Jobs I Have Had

Recently, I have had more than one person ask me, "Man, just how many jobs have you had?" and "You have done everything, haven't you?" While I think this is a major exaggeration, I am listing here some of the jobs I have had, and some of my experiences there. For the record, I have not had any of the following jobs: That aside, to prove I haven't worked everywhere, I will tell you a complete list of places I had worked from one time to another, roughly in the order I worked them.

Government Project Planner - Summer of 1986

I worked on a long-range scanning project with the Pentagon as a low, low level lackey. I don't know what's still classified (it's probably not, but I am not taking any chances), but suffice to say, Reagan spent a lot of your tax dollars on bizarre stuff. This is where I first applied a lot of my basic computer hardware skills, like how to get a graphic plotter to stop smearing ink, and how an oscillator can be your friend. I worked with some equally weird people, one of whom apparently had access to just about anything. I saw a lot of how the government works, how people get money, and right past the glare of pomp and circumstance and saw the sad reality of bureaucracy.

Administrative Assistant - Publishing Company 1986-87

My last teen job, I worked as a kind of catch-all labor on a weekly basis for a very small company called Associations International. We did a lot of "dirty work" for organizations, meaning we processed their publications, handled their printing orders, did some of their organizing, and basically just a lot of back end administrative stuff. Including me, there were four employees. There was the owner, who used to work for the CIA at one point, and had a signed photo of Shirley Temple-Black on his wall. He was part of some major sting operation in the mid-70s that ended up in Life magazine. Also there was his daughter, who worked the typesetting and layout of publishing. She was into Soap Operas, and her father would buy us all lunch (yes, lunch was part of our benefits), and watch "All My Children" for an hour. Then there was Mark, who did a lot of the typing and data work, and then there was me, who did the scraps of work that were left, like bill collecting, publication assembly, labelling, and bulk mail sorting. The job was "as needed," so I left when I moved to Alexandria to find better work.

A Lot of Different Stuff - FanTek 1987-??

What *haven't* I done with FanTek? I have been a system operator for their BBS, designed and planned parts of their website, planned their programming, been their Emcee, done artwork, publishing, networking, helped with registration, been their gopher, and dozens upon dozens of other small jobs that are too numerous to mention or even remember. The work as as-contracted, but the pay is good, and the people that are involved... you just have to meet them to believe them. They are the main bonus of working there.

Button Maker - Calagraphic Button Company 1986-??

Nancy Lebovitz makes hand caligraphed buttons, mass-produces them, and sells them at conventions. On many a con, when I needed either spending money or something to do during the day (often both), I worked at her table. She once trusted me to run her table at a Balticon for a few hours. I last worked there sometime in the early 90's, and then she told me she couldn't afford to pay workers anymore. But at the last Worldcon I attended, she wished she had known I'd have worked for her. So someday I may be at a con, and work for her again. Great way to meet people in the merchant's room, and Nancy is a sweetie.

Bookstore Manager - Crown Books 1987-1989

I started out as a bookseller at McLean #803, and quickly got promoted to manager of #854 in Rose Hill, Alexandria. Both stores are gone now, but they merged with Super Crowns in their area. I started during the Christmas rush at the busiest store in the chain, and had adventures working for a book store that I will make a separate page someday. I worked with great people, and had fun for about a year and a half before I left to take up a better-paying banking career. While the working environment was fun, the pay sucked, the profit plan was a lie, and the politics were unreal. I heard it's so much better now that Bobby Haft left. For years afterwards, though, I worked part-time here and there in Rose Hill and Old Towne Crown Books. I just hated leaving the book store environment.

Teller - Dominion Federal Savings and Loan 1989

This was a big mistake. This was a struggling local bank that was so poorly run, to this day I don't trust banks very much. They went through employees like toilet paper, only treated them far worse. I had a pregnant boss who didn't know who the father was, but was living with her boyfriend and BOTH of them knew he wasn't the father. She was a patronizing, male-hating snob who despised women younger than her as well. I worked three miserable months there before I quit when I got the job in the knife store. Because I quit with little notice, there was a standard procedure of a post-interview with the FBI (I have FBI records and got bonded there as par of the job requirements), and I told the FBI all the illegal things that were going on there. I got a sigh, and a "we'll add your comments to the list," sort of speech.

Assistant Manager - Chesapeake Knife and Tool 1989-1991

This had to be my most fun retail job ever. My first boss was a ranger-qualified paratrooper, and my second one was a sailor-mouthed and witty girl from Manassas. The customers were fantastic. The employees were characters. This story is better detailed elsewhere on this site.

Bookseller - Walden Books 1990

I tried to work there part time until CK&T found out. That was short-lived, but had this ultra-cool boss named Tony. I recall they had a computer system so slow, that if you entered in numbers too quickly into the cash register, it would jam the system, and you had to reboot.

Punkadyne Laboratories and Archives - Owner 1990-??

I started my own business, and divisions of it like Squid Ink Publishing when my first book came out. Since then, I have developed web sites, published fiction and articles, assembled computers, and contracted with many people for various odd work. I have given talks at conventions, done motivational work, training, and even read tarot. The great thing about this company is, I get a lot of freebies, which takes the edge off the fact I haven't made good money off this company. But on the other hand, I have made some great friends.

Christmas Help - Gamekeeper 1992

During my writing and domestic househusband career (ie. unemployed), worked at the California based Gamekeeper, and learned odd facts like people who would complain you sold Oujia Boards, how the Tarot decks and gaming dice had to be hidden from thieves who were part of some gypsy-like cult, and I also learned that people will steal just about anything in a shop full of bright and shiny objects. The pay was strange, it was a company who payed me one low hourly wage to begin with, and if I stayed all the way through Christmas, they would pay me retroactively a higher pay. I didn't understand this, but after seeing everyone who kept quitting, I understood at the end. Sadly, the bonus checks were delayed, and I didn't get them until after Christmas. Oh well.

Manager - Cargo Furniture 1993-1996

At the time, Cargo was owned by the Texas-borne company of Tandycrafts. They sold quality boxy hardwood furniture that lasted forever. I worked with strange people, a lot of them flamers. I got to travel to Fort Worth, San Antonio, Bandera, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, and even Cancun ... twice! I made some good friends, and lost a few. I worked 48-hour/six day weeks (mandatory) that often escalated to 80-hour/seven day weeks if there was a staffing problem. Maybe someday I will have a page about working there.

Phone Tech Rep - Major Local ISP 1996

I started working for this major ISP when a friend of mine got me in the ground floor. I answered the phones for about 8-10 hours a day, with all the overtime I wanted. I don't list where I work for security reasons, those of you who know me know where I work... or have a disk from it... I was quickly promoted to callback specialist, to take care of "problem customers" (no such thing, really, just frustrated people usually), or things where I had to do research. I also worked on test phone queues, one for a major trojan virus problem our company was having at the time.

Assassin - CIA 1997

I was desparate for a part time job, and in a stealth opertaion, Senator Sonny Bono had embarassed our boys in the Federal-- ok, I was never an Assassin for this or any other government. I was just making sure you were paying attention.

Beta Development - Same Major ISP 1996-1997

I was promoted to the beta test area, and worked on our company's major clients. I began to learn the real hard-coded stuff, and the problems they created. I also learned how to test software, and worked with all kinds of great people, some who had purple hair and vampire fangs. It was surreal, because I worked the late shift (3pm-midnight) with people like that, so it was like I was in another world. I would have stayed there, I think, but they moved the whole operations to Arizona, and I transferred to another department and became a...

Telecom Programmer - Same Major ISP 1997-1998

You know when you dial a toll free number, and you get "Press 1 for this... press 2 for that..." I programmed that! I managed call centers via their hardware and routing software. I got to work with scripts and networks, and answered a hotline where trouble was reported. I got to tell Sprint what to do, fix errors, troubleshoot, and generally worked in an environment with great people. I worked with 6 in-house call centers, and a few outsourcers as well. This was also my first job where I did 24/7 on-call via pager. I was woke up in at 3am t be told that calls were still coming into the tech queue, and the agents wanted to go home.

International Operations Specialist - Same Major ISP 1998-Present

This is where I work now. Apart from doing more hotline work, I get to speak to more than a dozen different countries, carriers, and other organizations to repair anything from agent help tools to network outages and carrier difficulties.

So you can see I have had a lot of experience working in various places, and taken a little bit with them everywhere I go. But despite all this, claiming I have done everything is ludicrous. So you people stop saying that! J I am looking in your direction Lou and Jeni!

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