Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SPT - Working To Be Me

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 ;)


firstborn studio said...


Colorsonmymind said...

Wow, that is a lot of varied jobs.

Very interesting.

Nice pictures of you and your son.

kelly said...

he reminds me so much of my gabe...must be the rock and roll
hair. gabe looks like robbie benson in the 70s. oh teen beat magazine...

Charlotte said...

I must say I envy your varied life an itty bit :) You've travelled the world and have met many interesting people I'm sure. What I wouldn't give to just leave Texas for a week! lol
But most importantly, you get to be a mom.. the best job in the world as far as I'm concerned.. I just hope someday I'll get the same chance. :)

(and hopefully I'll get to meet you someday too :))

shash said...

your posts about your son always get me teary. those pics are beautiful of you two. and i wish you did have a pic of your airline desk uniform!!!

LeS said...

Oh what a life! Your introduce tuesdays have been so great and just look at that beautiful freckley boy of yours.

And so much more to come.

Great post, great photos (but I still wanna see you in that polyester outfit :)

Deb R said...

I have to admit I wish you had a photo of the airline uniform. :-)

Cool post!

trudesign said...

Cute photos!

s'mee said...

Great post Kim, I love coming here for the photos, but your words are always spot on as well.

I hear you when you talk the mom worries. I have people who constantly tell me how easy [our] life is "nowadays as compared to, let's say the pioneers or even during the WWI". My answer to both of those is, yes, it was hard then, but those moms did not worry that their child would be stolen and murdered for going to the park. They didn't worry about interent seduction, or the powerful influences of "recreational drugs". Those moms did not need to worry if there children would even survive with their innocence in tact.

Motherhood is hard. I give much applause to you and to all the moms willing to be there and fight the ills of "modern" society to save their little ones. You are an inspiration. And that kid of your is danged awesome too.

andrea said...

Oh, I love this.

mayseek life said...

touching thoughts on mothering..i agree on the complexity of this role(your smiles highlight the joyfulness of it )

Kim Carney said...

Thank you for your lovely comments (especially those of you wanting to get a glimpse of that yellow uniform;)

s'mee - yes, think of the dustbowl era when just feeding your kids was a struggle. and then I think of my grandmother and her kids, living with an alcholic husband who was gone more than there! Or even not so long ago when woman held no power! We exchange one thing for another in each generation. But in the end, it is all worth it ;)

thank you all!