Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rant #930: Back to the Salt Mines

That is what Fred Rutherford always said to Ward Cleaver on "Leave It To Beaver" when he referred to their workplace.

Does anyone know what Ward actually did for a living?

Anyway, the only reason I bring this up is that today is something of an anniversary for me, one that I won't go out and celebrate.

In fact, I will go to work to mark the occasion.

Today, 17 years ago, I started working at my current business establishment.

Looking back, I had had kind of a rocky road in by career up until this point.

I started out as a teacher, one who couldn't get a regular job.

I subbed all over, but it's like an educational caste system: once a sub, always a sub.

I worked part time in a real estate office, and then, when I gave up teaching after a couple of years, I worked there full time.

That place laid me off, and I was out of work for a time, only to re-emerge at a real estate publisher, where I worked for a few years.

Then I got laid off there--right in the middle of my divorce--and for a year and a half, I couldn't get a regular job. I was too educated, too old, had too much of this or that, whatever the case, I couldn't get arrested, so to speak.

I looked at ads, I placed ads, I went on TV and radio, I even stood at the bus station and handed out my resume. Nobody wanted me.

It was at this time that I met my wife, so it wasn't all bad, and I have to say, she must have believed in me totally to stay with me during this very rough period, because I really had nothing at this time.

I did a lot of freelance stuff, so it wasn't as if I didn't work at all, but another job did not come until I had applied for over 800 jobs in a number of fields. I know this because I had to provide evidence to the court that I was looking for work during my divorce. And not even the court could argue with me about this.

Anyway, I finally found a job at a security association, and I lasted there a few years, and was laid off once again. This was around the time my son was born, so it was very, very difficult.

But then, I found work at one place, and then, I found work at my current place of business.

By the way, every place I had worked for prior to my current employer has since gone out of business.

I kind of look at it as payback for what they did to me.

Back to my current job ... I am the associate editor of a trade publication that covers military commissaries and exchanges, which are basically supermarkets and department stores for military service members, their families, retirees, the National Guard, and the Reserves.

It is an interesting position, because one day, I can be writing about governmental legislation, and the next day, I could be writing about women's apparel.

It is that wide a field to write about, and in the 17 years I have been there, I have basically written about just about everything you can about this field.

There are actually some people who have been at my employer longer than I have, but I consider my stint there a real personal accomplishment, because at the other places I worked, it seemed that after anywhere from three to five years they canned me ... now I have proven that I have staying power.

Anyway, I won't have a cake today, won't get any cards for this, but it is a personal accomplishment that I feel pretty good about.

We all have love/hate relationships with our places of business. That is the nature of the beast.

But we are employed, and that is something special. With unemployment continuing to be high, I do cherish the job that I have. I don't enjoy every aspect of it, but I do respect the position and what I have to do each and every day.

So here's to me. I did it. I accomplished something that in my wildest dreams I never thought I could do.

To paraphrase Sally Field, "They like me. They really like me."

I guess they do, at least.

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