“You’ve always been 'cool job Jen'.” That’s how my friend from university described me when I was in-between jobs figuring out what to do next. It's been true as long as he’s known me, but it didn’t start out that way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the work I’ve done over the last 20 years; starting with Burger King when I was 15 years old right up to running my own publicity business at 32. There were long-term jobs, summer positions, short-term temporaries, internships for experience, part-time during university, and jobs just to pay rent in Toronto. At one point I had around five versions of my resume - for administrative work, arts admin, customer service/cashier, and film and music industries.
Right now I’m not working. It’s difficult and I miss being in my element. I’m lucky if I get one to two hours a day on the computer to get bills paid, emails sent, and time to write blog posts. Crushing chronic fatigue has been an issue with my new medication. I treasure the few waking hours I get during the day.
I thought it would be fun to write a job history post with brief commentary. Creating this post was a bittersweet reminisce. But it was also great fun looking back at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
CBC Creative Services - Youth Internship Position in High School
My last semester of high school I spent afternoons at CBC working with a woman who produced commercials and short video spots for the network. I chose music and sound effects from the CBC Library for commercials. I produced a commercial for the Regina Children’s Festival and stared in one (badly) for the Fringe Festival. I got to spend time at Sound Production, Graphic Designer, and Post Production studios. It was incredibly cool. At graduation, I won an award for my participation - funny thing, I was the only person in the program at the time.
Burger King - Part-time
I didn’t have high standards I guess. It was by no means cool, but I enjoyed the job, the people, and the hours. It was enough to put gas in the car, buy clothes, and my bad girl smokes and booze. Part of me would like to try on the uniform again just for kicks and work the drive-through for one day.
Impact Printers - Full-time / Part-time
I worked in the print shop making copies and binding workbooks, pamphlets, and more. I then held this part-time at nights while I went to SIAST for a multimedia course. It was a good quiet job.
Quality Inn Hotel - Full-time Housekeeper
I was 18 years old cleaning seven rooms a day, usually hungover. I don’t know how I did it. I remember sitting in the break room. It was like a scene out of prison drama/comedy show, Orange Is the New Black. There were the bad uniforms, my few girls (family) including my former babysitter, the red-headed Russian and her girls who were always trying to start something, and then older ones who kept to themselves.
CJTR Regina Community Radio: Summer student
How I went from housekeeping to administration I’ll never know, but I’m thankful to the former GM who took a chance on me. I reviewed the DJs playlists and tallied up the Canadian content, entered new music into the library database, answered phones and the occasional email. I even got some on-air time when the GM encouraged me to grab music from their library. The on-air time became a regular thing and sparked my interest in hosting my own music program, “Sweet Sweet Candy”. I hosted the show for seven years: That's a lot of music. This job changed my life and even after I was no longer an employee it stayed with me for several years by hosting my show, volunteering for various events/committees, and meeting other DJs who influenced me musically and became great friends.
Coffee/Gift Shop (anonymous): Part-time summer
A friend at the time worked here and got me a job. I did not enjoy being a barista or serving food. I admit that I sucked. I got fired. I felt self-righteousness when the business closed a year or so later.
CD Plus - Part-time
I’m grateful for getting fired from the coffee shop because if I hadn't I would have never applied to the music/movies store, CD Plus. Long live my illustrious seven-year reign as a part-time employee. Ask any of my former co-workers and I’m sure they’d all agree - it was absolutely the best job of our lives. We had the freedom to listen to whatever we liked, we ensured the store had great stock, and we took pride in curating our staff picks. Of course, the main perk was that glorious employee discount. I wish I had a printed list of everything I bought during those years. I’m certain half of my earnings went back into the store. I didn’t need every Cure or REM album. But hey, for $5.99 each how could I not?
Windows & Doors company (anonymous) - Summer Student
Honestly, this was the worst job I’ve ever had. I waited too long to look for full-time summer work. The job was boring, my supervisor was gross, and the days were long. I’m pretty sure I was hungover almost every day.
University Of Regina: Audio/Visual Services - Part-time
I was an AV tech and assistant for weekly Film 100 classes and various events on campus such as classes, lectures, awards ceremonies, and more. I also produced a live televised weekly credit course for the Saskatchewan Communications Network. This was another favourite job of mine. I liked the solo work, hauling around mics, cueing up film clips, and so much more.
Partners In Motion: Costumes summer position for the tv show, Crime Stories
It was my first experience on an official film set. I worked on two episodes of the reenactment/interview series during my few months of summer employment. One was the old lady serial killer, Dorothea Puente “The Boarding House Killer”. The best part was reviewing official photos and doing my best to buy matching outfits. The worst part was laundry and sorting through men's pants for the cop uniforms. Here’s the episode online if you’re curious:
That’s it for now. In part two I’ll talk about my work on various film sets, my employment at Saskmusic, and the move to Toronto which saw some great and some not so great jobs.