This is the third week of introductions to Self-Portrait Challenge. I never had a game plan about my career, I did not have a clue what I wanted to do. But I worked a variety of jobs and finally found a couple that suited me.
I was a ticket agent and an assistant station manager for the now-defunct Rio Airways, a small commuter airline. We flew (small airplanes) Beech 1900C and De Havilland Canada DHC-6-310 Twin and they were painted bright yellow, orange and red. AND we had uniforms to MATCH. Bright yellow and orange polyester uniforms - A-line skirt, vest, jacket with coordinating striped blouse and matching scarf. I am sorry to say that I do not have the photograph to back up this astonishing image. It was a very stressful, but fun job and I learned so much about dealing with the public. We were always late or losing someone’s luggage and I became the master of diplomacy in very bad-vibe situations. People still want to fly even if the pilot thinks the weather is too dangerous. They will talk to you like you are an idiot. They will lie and plead and do unimaginable things to get from point A to point B. Think A&E Airline – I would watch that show and laugh, thinking, yeah, I have heard that, or I have seen that. I guess my worst night was when I had to deny an overweight woman a seat on the airplane because the extension belt we normally kept, was on another airplane. A couple of hours and lots of verbal abuse from her, we finally had her on her way. But that was my job and I took it all very seriously. She said she thought I was doing this to her because she was fat, and that was so far from the truth. I just kept apologizing and stood firm on what I had to do.
I applied many times for Delta but they never saw fit to hire me and I was devastated then.
I have sold expensive designer clothes at Lucienne Phillips on Knightsbridge in London, Hemphill Wells in San Angelo, some upscale dress store in Snyder, Texas. Sold boot, jeans and hats at L&L Western Wear in Lewisville, Texas and perfume at Boots Pharmacy in Dundee, Scotland. I have been a bartender and waitress. I have shoveled shit out of horse stalls and nursing homes. Cleaned water troughs and houses for other people.
Unlicensed respiratory therapist learned on-the-job to take blood gases on the near dead. A blood donor technician. It did not take long to realize hospitals, blood, needles and sick people were not in my future.
Then finally my friend Sherry introduced me to her neighbor and I landed the first I really loved - Corley’s Ad agency in San Angelo. Then newspapers in Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle, WA. And now I work for an Internet news site.
I worked two jobs most of my adult life. I would work at the airline at night and freelance at the newspaper during the day. Then when I was full-time at the newspaper ad department, I would freelance in the editorial department doing the weather map during the weekends.
But my most challenging job is being a mom. The balance between being a rational parent, a sweet mother, not yelling too much about dirty rooms or dirt tracked on to the floor you just spent an hour cleaning. Staying on top of homework but wanting him to be responsible to take that challenge on himself and not have us tell him when it should be done. To pay and encourage him to pursue extreme sports he wants to do and not being scared to death he is going to do terrible harm to himself. To want him to be independent and go to lunch in the town center with his friends and not worrying myself sick that someone will abduct him. This has been a battle for D and I for the last 14 years. And I know all of you understand exactly where I am coming from. I think the job at the airlines gave me the patience to be a mother.
I am still waiting and looking for the ideal job for me. Someplace where I can make pretty things, use all of the skills I have, make things, photograph things, and not sit in front a computer all day. I am still looking and scheming ;)