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To understand my passion for job placement, let me tell you a little about some of the jobs and experiences I’ve had growing up. I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that childhood interests can help you find the right career. This is so true!
My first job at age 13 was babysitting (okay, child care provider). Besides gaining transferable skills, Click here for transferable skills of a Childcare Provider, clearly “babysitting” sets the stage for good parental skills (I have 3 children).
However, even before this time in my life, I “held a job” as a swimmer.
Starting at age 6 through about age 17, I was a member of the Iowa Falls Scenic City Swim Club. The coach, Bruce, was one hard arss. Swim club is where I learned the art of practice, perseverance, perfecting a stroke, team work, and how to really hold your breath!
I recall the feeling of free style swimming the full length of the olympic-sized swimming pool (164 feet) without turning my head even once to take a breath. I pretended I was a fish!My favorite trophy! (Body shape certainly wasn’t like mine!)
With babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns and swimming, along with cleaning my dad’s office space and the shop’s bathroom (ugg) at Culligan Soft Water, my summers were busy.
When I got a little older, I started walking beans (I was not very good) and detasseling corn (I was horrible.) Could be a height challenge (and my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than me with that horrible hoe and worse knife; and a tall guy who liked to help me by pulling the stalks way down to my level.) Because these were not reasonable accommodations and I knew that back then!, I voluntarily left….or I wasn’t called back to work a field, a mixture of both probably.
Randy, my beloved hubbie, on the other hand was retained by a farmer who “fired” the other boys because they ditched the hot fields in lieu of a cool dip in the nearby pond. Yes, he has a history of walking entire bean fields by himself……ahhh…..could you do that?
Corn Stalks in Iowa Are Way Tall!
My first official job – with a real bonafide paycheck – was at Rocky’s Pizza as a food server (waitress is what we called it in the 70s, duh!) Rocco “Rocky” LaValle, (he was our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for him for many years….there is much history. As a food server skills in need are aplenty. Click here for more information.
Rocky’s Pizza Box Sign
I found both the above and below images online (click here for my disclaimer!!). I’m not sure of the year, but Rocky’s moved into to a beautiful new location on Washington where you could really see the pizza making action in the front window!
I worked at the original location in about 1978 at about $1.85 hour, plus tips of course! There’s a Facebook page about The History of Iowa Falls that gives great historical information about Rocky’s . What’s cool is how many past workers, including myself, post our memories!
Original Rocky’s Pizza
Along with the pizza joint, I also worked as a food server at an “upscale” fine dining restaurant – The Chateau. It was actually a brick mansion on Rockyslvania “converted” into a restaurant. This food server work required a tweak on approaching customers and serving food, and I enjoyed it greatly. Oh, I also wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine! At the Chateau, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!). I have a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! Remember the upstairs where we had to serve for special dinner parties, that wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!
On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too), I also have food serving experience working at a small truck stop in the country called The Junction north of Iowa Falls on the way to Hampton. I remember some of my favorite customers, like the old farmer named Chris, of course in his overalls. He always tipped me! Along with serving, I did some food preparation and of course a lot of clean up and replenishment of food products and dining items. And I was responsible to operate the industrial dishwasher!
The dishwasher was fun to run! (Most recently I am back into operating an industrial dishwasher, at our church when I volunteer for funeral meals!)
Alice the Cook was Queen! And she taught me a lot! There is a bench dedicated to her along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).
I really loved making the incredibly yummy malts. The leftovers!
I loved working at The Junction truck stop! It was also really cool that my brother, Steven, worked next door at the truck stop’s fuel filling facility. My brother Steven – I love you…RIP. He was one hard worker…!
Stop! Now Follow Me!
I also worked as a heavy road construction flagger, the person who moves the stop sign to control traffic. I remember some interesting motorists who long ago passed through….! And I also drove the follow-me truck, But that got un-nerving to me as each time I made a back and forth pass through the zone, the [male] construction workers would stop and stare at me…how silly of them. ? Would’ve that been sexual harassment on the job? Nahh, these were just the big old road crew boys…! I just thought it was annoying, and just wanted to do my driving job!
Machine Operator and Forklift Operator! I loved it!
Additionally over the course of my early work history, I worked light industrial at the Alden Corn Processing plant in both the corn processing facility…standing at a de-shucking machine and shoving ears of corn through; and in the packing facility….working at the labeling conveyor as well as shrink wrapping pallets, and watching out for the fast moving forklifts. I was trained and did drive a forklift!
In the summer of 1981 I took a nurse aide training course. Following the training and upon receiving the certificate to be a Certified Nurse Aide, I was hired at Ellsworth Community Hospital. I gained experience working on each shift over the course of my employment. Each shift has its unique characteristics. Talk about gaining incredibly valuable nursing skills.
On to nursing school……..stayed tuned….as I explore my past…..and realize it turned into a passion for job placement.
Stayed tuned for Part 3
Original publication date: November 28, 2011
My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.