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Where I Was – The Overview

January 2, 2010

I wrote earlier today about the Pivotal Technique (from The Path of Least Resistance):

Understand what you want and why you want it.
Understand where you are now.
Notice the difference.

Well, I’m not sure what I want or why I want it, but I’ve been spending a lot of time on that question of late, so I figure I’ll know soon enough.

And, when I figure that part out, I’ll need to know where I am. And what skills I possess that are working in my favor.

So, over the next few days, I’m going to be going through my work history (where I was), as well as the book I got from the library 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills, and determining what skills I have, what aptitudes I poses, and what I’ve learned over the years from my variety of experiences.

Knowing where I was and what I learned there will help me figure out where I am, exactly. Knowing where I am exactly, will help me figure out the difference between where I am and where I want to be.

Where I was:

  • In 2006 I graduated from a private liberal arts college.
  • I majored in Philosophy because it was that or History or possibly Political Science, and I was told going into college that it didn’t matter what I studied, because graduating and graduating well would be enough to get me a ticket anywhere I wanted to go.
  • I graduated fairly well (3.5 GPA) to find that most of the jobs I was even remotely interested in needed two to five years of related experience, which I did not possess, and could not possess without someone hiring me.
  • I graduated in 2006 and have worked ten jobs in those three and a half years, many of them simultaneously.
  • The short story:

    I have worked as:

      1. Line crew at Qdoba
      2. Carpenter at a community theatre
      3. Welding and metal art for a friend
      4. Running crew for a local music venue
      5. Customer Service at a fabric store
      6. Office work at a tailor shop
      7. Hostess at a restaurant
      8. Technical Director at a community theatre
      9. Server at Red Robin
      10. Administrative assistant for an independent financial advisor.
      11. Executive assistant to a different independent financial advisor.

    The long story:

    When I graduated from college in 2006 I had been working for almost a year as line crew for Qdoba Mexican Grill, as well as doing odd jobs in theatre and artistic metal sculpture with my friend and mentor, Jon. (With Jon I was learning in the ins and outs of the technical theatre trade, as well as welding and plasma cutting as part of his side business as a metal artist.)

    Unsure of my desire for a future in the food service industry, I took a job in (Early 2007) as an assistant carpenter at a local community theatre, no longer working at Qdoba, still doing odd jobs with my friend Jon between builds at the theatre, and occasionally running lights for a local music venue.

    The theatre job lasted until they could no longer pay me (about four months), at which point (Early-summer 2007) I went to work for a local chain of fabric stores as a “Customer Service Representative.” I worked there for a year (Spring 2008), working 20 – 25 hours a week (all they could afford to give me) and scraping by with continuing odd jobs from my friend Jon. One evening, always on the lookout for opportunities to make more money, I had a conversation with a customer at the fabric store, who happened to be the owner of a tailor shop, and asked if she might need any help.

    After four months of working at the fabric store and the tailor shop, a new restaurant opened up in town (Summer 2008), and I quit my job at the fabric store (they couldn’t give me more hours as a Customer Service Representative, and they wouldn’t consider promoting me, so I decided to move on) to work at the restaurant as a hostess in hopes of learning to be a server. I figured, if I could get experience as a server, I could a) figure out if I was any good at sales, and b) have a job skill that I could take with me anywhere.

    Shortly after starting work at the restaurant, another small community theatre opened up in town (Late-summer 2008), and they needed a Technical Director for their first season. Someone in their twenties is not often hired for a position like that, but it was offered to me on the recommendation of my friend, Jon, and several other theatres I had worked for around town. They couldn’t pay me much, they said, but it was a great opportunity. I quit my job at the tailor shop and signed on enthusiastically.

    After almost seven months of working at the restaurant (Early 2009), and five months of failure on their part to start training me as a server, despite their promises and several openings for that position, I quit at that restaurant and got a job at Red Robin, where they would hire and train me to be a server. As this point I was still working at the theatre, but my contract for the Technical Director job was due to expire in a few months, and wasn’t going to be renewed.

    I LOVED working at Red Robin. I loved being a server, I loved helping people enjoy their evenings, I loved the sales aspects of it, of being rewarded for a job well done. But the economy was still weak, and there weren’t very many hours available there either. With my theatre gig about to expire, I was on the look out for another job.

    Just as my theatre job was ending (Summer 2009), I received an offer my mother-in-law to work part-time as her assistant. I did that for almost a month and a half before she learned that a friend of the family in the same business need someone full-time. He needed someone to, at the very least, answer the phones while his current assistant was on maternity leave. Then he would have her train me to take over for her so she could rejoin her family. So I quit my job at Red Robin, and that’s what I’m doing now.

    Where I am now (in brief):

    Now, for a variety of reasons, my hours as this guy’s assistant are being cut to part-time, and I am, yet again, in need of a second job.

    But this time, instead of working for someone else, I’m going to try to work for myself. With the economy the way it is, having a small side business seems like a really smart plan because a) it will give me additional income, which we need right now, and b) I will learn valuable lessons from the process of trying to get a side business up and running.

    I’m buying Summer Camp from Naomi at and I’m going to figure this out.

    I’m nervous, but also very excited.


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