My Worst Jobs

After my 1963 high school graduation, I’d worked for nearly a year at Giddings and Lewis Machine Tool in my home town of Fond du Lac, saving hard for my college future. I spent my work day assembling and soldering circuit boards.

Lay-offs due to budget cuts moved my relocation up a few months. I was excited to get to Oshkosh earlier than expected, happy to get away from my family and get started on my life. I began the job search but with no real skills or a work history, I was only able to get assembly-line factory jobs. It was 1964, the summer of my worst job. It was two jobs actually. This was followed by other bad jobs throughout my college years but these were the worst.

The first one was at Standard Coleman, making television tuners. After a few weeks I felt almost crippled from my blisters and stiff hands. For eight hours I had to pull down an electronic nail gun and punch a part into place. I will never forget the loud mouthed cigarette smoking broads who were my companions on the floor. Some had been there for years.

It was an education in real life to hear them complain in the most colorful language I’d ever encountered about the antics of worthless husbands or boyfriends and their hellion children. My own occasional hang overs didn’t help the situation; I was getting a head start, quickly making new friends and becoming acclimated to the wild and carefree college life. The metamorphoses from my work life to my private life was stark.

When I couldn’t stand the assembly line atmosphere anymore I looked for other work and thought the next horrible job would be better. At Miles Kimble, a printing company, I had to watch personalized Christmas cards coming off a printer and inspect them for accuracy and quality. Boring. And again, surrounded by long time employees, unhappy and hopeless.

What followed throughout my college years was a variety of not quite so awful but still dead end jobs. Store clerk. Waitress. Secretary. Work study clerk. These worst jobs taught me one of the most important lessons of my life. The value of a college education.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Dec 29, 2015 @ 09:59:15

    Your adventures were well worth it. Now you can relate to all conversations in the library.



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