cover to cover and self diagnosed myself on several fronts and grew savvy at diagnosing others too. Like my husband's secretary who was histrionic and bi-polar, not to mention mean as a snake to me while she cozied up to my lawyer husband and all his cronies.

There were three businesses in the building where I worked and before I knew it, I was copying specs for the architects across the hall, and working afternoons in a land and timber company. In 1985, I got pregnant again and left a few weeks before my second son was born.

That's just my first five years in the work force. I've traveled a long distance in the intervening years. My varied job history is what is expected from young people now. They stay at a job long enough to learn a skill and move on for more experience. I was ahead of my time.

As I look at my timeline; the most impressive trend I see about myself is that I have reinvented myself time and time again. One of the more important innovations was in the early nineties when I began getting jobs to train myself in graphic design.  I went from job to job collecting many different skills.

Now I wonder, is it time to reinvent myself again?

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