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Re-Invention

October 15th, 2012 at 08:20 pm

This post is directly inspired by Patient Saver's post, "How well do you reinvent yourself?," where she lists the jobs she's held during her career, and invites us to do the same.

This is fun to think back on! Here's my list, with selective commentary.

Elementary School. First paying job: dog sitter for the neighbor's dog while they were away on vacation. I'll always remember my 10th birthday--I went in to feed the dog that morning and she had pooped several times all over the kitchen. I ran home crying to my dad for help and he gently told me that this was what I was getting paid for and doing the job that needed to be done was part of growing up. I think he probably helped me but he certainly made me do my share!

Junior High/High School
-Street Musician, in front of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). There was a huge plaza in front of LACMA at the time with a lively street festival culture. My friend Susan and I would play duets, and--as two young teens (we were about 14/15 at the time)--we earned a decent amount of money doing this each Sunday.
-Babysitter
-ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutor. My dad was an ESL teacher (as well as an elementary school teacher) and a few of his students hired me for extra help to prepare for the TOEFL exam.
-(Volunteer) lab assistant in oncology research lab. I had to wash/autoclave glassware, but they also taught me to count blood cells, inject mice, etc, plus do some data collection.
-Volunteer orchestral musician for theatre arts and performances; solo performer at monthly musical salons.

College
-Cashier, Gift Store, Xmas rush
-Research Director, Student Educational Policy Commission. Probably the highlight was doing research with the assistance and supervision of the university registrar documenting the number of students getting C- grades, who would lose credit for classes which they took Pass/Not Pass (which they would get credit for had they taken it for a grade) and getting to present this in front of the Faculty Senate. They did vote to change the policy at the time, but I just checked and see that they have since changed it back.
-Clerical Assistant, Documentation Associates, Information Services Inc (DAISI)
-Copy Editor, Psychology of Women Quarterly. The editor actually asked my mother (who had indexed one of her books) if she would do this, and my mother suggested that she try me. She gave me a copyediting test, and I ended up doing this for two years, working for the editor, communicating both with faculty authors across the world and with the publisher.
-Research Assistant, Psychology Department.
-Statistical Analyst. I discovered in the process of working as a research assistant that many clinical psychology grad students were statistics-phobic, so during my senior year, I had a small business consulting to clinical psych grad students and running their statistical analyses. They had to interpret the data; I just crunched the numbers.

Grad School
-Research Assistant
-Co-Author of several book chapters
-Teaching Assistant
-Survey Coordinator
-Babysitter (for some extra bucks)

Professional Life, Career One
-Instructor/Assistant Professor/Associate Professor of Psychology
-Free-lance Author of Test Banks and Instructors' Manuals for psychology textbooks
-(Volunteer) flutist. Got to be in the orchestra for the college chorale's performance of the Bach Magnificat (the other orchestra musicians were professionals from the Albany Symphony), Velveteen Rabbit at a local theater)
-Volunteer Income Tax Assistant

Then I left college teaching because I was stuck in a rut where my career wasn't showing any upward trajectory (and I never got tenure). I spent the last 3 years of my teaching career taking the courses for the accounting major, and as soon as I left teaching, I spent a few months preparing for, and passing, the CPA exam.


Professional Life, Career Two
-Tax Return Preparer (started at H & R Block; have worked at four small CPA firms since then).
-(Volunteer) Cashier, local arts center
-Bookkeeper
-Medical Office Receptionist (filled in for two months the end of one year while the accounting firm didn't have enough work for me
-cat sitter (again, during slack periods during my career change).
-Staff Tax Accountant (both at a CPA firm and currently as a temp (hopefully -to-hire) at a multinational manufacturing company.

2 Responses to “Re-Invention”

  1. patientsaver Says:

    Very interesting! I can see how the groundwork was laid for your career in academia! Funny how we fall back on things we did a long, long time ago when times are tough.

  2. Jerry Says:

    It's interesting to see where people end up -- how being a street musician can lead to academia and then further to CPA training! I love that people can have some insurance of second (and even third of fourth) careers in the US. That is very rare in many places overseas.
    Jerry

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