Odd Jobs I’ve Had

classified ads By the time I was old enough to have a job, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. So, the majority of my jobs in high school and college all centered around education and children: I babysat, was a summer camp counselor, taught summer school, and was a student ministries intern.

But, after I became a teacher, I had some odd jobs to fill in the downtime during summers. And then after I stopped teaching to stay home with my boys, I worked when I could.

1. Cheerleading Coach My first year of teaching middle school, why not go ahead and give the young newbie the cheerleaders? Even if she had zero cheerleading experience(I was a baton-twirler, y’all).  And then there were cheer moms. I get nightmare flashbacks every time I watch Dance Moms on Lifetime.

2. Airport Finance Department Gal Friday I have no idea what my official title was, but I entered invoices and made copies and delivered paperwork throughout the finance department of a major airport. On my first day, I was told to be sure to go find a supervisor as soon as I was done with a task so that I could be given something to do. But, since I did my work quickly(apparently the girl before me was a slacker), they started telling me to just sit at my desk and wait til someone gave me something else to do. I read a lot that summer. And felt a little disheartened that I was making more at my do-nothing temp job than I did during the school year.

3. Full-time Substitute Teacher During the one and only year I spent teaching in upstate NY(inner city, yeah, that was a blast), I was hired as a full-time sub. I got paid as if I were a regular teacher, but only worked when I was needed. And I was assigned to cover the classrooms of the mentor teachers when they had to go observe their interns. So, I might only have to go in and cover an hour. And if I wasn’t scheduled anywhere, I didn’t have to work. And if someone called me in the morning to come in that day, I was to say no, that I was busy- even if I wasn’t. And if it snowed and I didn’t feel it was safe for me to drive to work, I didn’t have to go in. How I’d love to have a job like this now.

*insert years of teaching in NC without much drama, then leave to have babies and here come the rest of my odd jobs*

4. Standardized Test Question Writer/Evaluator I wrote questions for standardized tests for 3rd and 5th grade mathematics. I also evaluated others’ questions: each question written had to be evaluated and suggestions made by something like 5-10 evaluators. During our training for this, we were taught to watch out for cultural stereotypes such as “Juan doesn’t always have to be the gardener.”

5. My Gym teacher Gymnastics classes for wee ones. All I can say is if I had been blogging back then, I would have had bunches of motherbitch stories for you. This one didn’t last because I realized after working there for a month that I was pregnant with our third baby and I shouldn’t be dragging the gym equipment all around the room or lifting all these kids.

6. Target Cashier During the Christmas season. Where the woman who just spent hundreds of dollars on Christmas decorations and Santa wrapping paper will then bite your head off for wishing her a “Merry Chrismas” after you hand her receipt.

7. Member Service at the YMCA Where I learned that even though the gym technically doesn’t open until 5:30am, if I opened the doors any later than 5:25am, there would be a line of 50 pissed off members cussing me out. And also where I had to hide my laugh when impatient jerks would try to push their way through the swinging bar to get to the workout rooms before I hit the button to buzz them in.

8. MOPS Coordinator This was volunteer, but OMG, the hours put into making those monthly meetings amazing was ridiculous. Along with dealing with every little complaint and very rarely ever hearing from those who loved it. Worst part was learning that the pastor’s wife was a huge bitch who made me want to change churches.

9. Gossip Blogger Oh, the number of times I had to defend this as an actual job. A paycheck=job, y’all. But, for 8 months, I concerned myself with all things celeb and entertainment.  Oh, the random celeb knowledge I had during that time was insane.  But then I needed to quit to focus on my family. I haven’t paid any attention whatsoever to anything in the celeb world since.

As for now, I take on smaller projects that I can do from home. But, mostly 10. I’m just a mom. 

What are some of the different jobs you’ve worked?

Joining in with The Good Life for Monday Listicles


  1. says

    I started working for McDonald’s when I was 16 (think 1994) and worked for them until I had Kaylee in 2002. . . I then worked on and off part time for a few years. . .

    The last job I had was at a bagel shop (called Bruegger’s Bagels) and was seriously the easiest job I have ever had (that was in ’07).

    Now I just play the roll of Mom (although I would LOVE to find something to keep me busy and get me out of the house)
    Stasha recently posted..My Confession to YouMy Profile

  2. says

    Girl, you’ve done a lot of stuff! I’m kind of impressed. And, that airport thing, I had a temp job like that once. Though they kept me pretty busy, my point is, I was super fast, too. So, I had to wait around for jobs sometimes. They were amazed that I knew my alphabet. Really. My filing capabilities amazed them. Funny!
    Caroline recently posted..New Life!My Profile

    • Shell says

      I didn’t realize just how many I had done. I usually just think teacher.

      But, really, I could have just kept going with this list!

      That sounds like my job. I don’t know what the people before me had been doing!

    • Shell says

      It was- and that’s what I think of most when I think of jobs I’ve had. But, after writing this, I realized I was all over the place. LOL

    • Shell says

      I’m glad you asked, too. When I first saw your question, I didn’t think I’d have enough to make a list, but I could have kept going and going!

    • Shell says

      Some of those moms were just out of control. I was glad to only deal with them as the teacher and not as one of the other moms!

    • Shell says

      Yes, the eyerolls and the “that must be fun” comments. But, it IS most definitely a real job!

  3. says

    I’ve not done as much as you. Most of my jobs have been directly related to HR…at least the last 7 have been related to HR. Prior to that, I was a baby sitter, sold jewelry at the jewelry counter in Sam’s Club, waitressed, was front desk receptionist at a insurance agency, and worked in a grocery store. Okay, so maybe I have done a lot of different jobs. Ha.
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  4. says

    basically boring

    as a teenager ~ fast food and retail
    adult ~ retail/retail management
    oh I was a painter (walls, etc) at Central Michigan University
    Oka recently posted..Prayer RequestMy Profile

  5. says

    I drove a van of international students and their families to Walmart and the grocery store every week. Basically a shuttle bus driver. I was always afraid I was going to forget someone at the store!

    I cleaned houses and offices. Worked as a transcriber for a research center specializing in parent child relationships. A family support counselor for a family preservation agency.

    those are just a few….

  6. says

    I worked a government job with the same problem. I outworked everyone so they told me if I didn’t slow down I would have to be let go…crazy, huh? You would think they wanted their money’s worth.
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  7. says

    I don’t think I have had one interesting odd job!! Oh wait, once I sat and sold tickets to Mr Dress up shows. (do you know him in the States?) That was a great week long gig at a cottage. Other than that I waited tables from High School until I landed my full time gig after University! Boring:)

    • Shell says

      No Mr Dress Up here!

      I’ve never been a waitress. For some reason, that seems to be a job that almost everyone has at some point!

  8. says

    Bless you because I could never be a cheerleader coach.

    I’ve had a few jobs in my past – newspaper delivery girl, Burger King, cashier, day care (motherbitch stories there, too!). I’ve recently added another job onto being “just a mom”. I’m excited, but still working on balancing everything.
    Evonne recently posted..I wishMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Not sure if I will- maybe some day.

      Gossip blogger took up an insane amount of my time. Having to jump on things as soon as they were news.

  9. says

    My favorite was the year my husband and I (both in grad school) worked for the US census as enumerators. We would go out as a team and canvas an area. It was really cool, even though the actuall process was pretty screwball.
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  10. says

    This list has variety that’s for sure. Funny the path life takes us on, huh? Great to see you’re loving this job called motherhood! The craziest job I ever had was working at retail store called Weiners. No joke. They sold…clothes! I quit after one day. Long story to say the least…
    Eve recently posted..Motherhood is a Dirty Job But I’m Happy to do ItMy Profile

  11. says

    Great post – I always love to hear about where people have worked.

    I’ve had more than my fair share of odd jobs. I’ve had more retail jobs than I can count. But I used to work at a Rectory – every night I worked I had to serve the priests dinner (a 5 course meal) and then wash the dishes. I also worked as a cashier at an upscale gentleman’s club (yes, I was fully clothed). Oh the stories I could tell!!
    Lisa – AutismWonderland recently posted..the LITTLE things are a BIG deal (#2)My Profile

    • Shell says

      I thought about doing that back in my early twenties. But, was talked out of it by coworkers who said that parents of students would get upset if they found out. Of course, they’d find out by seeing me there… hypocritical. LOL

  12. says

    My favorite job during college was a pet sitter/dog walker. I got to stay in some amazing homes, I love animals and I made really good money! Once word got around, I basically went from neighbor to neighbor as they headed off on vacation or business travel. Most of the people were single and their pets were their children. Loved it!
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    • Shell says

      It was just phrased so funny in our training that I remember that line now, about 7 years later. Anytime there’s some sort of stereotyping going on, Hubs and I will say to each other “Juan doesn’t always have to be the gardener.”

  13. says

    Wow, when it comes to odd jobs it’s like you’ve done it all! Love this!

    My jobs have been pretty standard except the one when I was hired to be a part of a party troupe that was basically hired out for parties and weddings. Dressed in costume, I was hired to get people to get up and dance, along with performing a few routines…this being done by a non-performer like me. That job lasted all but two weekends. :-)
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  14. says

    Your airport office/summer reading job sounds like one I had at the Alumni office of a local college. The Alumni Coordinator was going on Paternity Leave for July and August and told me to just browse the internet alumni community boards and be “visible”. To interact with alumni, chat, research what they were doing over summer – so that I could gather info for the back to school September issue of the Alumni Magazine.
    My official title was Assistant Editor of the Alumni Magazine, but basically: Yeah – I got paid to surf the Net.
    RoryBore recently posted..Monday Listicles: I’ve Worked Hard for the Money!My Profile

    • Shell says

      I didn’t have internet at my desk- just the database I had to enter things into. So, other than reading, I didn’t have anything to do!

  15. says

    Um, I linked up but now I’m embarrassed! I’m 26 and listed all 10 jobs. However, those aren’t ALL the jobs I’ve had! Yikes!

    • Shell says

      Nothing wrong with that! I didn’t think I’d had all that many until I started listing… and I could have kept right on going!

  16. says

    Wow! You’ve had a lot of jobs!

    I’m currently a special ed teacher, but I’ve also been an Income Maintenance Caseworker for Social Services, Barcoder for a college library, Office Assistance in the dorms, Customer Service Manager for Winn Dixie (promoted from Cashier), Catering Assistant at a college, Telemarketer (raising money by pestering alumni), and I’ve worked for Bojangles (doing random stuff–mostly cleaning).
    Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) recently posted..Why I Hate Cookie MonsterMy Profile

    • Shell says

      You’ve done a lot, too. Funny how I usually just think of my teaching days and not all the rest!

    • Shell says

      I can’t remember if I lasted there one or two days. I was supposed to clean out that big drawer thing underneath the chicken roaster. All the grease was so nasty, I couldn’t do it!

  17. says

    Wow, I have to say your resume is rather impressive! Lots of unique position…like writing questions for standardized tests! I guess I never really thought of someone having that as a job!

    Could you imagine the questions you could write now, after becoming a mother…

    “If a mom has 3 babies all under the age of 3, and they’re all crying in unison, the phone is ringing, the tv is blaring and her husband is due home at 5:00 and expects dinner on the table at 5:30, what are the chances that she’ll end up in the psych ward by 8:00 pm?”


    Probably the most interesting (yet disturbing) job I’ve had was as a therapy intern when I was working on completing my MA in psych. Some of my clients were unbelievable. Like the mom who refused to take me seriously about her son needing more intensive therapy when she told me that he had killed the family kitten over the weekend by shoving a hose down its throat and turning the water on full blast. Or the mother who had sex with her lesbian lover while her children watched. So glad I earned my hours and got the hell out of there.

    • Shell says

      I could definitely come up with some unique questions now!

      I can’t imagine handling some of those clients!

  18. says

    Being a cashier during the holiday season is not fun at all! When I was in HS…ages ago, I was a cashier at Safeway. I hated scanning all those groceries and then people arguing with me about something that was on sale. Now with all the coupon madness, I really couldn’t do it!
    Jenny recently posted..Finding me . . .My Profile

  19. says

    Oooh I bet you had some awesome motherbitch stories! And please always say Merry Christmas! I love that. :) My jobs have been working with the public/retail. Waitress, Jelly Belly Tour Guide, Target Cashier, Weight Watchers, Michaels Arts & Crafts. To name a few. Now I am “just a mom” too. 😉
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    • Shell says

      I only worked there for about a month and a half- during the Christmas rush. Used my discount and my paychecks for my boys’ Christmas presents that year.

  20. says

    Celebrity Gossip Blogger…why do people don’t think that’s real? In this culture?? Duh.
    Paycheck = JOB. For reals!
    You had lots of physical stuff…YMCA, Cheerleading coach, etc…I could never get hired for that.
    That’s like hiring…I don’t know. My brain doesn’t work! I want to say something really obvious or ironic….like….trying to hire the salmon to oversee the fishing expedition. OUCH. That was a bad one.
    MiMi recently posted..It’s My Perogative!My Profile

    • Shell says

      I don’t know why people were so skeptical about it. But hey, a paycheck is a paycheck!

      I didn’t do anything physical at the YMCA. I sat there and scanned people’s cards and let them in or I signed them up for membership. I sat on my pregnant butt. :)

  21. says

    I’ve had this and that jobs.
    My most stressful was a currency trader. I’ll age myself and say I did that pre-Euro.
    I was pretty good and doing conversion math on the spot!
    Least favourite job – receptionist at an Insurance Agency. I wasn’t too fond of the person I worked for.
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  22. says

    Let’s see … I’ve been a waitress at a retirement home, a secretary for a real estate office, a retail girl at a birdseed and gift shop, a fundraising specialist, the director of a non-profit pregnancy center, an event planner (mostly weddings), a manager at Aeropostale, an office manager for a private school, an insurance agent, and a project manager for a law office.

    My resume rocks. 😉
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  23. says

    I’ve worked as a grocery store clerk, a data entry clerk, a administrative assistant, and pretty much everything else has been accounting/auditing related (tax was the worst).

    My friend is big into MOPS. She keeps trying to hook me up to do presentations/speeches at the meetings, but I’m not sure. What would I have in common with them? Besides the obvious of course.
    Jennifer recently posted..Yep, I’m going there.My Profile

    • Shell says

      I can’t imagine tax season!

      Why wouldn’t you have anything in common with them? Though I guess it depends on the group. We had a night group that met at a neighborhood’s clubhouse. We had working moms, sahms, Christians and those who had no idea MOPS was related to any sort of church.

      • says

        I’ve just always assumed it was a bunch of stay at home moms. I had another friend that was pretty into it and (though I sincerely love her) she was one of those moms that had it all together and everything was perfect and lah-dee-dah, so I thought maybe they were all like her.
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        • Shell says

          Some of the groups are sahms, just depends on the group. We wanted a diverse group where every mom could go, which is why we had ours at night. Maybe ask more about the group?

  24. says

    That’s quite the list! I was a beer girl one summer, and it was terrible. Worst job I ever had. I ended up quitting when they decided that I needed to wear a Busch bathing suit to work.
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  25. says

    Some of these entries..mostly the ones about bitchy moms made me laugh so hard….after watching a few of these shows I can imagine…..YIKES!!! some of the jobs i’ve had were a couple fast food restaurants (longest I made it was 2 weeks) a hostess at a sushi restaurant..hated it for all 7 months I was there. A few manufacturing places. A training/schooling job for a nursing home. Liked it but became to heartbroken when one of the ladies I took care of passed away. A on-site manager for a small extended stay motel…that was the most entertaining. and a mom…by far the hardest.

    great post :)

    • Shell says

      I really didn’t think that I had until I wrote these all down. Most of these were all short-term, so I usually just think about my teaching jobs.

  26. says

    I love the idea of you having to overthink job titles and names for those standardized tests. No Maria cleaning houses or Tyrone dealing crack in the ghetto…or did you use those examples?

    You worked at Target? I can’t believe people were rude. Why would anyone be upset while shopping at Target?
    The Mommy Therapy recently posted..Goodbye IndianaMy Profile

    • Shell says


      I only worked at Target for like a month and a half- it was to get us through a Christmas.

  27. says

    Hi nice to meet you, came through Hendotribe in New Zealand. I had the job of cleaning camping ground bathrooms over a summer when I was at uni. (we call it “varsity” in new Zealand. ) Oh the sight I saw! The land was later sold for millions of dollars to individual homeowners and I really think I should have gotten a big chunk of it.

    • Shell says

      Hmmm… I think being a gossip blogger, actually. B/c there was never such a thing as being done with my work. I could always write more. And trying to get all that done while home with my kids was stressful.

  28. says

    Very interesting.
    I’ve only held a few jobs. I owe my mom for scoring me a dream job when I was in highschool. I worked in the dietary department in a nursing home. I ranked in a lot of money per hour and I even had benefits. It was a blessing bc I didn’t have to worry about second and third jobs when the college bills rolled in.
    Gossip blogger eh?
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    • Shell says

      That sounds awesome! I didn’t have a car in high school and lived in the middle of nowhere, so I usually only worked summers. Except for babysitting.

  29. says

    You know, you really don’t realize how many jobs you’ve had until you list them out. I had just a few at first off the top of my head, but then as I thought about it more, viola!

    I was a nanny during college. I really enjoyed that, except the getting up at 4 am part. I also taught and then managed a swim school. Also enjoyed that. I taught Kindergarten at a private school – didn’t like that (motherbitches ruined it for me, too). I taught water aerobics to l.ol. (little old ladies). I had a job that I got to sit on my butt all day, too. I was the front desk clerk for one of the dorm halls at college. Helping people unlock their doors when they got locked out, or renting out the pool table equipment. I mostly just colored in a coloring book or occasionally did homework. I’m currently a manager at a marketing company, and really kind of digging it.
    Krista recently posted..It’s a Make Over in Record Time!My Profile

    • Shell says

      Anything that involves waking up at 4am is not going to be a good thing!

      I really didn’t think I’d had that many til I made this list. I could have kept going!

  30. says

    Oh man, it is soooo depressing to think of all the ways I could make more than doing what I do. I feel for that poor gal waiting around the airport.

    I’ve not had many different jobs. I only worked during the summers in hs, and from college on, everything I did was journalism/newspaper related. The best paying job was algebra tutor in hs, hands down. I got $20 for an hour of tutoring. Damn, I’d kill for that again.
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  31. says

    I’ve always wondered who they conned into being a celeb blogger. 😉 I love seeing the diversity in these lists. It’s been interesting to see how many different experiences everyone has had!

    • Shell says

      Funny how I don’t even think about most of these- they were all short term, so I usually just think about teaching.

  32. says

    Oh my, Shell! You’ve had a lot of different jobs! I had to laugh at the YMCA one. Sounds exactly like ours, except ours opens at 5…you wouldn’t believe the line of people waiting for the doors to be unlocked.
    And the Target one…I love Target, and I would have never bit your head off :)
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    • Shell says

      I couldn’t believe how anxious people were to get to the Y! Especially in the dead of winter.

  33. says

    you seriously worked at My Gym? I think I’d have to shoot myself…
    and I’ve been on MOPS steering for 3 years now…2 for service and 1 for hospitality…we meet twice a month, and you know what? those damn mothers never do tell us what a great job we do! Now I’m pissed…
    I waitressed for a while, and when I say waitressed I mean I smoked out back while my people waited for their food…
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..Fat Ass Small AnklesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      My Gym was only for a month. I thought I was tired and gaining weight b/c I was working. Nope, pregnant. So I quit.

      The drama behind the scenes at MOPS can be totally insane.

  34. says

    I saw this prompt and thought about doing it until I pondered the jobs that I’ve had and decided that they’re all boring & that I’ve had the same one forever. Yours on the other hand sound way more fun and interesting!
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    • Shell says

      I’m sure they aren’t!

      I didn’t think I could do this prompt, either. I was thinking huh, I was a teacher and worked with kids in all my jobs before that… forgetting about all these short term ones along the way!

  35. says

    Believe it or not I only had one job until 15 months ago when I burned myself out and moved myself out to LA. It was working in grocery retail. I just worked various different departments, learned as much as I could then worked myself up the ladder.

    Until I couldn’t do it anymore.

    Now I am a sales rep for a fun toy company and trying to do a little freelance writing on the side.

    I feel like i’m missing out 😉
    Jamie recently posted..A little bit of my past.My Profile

    • Shell says

      Nah! I like the idea of having one job and sticking to it. I would have stuck with teaching if I hadn’t quit to have my kids.

  36. says

    Such interesting and varied jobs!

    During my first summer after my first year at university (I was 19), I worked for 2 months at a stockbroking firm doing data entry, filing and other menial tasks. I had never been so bored in my life. Also? My supervisor thought my degree in Communications meant studying things like how to pick up the phone etc. Yes, that kind of firm.
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  37. says

    And I thought that I’d had interesting jobs! You’ve had quite a ride, and I’m sure you’d agree that everything has been excellent training for the job of being “just a mom!”
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  38. says

    So, ironically, you and I have shared quite a few of the same jobs although I always successfully avoided being a cheerleading coach and I don’t know enough about celebrity anything to write a blog about it.

    I don’t know how I missed your just post (buried in wrapping paper??), but when I felt something very similar, a wise blogger named Shell, told me we get into trouble when we add that word “just” 😉
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  39. says

    You know I’ve been a clerk, a barista, a tutor, a janitor, a teacher, and a professor so I feel like there’s a range.

    I would love to know – since I am considering stepping down to do temporary or part time work – when you say you would love to be a substitute teacher again is it just because of the flexibility? Did you like working with children who didn’t know you – did it make you nervous? I know sometimes kids can be mean to substitutes.

  40. says

    Wow, you’ve really had some different jobs. Isn’t it discouraging when people in the church are less than kind?? Oh and I can only imagine those cheer and gym moms. *shudder*
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  41. says

    I love your list of odd jobs. I saw this meme on another fellow blogger’s blog and I thought, I know there is no way I have had 10 jobs. You know, I don’t think Target fits you, lol. The girls that work at ours, most of them are snippy witches, and you do not come across like that. :) It’s all good that it didn’t stick.
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  42. says

    I am jealous of that substitute job! I will admit, I am a bit of pop culture/celebrity junkie, as I was raised on a healthy dose of Entertainment Tonight, but that job writing/evaluating standardized tests sounds intriguing.
    Jackie recently posted..Got a JobMy Profile

  43. says

    In high school I was a cashier at the local grocery store. I loved the job, but was super competitive about scanning the most items per minute!

    I was also an ice cream scooper, a waitress, worked in my college cafeteria, and substituted at my old high school on winter break of my sophomore year in college. They must have been really hard up for subs!

    Hey I am a cheer mom! :)

  44. says

    Cute idea for a post! Might have to steal this idea sometime. Worst odd job I had – clean a fitness center. I’m pretty sure that didn’t last longer than a day. What was I thinking?

  45. says

    I NEVER wanted to be a teacher and told the world that. I trained as an RN and loved nursing for many years. Guess what I did once my kids were independent? Right, I began teaching! I have been teaching adults in Bible literacy programs for over 15 years and love it beyond anything I’ve ever done. Other part-time jobs were: Photographer, camp nurse, chaperone to a teen orchestra travelling in Europe, Campaign manager for a college election candidate and typist for various and sundry people’s college essays. Most recently, I am known as the go-to-gal for editing and proof-reading written materials. I guess the longer we live, the longer the list will get if we are adventurous enough to try new things.