About Me

Find out more about me here.

21 October 2011

The Literal Graveyard Shift

I was inspired by this list of authors' strange jobs to write about some of the jobs I've had.

When I was a pre-teen, I worked for a few summers as a groundskeeper for the local Little League park, raking and lining the infields before games. My parents matched the money that I saved, and I bought a kickass Schwinn Predator BMX bike with my earnings.

When I was 19, I worked as a bartender in a converted train depot in the Michigan beach community where I grew up. I think I learned more in this job about people than in any other job I've had to-date, but in retrospect, I didn't have the right temperament for it. I'm a relatively anxiety-prone guy, and that doesn't mix well with a dozen+ people simultaneously yelling orders at you.

By far the oddest and the more rewarding job I had before my current gig was as a gravedigger--yes, really. Not to get too morbid, but I dug graves for and buried eight people that summer of my 21st year. We did it by hand, with shovels and no backhoes. It was a physically grueling job, but I found it oddly spiritually rewarding. Being surrounded by death gives one an amazing appreciation for the living. There is a finality to burying a person, and I mean the physical act of burying, not watching a person being buried. We have separated ourselves so far from death that we've lost perspective on our lives. We need to recapture that.

The last job I had before I was solidly on track with my career was as an assistant at a college library as an undergraduate student. It was cake, but I learned a lot about how to behave in a professional situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment