May 25, 2005

My Resume; It's Real and It's Spectacular

While sitting in an employment agency many years ago, I was filling out a job skills sheet when I was overcome with a case of inside chuckles. They always offer these pre-printed forms that include such items as “MS Word” and “Powerpoint.” Next to each item is a box that you either check or leave blank. What made me smile inside were visions of a form that might be more appropriate for someone like me to fill out – though I’m unsure as yet what the check-off options might read like.

When people create a resume, they start out with honesty (name and contact information) and ride that wave until the waters get choppy. They might play around with dates to avoid the dreaded “unemployed” time frame, or they may completely bypass jobs that are too embarrassing to admit to. I sometimes wonder if prospective employers would prefer a short bio from the applicant, telling what they can do, what they excel at, and what they wouldn’t do under any circumstances. Wouldn’t it be a more simple process?

Since my chuckle-fit at the employment agency stemmed from imagining what a true-to-life resume of mine might look like, I came home and decided to write one up, in story-telling format. Upon completion, I shared it with some choice friends at the time and they urged me to include it in my book “someday.” Since that time, I’ve continued to hold some rather unique positions, so in order to bring it up to date, I’d have to edit quite a bit.

In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the varied jobs I’ve held in the past thirty-five years. Before reading any further, I’d love for you to imagine yourself as an HR director receiving this piece from an applicant … then let me know if you’d take a chance on me.

My full-time working life began at fifteen years of age. I got my foot in the door at the New York Telephone Company back in the days when you dialed “O” and got a live person (who could actually assist you) ((with a smile in her voice)).

My next job was a receptionist at a posh Wall Street law firm. The year I started working there was only the second year in a row that they allowed women to wear slacks to work.

Following that, I took some temp jobs throughout the city, mostly as a telephone operator, a receptionist, and at clerical type work.

Then the fun began. I won’t be exact in the time frame from this point forward. I don’t have to be … this is purely for entertainment value, and I’ll entertain in any format I damned well please.

I have worked as executive secretary for the president of large and world-renowned advertising firm on Broadway.

I worked in a factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (took my life in my hands just walking to car every night)

I was a shill in Las Vegas.

I was personal secretary to one of Liberace’s protégés in LV and had the great joy of speaking to “Lee” many times on the telephone.

I was a telephone answering service operator (too many times and locations to list).

I waitressed at a Greek restaurant. This is where I learned many excellent swear words in Greek.

I was advertising director for a martial arts magazine called “World Tae Kwon Do.” They have since folded (no pun intended).

I was a junior dance instructor (jazz interpretive/tap). “Junior” meant they didn’t have to pay me much.

I was a classified sales rep at a shopper’s guide newspaper. Started out as a receptionist, moved up to administration then moved down to ad rep.

I managed a sandwich shop (Blimpie’s) in Seaside Heights, NJ.

I worked as a clerk/typist at a brokerage house on Wall Street and on Broad Street.

I sold snow cones and hawked pretzels at a stock car racing track (still love stock car racing).

I worked on a boardwalk behind a “spin the wheel” booth.

I was a screamer at a live house of horrors.

I was a cocktail waitress and featured ‘starlet’ at a swanky nightclub (can you say “Lady in Red?”)

I bartended at various corner pubs as well as the nightclub mentioned above. Excellent job if you enjoy people-watching.

I was a runway model for clothing for a new designer … exactly ONCE. I got paid for it ~ that makes it a job.

I sang at small clubs in the city, and at one hotel club in Las Vegas. (It wasn’t karaoke … I got paid)

I worked for a book publisher on Broadway. (they weren’t honest in their ad; I ended up being a go-for; it lasted about a month, but I worked for Robert Blake’s older brother - which made the job kind of cool).

I was a Chiropractic assistant; I enjoyed learning to operate the equipment, but couldn’t stand touching stranger’s bodies all day. Ew.

I was a costumed character for assorted parties and events. Though we weren’t allowed to use the real names of said characters, I was Barney, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Elmo, Woody and Buzz (Toy Story), a crotchety nun, a grim reaper, both male and female gorillas, a cop, a Ninja Turtle, a wizard, a stork, Winnie the Pooh, etc. Nailing the various voices was one of my specialties. Many posts may spawn from this experience alone.

I worked as a newsroom clerk for a daily newspaper. I edited incoming copy and prepared it for print; collected disposition data from three courthouses on a daily basis; organized the religion section including church service listings, special events, etc.

I worked for a huge photo lab which dealt in mail order processing. There was one aspect of this job I will write about sometime soon; in a word – unique.

I currently work as a reservationist at a large aquarium. Strange as it may sound, this is the job I hope to one day retire from. Recent upheavals and stresses aside, I greatly enjoy my work.

Through all of these years, I’ve never had to sell my soul or my ass, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on even one of these opportunities. I learned lessons from every job … met a lot of fine people and made a lot of connections. I have no regrets (okay, maybe being Barney). It’s been a very full, well rounded working career (meaning a career at working) and I’ve had a million laughs along the way.

I do believe I can be almost anything, almost anywhere, and be damned good at it ~ at least for a time.

The thing is, checking off little indicator boxes at employment agencies just isn’t going to capture the complete listing of experiences I’ve had in the work environment.

Sure I can run circles around MS Word or Powerpoint, but where’s the box that says “Can you order supplies in a Mickey Mouse voice over the phone while mixing the boss a mean drink, making him a kick-ass sandwich, and typing a report on the guy down the street who was arrested for DWI ~ all the while modeling a nun habit?”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A screamer! I love it!

Seaside Heights, NJ...that's where I smoked my first cigarette ever when I was 13. What a crazy place that is.

My wackiest job was one summer when I was still in college. It was advertised as a "Native American Jewelery Maker" on a reservation in Maine.

They STUCK me in a back room pulling out porcupine quills from roadkill. HAHAHAHAHAHA

I stuck it to them and left.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

I also started working at age 15, bussing tables and washing dishes. Most of my next jobs involved violence in the job description (infantry, armed security, retail security, bouncer, pizza store manager - it was a bad neighborhood). At some point I went to college and have done nothing but boring cubicle wuss-work ever since. I regret not becoming a fireman or serial killer when I was younger. :p

10:05 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Oh.Yeah! I'd hire you in a minute!

I know what you mean about touching bodies - ick. I started working at a shoe store when I was 15 - I'd finally had enough of all the stinky, scaly feet I could handle by the time I was 17 and then took a job at a grocery store the summer before I went to college.

I accidently fell into the job I have now. I love my clients, I don't love the "job". As soon as my youngest starts school in 2 years, I'm headed back to school myself. I figure by then I should be able to decide what I want to be when I grow up.

10:12 AM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

you have had plenty of jobs carol. how old are you? two hundred years old. well i would definetely hire you if i was not retired. good post.

12:20 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Wow. What a great and varied resume. I would love to hear more about some of these jobs.

I am ignoring the "it wasn't karaoke" crack. Karaoke is our friend. Although I am a bit envious. I have never been paid for singing.

Probably the worst job I ever had lasted one day. Making cotton candy for a circus. 7 hours of non-stop of this. It was horrible. And then I went to my exciting real job at Taco Bell. What a life. I'm glad I'm working in my "wussy" cubicle job now.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Mildred Garfield said...

One summer I was out of a job and my cousin worked for the catering service at the race track. They needed someone to sell cigars and cigarettes at the club house. They gave us lunch money but I brought my own lunch and bet on the horses.

I used to sell Avon products door to door. Those were the days when women stayed home.

Did food demo work at a supermarket. Hard work, sometimes had to cook fish or make pizza, that job stunk!

Most of my working life was working in an office as a bookkeeper, not like the fun I had at the clubhouse!


4:15 PM  
Anonymous J said...

My goodness. Old people have lots of stories.

I have a certain admiration for you and your list, though. Well. That might be coming from the drink I had at dinner. But... very impressive resume.

No way in hell I'd hire you.

Of course, I might be overly influenced by the fact that I already know you.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

Carol, great resume. But sorry, you're overqualified.

My first real job was in radio at a great big station in Kansas City. I had to quit so I could leave town to go to school in the country. There were no job availabilities at the radio station there yet, so I had to spend time washing dishes... at the busiest restaurant in town... with no dishwashing machine. I got an ulcer at age 15.

I have never been happier than when the small town radio station rescued me from Treva & Zarita's Family Restaurant.

11:27 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Gadzooks, you really have had a varied career, haven't you? My jobs were pikers, compared to yours, but maybe I'll write about them soon.

I, too, worked for the phone company. I delivered the mail (both U.S. Postal Mail and in-house). I knew all the secrets!

11:46 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I have a fairly varied working career too. I agree that you do gain something from each job no matter how menial they may seem.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

OMG, you've had more jobs than i have hot meals..LOL
A screamer in the house of horrors...omg that is so priceless..i love it!

2:29 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

Ihes poles thaifores thoulies ala mou aresi afti pou ehis tora. Great post.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Lyvvie said...

An inspiration!!

My kids need a crazy, cool aunt; will you volunteer?

I'd love to sell pretzels at the stock car races, that sounds like such fun!

My favorite job? Summer camp counselor at Camp Yomechas. I wish I could still do that job.

I'm happy you've finally found your Bliss-Job, something many folks never do.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great list! I've thought of doing a job list, and may some day when I have the time. I think a variety of jobs is essential to personal development! Who wants to do the same thing day in and day out?

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Angie said...

A very impressive list! I have seen your comments on many journals I visit and decided to visit today. I am so glad I did! :-)

9:35 AM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

Hi Carol.Wow what an amazing employment history.
Shows you can do anything

11:11 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

I would make a great screamer...and it wouldn't even have to be at a house of horrors. I think I would like to use your resume next time I look for a job.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous colleen said...

You don't look old enough to have that many jobs. I did runway modeling a couple of times but didn't get paid, so I can't count it. I once got paid for standing in a boutique window and pretending I was a mannequin!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You managed a Blimpie's? I love that place.

BTW, that was one interesting resume letter. Yeah, I'd interview you.

7:34 PM  
Blogger ed said...

and i thought i'd had a lot of jobs.

8:36 PM  
Blogger L said...

your resume is a lot more interesting than mine!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

The longer the resume, the more interersting the person.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Nonsensical_Flounderings said...

Looking forward to some of your job stories.


1:14 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You are a truly interesting individual, I love reading about you. You certainly have had a full life thus far. Not so sure you'll be able to top that last paragraph though lol

6:21 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

I can only say, you have lived many lives! Boy, wouldn't I love to live out even a slice of your life!
The screamer sounds great!
Wouldn't have a job for you. Reason: Highly overqualified!!

6:36 AM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

That is one great list. I'd hire you in a minute. You're amazing..

7:37 AM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

Very eclectic life experience! I can relate!

I like your blog and will come back.


10:21 AM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

PS My resume is long, varied and real, too, and I'm always questioned about it. :)

10:21 AM  
Blogger Juno said...

How exactly do you go about getting a job as a screamer?

As a mom I've had a lot of practice ;)

11:28 PM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

What a hoot & glad you enjoyed them! Mine have been varied but you reign Queen. Wow. Looking forward to details. :) Sparked some memories, like OMG, Blimpies subs...

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Raxterized said...

Hi.....I must say that I am completely floored. As a person who reads an average of 50 CV's daily (yes I work in HR), yours is the stuff that I look forward to break the monotony Needless to say I would call you in for a interview. And as the interview progresses, I would cook up a position for you ! My bet is that you speak as well as you write and I would be truly honoured to have you with us. So if you are ever looking to work on board a cruise ship, send me you resume in exactly the way that you have written it. And yes....if you ever get that book out, please send me an autographed copy !!
Cheers !

12:51 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Carol, thanks for commenting. I know all about the need for mental health through smoking; but when I realized I might not have physical health if I continued - the mental health thing faded into the background!

6:05 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I am impressed!

3:05 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:09 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...


This was a fantastic post. I'm sorry I haven't commented for so long.

I am impressed with your resume. Wonderful!


12:42 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Right, I imagined I was in HR and thought that you must be 236 years old to have achieved all that and there's no way I would employ you.

From my point of view though, I'd definitely set you on straight away. You are clearly multi-talented.

And besides that, you worked as a shill in LV and I really need a good shill. Being an accomplished three card monte dealer, I find good shills difficult to come by these days. Let's take money off some suckers. Oh, and can you double as a thug as well for the less pleasant victims.

Great to see you Wear Hag. Great post. Take care.

4:21 AM  
Anonymous K said...

DEEPLY impressed. I think I'd hire you on the spot, you're resourceful.

Er... what's a shill?

6:06 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

K - a shill is one who is hired, usually by a casino, for the sole purpose of sitting at a designated spot for a number of hours, pretending to have really won many, many dollars - when in fact, the game (or slot machine) had been rigged for them to "hit it big" at precise, pre-determined times. This behavior (cheering and shouting in glee) prompts others to sit for hours on their own dime, hoping against hope that they too will win. They claim (the bigger casinos) that they don't use shills anymore, but I have my doubts.

6:55 AM  
Blogger KarbonKountyMoos said...

Oh NO - we've had a few of the same jobs - and maybe in the same places! Do we know each other?

1:11 PM  
Blogger MilkMaid said...

You are one interesting person, THAT would be an interview I'd look forward to lol!

I've been with the same company, 20 years next month and often wondered if I haven't made a mistake by not exploring the employment field more. Change is not fun for me...but after reading this, I ponder the thought again....

Shill, I didn't know there was a name for it, but suspected some of those people sitting at the winning machines looked staged.

Great blog, I'm gonna add you to my list!!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

what an eccletic job history.

8:15 PM  

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