Yes, That Was My Job

According to a government survey, the median amount of time that a person stays at one job is 4.1 years. So the average person will have between 7-10 different jobs throughout the course of their working lives. I love hearing what people used to do before they landed at their current position. It’s typically far more interesting than whatever desk job they hate to drive to every day currently. Maybe fuzzy memories and glorified fish-tales make the past more romantic and funny.

Though I usually share a singular, specific story for my IAHAS blog, I thought I would give you all a glimpse into my working past by listing a few jobs I have held in my pre-musician life and sharing my favorite story from each. Enjoy.

Yup, I wore the awesome bee suit. During a summer home from college, I assisted a bee keeper while working for the USDA Plant Genetic Resources Unit. Every morning I would enter these screened off test plots and move bees around. I probably dealt with tens of thousands of bees, and never once got stung. I was proud of that fact! That is until I was driving home with my window down after my very last day of work. Bee flies in, stings my arm. It’s like the bees heard me bragging and just couldn’t resist.

Garbage Man.
High school… summer job… worked for Village of Seneca Falls. All the summer kids were on 2 weeks rotation. Two full weeks on “the packer”, and two weeks doing something else. One day it was well above 90 degrees (rare for Upstate NY), which caused the maggots to smell particularly potent in nearly every trash can I opened and lifted up to empty in the back of the truck. One trash container’s top wouldn’t open… I pulled every corner… harder and harder.. and then SNAP! The lid flies up, and apparently the inside of it was covered in those nice squishy, hot, smelly maggots. Which upon me aggressively pulling it off, made dozens of them fly off the lid and cover my face and chest. Yummy.

Fish Hatchery Technician.
My first college degree was in Fisheries and Wildlife, and I worked at the on-campus Fish Hatchery at SUNY Cobleskill. I cleaned gigantic fish tanks, I washed filters, I squeezed eggs (roe) out of fish to cross breed, I fed them, I smelled like fish when I went to class.

Environmental Compliance Specialist.
My wildlife degree landed me a job at Wetland Studies and Solutions after college, and I worked there for many years before I took music more seriously. I still work for them a little bit whenever they need me between my gigs. Best story from Wetland Studies? Probably the story I told in this very blog back in February. 

Thanks to high school and college summers, I had several other jobs that I didn’t list here (farmer, cemetery landscaping, grape vine trimmer, street paver and more). I don’t regret any job I have ever had, and never will. Who else do you know that can pick up your trash on the way to breeding some salmon while simultaneously managing the bee hives near the wetland in your back yard? Email me or post on my FB page your interesting jobs growing up!

PS – tip your garbage man double this Christmas. Trust me, he deserves it.

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