longest and best job in my employment history lasted sixteen years. The worst and shortest lasted two hours. It should have only been fifteen minutes. I was a hangar clerk. Do you know what a hangar clerk is or does? Me neither. I’ll get back to that.
What is the worst job you ever had? What about the best.
Many times, when someone asked Mom how I was doing, she would say, “She’s just as happy as if she had good sense.” More often than not, she was right on the money.
Except for the job I had at the Frosty Freeze, and the time after high school when I worked in California for the summer, I worked at the Motel most of the time. One day the President/owner of the Draper State Bank asked Mom if she thought I’d be interested in a job at the bank. He told her he needed to hire an “outsider,” because everyone in Draper was related to each other in one way or another, and they didn’t want any “insider,” to know their business. So I got my first big break, because I wasn’t related to any of those rich farmers and ranchers who had all the money. I’ve always been lucky that way.
I’ve never been much of a gossip, so it worked out well for the town and me. Mr. Hayes was right. Back then, we hand sorted all the checks every day. As we put them all in alphabetical order, we knew who had been on a shopping spree in Pierre, and how much they spent. We knew who had been frequenting the bars, and who couldn’t pay the bills because we were going to have to bounce their check. If someone had a car or house payment, we knew how much that was too. A savings account for Christmas? A tax refund or did they have to pay in? We never shared that information with another soul.
There was no such thing as a credit report. With all the above information, Keith and Leroy knew who had the means and/or the character to repay a loan. The handshake agreements meant something then.
After I had worked at the bank a few months, Mom asked Mr. Hayes how I was working out. He told her he wished he had two of me. Her response was, “Is she that slow?” This from someone who thought I didn’t deserve the agreed upon amount per room, because it didn’t take me long enough to clean it. I learned from the best, Mom.
A couple of years later, I left the bank and moved to Wyoming. I called my friend Karen, who was working at the Okaton State Bank, and told her about the Draper job. She was another “outsider.” Karen worked at the Draper bank for about 50 or 75 years.
After moving to Wyoming, I decided to try something besides banking, and applied for and got the hangar clerk position at a power plant. I showed up that first day and was escorted to a small trailer with two desks in it. The girl who I was replacing handed me a hard hat, and introduced me to the guy who occupied the other desk. It took me about two minutes to form the opinion that he was a sleaze, and another two minutes for him to prove me right.
I should have left then, but I still wanted to know what a hangar clerk was. My trainer, walked me the short distance to the office of this humongous operation. She told me there were only four other females working at the plant, and they could all hunt bear with a stick.
Well, to make a long two hours short, I took the first opportunity I had to escape. I walked out to my car, put my hard hat on the hood of the car next to mine, and after I picked up my son at the babysitter’s, I drove home. When I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. It was the very nice man who had hired me. (Not the sleaze.) “Where did you go?” He asked. It should have been obvious that I had gone home? What I said was, “That job isn’t for me.”
About a week later, when I got home from my new bank job, there was a check in the mail from the power plant for $14.00. I was extremely offended when I noticed, “Not eligible for rehire,” was typed on the pay stub.
A few years later, I had worked my way up to manager of the real estate lending department at a small bank. One day, the man who had hired me and sent me the “Not eligible for rehire” check walked into my office. He had changed jobs too and now worked for a real estate developer. We ended up doing quite a bit of business together. I could tell he was going to be a gentleman and not say anything about my leaving the power plant without giving more than 2 minutes notice.
One day, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you about something. What exactly is a hangar clerk?” He said it had something to do with plans and specs. Then he added, “Don’t worry about it, that job wasn’t for you.”
After that job, I decided to buy a restaurant.. Yes…you heard me right. I bought Spiatza, a cute little Italian bar and grill in the west-end area (downtown), Dallas. I’m still not sure why I bought it… except for an occasional pizza, I don’t even like Italian food. The restaurant was in an area that drew tourists. We were open from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. (That had to be extended after 911 when people stopped traveling and vacationing.) I had to learn all the ins and outs of restaurant ownership, and quickly found out the most difficult part was managing twenty guys and girls in their twenties. I’m going to write a whole blog about Spiatza, which is a made-up word. Some of the stories are a hoot.
After we sold the restaurant, I took a little time off. Then a friend called me about a sales job for a company that owned assisted living facilities. The picture below is of me doing the macarena with some of the residents. I played a little jazz with my saxophone, We baked pies, took bus rides along the wildflower trail near Ennis, made Jackie Kennedy pillbox hats, and tons of other things.
One day, I saw a flyer in a restaurant asking for a stern, but compassionate person to care for an elderly lady in a wheel chair. I already knew I enjoyed working with older people, and part-time sounded good to me. I spent five years caring for Mrs. E. from 8:00 until noon. I’ve written stories about her before as well. What a character! She didn’t even speak to me for the first two days. Eventually, her health got so bad, she had to go to a nursing home.
So that’s my work history. Anybody want to hire me?