At fifteen I landed my first part time job. I was so excited. The funny story behind it is one ill never forget... For those of you who grew up in the capital region you'll remember this place... chuck E Cheese in Northway Mall. Ha hah!! It was where Staples is now, out by Central Ave., not in the actual strip mall with Target, but by the main road. Anyway, I saw the ad in the Times Union that they were hiring when the place first opened up so I went with a friend and applied. He got a phone call to come in for a group interview but I didn't. I was mad. So, when he went for his appointment, I tagged along and pretended I got a call too! The manager couldn't find my application (of course) as he was talking to each perspective employee but I assured him I wouldn't have been there had I not been invited! (Yeah, self invited....!). Well, the guy didn't seem to care that my paperwork was missing, guess he liked me enough to hire me, so he stuck me in the "hostess" group and I went on for training and learned to wipe down tables and keep the place tidy. That was probably the most fun of all my jobs. After the place closed we used to flop around in the "ball crawl" where the little kids play in that netted area with a tremendous pool full of colored plastic balls. We'd fling them at each other so hard we'd end up with welts on our arms. Good times. We also used to use gobs of gold coins and play all the video games. My favorite was Centipede but I did OK at PacMan too.
I even got promoted to wear the "Jasper Jowls" dog costume eventually. Now that was a hoot. The characters aren't allowed to talk to the customers but under that doggie helmet? Oh wow, I had a few choice things to say to the little kids who punched me in the stomach or pulled my tail! And it was so hot in there, OMG! We used to take breaks like every fifteen minutes so we could breathe. I needed a quick lesson in walking in those pawed shoes too :-)
I went on to have some other fun jobs too. I was a bank teller for Albany Savings Bank in Colonie Center for several years. Remember that branch? On the back side of the mall just down from (now) the Christmas Tree Shop... Flah's Department Store used to have an entry near there. (I'm dating myself...). I loved working with all that money. I used to dream about what I would do if it was actually available to me. I remember standing there many times thinking to myself "I literally have thousands and thousands of dollars in my possession right here at this very second!". Now it's not like it was really mine, but I recall vividly letting my imagination run wild at the variety of things I could do if it was. Imagination is a fabulous thing when you're fresh out of high school and the world is yours! Imagination is good at ALL ages. I've got a pretty good one still. :-)
I worked waiting on tables at several different restaurants, sold retail clothing, worked in the office at a car dealership, worked for an airline checking people in for flights, sold real estate, sold cosmetics, was the payroll assistant for a nursing home, became an Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant and then moved on to Office Managing. WHEW! Turns out I know a little about a lot of things! I did most of all that while I commuted to college locally so I tended to bounce around the 518!
I went back to school in the late 90's for television production which lead me to work as a Production Assistant and make up artist. Those are fun jobs, I still do it when I can. I really like being behind the scenes - not so much being on camera.
Doing the Healthlink segment with Benita Zahn a couple of weeks ago was probably not uncomfortable for me because I already knew what was going to happen and I'm familiar with the goings on around the set. I was also passionate about the topic so nerves weren't a problem. I've assisted with the taping of many different topics over the past ten years or so and I really enjoy it. My biggest claim to fame? Colin Powell. Yes, I did his makeup!!!
So why am I blogging about this? It's really a long winded and roundabout story regarding a comment made to me years ago by a family member. One of them said to me "You are so lucky! You find the best jobs!". I never forgot that for some reason.
I logged it into my brain and somehow it never left me. I've thought about it many times since then but it now occurs to me I didn't "find" these jobs easily, I searched them out. I created my opportunities by going out on a limb and stretching. Some of it came to me but not without work on my part too. I'm sure you've gone thru it too. Fear of the unknown can hold you back but most times taking a chance is so much sweeter! Had I cowered at the opportunity to work on the video shoot with Colin Powell I would be mad at myself! Plus my story would be different.
I also worked with several other celebrities over the past decade but to be among a military leader was amazing! He truly commands a room.
What makes life interesting are the choices we make - the choices we have control over. It's important to keep your eyes open for opportunities to broaden your horizons and be the best you can be. I'm learning that even more now since Chris passed. My life has been redirected, things have shifted. Sometimes I have clarity and I know where I'm going and other times I'm nothing but a fuzzy mess. I'm a work in progress. My 100% is not complete yet. There's more for me to do and although I don't know how it will all play out I do want to get even further down my path so I can once again turn around and see where I have landed. I hope you carve an amazing path for yourself too :-)