Friday, May 14, 2010

Flashback Friday: Jobs

How old were you when you got your first (paying) job? Did you work during the school year? What stipulations, if any, did your parents put on spending, saving, etc.? What types of jobs did you have before you were, oh, 21 or 22? Did you go to college or a technical/trade school? If so, did you work while you were pursuing your post-high school education? What were your favorite -- and least favorite, if you wish to share! -- jobs? What did you learn from those early jobs?

I didn't get my first job till I was 18 and out of high school. My job was a quilting operator on the night shift in a textile plant manufacturing quilted bedspreads and accessories. My quilter wasn't your little home sewing machine; it was a giant, industrial machine that quilted the entire spread in about 5 minutes! I managed to wreck the machine the first night I worked. The girl training me left me alone with it while she went on break, and I couldn't remember if I needed to push the "reset" button after repairing a thread break. I didn't. Lesson learned. My trainer learned a lesson too! ;)

The most important thing I learned on that first job was to not be afraid to ask questions. My immediate supervisor had told me to do a certain job a certain way, and shortly after that, the shift manager came by and told me to do it a different way. Instead of clarifying with the shift manager what my super had told me to do, I just assumed I should do what the manager said. Not so! I got in trouble, but not serious trouble, and was told to always always always check conflicting orders with the appropriate people. I'm not a question-the-authority type person, so that was a major lesson for me - it's always best to check rather than blindly obey.

I worked that first job for almost 2 years, eventually changing to days and a smaller machine, an industrial serger, piecing quilt tops. My husband joined the Air Force shortly after we married, and I didn't have a full time job after that. I worked part time for 2 different floral shops at 2 Air Force bases, one delivering flowers and the other arranging trying to arrange them. I did better at delivering than arranging, but I loved both jobs. The best part of each was interacting with people. It was super fun to deliver unexpected arrangements to unsuspecting people! The deliveries were mostly on base, which made for some interesting moments, such as delivering to the weapons storage area. Care to be stopped by armed guards aiming automatic weapons and barking orders to stop immediately? Important lesson here: always read the signs on a military base, especially as you approach a restricted area.

The flower-arranging job eventually became a front counter job, because I was much better at talking than arranging. I could - and did, although not intentionally - sell $1.00 daisy stems for the much higher $3.00 single rose price. My manager was astonished (she had heard the entire sales pitch from the back room) . . . so she put me out front and told me the correct price for the daisies. She was much happier with my performance out front than in the back where she had to constantly rearrange my arrangements, although I did great with funeral sprays for some reason. Anyway, those are all the jobs I've ever had, other than being a mom. That one has lasted 21 years now, and I like it the best!

I never went to college, not even one class. I got married instead. My husband has said that I might take some classes after the children are grown and out of the house. That's just another year or so . . . so we'll see!

Head over to Mocha With Linda to read more Flashback Friday entries!


  1. Wow - what a lot of responsibility you had on that first job with that big machine!

    I am hopeless at arranging flowers. But I still think it would be fun to work for a florist!

    I saw a sign on the back of a floral delivery truck yesterday that made me laugh. "Flowers on Board: Slow Turns"

  2. That was fun to read!

  3. that machine was fast!
    loved hearing about the quilting.
    you're a natural at sales...a good talent.
    have a great weekend!

  4. Linda ~~ I absolutely loved working for a florist, even though I stunk at arranging. I had great managers who found the best places to plug me in. And I so understand about those slow turns! LOL

    Tammy ~~ Hope it's not too boring! :)

    skoots1mom ~~ That was a fast machine, and while it ran, I had to have the next quilt ready to go in the frame. It was hard work, but not a bad job.

  5. Your first job awed me. I probably would have quilted myself!

  6. LOL, Quilly! I was too young and foolish to be afraid of that crazy machine! It ran automatically, and as long as you stayed out of the way, everything was fine. :)

  7. I did not go to a traditional 4 year collage either. It has been one of my biggest regrets. One day I may go back.

    Working in a flower shop sound wonderfully fun! I have always thought that would be a good job!

    ave a great weekend

  8. Robin, I've regretted not going to college too. My husband knows it's one of my dreams to go to college (most likely online now), so that's why he's said I can probably take some classes once the kids are on their own, more or less.

  9. That quilting machine does sound intimidating! But how cool to quilt a bedspread in 5 minutes!

    I worked for a florist for a little while after we were married. She was a close friend and lived near BJU, so I helped do corsages when they had special programs. I also learned to do bud vases, but I can't really do any arrangement bigger than that -- it just doesn't look right to me.

  10. Barbara ~~ I did learn to do corsages pretty well; I had forgotten about those. Bud vases weren't too bad either, but my manager wanted to pull her hair out over my bows! LOL


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