A good friend handed me a book the other day, saying, “Here, I think you might like this book.” The book is Inspiration Sandwich by an artist named SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy). My friend was right. I really enjoyed this unique and highly imaginative book.
In one section SARK reflects on the 250 jobs she’s had in life. She says, “My first job was as the wakeup fairy in kindergarten.” Her words got me to thinking: What are some of the jobs I’ve had throughout my long life? In addition, I asked myself, “What did I like about each job, what didn’t I like, and what lesson(s) did I learn from each job?” I suggest you take a few minutes this week to do the same. Such a reflection can be fun as well as enlightening.
Here are a few of my early jobs. Probably my first job was doing the dishes with my sister. Since she was 5 years older, she always got to wash the dishes while I got stuck with drying them and putting them away. What I liked? Helping to make the dishes nice and clean again. And being with my sister (most times). What didn’t I like? Drying dishes was boring! And time consuming. There were plenty of interesting and fun things I could be doing with my time after supper. Lesson: some jobs are boring, but have to be done.
Another job I had as a little girl was picking strawberries with my siblings. What I liked? It was outside, we could eat some of the strawberries while we picked, I often had fun with my siblings, and (best of all) we got 10 cents a quart for the berries we picked. But it was the beginning of our summer vacation and was often hot when we picked. Lesson: earning money can be hard work.
Babysitting was another job I did a lot of. What I liked? The kids—at least most of them. I never had any younger siblings, so babysitting afforded me the chance to play with younger kids. And earning 50 cents an hour was good money back in the 1950s. Most customers gave me tips too. What didn’t I like? The late hours. And the responsibility for those kids. Lesson: Being responsible for other people is a BIG job.
For a couple of summers (age 14 to 16), I worked at Sorter’s fruit stand at the corner of Chardon Road (Route 6) and Bishop Road. What I liked? I got 50 cents an hour, Mr. Sorter let us eat some of the fruit in the back room, and all the other workers were boys! Granted, two of them were my brothers, but the others were Jimmy, Kenny, Fran, Eric, and others. I also enjoyed meeting a wide range of customers. I still remember my first customer, a truck driver who wanted 2 pounds of sweet cherries. He told me to keep the change for my tip. I also remember the students from the nearby Jewish Yeshiva and the Catholic seminary walking up to the stand in their black slacks and white shirts or their cassocks and buying our good fruit. What I didn’t like? I had to learn the names of 20 or so different kinds of apples and what each kind was best for: eating, baking, making applesauce, or making cider. Lessons: Your fellow workers can make or break a job. Jobs force you to meet new and different people and to learn many new skills.
I also had a wonderful waitressing job from age 16 to18. I loved almost everything about that job—especially generous tips! But I didn’t like my sore legs and feet at the end of an 8-hour shift. Then I entered the convent. As a novice, I learned other jobs like: washing the huge pots and pans in the main kitchen, mopping floors in rooms the size of basketball courts, operating the floor shiner in a narrow hall without banging it into the wall, sewing and mending things, peeling hundreds of potatoes by hand–until we got a potato peeling machine. Warning: If you leave potatoes in the potato machine too long, they come out the size of marbles! At another time, I plan to reflect on my jobs from age 21 to the present.
What about you? What are some of the jobs you’ve had in your life? What did you like, didn’t like, and learn from these jobs?
Our song today is “God Is Working” by Deon Kipping, an American Gospel Musician. Written in 2020, the song reminds us that God has a “job” too: loving us! God is at work in each one of us, in our family, in our country, and in our world as a whole…
I hope you will share a few thoughts with us about some of the jobs you’ve had in your life.