Career Change??


When I was a little girl I wanted to be Florence Nightingale.  But,  although blood and gore do not bother me
(farm girl that I am),  bilious dysentery would definitely do me in.  

Then I was introduced to Emma Peel (The Avengers) and thought “wow, I could be her” – a least I could handle the gun and I was pretty sure she and Steed avoided vomiting and diarrhea…    

The reality is that I started my career driving a tractor for my father who originally paid the princely sum of 50 cents an hour – but then it did come with board & lodging and other luxuries that come with living at home.   At some stage the pay increased to 75 cents an hour but I was trusted with the header (harvester) and landplane equipment by then.  Considering I was still at school and driving only a couple of hours a day and on weekends my bank balance was pretty dismal. Once I had a license I supplemented the slave wages with baby sitting.  (Although once I took $20 home after babysitting for 4 hours and my mother made me give half of it back!).  

I thought I wanted to be a Psychologist so off to university I went – but 3 days visiting Shenley Mental Institute in Hertfordshire, England  (voluntarily!!) was enough to drive me to comfort eat and made me think my fortune could be in food.   So back to school I went and learnt all sorts of interesting things from micro-organisms and deadly food-borne  illnesses to whipping up a Bechamel sauce, how to butcher & cut up a sheep and how to tap a keg.

Ten years in the commercial catering industry followed before my (then) husband started making heaps of money and I got to stay home & do exciting things for 5 years;  misfortune struck in the form of a divorce so it was back in to the workforce I had to go.  I trained as a Gym Instructor and got a job in a huge gym which included opening up at 5.30am and teaching the first circuit class of the day at 6am!   But Gym Instructors are not well paid so I cashed in a life insurance policy and bought a computer and started night courses offered by the local community college.    It was an Information Technology course so I learnt some DOS and programing as well as Microsoft Suite.   Armed with this new technology I started a second job in an office and was soon the full-time Personal Assistant to the Executive Vice President of the company.

Then the manservant came along and whisked me off my feet and out of my country.   No green card meant no employment so I entertained myself for 8 months by calling 1800 numbers and practising my typing speed. Eventually I got a Work Authorization Permit which allowed me to work while I waited for the green card.  I went to a temp agency the day after I got the permit – they did skills testing (which included a spelling test which was actually quite difficult given my Australian english)  – they sent me to a job that very afternoon.   Nine years later I am still with that same company.    I started as the Receptionist and am now the Office Manager.

But ……  I ride the metro each day and am often tempted by the advertisements I see.  In the last month I noticed this advertisement which had me wondering about a career change….  Of course age might be an issue for a field job, not to mention the citizenship matter …… oh, and that little thing of being willing to throw yourself infront of the speeding bullet!  I think that last factor is the decider  -  Secret Service is not for me!    

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41 responses

  1. Wow! You're one versatile gal, Emjay. Secret Service should be a breeze for you. Think of all the spy stories you could post for the edification of your Vox neighbours.

  2. LOL – I think one might have to sign a non-disclosure agreement – hence another reason the job would not be for me – I wouldn't be able to resist telling all those "clever" code names.

  3. Yes, one must be a U.S. citizen. The Secret Service does more than take a bullet for the president. It also probes financial crimes, counterfeiting, computer-based attacks. With your computer experience, perhaps you'd have a shot – pun intended.

  4. Would it not be nice to be able to just change jobs just to experience it the difference of a new job a new place and work to get used too! But after a while it would get to be a little much!

  5. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post Emjay! A little history about you, and all the interesting jobs you've had….even the 50 cents an hour one….was nice! I used to work for temp agencies when I lived in Kansas City…and found several permanent jobs through them. It's great that you moved your way up in the ranks at your current employer. Secret Service…I'm with you, I'd have a hard time keeping quiet!

  6. You've had a varied career haven't you Emjay? Blimey? Are you originally from England or did you just end up there after you'd finished tractor driving? Secret service will be a breeze for someone who can drive a tractor while whipping up a bechemel sauce and teaching pilates at the same time!

  7. I really enjoyed reading this. How fun your life has been! I envy you the farm childhood. And I can not believe the gall of the secret service to put that billboard up. I am surprised they did not copy the poster for an Angelina Jolie movie.

  8. You're a survivor, if anything. Respect!I do a bit of work for companies who make these special SUVs for people in this line of work. Very interesting stuff. It's seriously good work if you can get it. Reminds me of the movie "True Lies".

  9. That was a very short and intense history of Emjay… 😛 Wow…:D
    I think Secret Service was probably trying to whisk you away like the manservant when they kept coming by in their super long limo spyin' on you 😛 keke

  10. Yeah … what Vicola said – how did you end up at a British mental institution (voluntarily … hmmm) from the back of a tractor on an Australian farm?Around here all the ads like that are for the US Border Patrol. You get to live in exciting places like El Paso, Del Rio, or Laredo!

  11. LOL – I like your pun! Yeah, I know they cover the things you mention but I think I'm getting tired of being in front of a computer …. though I'm also not ready to get citizenship (no real reason, just don't feel like it).

  12. I think that's what the young were doing before the economy went belly up – at least that's what one of my sons was doing – he had more jobs in 2 years than I've had in a lifetime. He said he wanted to experience things to know what he didn't like.

  13. Thank you Amy Sue. I remember my first weekly pay cheque for a "real" job was $53 and I thought I had made the really big time! I think temp agencies are a wonderful way to ease back into the workforce.

  14. LOL – not just a sheep but also a cow and a pig! No, I am Australian but after uni, I went to stay with a woman in England who was an Occupational Therapist at Shenley and I went to work with her for 3 days – the institute was a real eye opener for me! Till then I think I had an almost "romantic" vision of mental illness (if that makes sense).

  15. Nope, I'm an Aussie – but my father is from Guernsey so I had to have the back to the roots trip. I had 3 months between Guernsey-England-Scotland – in winter!! Not only did I learn that psychology was not for me I found that going back to Australia in February(summer) without a tan almost put me into therapy! 🙂

  16. Thank you GB. A childhood on the land is really something special. Although I could barely wait then until I finished high school and ran off to the big city, I now look back on that time with genuine nostalgia.
    The poster makes me think it should have Arnie or Sylvestor Stallone in the frame somewhere. 🙂

  17. Thank you Nikki … LOL – we have a couple of things in common then. I used to have to stand up to get the clutch down! I'm not sure I would look very sexy in a dirndl but once that keg was open I don't think anyone would notice me!

  18. I think I was given a lot of responsibility quite early as I was the eldest and it was a while before a boy came along and seriously my parents could not afford a farmhand. There is something dependable & tough about country kids. I got an articulated truck licence at 18 so I could drive seed to the silos so my father could stay on the harvester. I still keep that licence up to date though I have come a long way from the farm.

  19. Thank you Lucy. Yes, I think it is wise to look on everything as being temporary stops on our journey through life. Some stops are more exciting than others though ….. I didn't write about my month picking tomatoes to go in tomato sauce. 🙂

  20. You get to live in exciting places like El Paso, Del Rio, or Laredo!Those are really cool sounding place names though… in my mind, they conjure up cocktails but I guess that doesn't go with the uniform. My father is from Guernsey in the British Channel Islands so I went to the UK to discover those roots – spent a lot of time in cemeteries!

  21. That is so true Kimber. Most things look more exciting from outside. My eldest son tried many different jobs to see what he would like best. At one stage he was an apprentice Locksmith – after a few more jobs he decided by a process of elimination that Locksmith was the best of what he had tried and so he went back to that. As he is only 25 I expect there might be more changes in his future. As he said; how do you know what you want to do until you've tried to do it.

  22. LOL – yes I'm multi-talented – I also typed thesis manuscripts (on a portable typewriter) while I was at uni and a private investigator's reports when I was retraining on the computer! And, I didn't mention the tomato picking for Cerebos or night fill (packing supermarket shelves at night) and I think there are a few other forgettable ones…. The best thing is that I have seen so much of the world… I just wish I could find someone to pay me to do more of that.

  23. This is so funny Emjay, I've fantasized for a long time about working for the Secret Service or FBI. You would make a good agent – you seem overall calm and level headed. There was actually an article on these guys (maybe in Parade Magazine)? and what struck me is that unlike regular body guards, the SS people are expected to take a bullet for the President. Put yourself right there to be shot. Wow, intense but what a neat job that would be. I bet the bennies are out of this world.

  24. Yeah that whole taking a bullet thing takes a special kind of person. I wonder what sort of psychological testing is required to make sure one would be able to be this selfless if it came down to it.

  25. Well that's a good question – from rumors I hear it's more likely they'd just choose someone with a good record serving the Feds in some other capacity, just a guess. I bet the psychological tests are quite intense, though.

  26. You've lived such an extraordinary life, Emjay!Though the US Secret Service may be out (and really, do you want to be one of those suit-wearing stiffs with ear pieces?), I can totally see you as an Emma Peel-style secret agent.

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