I was asked what my first career was since I am on my second one and have a third that I want to pursue. My first career was 20 years…that’s like 140 years in cat years….in RETAIL! My very first job was at the Scottish Heraldry Center in the harbor, which was located in Ventura, CA. That job was interesting to say the least. We sold people their coats of arms. The dress code was a skirt, (no, not a kilt!) white shirt and high heels. Now at this time heels and I had a hate/hate relationship.
The job was a snoozer, I had to listen to bag pipes 8 hrs a day, I had some interesting encounters. One day a guy came in and said that he had a sailboat and asked if I would like to sail to the Caribbean with him and his friends. Seeing as I would like to see my 19th birthday, I politely declined. I had another gentlemen from England come in and he wanted to show me his ancestral castle in England. Dang looking back, I probably should’ve said yes. Considering I’m in Wichita, i obviously declined. Where is that dude now? Of course back then I was cute, no wrinkles and my blonde hair didn’t have gray highlights! There were also a number of drunk men who would come in and hit on me; I sold them their family coat of arms instead. Bet they were shocked and bewildered when it came in the mail! Ha Ha!
My next job was my favorite retail job . It was at Barbara’s in the Buenaventura Mall in Ventura. We sold Cuisinart, All Clad cookware, Mikasa and Fitz and Floyd China, flatware, crystal, kitchen gadgets, etc. I started as full time and then I was promoted to manager. I stayed there for over a year. Now that I think of it, that is where I had my first paranormal, ghostie encounter. I left that job because the owners had questionable business practices. Side note…I went into William-Sonoma last Tuesday and I was in Heaven. I think I actually heard angels sing!
Then I started my lonnnggg career as a manager. I managed stores for Payless Shoes, Carlton Cards, and I was the pet products manager at PetsMart. I adopted some animals while working at Petsmart. I had beta fish, hermit crabs…funny hermit crab story. I had them in a 10 gallon aquarium in my office. Webster my youngest cat at the time was maybe a year old and very curious! I left the room to go to the kitchen and I hear this MEOW!!!!! So i run back in and I was laughing so hard I don’t think I was much help for a few minutes. Here’s poor little Webster standing in the 10 gallon aquarium surrounded by hermit crabs! He had this look on his face like “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” Well I did, after i got done wiping the tears from eyes and catching my breath from laughing. After that he stayed away from the hermit crabs. Webster’s picture is the next post in my blog. I’m still figuring this fandangled blog stuff out!
Back on track now. So I was working at Carlton Cards in Towne West and I was there for 6 years. By this time retail was so bluh. Every July 4th and 5th I set up Christmas ornaments. Every January there was a huge floor move. The store was red from July until after Valentines day. And customers, I wouldn’t call them guests, because I wouldn’t have invited them into my house, were AWFUL. I had two college students working with me and they had gotten me information about WSU. I put it off and thought, and contemplated, and procrastinated, until the ultimate mean customer came into the store.
She came in and picked up a stuffed animal, presumably to buy. She was evil, so who knows; maybe it was a sacrifice.She asked if we sold Snow Babies, I told her they were seasonal for us, but to try Hallmark. She turned to leave and then came back to the counter and told me I was nasty and not helpful. She threw the stuffed animal at me and then spit at me. Yes, spit, like a camel! And yes, she smelled like a camel too! At least that’s how I remember her smelling. Fortunately, the stuffed animal was saved from being sacrificed.
That sealed the deal. I applied to WSU the next day. I got accepted and enrolled. Now I was a ”non-traditional student”, a nice way of saying I’ll never get into a sorority or be a cheerleader! I had a dilemma. Do I stay a manager or go back to being a peon? I realized that if someone called in sick and couldn’t open the store I would have to do it and most likely miss a class. I decided that my education was more important and I decided to look for a job that would allow me the time to adjust to being a student again, twentysomething years after high school, and that would pay maybe $10 an hour if I was lucky. I found that low paying job at Copy Max and I quit Carlton Cards. Somehow my keys to Carlton Cards wound up in the store toilet. Yep! I said the toilet. Ask if you want to know the story…its a good one!
So I went to work at Copy Max and for the next four years I was a poor college student. I wasn’t one of those students who went and blew my financial aid. Nope! After I bought books, I divided the money that was left and that supplemented my income. How I got through those four years, I will NEVER figure out. But I did, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I learned a lot in the classroom and I learned that I was able to do anything I put my mind to, even if I lost my mind in the process. Algebra and Spanish…ohh and geology, don’t miss those classes AT all!
So that was my first career and how I wound up in college at 36. I’ve gotta a story I’ll tell ya about college next time!