Friday, August 06, 2010

Flashback Friday # 8 ~ My working life experiences--a sampling

This week Linda (click her icon, right, if you want read others or participate in this) asked several questions.
She has a neat meme this week. Neater than for the amount of time I have to write it. But I will jot a few notes in a different format than usual for me. There could be more to my life than I have related here but this is all that I will write. I am especially thinking of some of the experience while working part time jobs.

- - - - - - -

First off, I have had several full time jobs in my lifetime:
1. Elgin National Watch Company, factory worker, Lincoln, Nebraska (3 years)
2. U.S. Army, clerk (2 years) NIKE (Missile) fire control systems (computers and radars) (3 years, Fort Bliss Texas) (total 5 years)
3. Ford Aerospace Company, senior aerospace engineer, NASA Houston (17 years)
4. San Jacinto College, college professor of business, Pasadena, Texas (22 years)

- - - - - - -

Next, here are Linda's questions and my answers:

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A farmer or a truck driver

2. Why did you want to be that, and did you do it?
Dad was a farmer. Truck driving looked like fun.

3. Did you consistently plan to be whatever it was, or did you change your mind often?
I didn't worry much about it. I worked part time summer jobs of for the moment.

4. Did you do anything like volunteering or interning to give you a taste of your future occupation/role?
Not really. When I was in law school (University of Houston, Bates College of Law) and working 50-70 hours a week at NASA I volunteered as a briefing clerk for an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney.
The attorney has since been appointed a federal district judge. I got a reputation as being liberal.

5. Were you as happy/satisfied with what you became as you thought you would be?
I have been happy with every job I have ever had, even the part time ones--except one. When I was at the watch factory I was also a college dropout (University of Nebraska) and decided that I was unsuitable for academic study and would be working with my hands for the rest of my life.

From the Army electronics training I developed a hobby, that of being involved in Amateur Radio (HAM Radio). I have been continually licensed since 1961 and hold the Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator license with the call sign of K1TLT. That was my first call sign as a General Class and was KN1TLT during the short time that I was a Novice Class.

6. What surprised you?
In the Army 43-week missile school I was third in my class of 130 students. Two warrant officers were ranked ahead of me. I was ahead of the rest of the officers and was first among all the enlisted. That caused me to think I may not be stupid for learning things after all.

7. Would you choose it again?
I believe that I have told every one of my college classes that working life is long and at these students' ages they should prepare for doing something enjoyable for the rest of their lives. Definitely not would to be learn a profession such as nursing solely in order to finance a hobby or avocation (like writing music or being a race car driver).
I would choose every one of my working experiences. At NASA I taught and trained astronauts and flight controllers and got to see the BIG picture. During missions I would sit on the Environmental Control or the Electrical Power Systems console. That involved monitoring the appropriate systems from telemetry data and helping to make real-time operational decisions.
My college teaching put me in a position to help many of my students get hold of their lives and work toward being a productive society member. My own dropout and recovery experiences helped with this.

8. Do you still want to be something else - either in addition to or instead of?
I am something else, retired. A retired engineer ($214/month pension) and a retired college professor (no pension but I do have a small 403b retirement fund).
At times I would have liked to have been a preacher. I have started taking some seminary courses on an audit basis.
And lastly, a person cannot escape working responsibilities. I am a co-teacher with two other retired persons teaching a coed Sunday school class, ages 70 and older (you don't have to be that old to teach them or to be a class member really). I no longer am paid but I do keep busy with that and lots of other fun and helping tasks.

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Comments:
Very interesting. I wanted to be a preacher when I was younger, but I think that was mainly to get out of being preached.
 
Enjoyed your memories. I think it is wonderful when someone picks themselves up and plunges ahead and does something worthwhile. Something fulfilling to them!
Glad Mrs. Jim is back home. Have a wonderful week.
until next time... nel
 
I love the fact that you're taking some classes in your retirement! :) Your testimony of dropping out of college and then going back and making something of your life is encouraging too. We're dealing with a young friend who dropped out of college and feels he has messed up his life at 19 - we're trying to convince him to get back up and try again!
 
I loved reading this. My mom wore an Elgin watch for years! And I'd always laugh when the Ford dealer in Elgin TX (which is pronounced with a hard g, not a soft g like the watch company) ran their ad with Cactus Pryor - he always said (with the correct pronounciations) "That's Elgin not Elgin; we sell cars, not watches." Most of my friends didn't even know what that meant.

And for most of my growing up years we lived less than a mile from Gulfgate!
 
Despite being born and raised in Lincoln, NE, I had never heard of the Elgin Watch Company. I had to look up the location of the factory--and discovered that the property was bought by the University of Nebraska (my alma mater) after the factory closed. It's always fun to learn a little something new about one's hometown.

I, like you, have enjoyed every job I've put my hand to (although I certainly haven't stuck with any for as long as you have done--I'm a bit too young for that!) I've done housekeeping at a hotel, office work for a food bank, food service management on a University campus, teaching cooking at the University, and nursing home work. So far, I haven't found a job that I couldn't make interesting!
 
I wanted to be a nun but I think they would have thrown me out of nun school.

I bet you are a great teacher.
 
Being teacher ands being teachable are so very important!

You have had a long and interesting variety of career choices.

Blessings
R
 
Jim, you have lived a very interesting life. I think I could have used some of your advice 15 years ago.
 
my dad was a HAM radio operator. his call sign was K1VJI. when i was little he had a room in our house we called the "radio shack". there was a sign on the door that read "high voltage". there was no admittance without invitation. i remember standing outside the door waiting to be invited. i never could understand why all my dad's radio friends sounded so funny...
 
hey jim - my dad was walter m fife jr from maine... last time i looked up K1VJI was a few months ago and i was surprised his name was still listed for that call sign
 

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