First and foremost, Johnny and I have loved diving into your reader survey responses this weekend. It was super fun and interesting to learn more about all y’alls. And our favorite part was reading your written responses. You guys are seriously the best, and every little comment will help make this site better. So THANKS. (And if you haven’t had a chance to weigh in, get at it here.)
This week, Johnny and I wanted to talk about jobs. Later this week, we’ll finally be sharing the results of the questionnaire on making money from home (which many of you contributed to — and can still contribute to if you haven’t already). We’re excited to share all the cool ways people are making it work whilst sitting on their couch in their underwear. Just kidding… as someone who works from home myself, I can attest that never happens. I make sure to at least wear a robe.
So to get things started off this week, Johnny and I wanted to share the evolution of our work histories. I’ll go first.
Joanna’s Job History
1999–2004: Babysitter for friends and neighbors – I can’t claim I was ever that girl who loved babies, but I didn’t mind babysitting. I was, however, that girl who couldn’t resist cleaning the homes while I babysat, which was probably weird.
2005: Full-time nanny – I did not like this job. Taking care of someone else’s kids all day whom you can’t really discipline is not my thing.
2006: Server at local cafe in my hometown in Alabama – The tips were great, although I didn’t love hearing construction workers yell, “Hey, waitress!” in a thick Southern drawl anytime they needed something. The lady who owned the place was a complete you-know-what, and after two months of sticking it out, I told her I wasn’t coming back. I probably should have stuck it out for the money, but quitting felt pretty nice at the time.
2005–2008: Cook/Hostess/Server at college restaurant – I started as a cook and moved up the ranks until I was a server at the “fancy” on-campus restaurant at my university.
2007: Server at a local Mexican restaurant – Johnny and I worked at this restaurant together right after getting married. Johnny and I always competed for more tips, and he beat me every time. That guy knows how to work his charm.
2008: Secretary for chemistry department – My favorite part of this job was editing professors’ letters of recommendations for various students. There were definitely a few anti-recommendations, which I found downright scandalous.
2009: Teacher’s assistant for Johnny’s NYC internship – That time Johnny interned at an NYC advertising agency, I was the teacher’s assistant (TA) for the professor heading up the internship. I got to plan out touristy activities for all the interns (and myself) and keep my eyes peeled for any misbehaving interns :).
2009–present: Editor for not-for-profit company – I can’t believe I’ve been with the same company for 4.5 years. Yowza! I get to use the editing skillz I studied in college, and I work from home in a robe, so I can’t complain.
Johnny’s Job History
1995-1996: Lemonade stand kid-trepreneur – I’d set up shop on our street corner and sell both yellow and pink (100% from concentrate) lemonades. After my initial success, I began stealing my parents’ sodas and selling a can for a dollar a pop. That moved me into the $40+/day pay-scale. That number declined as I raised prices and became less “cute” and more pushy in my negotiating tactics.
1997-1999: Nerd – I’ve always been a nerd at heart. I’d do any number of nerdy odd-jobs to make a quick buck: design websites for my parents’ friends’ businesses, sell custom-made burned CDs, data entry for educational software developers, etc.
2000: Fence painter – There weren’t many jobs for the under-16-years-old crowd, but fortunately for me, our local city had a youth employment (read: juvenile delinquent) program. I got paid to paint white equestrian fences that lined our city’s roads — most of my “coworkers” accrued hours of service to clear their records.
2001-2002: Office manager – I answered calls, made coffee, and changed the office’s telephone hold music to Rage Against the Machine. So much teen angst.
2003: Smoothie artist at Jamba Juice – To help cover my wild college freshman lifestyle of thrift store splurges and frozen burritos, I mixed smoothies at Jamba Juice. I still remember most of their recipes, so hit me up if you want to make a mean Mango-A-Go-Go.
2004: Seller of vintage clothes on eBay – This was the summer of ironic shirts. I took advantage of the moment by hitting up 5-10 thrift stores a week and cleaning out their supply of Lacoste polos, Members Only jackets, and D.A.R.E. t-shirts. I would buy around 20 items a week for $1-$3 each and then sell them on eBay with an average profit of $10-$15 item.
2006: Web designer/office assistant for college apartment complex – In addition to basic web design, I helped with the new-resident orientation for a certain young lady who I ended up marrying just a year later.
2007: Server at Mexican restaurant – I was good at refilling drinks (something I quickly realized affected my tips more than anything) and asking terrible questions (Me: “Hey there! What’s the big occasion?” Family dressed in black suits/dresses: “A funeral.” Me: “I’ll be right back with your chips.”)
2008: IT Teacher at college – To put it shortly, I taught teachers and faculty how to use computers.
2008: Marketing guy for local company – This is where I discovered my love for advertising/marketing. My proudest achievement here was renting a llama for a campaign.
2009–2010: Marketing guy for software company – More marketing, more confirmation that it was a good career fit.
2010–2013: Copywriter at a few different agencies – From NYC to Boston to Raleigh, I made the switch from marketing to an advertising copywriter. For those unfamiliar, I am responsible for writing all © symbols on ads… kidding. But seriously, that’s what my parents probably still think I do. The copywriter is responsible for writing all the words you see/hear in an ad. In radio or TV, it’s the script. On a print ad, it’s the headline and body text. When the objective, client, and budget align, it’s a fantastic occupation.
2013–present: Marketing guy for tech company – Now I’m back at the marketing thing. Part of me wishes this story ended with me being a lemonade stand operator again, but a middle-aged dude sitting on a corner selling lukewarm lemonade sounds really depressing. So I guess we should all be glad it didn’t come full circle.
And that is the evolution of our careers. What’s the most memorable job you’ve ever held? Stay tuned for more job talk later this week!