This month, February 2010, marks three fricking years since I first went on disability leave for cancer treatment. (And, incidentally, since we got our Nintendo Wii.) This got me thinking about all the jobs I've had in my life, starting back when I was still in high school.
It turns out that I've worked for 13 organizations, if you include my own company when I was freelancing. I did not enjoy every job, but each taught me something:
|1985?||Graveyard-shift self-serve gas station attendant||Don't be a graveyard-shift self-serve gas station attendant. Also, burnt coffee smells really bad.|
|1988||Park naturalist||Science is fun, five-year-olds aren't patient, but summer jobs are a great place to meet your future wife. Also, avoid flipping your canoe.|
|1989||Science centre floor staff||Science is fun, but you'll spend most of your time telling people where the bathrooms are.|
|1990||Student handbook editor||Choose your fonts carefully, and people never get things in on deadline.|
|1991||Student society admin assistant||It's a long way to pick up your printouts across campus when you type them on a mainframe computer.|
|1991||English conversation coach||Japanese girls definitely interested in learning English; Japanese boys (who smoke like chimneys), not so much.|
|1992–1994||Student issues researcher||Creating your own job is great, but it sure would be nice to have an office with a window.|
|1994–1995||Full-time rock 'n' roll drummer||Playing live music onstage is often awesome. Everything offstage, however, usually sucks.|
|1995–1996||Magazine advertising assistant||No matter how nice your co-workers, a bad boss can ruin the whole experience.|
|1996–2001||Various software company jobs, from developers' assistant to webmaster||Even if you know almost nothing about how to do it, when someone asks you if you want to run a website, it's still worthwhile to say "sure!"|
|2001–2003||Freelance technical writer and editor||The paperwork to run your own business is immensely boring.|
|2001–2003||Semi–full-time rock 'n' roll drummer||Rock is more fun when you mostly stay in town and get paid better.|
|2003–2007||Communications Manager, Navarik||Working with friends can be a good thing, especially when they have good ideas. Oh, and a decent extended-health plan is really, really important.|
In the late '80s, I also helped my friend Chris install alarm systems in people's homes and businesses, but while I got some money from it, it wasn't quite a job in the same way. It was more like when I helped him repair cars and resell them around the same time. Though in those cases, I did learn that I dislike crawling around in fibreglass-filled attics running wires, and that I'm not too fond of all the grease, gunk, and rust involved in auto work either.