Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Employment History

I look back on my life and am somewhat amazed at the number of varying jobs I've held. Starting with my high school job they are:
1. Fast food worker
2. College admissions tour guide student coordinator
3. Waitress
4. Dental office receptionist
5. Dental office manager
6. Waitress (in HAWAII!!!)
7. Waitress (not in Hawaii)
8. Movie theatre attendant
9. Clothing store assistant manager
10. Candy store manager
11. Patient care tech for a children's "assisted living" school
12. Temp worker (data entry)
13. Waitress/Bartender (lasted for 3 years. Ugh.)
14. Line worker for a playsystems manufacturer
15. Waitress
16. Special Education Specialist (I prefer not to reveal which offshoot of SpEd that my degree is in)
17. High School SpEd teacher
18. SpEd Specialist (city #1)
19. SpEd Specialist (city #2)
20. Waitress (concurrent with #19)
21. Piano teacher (concurrent with #19 & 20)
*while working jobs 18 & 19 I also learned the finer points of campground management

WOW! Considering that I've been employed for that past 21 years that equals out to one job per year. Some of the jobs were held concurrently, some were not. Along the way I attended college at three separate points in time (well actually four as I had to take a semester off while pregnant with Actress). Some of the job changes were precipitated by Mr. Ex wanting to change cities. (We moved approximately every 2 years while we together. I should be a professional mover as I am now quite skilled at the finer points of cross country moving!)

Best job I've ever had? Teaching high school special education. However I think this relates more to how the school ran their SpEd department than to teaching in that specific area. I taught separate classes in Life Skills, Basic Algebra (hilarious! It took me THREE tries to pass College Algebra) and a general Science class. This school was large enough that the SpEd students took their classes with SpEd teachers just as if they were in the "regular" classrooms. It took a lot of effort but was worth it. I even had to take a self-defense course to teach these students! They weren't really that scary but some had the teenage equivalent of parole officers. (PS. The best training I had for teaching these kids? Bartending. I kid you not.)

College attempt number one found me looking towards a career in hotel/restaurant management. That ended with my marrying Mr. Ex and moving. College attempt number two was for nursing. That ended when I learned I was pregnant with Baby #1 and was too ill to continue. (Baby #1 did not make it past the fourth month of gestation.) Attempt numbers three and four were for my current profession as a special education related services provider. After attempt number three I wanted to change directions and go back into nursing or respiratory therapy but was subsequently convinced by family to continue along the path I had previously chosen.

I am now planning for attempt number five. Nursing school, hopefully to start in January of 2009. Is it the right choice for me? I don't know. I do know that I have a high interest in the area of medicine and at a couple points in my life have wanted to attend medical school. Nursing will double my current salary and with continued education, give me the ability to eventually teach at the university level. This choice to go back once again was prompted by the upheaval of divorce and the realization that I was doing what was best for Mr. Ex's life and not what was best for me (and ultimately for my children). I could have chosen to continue with my Master's in my current profession (I have about 15 credits finished) but that would have raised my salary by about $2000 per year, whereas obtaining my RN will double my current salary. Not to mention that it holds far more interest for me than what I have done for nine of the past 10 years (and disliked almost every minute of it).

Of course, I have to be admitted to school first (the application period begins in July). While I have my worries about that, they are not too troublesome. When I visited with the admissions counselor a few months ago I was told that I am just the kind of student they are looking for. Good grades with a previous degree and a non-traditional student (apparently we non-trads have a higher graduation/employment rate).

Now it's just figuring out what I'm going to do to support us over the next three years. I'm trying not to be to worried, though. If there's one thing I've learned, something always turns up.

The sun is shining here so it's time to head outside and enjoy it before it disappears into clouds & rain again. Happy Saturday, ya'll!


Vanessa said...

Ah. Now I see why all the effort to EMT. You really hit a nerve for me with this post. I have been struggling with nursing school myself. I have all the pre-reqs, have applied and not been accepted 3 times. My GPA is 3.8. I'm starting to wonder if I should be looking at other careers and have started waiting tables part time while I try to figure it out. Maybe the universe is just trying to tell me something? Best of luck to you. It's a tough choice.

Happy weekend to you!

Vanessa said...

Also? I'm insanely jealous you got to wait tables in Hawaii! I tried for several years to make that dream reality. It never worked out for me. Where did you wait tables?

Chele76 said...

I really can't explain why, but being a non-trad student was so.much.easier then being a trad student. Being non-trad, I found myself always sitting in that front seat, participating in the conversations and actually doing my homework! I guess it must be because since we've been out in the work fourse we understant the value of an eductation... and I think school administration knows this as well.

Good luck!!!!