To pay the bills

We were watching TV last night and as we were flipping through channels we saw a few minutes of a show that revealed funny first jobs that celebrities had held. Did you know Brad Pitt was once the El Pollo Loco Chicken?

Anyway, we all tried to remember what our early jobs were, and some I remembered surprised me:

-Cleaning at a dental lab in downtown Seattle on Saturdays. I would ride the 6-bus downtown, let myself into a closed office building, and clean all things related to making crowns and dentures.

-Food service in the Athlete’s Village at the Seattle Goodwill Games: I still have a collection of cool things given to me by athletes around the world.

-DJing for a Christian radio station in Chicago: I would get up at 5am on Saturdays my freshman year and catch a bus that took me to a train that let me out a mile’s walk from the station. In the morning I produced two call-in shows, followed by hours of pre-recorded children’s programs and a playlist of classic “cheesy Christian” songs. After the talk shows, I would be the only one in the station until 3pm that day, and I would have to run down the hall while a long song played to use the bathroom.

-Cleaning hotel rooms at North Park University: our college had eight hotel rooms on campus for guests. It was the only non-work study (I did not qualify) job I could find my first two years there. The pay was better than other campus jobs probably because it was work that no one wanted to do. To this day, I look at hotel cleaning staff. I look them in the eye and I greet them and talk to them.

-Editing: I worked in the writing lab at North Park, and would sometimes get offers to help a student wishing to pay me for extra time. There was Vicki, the older Greek woman, who needed help with every paper she wrote as English was her second language. She paid me well and took me out one night to Chicago’s “little Greece” where I ate flaming cheese and was treated like a queen.

-Cocktail waitressing at the Cubby Bear. I got licked, grabbed, and hit on; wore as much beer by the end of the night as I had carried it seemed; and I regularly made my bartender laugh with my orders since I didn’t know the names of hardly any mixed drinks and the place was so loud.

-Coffee roasting: I was trained by good friends who owned a small coffee roasting company in Portland. This was my “tentmaking” job that enabled me to work on staff at Irvington Covenant. I loved the way my hair and clothes would smell after a long day of roasting. I also loved the challenge of creating roasts and of course all the tasting…

Categorized as Misc.


  1. I was Chuck of the Chuck E. Cheese. A junior high security guard. A schmear maker for a bagel company. And, when I lived in San Antonio I worked at a bakery in the mornings (so I could be around non-churchy people just to keep it real) where I got to be the chief cinammon roll maker.

    Also, there was that stint as a telemarketer for Olan Mills portrait studios. I left after I realized the new car that I was promised was actually a matchbox car.

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