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Tizeye

Best job, and lessons learned

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While we talked about worst jobs, how about best jobs. While I guess I could say my toying with part time retirement, the best actual job follow my first Masters degree. For 2 years I was a policy analyst in the Florida Legislature on the Committee for Health and Rehabilitative service. The second year I also staffed the subcommittee on the budget. We very much had to be non-partisan and basically be able to argue both sides of an issue, breaking it down. Myself and two others reviewed all bills, writing reports before the committee and penning amendments on the fly during committee hearings adapting what the legislator was trying to change within the bill. We had to stay in the shadows with all attention focused on the elected official. Always remember first, and was shocked when one of my reports killed a bill (that legislator, while her freshman year, later went on to become Lt Gov).  In the final days of the Session after all my work was done as bills had passed out of Committee to final Floor vote, would sit in the gallery and watch the strong egos battle it out. 

Reason I left? It was "service at the pleasure of the Speaker of the House"  and President Carter nominated the FL House Speaker for a leadership position on a Federal agency, beginning a new Speaker with their committee assignments. My wife was pregnant with our first child at the time and I needed something more stable. Applied for several positions in the Executive Branch I had overview authority on and it essentially intimidated the people who would be my managers, one even suggest that I should be applying for her job. Did a short gig with the American Heart Association, developing fundraising and giving programs within a huge are of N Florida (Apalachicola to Suwanee Rivers). Then a letter from Dept of the Navy came, and I joked they wanted me figuring it was recruiter's mass mailing, then saw it was from the civilian personnel office at Camp Lejeune where they got my name from my earlier application and it came up with this new job they were creating. Basically, they were developing a trial Family Advocacy Program at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendelton (two positions). It focused on Child and Spouse Abuse, child neglect, and rape (any age) intervention. The program was successful and they created the Commission expanding it through the Navy, they even called me from Bethesda saying "where is your application! But I jumped ship and went Air Force active duty.

Often wonder what would have happened as  if had stuck with the Legislature. My manager later became an elected representative for Tallahassee, but it was one of my 2 Policy Analyst coworkers that filtered through house and senate staff position. Fast forward 20 years when took daughter to college, went walking through the halls at the State Capital and suddenly say my co-worker's name on an office...but not just any office. He had progressed to the most powerful non-elected position...Clerk of the House who sets everything up - agenda, assignments, everything - under the direction of the Speaker of the House. After identifying myself, they let me in and we had a good time reminiscing and updating what we had been doing.

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My most prestigious job was as Chief Chemist of Process Research and Development for Minerec Corporation, which became a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

I had to get a security clearance and worked on things like how to synthesize, at a 10,000 gallon scale, one of the components of Tomahawk Missile Fuel without blowing anyone up, a biodegradable pesticide to replace another biodegradable pesticide that was degrading into acidic material that left blisters on rice paddy workers in the Philippines and elsewhere, and "BA-50," a replacement for TRIS, which used to be added to kids clothes to make them flameproof but was also carcinogenic.

That would have probably been my life's career except, in the early '80's, I decided to start running long distances again to get back in shape.  I found I could literally taste the chemicals I have been working with the previous week.  The carcinogenic properties of things like benzene were just being discovered then and the fume hoods used by chemists back then were not very good at keeping fumes from those working at them.  Then I learned that Bench Chemists had the shortest avg. lifespans of college graduates.

So, one day I was playing 1st base on a Jaycee League softball team, mostly with guys I had gone to high school with.  2nd, short, and 3rd were 3 brothers whose 4th brother, who had graduated from our high school a year ahead of me, was a teacher in our countywide public school system - 2nd base was his twin brother who became the Judge I mentioned running into during Jury Duty last Spring.

Anyway, the teacher-brother came to watch a game. I talked to him about wanting to change careers because of the chemicals and he said, "They need chemistry teachers - you'd get a job right away in the county school system."

I replied, "Yeah, I remember how badly our teachers were treated - I don't think I want a roomful of those kids."

He said, "But you will have mostly the cream of the crop kids in chemistry!"

So I applied and was given a full-time job even without a teaching certificate - which took me 3 years to complete at night.  My first year was split between two schools but my former teachers rescued me and I taught at the high school from which I graduated for years 2-3 and coached the track and cross country teams on which I had been a member as a student.

Then, with an Advanced Teaching Certificate and Beyond Masters education, I got a phone call from  personnel, "A position as the lead teacher in the Honors (Gifted and Talented) Chemistry and Physics classes has opened up at Old Mill High, but you will have to interview for it."

This was the plum teaching job at the largest high school in Maryland. I got it and it turned out to be one where I felt more accomplishments in than in research chemistry!  I retired from that lead position 22 years later. I also coached at various times the varsity fast-pitch softball team, the cross country team, and the chess and science clubs and the competitive teams in each one.

I made less than I made as an industrial chemist but the very good pension was basically delayed-pay and resulted in a comfortable retirement.

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My best jobs...........hmmm.  Certainly the companies I worked for during the last 20 years I worked.  After I moved into the wonderful world of lasers I worked for several companies as a consultant, a contract worker and a regular employee in situations where what I did was important and where I was recognized as competent enough to define my own job. The work was interesting and several of my fellow workers were world class leaders in their respective fields.  Some of the jobs were so shrouded in security clearances that I don't even name the companies but others revolved around supplying equipment to research facilities including at least one satellite keeping track of what is in our atmosphere.

The most fun though.....the decade or so that I worked as a professional soccer referee.  I didn't start early enough in life to ever make the bigs but I did get to do a lot of AAU and games such as CT's Nutmeg Games.  As part time jobs go it's always fun to have people pay you to get outside, run around and stay healthy.

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I love the fact that we are all different. Just thinking about you guys best jobs makes my brain hurt. My best job was being the maintenance supervisor of a large church camp and retreat center. We had over 475 acres with 75 buildings under roof. In the summer we had over 350 kids a week for 11 weeks and I was very busy with my staff maintaining the grounds and the pool and retrieving jewelry from sink traps. When the kids went back to school things slowed down and we had mostly weekend retreats Friday through Sunday. I goy to spend more time in the woods laying out cross country ski trails and grooming them. Hauling downhill skiers by school bus to a local ski slope and picking them back up before dinner. I kept two helpers in the off season but in the summer I had seven maintenance guys and five life guards to supervise. I had a large house on campus that came with the job. We had fifty horses and the lady in charge of the horse program would use me to test ride new horses to make sure they were safe for nubes. My claim to fame, lol. I rode motorcycles not horses.

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The last 28 years of my research career spent in eastern Montana. I had adequate budget to support several projects without hustling grant dollars and wonderful coworkers and support staff. All research was conducted on Station, and I only traveled to go to meetings.

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1A2x1 (X - level 1-9)  - Aircrew Loadmaster.  While not my primary job to support our family, this job was the best one I had.  One of those jobs that one would do for free, but I still took the money.  Very challenging.  Saw much of the world.  Experienced both terror and elation.  Sometimes at the same time.  I sure miss it.   

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My best job was teaching aircraft mechanics in the US Air Force. I really enjoyed it. For tybeegb I was a T43172Z crew chief.

My most fun job was working at a drive-in theater as a teenager. I'm sure that I mentioned it here before. Getting to watch X and R-rated movies. Finding unopened beer bottles while cleaning up the lot. Organized crime used the place to launder money. And many other fun things!

My most lucrative job is where I am now. Seems my skill set and other qualifications are hard to come by. There are 6 positions like mine and only 2 are filled. I've gotten 25% in raised in the last 13 months.

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My current job.  Doing good work in a shit industry and building good relationships with my clients payed off when a former client recommended me to be his replacement.  

Highest base salary I've ever had, best/lowest cost medical, 20 mile commute, good boss and enough work to keep me busy but not overwhelmed.  

The only downside is the the firm I work for is in an industry that is not doing well and we have laid off a large % of employees and have made numerous cutbacks.   I don't think I'll be affected but you never know.  I renegotiated a contract saving the firm close to $100k annually so I'm still the hero...

Oh and lessons learned, relationships matter.  Be honest, do good work even when nobody is watching and treat people with respect.  It paid off for me.

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My church music job.  I'd do it for free.  I actually did for a lot of years.

But that's part time.  I have no college credits.  Shortly after High School I went to work for Hank Rowan.  The man just wanted people to learn and grow.  Without getting into long stories, at one point he took me off all my projects for a month while I researched the theoretical and practical validity of a design instruction I blindly followed to design something that failed.  After I reported my findings, he informed me that the was the one who developed it.  he wanted me to figure it out for myself.  It was pretty common for him to lay out large sums of his money just to teach someone something.  Unfortunately, he didn't pay well, I had to find another job after marriage came along.

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...working for the fire department was clearly the best, but running the swimming pool for the Washington Hospital Center nursing school was a close second. :)   What I learned from being a fireperson is that even the best job requires you to do stuff sometimes you don't want to do, and that if you can figure out how to get enough income to cover your expenses, you're better off without  one.

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In the same agency I am still with, I was the Director of Early Learning. So basically a preschool principal. I learned it is tough to support parents coming to terms with their child's disabilities or medical conditions. I also learned these were the lucky parents becuase all the other toddlers passed away. I loved that job.  Great staff, great students, and parents who grew so much in the three years they were with me. I miss that job.  

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I have worked with a diverse range of client groups and content crossing a diverse subject disciplines and corporate cultures.    Best career I've chosen because I've learned so much, never dreamt would be working with broad range client groups whose corporate culture, what they do on the job are contrasting from one another.  Part of me has changed:  it makes me a lot  less afraid. 

It comes with navigating continuously in different knowledge areas, hearing from varied clients their language expression of problems, navigating different work cultures, work habits and working to help people manage change that fits their needs.  Every job I have had to make major changes for my own dept./ clients' operations.

Hence, hard to just pin down to 1 job.  

I have changed from the university graduate who was nervous to do group presentations, to classroom group instruction/buy-in presentations to management.  I was forced continuously to do this...because if I didn't market services, put myself in front of people, I would not have a job/dept.  In the end, I enjoy this type of stuff plus the chaos of change management.

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

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On 1/9/2019 at 10:08 AM, JerrySTL said:

My best job was teaching aircraft mechanics in the US Air Force. I really enjoyed it. For tybeegb I was a T43172Z crew chief.

My most fun job was working at a drive-in theater as a teenager. I'm sure that I mentioned it here before. Getting to watch X and R-rated movies. Finding unopened beer bottles while cleaning up the lot. Organized crime used the place to launder money. And many other fun things!

My most lucrative job is where I am now. Seems my skill set and other qualifications are hard to come by. There are 6 positions like mine and only 2 are filled. I've gotten 25% in raised in the last 13 months.

Should RG go into that?  Database admin?

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1 hour ago, RalphWaldoMooseworth said:

Should RG go into that?  Database admin?

I taught databases at a local college. Some students figured it out quickly. Some took a while but learned. Others never could figure it out. So it would have to be seen.

Actually the biggest issue for where I work is having an active security clearance. That's the hard part anymore as they aren't giving out temp clearances.

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