what do YOU want to be when you grow up?
Think back: can you remember the first time anyone ever asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? Do you remember your answer? I was about four years old when my mom first asked me that question and all I could imagine in my mind were images: policeman, fireman, cowboy. I wanted to be the village people, basically. And anyway let's ignore the fact that I just imagined boy-jobs. Maybe I didn't understand yet what girls were, or that they could have jobs.
I asked the folks in group tonight to think about their first memories of being interested in work, or their most interesting work stories, and here's what they came up with:
The Worst Job in the World, by Anonymous Man
Sometimes people bitch and whine about thier jobs like they've go thte wort job in the world or something. They don't. I did.
At the end of my freshman year of college, I saw a flyer offering summer jobs for college students, working for the Chicago Park District. "Cool," I thought. "I can be outside all summer, trimming trees or whatever." I applied.
A few days later they called and asked if I had any experience around boats. "Sure," I told them, because I had been sailing my uncle's sloop out on Lake Michigan since I was eleven or so.
The address they gave me for reporting to work was unfamiliar, but I found it, and walked down a rickety, swinging plank to the bank of the Chicago River, and there, right in front of me, was a huge, stinking garbage scow.
After being given a hook and a net, both on long poles, I was told that my summer job was to scrape all the crap off the surface of the river as we floated through industrial areas north of downtown, then heave the garbage into the center of the boat, making a pile that grew bigger and smellier as the day wore on.
On that first day it was 95 degrees with 95% humidity, and the smell only caused me to vomit three times. "You'll get used to it," assured the Captain, an older black man who'd been doing this forever.
One of the most common forms of debris floating on the river was the used condom, which the scow's crew called "whitefish," as in, "You, man, net them two whitefish off the port bow!"
On my third day the guy working alongside me netted a human hand. I was absolutely freaked at the sight of it. "That's nothin'" the Captain tried to assure me once again, "wait 'til you hook a baby!"
"I'm outta here," I told him.
"Whaddya mean?" He asked.
"I said, I'm outta here."
Dream Job, by anonymous woman
Once upon a time I was a little girl and all I wanted to be when I grew up was a doctor or a teacher. But instead I have worked in several fast food joints and day cares. I was a teacher's aid at one day care and I learned that kids are funny people. One time, this one little boy stuck a pea up his nose and his mom was picking him up. Everyone wanted her to suck it out. Thinking that was nasty, she turned him over and gave him a few whacks and the pea came popping out. I'm really burnt out on working with little kids and fast food. I wish something different would come along.
In the Army, by anonymous woman
My mom was a lifeguard. I remember once she showed me her pith helmet and lifeguard patches. I wanted to be a lifeguard too. In the army I worked in administration, one of my jobs was finding occupational specialties for soldiers. Once I interviewed a soldier who was a recreation specialist. He told me the code for his specialty was 71G, so I looked it up. I, too, was qualified for that position so I assigned that specialty to myself and finally got an interview with senior personnel in that specialty. It turned out they needed lifeguards at the swimming pool at the post where I was stationed, so I signed up for training. The training was brutal and I was afraid I'd freeze to death before it was over, but I passed and became a lifeguard in Korea. It was wonderful that summer, but the fall was a little strange, using nets to catch the snakes in the water. In the winter they sent me to the gym to issue baseketballs and towels. That was sort of boring and eventually I was needed back in administration, but I'll never forget that summer, wearing my pith helmet and showing off my lifeguard badges, sitting in the tower chair telling people when to get in and out of the pool, yelling at people for running or horseplaying. I had a great tan too.
All the Jobs I Could've Had, by Dilly Scott
I thought about being a nurse when I was about eight, but I am still squeamish. I love animals. I should've become a marine biologist or a disc jockey. I have a second class broadcast license. I sent the renewal money to the FCC. We worked on KPCC at Sylvania Campus. It was fun. I called Dave at KISN and he gave me advice, that was a long time ago. I loved exercise music, I still do. I used to exercise after walking Gram's four and a half miles.
I still want to kiss a dolphin's snout and ask the Lord's blessing, but the first time a spider comes down the wall like in the Brady Bunch I'm out of there. I think I need some more training. I crave that sometimes. I love things with powerful motors too. Maybe it reminds me of a cat purring.