15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger
Where have you worked?
In my life I have worked many, many jobs. I began making money for myself as a child. This started from a little old man that walked by my house every day. I cannot remember the name of the elderly gentleman, but I can see him when I close my eyes as if he were standing in front of me. The gentleman was always dressed in a pair of slacks and long sleeved button down shirt. On cooler days, the man wore a suit jacket. The man's snow white hair was neatly combed back revealing his growing widow's peak as each strand glistened in the beams from the overhead sun. He walked with a slight limp and was assisted by a hand carved wooden cane. The kind old man had pale blue eyes that would bore through your soul if you allowed them too. Each day that he would pass by my childhood home, he would have a chore for us to do, and we would be paid a quarter for each chore. The chores were often simple such as gathering some of the mulberries that fell from the tree, rinsing them, and bring them to the gentleman for a sweet snack. Others would include picking a rose from my tiny rosebush in front of the porch or a branch of the pale pink Crepe Myrtle growing in front of my bedroom window. This man instilled a value in me that serves me to this day, good work ethic.
My work ethic is what also drove me to do chores for many of my neighbors in an effort to assist them with tasks that had become difficult for them. I never asked for money and often offered my services for free. Some of the neighbors insisted in paying a quarter or two, sometimes I would be offered a dollar. I know it does not seem like much compared to today's standards, but then, a dollar would fill my purse full of candy and snacks. I did not always spend my money on the sugary sweets that I craved, for I often saved every dime I made for other purposes.
Once I turned ten, I made extra money babysitting for friends and family that lived in the area. I enjoyed being the primary caretaker for the small infants and toddlers that I watched. I babysat my Filipino cousin, his little brother, and my small cousin, who ended up staying with us for an extended period of time. My experience caring for small children helped me develop my parenting skills and the skills needed to care for a medically fragile child. As a teenager of 14, I began to care for a female infant that had Craniostynostosis. I cared for her in her parents' home while they worked as an EMT and Paramedic for the local hospital. I had to be available at all times while they were on call. In other words, I had to stay at their home, even when they were home, to watch the beautiful little red haired infant.
Once I was old enough, I began working as a waitress at the local steak house. My responsibilities were making burger patties with the 'secret' seasoning, marinating the steaks, waiting on customers, running the register, and keeping the salad bar fresh and clean. I worked at the restaurant until my sister went to a party at my bosses home. My mother made me quit my job because she did not want me to work for an adult who would contribute to the delinquency of minors.
It was not long after I had quit my job at the local steak house that I moved to live with my brother and father. Once I settled in, I started looking for work. I had a family member who worked at Wal-Mart, so I was not able to get a job there. I ended up finding work as a cook for Long John Silver's. I eventually worked my way to running the drive through and the register up front as well. I worked for Long John Silver's for over a year. I had transferred to a store in Lubbock when I graduated high school. The first several months were fine, and the work had become routine.
That is until I was scheduled by myself with three male workers. The assistant manager had followed me into the cooler and tried to remove my clothing. I tried to exit the door after kneeing the man between the legs. However, the door would not budge. I could hear the muffled laughs of the other two men, who must of been holding the door shut. The assistant manager continued to try to rip my clothing off of me when I began screaming and crying at the top of my lungs. My sweat covered skin began to stick to the frozen door as I continued to scream. l kept yelling, "He's hurting me! He's hurting me!" over and over again until the men on the outside door opened to let me out. I could tell by looking in their faces, they two young men felt ashamed as they could not make eye contact with me.
I started to run out the exit door of the store when the assistant manager yelled, "If you tell anyone what happened, I will tell them that you have been having an affair with me the entire time you worked here. I will make sure that your husband knows that you have been unfaithful to him."
I stopped dead in my tracks. The assistant manager knew my ex-husband and I, as my ex-husband was also an assistant manager for the other store in town. He also knew that my ex-husband was very abusive and very racist. If he believed that I was having an affair with a black man, I would most likely be beaten to death. I turned around and yelled, "Well, I'm quitting anyway."
"Well you can't leave with that shirt on or that apron! That's our property," he responded.
I pulled off my shirt and apron, threw it at him and ran across the street to use the phone. While at Wendy's I told the manager what had just happened to me, and showed him the claw marks on my body. I didn't care that the assistant manger across the street was going to make up an affair that never happened. The Wendy's manager gave me a work shirt to wear, and the police showed up quickly. I watched out the window as the police officers escorted the three men from the restaurant across the street and into the police cars.
After the excitement had died down and the officer interviewing me left Wendy's, the Wendy's manager offered me a position running the register in her store. She assured me that it would be a safe working environment, and I would have the opportunity to advance in the restaurant if I wished to. I accepted the position, and worked nights while I finished receiving my Legal Assistant diploma at the business college I attended. I had worked my way up to trainer by the time I left Wendy's for a position at an agricultural insurance company.
I started at the insurance company as the receptionist, who answered phones and sorted mail. Before long, I was making the company's monthly newsletters to go out to the insurance agents and adjusters. I began working on the books and eventually worked as an assistant computer programmer.
Although I worked at the insurance company, I also had three other jobs. I worked for a janitorial service, with whom I cleaned a vending company at four in the morning. I worked evenings at Pizza Hut and Benaglio's, and I worked weekends at an all night daycare. I worked all of these jobs in order for my ex-husband to go to college. He was a junior working on his engineering degree. I found out that he had stopped going to school months before I knew about it, but I did not confront him about it because I knew I would be beat. (Now, before you judge, know this. I would have left the man, but he threatened that if I did, he would kill my family. I stayed with him to protect my parents, sister and nephew, grandmother and uncle, and little brother. This man had tried to kill me on more than one occasion, so I knew he had it in him to keep his word if I left.)
I continued working the five positions until my ex-husband joined the military, and I moved home with my family. I was hired back at Long John Silver's and worked there until my sister asked me to move in with her and help her with her new son. Not long after I moved to Abilene, I received a job at Grandy's. I worked from four in the morning until noon. It was the perfect job for a nineteen year old. With my ex-husband stationed over seas, I had finally gained the nerve to file for a divorce which was granted after his first child, with another woman, was born. I started out making minimum wage and had received over $2.50/hour raises in the nine months I worked there before moving to Sweetwater.
While living in Sweetwater, I was hired as a fuel desk clerk at Roscoe Truck and Travel. I started testing my wings and lived on my own for the very first time. I moved to Winters and worked as a cook at the local steak house for a short time, and I eventually moved back to Sweetwater. I soon received a job at the Sweetwater 76 as a hostess running the register in the restaurant. I worked my way up to assistant manager of the restaurant. That is when I met my current husband Darren, but that is another beautiful story.
After developing a close connection with DJ and several months of constant and consistent contact, my heart swayed me to move to Indiana, where he lived. I soon applied for and received a job as a server at Applebee's Bar and Grill right before the restaurant opened the doors for the first time. I worked there as a server and a server trainer up until DJ and I decided to try to live in Abilene. I was hired at Chelsea's Street Pub and soon learned that I was pregnant. I was given restrictions by my obstetrician including no lifting. The manager insisted that I could still lift the heavy oak chairs and place them on the table. When I refused to risk losing my child, my manager became angry. I quit my job at the pub and was immediately hired as a waitress at the Best Western Hotel restaurant.
Several months passed without incident. DJ was unable to find employment, and we knew he needed to find a job soon because the due date of the baby was nearing. We returned to Indiana where DJ was rehired to work for Gunther's Trucking as a driver. I started back to work at Applebee's and worked up until right before Halloween. In September, the doctor told me that I was beginning to show signs of Toxemia, and he restricted me to working part time with no lifting. Since I was restricted on what I could do, I resumed my training position, and I worked occasionally as a hostess and hostess trainer. Before Halloween, I was put on full bed rest and had to take maternity leave.
My son was born in late November, and I returned to work in January. I soon found out I was pregnant once again and was put on bed rest right away due to being high risk. I did not work again until my second son was a year old. I began working as a bookkeeper for Bruno Enterprises, and I cleaned offices for a law firm. I soon found out my oldest son was being physically abused at daycare, so I pulled my children from the daycare and stayed at home with my children.
When my youngest was three and my oldest learned to speak, I returned to work. I worked as an assistant manager at a convenience store for a good while. My husband and I decided to return to Abilene, and I became a stay-at-home mother. If you ask me, that has always been my toughest job. I loved staying home with my children; but with daily therapies for my oldest son due to his autism, I was often too worn out to find a job out of the home. I did, however, volunteer at the children's school and became volunteer of the year three years in a row.
My oldest son was eight years of age when I decided to become a student. I had been putting off college every since I first graduated high school for one reason of another. I entered the work-study program and worked the first year of school in the library as an assistant. The following year, I was a teacher's assistant where my main duties were record keeping and keeping up with the online classes and as a mathematic's tutor. My last few years in college, I worked only as what was required for my courses. I assisted teachers in local schools, helped tutor students in the reading clinic, and student teaching responsibilities. I graduated from the university with honors.
Although I graduated at the top of my class, I had difficulty finding suitable employment. I put in over two hundred applications and resumes before I was offered a position as an investigator at Child Protective Services. I worked there for a year before I decided to leave my position. I made this decision for three reasons. The first being that I was working 60-80 hours per week and did not get paid for my overtime. The overtime was mandatory, but my supervisor would change my hours so she would not get in trouble.
The second reason is that I was paying all of my take home pay back into the job in travel money. I had no actual income to live on because I spent my first three months out of the academy working the Snyder/Sweetwater area, which is Nolan County, Scurry County, and Mitchell County. That position was opened when I applied for the job, but I did not apply for that position for a reason. My abusive ex-husband was from the area as well as an ex-boyfriend, both of which attempted to kill me. I told my supervisor over and over again that I did not want to work there, but she did not seem to care. I would get cases on old friends and family, and I would notify the supervisor, but I was forced to keep the cases. According to state law, due to conflict of interest, I was not supposed to be taking cases on people I knew.
Finally, the job was a high stress position. I was often reliving the abuse that I had endured throughout my lifetime. I became so depressed that I had to turn off my emotions to get out of bed everyday. My family became worried about me, as they had seen that I had changed. The kids were worried that I had become mean. No, I did not hurt or abuse my children, we just argued every day over trivial things. DJ told me, "Your job is killing you. You aren't the same person that you were before you started working there."
My oldest son said, "You used to be bright, cheerful, and bubbly. Now, you are dark and cynical."
My youngest said, "With all due respect, Mom, with all due respect, you're a bitch."
The words cut through my heart like a hot knife through butter. Here, I had taken a job to help children and to assist families, and the job was tearing my family apart. I immediately resigned my position and agreed to stay for a month in order to close some of my 42 cases. I have not found a job over the last eleven and a half months, but I am still looking. I never was paid my full overtime. I only received $5,500 of the $14,000 in overtime owed me, but that, my readers, is another story.