I am asked occasionally what I did before I got into therapy. Often I will make up some James Bond action job with a sprinkle of Nora Roberts romance mixed in for good measure. But then I am asked, "Seriously, what did you really do?"
My first paying job was mowing lawns in my neighborhood in Nebraska and while doing that I worked at a department store putting bikes and furniture together. Then I got a job in a SNF as a dietary aide and I had the privilege of sweeping and mopping after meals. It was either that or dishes and I hated to do dishes.
One of my favorite jobs right out of high school was working at a sandwich shop. Since all of us working there were young, we had a great time. I also worked four hours for that large video chain store. I'd like to forget that experience. I became a manager at a movie theater for about a year and then I moved to Nevada.
I began taking courses in college and one of the few jobs that could accept my schedule was for a grocery store. I bagged groceries like a boss. I still like to bag groceries, much to the embarrassment of my family. Then I was promoted to work in the produce department, where I froze my butt off stocking the freezer for eight hours a day. Since the mall was on the bus route, I quit the grocery business and worked for a big anchor store in the men's department.
I remember looking across the department to the other side of the store where all the cool people were: the young men's department. I kept asking to be transferred there but was denied each time. I could talk about gold-toe socks, wool- and cotton-blend t-shirts and underwear with the best of them. The managers sent to me shoes, women's, young miss, everywhere except to where the cool people were. I still remember how to measure for dress shirts and pants but I was never able to understand the women's sizes; I still don't get them. I quit when I got accepted into the PTA program.
While in the first year of the PTA program, I was hired as a [insert fancy name] for a group home. I basically hung out with mentally and physically challenged adults and drove all over Vegas, going to free shows, eating discounted meals and having a great time. This job was where I experienced the most prejudice from merchants and everyday citizens. They would give me a look like, "Why are you bringing those people here?" Some were openly hostile to the groups I brought into their establishments but I did it anyway.
While in Vegas, I volunteered for several years in a pool program supported by the United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Nevada. There was also an adult program for multiple sclerosis that I attended as a volunteer. I had to give up the volunteering when I was accepted into the PTA program and then a family became my highest priority.
So what did you do before getting into therapy?