Quite some time ago, Stephany wrote this fun post on all the different jobs she’s had in the past. While I’ve essentially been a stay-at-home mom and occasional freelance writer/blogger for the past 6 years, I’ve worked in a bunch of different places doing a variety of different things! As it turns out, the list is long, so bear with me!
Gift Shop Sales Associate
The first summer I decided to get a “real” job I actually ended up working two jobs, one during the day and one into the evening. For Job #1, I was a sales associate for a gift store. While it wasn’t a stimulating job it beat flipping burgers. (Not something I wanted to do AT ALL when I was 15.) I got to meet a lot of tourists as well since the store sold a lot of precious stone jewelry, including jade which is abundant in BC.
Job #2 for that summer was at a Chinese restaurant where I bussed tables (mostly) on the weekends. I actually preferred working here over my daytime job as I interacted more with my coworkers, plus I went to high school with a couple of them so we had more in common. (Job #1 I had maybe 1 or 2 people working alongside me and they were adults so angsty teenaged me didn’t relate so well.) The pay was only okay, but the waitresses always tipped me out at the end of the night, which was great. Anyway, I enjoyed my stint here so much that I worked there for a second summer; while I wanted to waitress the owner wanted me to bus tables again, so I didn’t argue. I got to try my hand at waitressing a couple of times when it was super busy and learned that it wasn’t for me, so yay for that!
Sandwich “artiste”/Kitchen crew member
This job was by far my favourite place to go to work. In a nutshell, it was a farm market that had a little country kitchen attached to it. We made homemade breads, pies, cookies, soups, and sandwiches, and while I did a little bit of everything, my main responsibilities were either running the cash register or making sandwiches. It was a long and usually hot day of work (12-hour shifts with no A/C, and stoves and ovens going all day!) but it was so much fun. The owners were amazing and I loved everyone I worked with. Heck, even Kyle worked there! We have so many great memories at this place and it’s so surreal when we go back because while it’s changed so much it’s still very much the same. I worked there for three summers before I decided to hang up my apron for good.
Grocery store cashier
University expenses made me realize that I needed an evening and weekend job, so I applied at one of the big grocery stores in town and hoped for the best! It was the first time I had EVER had an actual job interview and I remember being terrified. Thankfully, I got the job and I ended up working here for about 5 years on and off. The job definitely had its moments, whether it was coworker drama or crazy customers, but overall I enjoyed my time there and still chat with many of my ex-coworkers when I go buy my groceries. I also made some of my closest friendships there, so I have no complaints!
Student labourer at a copper mine
My dad worked at this mine and most summers they offered up student labourer positions to the children of their employees. It was a dirty job but the pay was amazing, so I had a hard time complaining about most of it. There was a lot of shovelling and hosing, but there were some coveted departments that I got to spend time in as well – Mine Rescue and Environment. While helping with Mine Rescue, I got to play a fake victim so the rescue team could practice for their competitions coming up. Environment was a cinch because we got to plant wild grasses and go fishing!
During my last year of journalism school I was hired to be one of two news editors for the student newspaper. It was relatively easy as I only had to pump out a minimum one story/week, and the various editors took turns writing columns. The best part about working for the student paper was that we got to go to the annual Canadian University Press conference. While it was in Saskatoon in the middle of February, it was still a really fun trip!
This was a sporadic job as it came and went with both Provincial and Federal elections. Essentially I was responsible for giving people their ballots for voting people into office, and then when the polling stations closed myself and my partner had to count all the ballots and tally the votes for each person running. Talk about putting the future of the province and country in your hands! Counting was super stressful, and we weren’t allowed to leave the polling station at all while it was open, unless we had to use the washroom. It was a long day, but it was a good experience overall and I appreciate all the work that goes into making our civic duty as easy as possible.
Right after university, I somehow managed to land an editor position at a little indie newspaper right in Kamloops. I was still pretty apprehensive about my journalism skills, but this fun little publication really let me work on developing them a lot more! Aside from pulling content together for the paper, I also was able to do a bit of layout work and got out on the streets for “streeters”. (Basically Q&A’s with random strangers, which usually gave me huge anxiety but I managed okay.) Working here also provided me with the opportunity to be a panelist for a writer’s conference, which was terrifying, and also to be on TV to promote said conference. (Also terrifying.)
A position had opened up at the local daily newspaper, and it was my dream to work there and move my way up the ladder, so I applied. While I didn’t get the job I applied for, I was offered a part-time position in the classifieds department and took it as a foot in the door. I spent my hours taking calls and entering classified ads into the system, and I was occasionally left responsible for closing out everything for the day and sending everything to print. The toughest part of the job? The obituaries. I didn’t enjoy having to tell people how much it was going to cost to run the obituary for their loved ones.
Just over a year after I had started at the daily newspaper, this position opened up in the newsroom. I had just returned to work after Kyle and I got married, and I eagerly applied. During my interview the editor-in-chief asked me why he should hire me, and I told him quite simply that I wanted to have his job one day. I don’t know if that’s what got me the position, but I was so happy when I was told I got it! I loved every aspect of being in the newsroom and soaked every bit of what was going on up.
When I was let go after my maternity leave because of cutbacks, I was devastated, but it allowed me to stay at home and be with Isla. In the end, the paper shut its doors in 2014, but the paper will always hold a special place in my heart.
I had a short stint as an auxiliary writer/editor at the university, where I wrote a few stories and helped develop web content for the different programs at the school. It was a good glimpse of what working there would be like and I’d happily go back if the opportunity came up, even if it wasn’t in the same department.
So there you have it! I’m pretty sure I’ve covered every place I’ve ever worked, and it’s interesting to see how things have changed since I’ve left each place. Two of the places on this list don’t even exist anymore, which is sad in a way. It will be interesting to see what happens when I finish my certificate and start working on reentering the workforce. As much as I love being able to stay home and manage our household, a part of me still misses being out there and doing the daily grind.
Where was your favourite place of employment?