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Jobs that you FAILED at before finding your way in life....

Kern Dog

Life is full of turns. Build your car to handle.
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The thread about Dealership Rant inspired this topic here....
There are studies that report that we often have 6 or more jobs before we find our "niche/place " in life.
That is certainly the case with me. I didn't start out as a Carpenter but that is where I ended up.
I could have been a paperboy most of my life, at least until the internet killed off newspapers.
For awhile, I was the "Burger King"....
What about you?
Anyone out there that used to be a circus act? How about a Hotel Bellhop? Any waiters or line cooks? How about orderlies from retirement homes?
 
Back before I landed in construction, I had a few different jobs.
In 1985, I tried (and failed) selling new cars. Heck, DAD did it and was successful, maybe I could do it too?
No. I had what you'd call Customer fear.
I was 19 years old. EVERY customer was older than me. I actually respected older people which often ran in conflict of the job.
We had to use negotiating tactics that were outright lies, plain and simple. The customer had a trade in car? We had to tell them it was worth some insulting LOW amount just to bargain to a number that would allow the dealership to then make money on it on the wholesale market.
Can you imagine telling a customer that his 1982 Caprice Classic was worthless as they were trying to buy a new 1985 model?
I couldn't openly lie to customers.
I know, those that are successful in sales can skirt around the "lies" by not dwelling on specifics.
"Last week we took in a similar car as your 1982 Caprice...we gave them XXXX for it. Now yours is in better condition but I wanted you to know the approximate range we are looking at here..."
That just wasn't my style.
What the heck though...I was 19 and barely an adult at that point. We often change a LOT in our 20s.
 
Sorted pop bottles.. most of my young life as we lived in a store AND I worked for the competition since the age of 12 down the street. 15 to 17 I drove a milk truck in the Summers. 18 to 20 I installed pools in Summers to pay for school and was married at 20, August 1982. From 20 years on I could have worked for Spar Aerospace working on the Canada Arm for $5.15/hr as a Junior Engineer, and pissed them off turning them down, instead I took a job keeping a glass bottle plant running at $11:08/hr just some 3 hours after I wrote my last engineering exam. I lasted in that union shop environment for 3.5 years and left in 1985, while making $18.65/hr, to start our own Plastics business with the Father in Law. 39 years later it's all history... some of it good, some not so good. Sure wish I'd not been in the plant 24/7 while my kids grew up...
 
Well, I went to culinary school straight out of high school. I was a very good student, and completed the entire program. I had grown up on a farm, so I was also well versed in fixing things and what not, so the year I graduated culinary, the chef who started the program retired from teaching to open his own restaurant. I went along with him and did all the carpentry work on his new place, put together the menu, and our band even played for their grand opening, which was on St Patrick’s Day. After banking more than 300 hours there and getting the entire business rolling, I was offered to stay on and be the head chef, at a whopping $8/hr. I was just starting out in life, had a future wife I waiting and I just couldn’t do that at $8/hr, also I had to turn him down. I never got paid for my banked hours, took a job in carpentry with my high school buddy, and was making $20/hr. I’ve never looked back on that as a bad decision, and I have been actively working for friends who own restaurants for special events like Music in the Parks, Art in the Parks, Winter Fests and so on every since. I just catered the annual spring dinner for a non profit organization, my 15th year there. But my main gig is still carpentry, with Mopar parts, and music on the side.

I never look back and see regret, just opportunities taken, enjoyed, and celebrated.

Here’s a picture of me while still in culinary, sometime in 1989, getting ready to go on Good Morning America with my “sous chef”. Big George was in town doing some campaigning, and GMA came to do a spot at the college, and the head chef picked me to go on with her. We made Salmon en Crute! After the spot we fed all the Feds, and the news crews. I also bought Gabe Kaplan lunch, he was also oin town to campaign for Big George

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1971, Machine shop trainee for 1 year, then semi truck driver hauling gravel & clay.
Semi driver for petroleum products & solvents. Got hired at a local G.E. service shop.
worked for one year and said screw all this O.T! Quit. Drove a semi tanker for Refiner's
Transport for a few, when they closed the terminal in Illinois, I went back to G.E. and
stayed thirty-five years until they threw us all out in 2013. Started in the first machine
shop for $3.85/hour and was making $46.00/hour when I retired. I always missed
driving the tankers. No one to screw with you!
 
I don't think I failed at any of them
maybe got bored & moved on....


#1 paperboy, Oakland Tribune (IIRC)
less than min. wages, slave labor, 2 huge routes
it all helped/paid for my bike, mini-bike, my go-cart & parts
& helped to pay for my $98 Schwinn stingray Pea Picker 5 speed
I got tired of getting up at 4:00-4:30am
& cheap *** people not paying me
& then complaining when they didn't get a paper :icon_fU:

#1a yard mower ,everyone in the area that didn't have a kid to do it
all of the people in Cobblestone Ct. in Concord,
a few up the street Cobblestone dr. too
$2.50 every Sat or Sun, most of them
I started out with a push mower, the corner lots were the worst
the back yards were all huge too, made enough to buy my own
Craftsman 32" Power Gasoline Mower from Sears, it was like $100-ish too...
I should have charged more...
But $2.50 for an hr & a 1/2 of work, was pretty good for a
9-10 y/o boy/kid in 1968-69

#1b Worked for the ag farm in Ponderosa HS, pretty much slave labor
taking care of livestock, I was used to it from working dad's ranch
"for no pay", I was raising a Bull/stud at that time too...

#2 Petterson Shell in Georgetown Ca.
did minor tune up change tires fuel logging trucks
regular station duties, sweep clean etc. $1.65 an hr min. wage
made as much or more in tips, doing tires or tune ups/oil changes
the owner would give me gas, for my 68 Charger R/T or like a $10 bill
& filling the big logging trucks, cleaning/spraying them off, cleaning the windows
the drivers were great tippers
while in HS

#2a Construction work for my fathers AddOn Home Improvements
mostly the awning & decking company
I made less than 1/10th of what his installers made
& I did more work, better work too at min. wage $1.65 an hr
Learned many of my construction skills there

While going to JC, Diablo Valley College
#3 Ice processer, I pressed crushed up Ice into blocks, bag & put in a rack
& bagging up 6x 7# bags into a bail, & 25# or 50# ice bags ice
stack them upon pallets 48 per/in the freezer, coolest job in the summer,
not fun in winter...

#4 The Union Ice & Delivery Co. owner promoted me to delivery driver,
I delivered Ice products to every (I made about 1/2 of what scale was)
7/11 Longs Drugs, Safeway, Lucky's, Bait shops/liquor stores or
mom & pop grocery stores or restaurants in the greater bay area
Mostly in
Morning routes
Richmond El Cerrito El Sobrante Albany Berkeley Oakland Pinole
then fill up 26,000#s again, move it all 3 time each at a min.
afternoon routes
I'd do Concord Lafeyette Walnut Creek Antioch & Pittsburg
once a week 2 times a week in the summer
I had to do vending machines, filling then in Oakland Hills,
300# blocks of ice, that were scored to be 25# blocks,
I'd ride the 300# blocks down a steel ramp, into the vending machines,
with serious Ice Tongs, hanging on
took some strength & fitness, most people couldn't even do
load them after I made 25# blocks out of them & put 7# bags
on the belts in the vending machines
(Kept me in great shape for football/track) while in JC

#5 Termite repair company, basic carpentry, mostly under houses
I was bottom of the totem pole, I got the shitty work
Union Carpenter Apprentice
My boss Mike Williams was a totally cool guy,
he had owned a couple of Fuel Funny Cars...
I'd travel with him & crew on the car, at least once a week
for about 10 months of the year
I hated that job but loved working on the F/C crew,
so I stuck it out for about a year, still wrenched for him for 2 years...
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
It help to mold me into the car guy/racer I am today...
Experience you couldn't buy...

#5a I worked for a buddy of my then GF, he got me a job with a company
building & then running an Indoor Pistol Range in Milpitas Calif. Target Masters
I worked as the night manager after it was built, still worked for
the Construction outfit...

Got sick of it, wanted to be my own boss,
I went to University or Oregon, on a partial scholarship
3 more years to become an architect, mechanical engineer minor...
Got sick of school, except for the sports & girls...
#5b Was a night manger of a local Shell gas station for extra $$$, while in school...
Didn't make **** for pay, couldn't with NCAA rules back then
I made the parts storage loft, a sort of apartment,
so I didn't have to stay in the dorms

#5c I'd go back in summers to work at the Union Ice Company to keep in shape
for Football & track

After got sick of college
#6 I took a job as a draftsman engineers aide for PG&E
drawing piping/pipeline & electrical underground schematics in SF
in a lil' miserable *** cubical...
My BIL my sisters husband Frank/Taco was an Engineer,
got me a interview, I did well & was qualified, I got the job...
Way underpaid, $6.15 an hr, but it was a good job with full benefits...
IBEW member, I lost that job in the company 'Affirmative Actions'
wanting to meet a quota of Black/Minority personal,
I even had to train my replacement, Felix was a nice guy & father of 4...

#7 I transferred to the PG&E GC division
into the construction yard & then the Powerplants Pittsburg & Antioch...
1st in the machine shops, then to operations, went thru
welders training & certifications, became a combination welder/foreman...
Way underpaid for the position, compared to the open market...
I got tired of being laid-off ever 114-ish days, then rehired back on
after going on unemployment for a couple weeks,
when after 120 consecutive workdays, you become a fulltime
& "vested employee"... I was pissed, happened 2-3 times...

#8 I moved to Alaska (later Sept. 1983-ish) to help my sister out with her kids
she was in the USAF so was her husband, always gone on a deployment
I got a great job with Tester oil drilling, building shelter/huts & derrick platforms
in Prudhoe Bay, 16 days on & 14 days off, Union scale & up to triple time
8hrs on 4 hrs off 12hrs on 8 hrs off, 7 days a week until the 16th day
fly back to Anchorage, I was making like $1,000 a day after the 5th or so day
worked 48 days a year for 3 winters, did rather well...
Moved back to Calif. after my sister got divorced... June (?) 1986-ish

#8a I was a certified Range Master from my days in Target Masters
started an indoor range up in Alaska, Sharp Shooters,
I sort of lost my *** on that one...
My 2 partners (1 my sister) bought me out for 1/2 of what I had invested...
It completely shutdown like 10 months later...

#9 I got sick of other people running my life...
I took my test to become a Licensed Contractor, a 'C contractor at 1st
I started out as a Framing Company, was busier than I could have imagined...
I ended up becoming a General Contractor, relatively easily...

#10 A few months later I started a Plumbing & Lighting Company also
so I could do more in house, not pay some other people to do stuff
I could or have my guys do...
(4 of my HS friends worked for me, made great $$$)

#11 I had connections in the Dealerships all around Concord,
& WC areas like 8 of them...
That became 1st American Automotive 125 stores combined,
all over the west coast & as far east as Witchita Kansas
that company went public, stocks traded...
A bunch of the Bay Area dealerships owners all got together,
share profits & secrets...
(that was the beginning of the end, of HG automotive)
Then I started to work for them, & it sort of ended up to become
'a mutual agreement', that I would exclusively be their inhouse Contractor...
They paid me a substantial monthly retainer,
a min amount to be their guy, before I preformed any tasks,
required 40 hrs or consulting...
Then I'd billed them for any materials & labor,
for any other work I/my guys had to do...
It was a great living for about 30 years, last 10 or so was more consulting...
8 of my guys got their own Contractors licenses, I helped them out...
Doled out work to them & got a finders fee...
I had employed 14 fulltime people for 30 years,
8 piece workers (all made serious $$$) & 6 Union guys, laborers mostly
& maybe another 150+ (Carpenters) or so guys thru the years
who'd work for me when I had a big job, thru the Local Union
(lazy fucks)

I semi-retired when I moved to Rancho Murieta, Oct. 1997
#12 Golf Pro, mini tours, owner of a Golf Pro-Shop
doing repairs & selling merch.
doing custom club, fittings & instruction, for like 10 years,
Rancho Murieta, before I moved up here in Tuolumne co.
Still did construction & consulting...

After moving to the sticks Tuolumne Co. Dec. 2007
#13 golf club repair/fittings/instruction
& stocked a couple local golf courses pro-shops,
when I moved up here
#13a still did the construction consultation for the dealerships
until I fully retired in 2021

I think that's chronologically correct anyway...

there was other mixed in there too, I often worked 2 jobs
I was needing $$$, I worked hard for it too
I bought my 1st house at 18 y/o

enjoy

Wall of text -bob the builder-.jpg
 
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Had to bee around 1981 1982 - My dad sat with me at McD as I couldn’t drive while I was interviewed

Started at $3.35

Worked for around three years , absolutely loved the job , the girls the girls , we conducted all our party business and meet up s through the drive thru

I remember being offered an assistant or supervisor job around the age of 18 in the year 1984

WI in 1984 raised their legal drinking age from 18 to 19

As a store we where playing other McD in a softball tournament obviously off the clock
Yes a lot of drinking going on

The next day I was brought in and fired

Honestly I was devastated - To think where would I bee today , who knows how funny that sounds

Lots of odd jobs before I landed my job at the GRB Airport in 1987 starting at $6.00
Manager now for the business

Winters and Packer seasons are the toughest

My body tells me to slow down , co-workers and there cell phones tell me to work harder

NFL Draft next season will bee very interesting for this city
 
Paperboy. Buffalo Courier Express. 7 day a week morning paper. Didn’t Always get up on time school days.
 
I guess I failed at being a paperboy, although the paper I delivered was unpopular. I think in a town of 340 I had 25 customers. The popular paper route got handed down in one family.
Maybe my sales skills at 12 were not that great.
I started repairing cars and never looked back, then I started my current job and have been doing this 30 years
 
We where playing other McD in a softball tournament.
Yes a lot of drinking going on.

The next day I was brought in and fired

Honestly I was devastated - To think where would I be now, who knows how funny that sounds.
Ha! That is great!
I was fired from Burger King. I never had any illusions of it being a career. I just took it as a temporary thing. A new manager came in and wanted to come across as a hard *** so he fired a few of us thinking it would send a message to others. He was fired a few months later.
I was already enlisted in the Army so it wasn’t a huge loss.
 
I worked the summer after my freshman year in the Acme Brick plant in Edmond OK. My Dad knew the Production Manager and my family had moved to OK City during my freshman year in KS. Between the two of them I think they gave me about 50/50 odds of lasting a week. The brick production industry at that time was probably not far removed from most factory settings at the turn of the century - the last century. I came home every day looking like a clod of Oklahoma red clay. My work clothes turned the water in the washing machine a deep red. My showers left the shower with an increasingly red tint more and more every day. I was sometimes the substitute for the off bearing line where the fresh cut, wet clay bricks on the conveyor line are stacked on kiln cars for firing. They were paid piecemeal for how many wet brick they stacked during a day and we worked 4 or 5 in an offbearing line to where the first 2 or 3 men got all the bricks they could handle - and they were fast. And the 3rd and 4th guys got what they missed and 5th man was mostly clean up of any that got by the first 4. Every shift they rotated one position so they all got equal shot at stacking a lot of brick. Didn’t matter where I ended up as there wasn’t any way I could grab as many brick off the belt for hours on end as these guys. They may snap up 4 to 6 in a handful. I was usually good 3 or 4 max. One time I stacked half a cart just as quitting time arrived and the next morning I started back in on the same cart to finish it up. Not sure why I didn’t rotate - maybe they decided I was good for clean up since I was paid hourly as a laborer. I noticed as we restarted that the brick seemed slightly bigger than the day before and my cart wasn’t stacking very uniformly. What happened was the wet brick stacked the day before had dried some overnight and shrunk. I managed to get the cart stacked up full height which was about 5’ although it was shaky. I hit the button to advance it down the line and move a fresh cart up. When the cart jerked away the stack of brick swayed and half the cart fell over crushing me into the conveyor. I wasn’t hurt but the guys weren’t too happy about having to shut the line down to dig me out from under all the brick and the conveyor.

Lots of other firsts. Once some brick fell over in the tunnel kiln where they were fired at 1800 F by gas burners and they had to be cleaned out. They shut the burners down to just past the fallen brick and summoned me and another laborer. They opened the end doors of the kiln and down it a ways we could see the mis-sharpen form of a jumble of bricks with a red- orange burner glow right behind it that looked like the tunnel to hell. We were handed a set asbestos gloves and told to get after it. So alternating one at a time we took a big breath, held it, ran into the kiln and grabbed a handful of hot bricks and ran back out. Then rested while the other guy ran in for a load and back. We did this for most of the morning until we got the spill cleaned up and I hoped I never had to do it again.

And there were the machinery pits below the big dry pans where the clay and shale were ground up by large steel wheels. After a few weeks of operation the machinery pits would fill up from all the sifting dust and we would have to go down a ladder through a hatch and with a bucket, rope and shovel, clean the pit out one bucket at a time - while the grinders remained in operation. I looked like 2 dirt clods by works end from that.

I made the entire summer, dirt, blisters, bruises, kiln burns and all but, I returned to my 2nd year of engineering studies with a little more interest and enthusiasm than the year before. And by the next summer, since I now could drive a forklift I graduated to the OK City sales yard and unloading freight cars of brick and loading trucks. And I didn’t miss the production plant one bit.
 
I've never had to work fast food, thankfully.

I did work some jobs with terrible working conditions and some with insufferable ******** both as managers and other employees and those were the reasons I quit, rather than failure at the job.

The one thing I can say for sure I failed at was the furniture/electronics rental business.
For that job, it is required that you "bully" the clientele, but you must do it with a finesse, so as not to prevent them from being continued or future customers.

Shouting at them and threatening them was accepted behavior and quite common.
You were also expected to charm and/or threaten your way into repossessing company property, at the customers home, most often in the worst neighborhood in town.

I was only part time, and had another part time job at the time.
I think I lasted maybe a month or 12 working days.

No thanks.

On a related note- I find it amazing that people will pay $49 a month, or sometimes even a week to rent a TV or stereo (or mattress) that if bought new of the same quality would cost all of $250.

Just save your money for 5 or 6 months/weeks....dumbass.
 
Don't know how I'm going to top @Budnicks :poke:

At 12 years of age I'd help my cousin on his dairy farm bailing hay for 25 cents an hour. Did that every summer till I was 16.

At 16 I worked with a surveyor as a rod man. Did that for a couple of summers.

At 18 I graduated from HS on a Saturday and went to work at a Lincoln Mercury dealer on Monday. I lasted about six months working for a shyster service writer, ripping off customers left and right. I didn't want to be a part of it anymore.

Mad about dealing with crooks I took a month off and hitch hiked to California and back.

Getting back from that I went to work for a concrete contractor. Another crook!

Went to work building houses for about two years.

Went back to working on cars but this time at small time garages. Worked at two different ones over a three year period.

Tried another dealership, Dodge/Honda, same thing crooked Service Writer.

Tried my hand at farming on the Home Farm and another rented farm next to it. That lasted three years.

Worked maintenance at a local hospital for six years.

Went to work welding for an industrial heating company for six years.

Started my own portable welding company for about five years.

Went to work for a metal fabrication company for ten years.

Worked for an elevator manufacturer as a quality control tech.

Forced into retirement and now working pt as a delivery driver for a local parts house.

This doesn't include all of the side work I did, construction, mechanical, welding, auto painting ect.
 
Don't know how I'm going to top @Budnicks :poke:

At 12 years of age I'd help my cousin on his dairy farm bailing hay for 25 cents an hour. Did that every summer till I was 16.

At 16 I worked with a surveyor as a rod man. Did that for a couple of summers.

At 18 I graduated from HS on a Saturday and went to work at a Lincoln Mercury dealer on Monday. I lasted about six months working for a shyster service writer, ripping off customers left and right. I didn't want to be a part of it anymore.

Mad about dealing with crooks I took a month off and hitch hiked to California and back.

Getting back from that I went to work for a concrete contractor. Another crook!

Went to work building houses for about two years.

Went back to working on cars but this time at small time garages. Worked a two different ones over a three year period.

Tried another dealership, Dodge/Honda, same thing crooked Service Writer.

Tried my hand at farming on the Home Farm and another rented farm next to it. That lasted three years.

Worked maintenance at a local hospital for six years.

Went to work welding for an industrial heating company for six years.

Started my own portable welding company for about five years.

Went to work for a metal fabrication company for ten years.

Worked for an elevator manufacturer as a quality control tech.

Forced into retirement and now working pt as a delivery driver for a local parts house.
Still impressive... :thumbsup:
 
Mad about dealing with crooks I took a month off and hitch hiked to California and back.
Hitched! Wow - I thought I was adventurous when I drove my '70 GTX from WI to CA and back by myself in 1983. I like to tell the kids who work for me about that. No cell phones, no credit cards. Just cash and paper maps. Maybe I had some traveler's checks.
 
Hitched! Wow - I thought I was adventurous when I drove my '70 GTX from WI to CA and back by myself in 1983. I like to tell the kids who work for me about that. No cell phones, no credit cards. Just cash and paper maps. Maybe I had some traveler's checks.

It was risky in the '70s. Had a couple of close calls. Definitely wouldn't advise it anymore.
 
counter balance, reachfork,yard machine forklift driver chemical plant for a few years
head shipper , Belarus tractors canada
file clerk ,addiction research foundation
marine mechanic [hi-performance boats]
full time crew chief /mechanic offshore boat race teams Canadian and US teams
floor scrubber mechanic american lincoln
explosion proof lifttruck/diehandler/sideloader mechanic Ellwell parker
tractor/trailer maintenance mechanic
construction labourer , home theater
marine mechanic [again]
marina manager
building hvac maintenance/computer automation large casino/hotel
resort operator [past 10 years, current]
 
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