This is limited to jobs I have done with the expectation of getting paid or making a profit, so I won’t list “mother” or “home-maker” with all of the jobs those titles require. Still, it’s a long list, so I’ll get right to it:
- Babysitter. I started babysitting outside of my own home when I was thirteen years old, and continued it through high school. I picked it up again when I was a young mother, as a way to earn a little money while caring for my own children.
- Certified Nurse Aide. I took the training as a senior in high school, and went on to work briefly at both the local hospital and the convalescent home.
- Die-Operator. I lasted less than one week at this factory job, and never regretted quitting.
- Dime Store Clerk. This was another short-term job that seemed sensible when we were broke and the bill-collectors were calling, but less practical when the realities of paying for child care and spending long hours away from a new baby were factored in.
- Tutor. I worked as a tutor in a few different capacities: for children in foster care, through the Department of Social Services, and as a student at Mott Community College, where any students could earn money by tutoring others in classes they had finished successfully.
- Waitress. My first waitress job was at the Shamrock Bar and Restaurant on Beaver Island. I started working there when we first moved here, in 1978. Before I retired my apron, I worked 21 years for the Shamrock, mostly as their morning server. On the island, Ialso served at Stoney Acre Grill, the Old Rectory Restaurant, and the Beaver Island Lodge. In periods of time off-island, I served at two different Big Boy Restaurants, and at the upscale Pretzel Bell Restaurant in East Lansing.
- Gallery Owner, Operator. For a couple years, I ran Lapeer Gallery and Frame, which involved a lot of work with slight reward. I did matting and framing, cleaning, customer service, artist reach-out, ordering, and advertising. I also changed the displays and hosted a wine and cheese artist’s opening each month.
- Art Teacher. I have taught art to all grade levels, in many different capacities. Sometimes it’s a one-day workshop; other times it’s a weeks-long or year-long engagement. Teaching several classes each semester in Community Education helped to support me and my family while I was studying at Michigan State University.
- Art Store Clerk. This was also during my time at MSU, and the store was conveniently located in the Art Center, where most of my classes were held.
- Housekeeper/Launderer. I have had several short term or interim jobs in one or both of these fields. The longest was the four years I did laundry at the Beaver Island Lodge.
- Specialty Shop Owner, Manager. In partnership with my sister, Sheila, I opened the Seven Sisters shop, which featured “earth-friendly products for kitchen, garden and bath.”
- Phragmites Coordinator. In this position, I did fund-raising and awareness-raising. I shared information between the two townships on Beaver Island, as well as the residents and visitors, regarding treatment and control of invasive phragmites.
- Owner, writer and editor for the Beaver Beacon. This was the third and most recent of my own failed businesses. It’s still painful to talk about: all the mistakes I made, all the money I lost…what seemed like a wonderful opportunity with a world of possibilities turned quickly into an impossible burden. I’m just glad it’s over.
- Hardware Store Clerk. In October, I will have held this position for eighteen years. It was never my life’s dream, but it has been fulfilling, nonetheless. That’s a good thing because, unless that lottery win happens (must make a point to buy a ticket!), it looks like this will be my job for life!
- Artist. Last, but not least. The job I do for love. And for my enrichment and my sanity. The job I would do even if I never made a dime. But, in fact, it does return a little money to me each year. Probably not more than what I spend in materials…but enough so that I can include it here.
This may not be a complete list…but at this time, it’s all that I can remember.