October 11, 2007

Random Crab Facts, Part Three: Occupations

The Usual Explanatory Note: If you have just wandered into Cranky Fitness for the first time, don't be alarmed! Here's the deal: Crabby McSlacker, who normally runs a Health Blog, is on vacation. But since she couldn't bring herself to close up shop entirely, she's been posting anyway: doling out Guest Posts and filling in with random facts from her mostly uneventful life. Cranky Fitness is normally boring in a completely different way quite a bit more informative and entertaining than this. Crabby suggests you check in again after October 15th to see if things improve.

So anyway, occupations.

Like many people who have reached middle age (or Medium Age, as one clever reader suggested) Crabby has had a number of jobs and even more than one professional career. She won't go through the whole list. But she did have an interesting job before she started pursuing her delusional dream of making it as a writer, and who knows, perhaps some day she will go back to this job. She has put her professional license on ice--it's Inactive. But she could theoretically reinstate it by doing a bunch of Continuing Education and promising to stop living in other states besides California.

Crabby used to be a shrink. A counselor. A psychotherapist. (Technically, she was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but she mostly worked with individuals. She's always hated to listen to people squabble even when it was her job to do just that).

Weird, huh?

Isn't it hard to picture the Crab as that woman with the furrowed brow and the concerned gaze and the ready supply of Kleenex? Especially since Crabby probably doesn't sound much like a therapist. It's been a few years since she was last in private practice and she's either forgotten or avoids using most of the Appropriate Professional Jargon when discussing psychological issues. Also, she's fond of giving Incredibly Inappropriate Advice, sometimes in jest and sometimes not. She says all kinds of silly things on the blog that she would never say to a client. (In fact, this is a major reason she avoids having her full legal name associated with Cranky Fitness. Suppose she goes back into private practice someday and a client Googles her? Yikes!)

Crabby still really misses seeing clients sometimes. She worked with some amazing people. Therapists bond with clients just like clients bond with therapists--even if therapists need to act all professional about it. However, Crabby doesn't miss feeling tied down to a particular schedule or geographical location.

Originally she was going to share some thoughts today about psychotherapy and how much of it is helpful and how much of it is hooey. Then she thought she might say something instead about abandoned careers and professional identity and the struggles that come with making transitions.

But then Crabby realized she's still on vacation! So screw it. There's plenty of time for all that some other day.

Instead, she'll just leave it hanging out there as another random Crab fact.

Also it's a good time for a disclaimer: CRABBY IS NOT CURRENTLY LICENSED AS A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. SHE IS NOT ACTING AS ANYBODY'S THERAPIST. If she ever spouts off and gives any psychological advice on the blog: You are Hereby Advised to Ignore It.

So anyone have an interesting job you don't do anymore? Or have an interesting job that you still have and love? Never had an interesting job in your life and wish you did? Please feel free to share! Even on vacation Crabby reads every comment quite greedily.


  1. I really want to have an interesting job. I have been a stay at home mom for about 15 years. Before that, I had jobs, but not a "career". I am looking to get back in the work force, but don't really know where to start. On top of all that, I live in Michigan which is going through a MAJOR economic depression. I know something will come around. I have a volunteer committment that takes me through this school year, and then I will be ready to move on from that. It is scary at 45 to be "starting over".

    Analyze that!! :)

    (I guess this means that you really are NOT Ellen Degenmeres in disguise.)

  2. My job is pretty dull (accountingzzzz) but fortunately I work with amusing, twisted individuals. :-) If I had it all to do over again, I would probably do something to do with history, such as work in a museum, archeology, etc. *sigh* I am also in my mid-40s so it would be scary to start over in a different field.

  3. From age 25 - 35, I was a product manager for a computer company. 35 - 45 I was at home raising my kids full time. At 45 I decided to become a personal trainer, and now (47) I'm training clients from my home and loving every minute of it! Yes, it's possible to reinvent yourself. Can't wait to hear more replies...

  4. I spent the first ten years of my adult life involved in the restaurant industry in one way or another-- everything from waitressing and bartending to bookkeeping, management and tech support.

    I blundered into university administration twelve years ago and although it's dull, it's stable, the benefits are good, and best of all, I can take early retirement with benefits and a pension at 55!

    After that, who knows? I fully intend to keep on working, but I won't be limited by whether or not my paycheck is enough to make my mortgage. I'll be seeking work that satisfies my soul. :-)

  5. Yet another interesting Crab Fact.
    I'm not very good at working as I despise it. I've had a few different reporting jobs at assorted locations and even worked at a small daily for a time.
    But I also did some provincial government clerical work which involved checking files for persons with liens against property. It also involved the registering of partnerships and trade names for the Province.
    It was adequate money and I saved enough to travel.
    Oddly, no matter how time-consuming it was, I can't bring myself to call reporting work. It was fun. It's stressful, especially when every reader is entitled to an opinion about how you do your job, but it's still fun.

  6. I love hearing what all of you do and what, in some cases, you wish you were doing instead.

    And I sure as heck WISH I were Ellen Degeneres... I'd make a crappy talk show host though, as I'm a shy one and would spend most of the hour hiding behind the couch, where it's difficult to get good interviews.

    Missing everyone and can't wait to be back 'for real.' I so appreciate you all stopping by!

  7. I worked for a few years as a telecommunications operator (before 911) for the R.C.M.P.. That was quite the job, made me believe in the power of things happening in threes, full moons do make...life more interesting and it got me interested in computers. We were "emailing" other detachments long before email was available. Shifts could be deadly boring, or could be so busy you wanted to be three people.

    Other than that I have done retail sales, and accounting type jobs. Yawn!

  8. I like my job now - I'm lucky enough to do what I went to school for - scientific research into disease. It's nifty. I get all the fun parts of research without all the tedious asking for research $$- being a weenie lab rat can indeed be fun. Always something new to learn.
    In the past tho, I did really enjoy night managing/baker at a coffee shop and working in a chocolate factory during school days. I find it odd that the chocolate factory made me dislike chocolate for a long time, but the coffee shop made me even more caffeine addicted than I was to start with...and a coffee snob.
    I'm always fascinate to learn what people have done over their lives. I've heard that tehe average person changes their job every 10 years or so. My sister and I have often talked about opening a cofffee shop/deli of our own. Ah to dream...
    Hmmm...that means I'm almost due...

  9. well... I work for an IT consulting firm. I'm *supposed* to be responsible for marketing & communications (as my background is in journalism & PR), but I actually do software consulting, database applications, some web development and phone system installations.

    Such is the nature of a small business!

  10. "I'm a doctor, I'm a lawyer, I'm a movie star.
    I'm an astronaut, and I own this bar."

    Well, I'm a doctor and I wanted to be an astronaut :-)


  11. oh boy, where do I start?
    When people ask my kids what their mom does for a living, they used to say "that depends on the day of the week," now they say, "hold on, I'll ask."

    I graduated as an RN in the early 80s and have worked off and on as a nurse until this past spring. I've worked on the floors, in ICU, palliative care, schools and camps. I've been a supervisor and a teacher.

    Amid that, I took courses and taught English as a second language, toyed at being a translator after studying French to English translation. Oh, I was an office assistant for a year when I dropped out of college before I decided I really did want to be a nurse.

    Then, in 1997, I was given a job working for a health internet company and I've been writing and editing ever since.


  12. A psychotherapist? Huh! Yeah, you didn't really seem the type, but I suppose one can only glean so much from wittily-written health blogs.

    How much work must one do to get into that field, anyway? I was always curious about psychotherapy (having been "the shoulder to cry on" for various people throughout my life) but pursued writing instead...

  13. warning: motherload comment ahead.

    I am a stay at home mom right now but have sooo many interests I can't wait to pursue when the kidlets are a little bigger. I was a cellist before I had my kids, and am loving the freedom of not practicing hours on end day after day. (I really like Leslie's comment. Actually I love reading all of these comments!)

    Crabby has had more than one professional career? (ok Ellen. I don't care what you say! You're not fooling anyone! And hiding behind the couch? hilarious!)

  14. lol, ok, I forgot I had deleted two thirds of my previous comment, so disregard my motherload warning...

  15. Well I worked at a bookstore back when I was in high school. Then I became a paramedic, but worked part-time as a ticket agent at the airport since the pay sucked. Now I'm a flight attendant, been doing that for the last 3 years. They all ahd their ups and downs, but I enjoyed them all and would go back to any of them if I had too.

  16. It’s always interesting hearing what other people do for a living. I’ve noticed quite a bit of health professionals in Blogland, myself included.

  17. Okay so I'm totally loving this! I'm glad to know that flight attendants might have been paramedics in previous jobs, (especially as I'm an anxious flyer), that scientists dream of opening coffee shops, and all the other cool things I'm learning about you all!

    And Jim--it really depends on what state you're in, but there are Masters level programs now so you doesn't have to invest all the years it takes to get a Ph.D. But on the other hand, in states like CA you have get tons of client hours before you get licensed. (Most of them unpaid and hard to come by, if you're gearing up for private practice rather than agency work). So it can be a long haul. Bet you'd be great at it!

  18. Being naught but a babe fresh out of college, I'd imagine I'd get some funny looks from my family if I decided to try going right back into school to get an entirely different degree. Maybe I should keep it in mind, though...

  19. I don't work. Work is against everything I consider good and holy. Truthfully I don't have time for a career, as it would encroach into the parts of my day dedicated to napping.

    Karen is a high school teacher. She taught for a decade, the kids drove her a little nutty, so she got into educational administration. A year later, the adults drove her even nuttier, so she got back into teaching.

    No longer does Karen complain about the kids. Interesting, ehhh. . .

    -- P

  20. I reinvented myself about a year ago. At 46 I became a commodities broker. I started as an equity raiser which means I was a glorified telemarketer. It's a job usually taken by recent college grads.

    I am 100% commission and running my own programs now. It's nothing like any other kind of financial business. It's incredibly cool and fun and crazy and you can make mind-boggling amounts of money. I knock off work at 3:00. I'm having the time of my life!

  21. Very interesting, and somewhat unexpected, crab fact.

    I had a gazillion jobs before becoming a nutritionist. I think I had a go in most industries, before I had the "ah-ha" moment.

    I've worked in real estate, an actors training school, local government, two insurance jobs, retail consulting, a car dealership, health food shops, mobile phone selling, catering, an ethics foundation, University administration, telemarketing computers . . . and a few others.

    I was, what you might call a dabbler - until I re-trained and became a nutritionist. Now I love, lurve, LOVE what I do.

  22. Umm, I don't have a job. I've always been a student and still am. And I'm at the stage where I feel like I always will be. Sigh. Am extremely jealous about all of you multiple-careers people.

  23. Wow, a shrink huh. That actually makes some sort of sense. It's a surprise but not shockingly so. As lazy as you pretend to be you are pretty good at tact. I've had way too many jobs to list. Most interesting some not.

    What's funny is that one reason I went to writing full-time was to avoid office dynamics. I'm way social but don't like all that catty crap and levels (i.e. worker, manager, ceo, etc) it grates on my nerves. Anyhow, you run into anyway -- even in writing. Among writers and bloggers.

    It is to a much lesser extent but still there. I do not however have any sort of bosses which is nice. I do have bosses in a sense but since I work many jobs instead of one I could quit if someone pissed me off too much without huge consequences. If you have just one job it's worse to have to quit. So being mostly your own boss is a bonus but I do miss face-to-face interactions. Sometimes. Hope you're having a fun vacation.

  24. I used to be the Executive Director for a mental health, consumer-run Drop-In Center. I started out there as a volunteer and a certified Peer Counselor, then later was promoted to the top dog. It was, in fact, the only job I had that I ever really liked.

  25. Truthfully Crabby, I'm not at all surprised. not in the least. Somehow the things you say and your whole attitude on life rather remind me of the amazing therapist I last saw, who helpe dme make MAJOR changes in my life. She wasn't like any other therapist I had in a lot of ways.. maybe that's why she was good at it. ha ha.

    Somehow comforting to here that therapists do bond to clients. Must be why my former therapist is now always telling me to write her more and how she wants to know what's going on with me (when she told me I e-mail way too much when I was her client)

    Therapist are cool people, well some of them. ha ha. I pondered going into social work for awhile. But no way.. however I'm planning on becoming a pastor... so I'm going to have to learn to get used to listening to people's problems, I suppose. Definitely have a lot of admiration for people in any helping profession. Therapists change lives, I know this to be deeply true.

  26. Writer, editor, dishwasher, computer geek, etc.

    Worst job: pool cleaner. Hosing out the waste fins on a Olympic pool. Like cleaning out a clogged toilet the size of an SUV.

    Weirdest job: carpenter. I'm female, and this was way back in the '70's. My co-workers, generally, were either young junkies or old drunken thugs. They hated me. I'm lucky some tweaker didn't come after me with a circular saw-- lol!

  27. Sheesh, Crabby - my computer breaks down and you post such a cool Crab fact!! Oh, God, could I use a good therapist...!!
    I have been a telephone switchboard operator (not much call for that any more), a dental assistant/receptionist, worked in retail, and as a cook. Currently consider myself a rancher/housebitch, with a sideline sewing CartSmart bags. Always wanted to be on-stage, so I've done lots of amateur theatre, too.
    Now, about that therapy...do you think it's strange when...ah, never mind, I'm pretty sure it's incurable!

  28. I'm a teacher and I really enjoy it most of the time, except at this point where it's a week til holidays and everyone is tired and grouchy, we are drowning in paperwork and we have the inspectors coming next week!

    But apart from that it's very good - the children in my class are so aware of everything, they will advise each other on how to pack a healthy lunchbox, care about the environment, and want to save the world. Hope they keep that attitude as they grow up - they are only 8 now.

    There are some very hard days - but it's so satisfying on the days when everything goes right and you teach the children something new!

  29. I used to be a librarian--loved it, but I'll never go back. While hunting a professional job I took a part time job as a kennel worker. Hooked on dogs now for fifteen years.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  30. i used to check new born babies hearing. it was funny cause her is thisbuge mean looking guy handling tiny babies. the moms used to think i was never going to return them.

  31. I was a sculptor in New Orleans. Then I was an Army Officer, deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, South America, you name it...and got sick of constantly picking up and moving. Plus, deploying with the infantry is pure misery for a female officer. I was Counterintelligence, and now I do it as a civilian...I'm in Baghdad now, and it's more interesting than ever. No misery involved. I'm headed to law school next year, though, so transformation number three! Law school at 38? Bring it!! Holly--45 is NOT TOO OLD, the hardest part is getting started.

    Enjoy your blog, Crabby! I'm down 20 pounds the good old-fashioned way...eat less, exercise more. Time will tell if I can keep it up during Thanksgiving, when I'll be home in Mississippi...I'm pretty determined, but I've been eating crap chowhall food for 7 months. Wish me luck!

  32. Wow, more cool occupations, fascinating transitions, and great comments!

    I've got so much catching up to do, because there look to be some great blogs I need to check out--thanks, all, for stopping by.

    Just arrived back in the SF bay area--back soon! If not monday, then tuesday.

    I've been so spoiled just reading all the comments and guest posts--now I'm actually going to have to write something again, yikes!

    See y'all soon.

  33. I turned 23 on Monday, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I've been a sailing instructor, a coffee shop barista (my favorite job, until my boss went off the deep end and joined a cult--long story), a baker and a cook at a few very nice restaurants. I have a degree in culinary arts that I have no intention in using. After wasting all my money, I have hated every job in my chosen field. I just finished school, and now I'm unemployed and living off savings. I'd like to be a writer, but my parents like to remind me how silly that sounds.

    I'm not lazy, but I would love to work from home and set my own schedule.

    I'm also not antisocial, but I really do not get along with large groups of people. I also manage to catch every germ floating around the workplace (really, who gets meningitis?), leading to many sick days.

    Honestly, my childhood dream was to work in the Betty Crocker test kitchen. I'm just confused now.

    If only I could be a professional napper...with health insurance...and a 401k... I'm dreaming.

  34. Wow! This was SO inspiring to me to read about all the various jobs everyone has done, many seemingly a long leap from one to the next. It made me feel (ahem) "normal", LOL!

    At 16 I was working in the car business pt doing minor bookkeeping and cashiering and phones while still in high school. Then went into my chosen field as a studio artist for 20 plus years and also helped the spouse run a business in coins and antiques for that time. Divorced badly, worked as a barista, an assistant horse trainer, a foundry worker, world art sales, all while still doing antiques and very little art on the side. I'm also 1/2 computer geek. Now I'm trying to finish downsizing all of the antiques and collectibles still left in storage but for a few choice pieces, and painting instead of sculpting. Eyes still peeled for a good pt job though. I've been self employed for so much of the time that it's difficult to give that freedom up, but hard to know what to aim for since my experience is so varied. Putting it out to the Universe to point me in the right direction. Social Security and Medicare are looming, and I need 10 more years of credits just for the minimum, assuming there will be anything left. So for all you youngsters out there, don't be working for spomeone else out of a sense of partnership or "duty" without getting credit with the govt for it!


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