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Monday, September 5, 2016

A-Laboring I Have Been on Labor Day

OK, just a teensy bit, time spent searching for and finding the section on “Work Stories” in my first book, Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories (Marion Street Press, 2008).

Slightly edited, below is the introduction to the three exercises on telling work stories, plus the first of those exercises. While some people may march in parades on Labor Day and/or have backyard barbecues, telling those work stories that have special significance for you might be another way to mark this holiday.

I hope that the following helps you to do that.


Work Stories
            I was raised by a man who graduated from high school in 1929, the year of the infamous and devastating Crash. When I learned this about my father, suddenly everything fell into place, explaining his near hysteria every time I casually quit one job and sailed easily into another. He’d taken a job right out of high school with a company he stayed with for 40 years. I, on the other hand, raced like some prairie wildfire through an endless succession of jobs and careers: mailroom clerk, secretary, waitress, social worker, college instructor, office temp, and academic counselor.
            I worked for a shower curtain company, three universities, a political campaign, a beauty supply company, two hospitals, a half-way house for the mentally ill, a camera store, and an upscale restaurant before finally settling down as a writer and a teacher.
            Not surprisingly I’ve acquired some pretty good work stories along the way, not only about the getting, losing, and quitting of jobs, but also of bully bosses, psychotic colleagues, and office romances gone (real) bad.


Following are 3 exercises to help you tell some of your work stories:
For the first, make a list of specific jobs you’ve held since becoming an adult, no matter how long they lasted or how insignificant they were. Pick one on your list and describe where and when you performed this job, and who your colleagues and bosses were. Then describe yourself doing the job, as if someone had a camera trained on you while you were working. See what stories that leads to.



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