April 13, 2011

Just A Job To Do

What do you do? I mean, for your job, what do you do?

I'm always curious what people do for a living. And whether or not they actually like it. I'm curious, I think, because I'm not sure I've decided what I want to do when I grow up. So I like hearing about what other people do with their days.

Me, I'm a computer geek. Specifically, a computer security geek. It's my job to make sure that your information stays safe. Of course, there are many other people who do the same thing and I can't vouch for the fact that they're all as good at is as I am so, well, there are bound to be accidents. But they're not my fault. I'm also a manager. I lead a team of people, listen to them, make sure they're getting what they need to have a rewarding job and the recognition they deserve when they show themselves to be the rockstars they are.

So, back to that first question - what do you do? And what are the best and worst parts of your job?

Posted by Chris at April 13, 2011 7:00 AM

I'm a Career Counselor at a University. Most days I really like my job. I LOVE working in higher ed, you can't beat it. the perks are the flexibility, following a school schedule, snow days, being around interesting people who value education, opportunities to partake in events and campus speakers, free tuition for my kids.

The downsides are of course constant budget cuts, stressing over enrollment and retention, the entitlement of some of these kids, University politics. Administrators who seem to have priorities out of wack, (lets spend $$$ on tearing out a parking lot and building a gazebo and meditation circle instead of updating the science labs)

I work with a lot of great people though and it makes coming to work bearable. Plus our offices are in an old mansion, so it feels like I'm working out of my living room most days. My office even has a balcony!

And once in a great while you get a thank you letter form a student telling you that they were hired/accepted to their dream job/school and it was because of the help you provided to them, and THAT makes even the worst days seem better.

Posted by: Lisa at April 13, 2011 7:56 AM

I'm an attorney and I work in family violence and I'd love to change jobs but there is nothing out there. And I'd love to change career fields.

Posted by: jodifur at April 13, 2011 8:11 AM

I'm an IT Developer which means that I pretty much live in the corner and crack code. Some days I love my job because when you get something to work, it's the best feeling in the world. Sometimes I hate it, especially when the deadlines go sailing by with a cheery whistle and you're still stuck at your desk trying to figure out why the heck it isnt working.

I hate playing the sexism card, but being female also means that I have to be twice as good as the fellas just to be taken seriously in this business.

On the other hand, I get to see the look of utter shock and mystification on the faces of old school aquaintances who used to bully me when they were children and know that I earn about 3 times what they do....that's satisfaction right there. Sometimes, it almost makes my job worth it.

Posted by: AnonymousDeveloper at April 13, 2011 8:35 AM

I'm Dir of Sales and Marketing for a software company. I'd rather be a computer geek.

Upside - Freedom. I can work from home and as long as sales are good nobody cares where I am at 4 PM on Friday.

Downside - it's sales. I'm only as good as my last month or quarter. Also, my ability to be successful is so dependent on 1000 things that I can't control, like our product, bugs, competitors, clients getting bought out, etc.

Posted by: COD at April 13, 2011 8:44 AM

I'm the alumni coordinator and c.e. administrator at a university. My thoughts are much like Lisa's. I love the flexibility, the benefits and the atmosphere. I don't like that we've had to cut our budget by at least 6% each year for the past 4 years.

I still don't know what I would really love to do. I find that very sad some days. However, since I fell into this job I have enjoyed it and hope to keep doing it until I can retire (which is another great benefit of a university).

Posted by: daisy at April 13, 2011 8:46 AM

I am a research scientist working in the field of structural biology. We try to grow protein crystals and then use x-rays to look inside them to find out what they look like. The general idea is that function follows form: if you know what a protein looks like then you can learn something about how it works or, even more importantly, why it doesn't always work the way that it should and (hopefully) how to fix it. Right now I'm working on the issue of protein changes that occur due to traumatic brain injury, specifically those inccured by soldiers.

Sounds way more exciting that it actually is, at least on an average day. I spend a lot of time staring at a computer monitor analyzing results. And banging my head into a wall when yet another experiment doesn't work. I'd like my job a lot more if I got to do more "wet" work - i.e. spending time in the lab actually performing experiments. That's why I got into science, but I've been semi-replaced by robotics that can do experiments much quicker and in greater number!

Posted by: Elizabeth at April 13, 2011 9:09 AM

I lead a team of developers at ESPN, creating apps for on-air graphics. We determine what needs to play out, gather data (automated or manual) and make sure the correct graphic plays to air.

Upside - hey, it is sports instead of, say, insurance or banking. And, with young kids, working for Disney has its benefits...

Downside - we have many many networks around the world that are all 24/7.

(opinions are my own - Disney wants me to make sure you know that)

Posted by: Kaz at April 13, 2011 9:14 AM

I'm an administrator at a large government facility. The bad part is the bureaucracy and as a contractor I don't get some of the benefits civil servants do. However, I can leave the BS here when I leave at the end of the day--this is the first job where I can do that. I also have a lot of control over what I do during the day. I never thought I'd be able to work as independently as I do, without anyone looking over my shoulder. Plus, we have a bunch of employee-run clubs that are really great. I never would have guessed that pushing paper is what I'd do when I grew up, but I feel pretty lucky to be here.

Posted by: Mary W at April 13, 2011 9:16 AM

Freelance Architect. After working in firms for 15 years, I got laid off about 18 months ago. So I discovered a niche and made work for myself. I mostly pimp myself out to companies who can't afford to hire full time employees but still have deadlines to meet.

The Pros are pretty obvious - I'm my own boss, I make my own schedule, and charge what I want to charge. It's awesome to be able to take a day off to volunteer at my daughter's school or work at night after she's sleeping so we can go see a movie during the day. And working with so many different companies, I don't get bored and I meet a ton of new & interesting people.

The only Con is that I don't have a regular paycheck. My income varies depending on how much I work, invoicing schedules, and when companies decide to pay up. It's usually either feast or famine so I've had to learn to budget very carefully.

Posted by: fauve at April 13, 2011 9:17 AM

I am a customer service advocate for what I imagine to be one of your counter parts up the beltway a bit. I handle requests from our customers, I ship out their required products, and sometimes even help them develop custom solutions. I am the lowest on the totem pole here currently, though I was able to get my own high school work study this year, which has helped tremendously. Plus allow me to take advantage of 20/20 and go back to school. But mostly, just dealing with the customers, and serving as a mentor to any work studies or interns we get.

Posted by: Kim at April 13, 2011 9:30 AM

My husband's office manager/SAHM. My husband is a psychologist and works out of a home office. I set his appointments, greet clients, collect payment, etc. I also try to keep track of my kids at the same time. It works for us.
The pros are my husband does not have to pay someone to do my part so more of what he makes stays with us, we don't have to put our kids in daycare, I get to watch my babies grow up.
The cons are since I spend all day here, sometimes I feel like I am always working, with no time off, there are times I feel spread too thin trying to take care of everybody, no real lunch break

Posted by: Tess at April 13, 2011 9:31 AM

I'm the office manager and lead of the administrative division for the Regional office of a large engineering firm. I am in charge of all administrative processes that go through our office and two field locations. In my field, that means I lead all document management, records control, facilities, space management issues (including maintaining a secured floor) and project support work out of this office. I am in charge of preparing for any audit (internal and external) that is conducted in this office. I also act as liaison for HR and process all incoming new hires and transfers. I trend issues within our project work and work with records management to restructure existing policies if deemed necessary.
I also lead a team of people and am resonsible for their evalutions, etc, for developing their skill set and assigning them to their project teams. I evaluate requests for additional staff and if deemed necessary request approval for a requisiton from my Division head and then forward to HR. I am responsible for interviewing, hiring and training any new personnel.
I love my job. It is stressful, fast paced, thankless, and can easily take over your life. I have to work very hard at maintaining a balance between that and my family life. But it can also be very rewarding.
Besides, how many places can you get paid to be the HBIC* you were born to be??

*Head B In Charge

Posted by: varinia at April 13, 2011 9:42 AM

I am a bookseller at a small, independent bookstore. Yes, such a thing still exists! Bookstores like mine are important community centers, and as such will thrive when the big-box bookstores go the way of the dinosaur.

The best parts of my job are the social aspects: meeting new people, helping folks find the right book, being privy to some pretty amazing conversations, my coworkers and awesome boss, the fact that I can have time off whenever I want, being surrounded by books all day...

The worst parts? The pay is low (but hey, I didn't make boatloads of money as a teacher in France, either). Sometimes shelving books can be tedious. And there are always customers who want that book they heard about on NPR, but they can't remember the title or the author. Or they want that other book, you know, the one with the blue cover.

But all in all, it's the best job I've ever had.

Posted by: Alison at April 13, 2011 9:42 AM

I'm an accountant...specifically accounts receivable and general ledger. In school, math was my worst subject and the class I dreaded most. However, I LOVE the work that I do. It challenges me on a daily basis, but I am really, really good at it.

However, I have a terrible boss. She does very little work...passes all of her assignments off to me (which means I am often doing two jobs at once)...and then takes credit for about 99% of what I do, whether it's her responsibility or mine.

I stick with it because I really and truly enjoy the work. Recently, we have had several changes to our executive staff (both the CEO and the CFO) and I have been told that changes are coming, they are aware of my situation, and they are impressed with my work. I am hanging on to the hope that sooner than later the atmosphere will be as rewarding as the work.

Posted by: Kris H. at April 13, 2011 9:51 AM

I'm a Webmaster for a major auto manufacturer. I like my job. I don't want to do anything different when I grow up, but I don't see myself keeping this job if I win the lottery.

Posted by: Brad at April 13, 2011 9:57 AM

I'm a paralegal for a 'boutique' law firm that specializes in Native American law. I love my job. The people I work for are leaders in the field and have a nationwide reputation for being top in their field. The firm is quite altruistic, working for the needy and not being greedy- charging *significantly* less than pretty much every other DC law firm.

Pros- I get to do some really seriously interesting research and meet some really neat people.

Cons- dealing with some of the childish behavior and pettiness of some of the staff; also thanks to the economy my workload has dropped a lot and I've taken on other not so interesting tasks at the firm (which is way better than losing my job because of the lack of work, totally).

I always dreamed of being an attorney. I decided being a mom was more important when I was young, and put my education on a back burner, and though I recently graduated with a Bachelors degree, the thought of finishing law school at 55 and spending the rest of my life paying back over $100k in student loans doesnt sound very appealing, so I've decided to be content where I am. It is a compromise that I'm still struggling with, but I know its what is right for me.

Posted by: 3jaysmom at April 13, 2011 10:07 AM

I'm a business accountant who works for a CPA. Generally I love my job, I have a great boss who has been very generous to me while I dealt with family issues. Unfortunately, fewer businesses are using outside accountants for their needs, preferring to hire someone in-house. I get that, until they bring their stuff in for me to fix and I'm left wondering how in the hell someone messed up a set of books quite that badly!

Over the last couple years, I've gotten more interested in hand-making things. Knit/crochet, candles/soaps/etc. I'd love to be able to make a living doing that.

Posted by: sherri at April 13, 2011 10:08 AM

I'm a legal assistant. It means I do varied things like "oh let's do business in Utah next week, can you file there?" to "here's some dictation for you to type." Overall I really like it here... I never know what to expect. :)

Posted by: Laura at April 13, 2011 10:17 AM

I do remote installations and support of software for libraries. I work from home!

Posted by: Ashley at April 13, 2011 10:23 AM

I'm a web developer for a community college. Working in education is, indeed, awesome. Benefits are decent, but the real plus is that I can believe in the mission of my employer. This is the 5th educational institution I've worked for, and I don't see that changing anytime in the future. I'm not married to the web development field, but it's serving its purpose for now.

For the cons, my paycheck technically comes from the state, so when the state is in financial trouble, so is my institution. It kinda sucks when even a cost of living increase depends on whether or not the state can balance its budget.

And have you ever tried to get a group of administrators to agree on a web site design? Oy.

Posted by: Jaime at April 13, 2011 10:28 AM

I run a statewide leadership development organization. And by far the coolest thing I get to do is WATCH. I get to watch great people come together and grow and change over a 2 year period and become absolutely incredible. Almost as cool is knowing that I had a part in that transformation.

Posted by: Sassy Pants at April 13, 2011 10:58 AM

I'm an attorney in a non-partner track position with a law firm in DC. I just started there a month ago from a firm I had been with for over 10 years. I'm still figuring out things at the new place, but the culture is fantastic and I feel very welcome here. The pros: very flexible work time - as long as my hours are good and the work is getting done, I can pretty much set my own hours and work at home if I like. The cons: sometimes the work gets crazy near deadlines.

Posted by: Sue R at April 13, 2011 11:01 AM

Is being retired count? My last job was in marine insurance working for a large, privately owned brokerage who has since gone out of business. Maybe I was the glue that was holding it together.

I helped with our conversion to computers from typewriters and adding machines, learning as I went along. Did a lot of statistical work, claims, and then switched over to brokerage which I hated. I did okay with it but I shudder when I think of selling anything.

Posted by: Ann Elizabeth Adams at April 13, 2011 11:08 AM

Senior Administrative Assistant to Maintenance/Engineering with a dash of Maintenance Scheduler.

Job includes anaylyzing data from equipment and anticipating when we should do Preventative Maintenance, working with a team to get PMs done, assisting in software, covering the desk, entering new equipment, setting up Bill of Materials. Then the basic office task of an admin. Do I like my job. Most days.

Posted by: charlene at April 13, 2011 11:18 AM

I'm just glad to see that there is someone else who doesn't know what to be when they grow up. I've worked in Commerical Design, Marketing and recently became an RN. I like aspects of all thingsi I've worked in, but truth tell, I get bored so so easily. Right now, I'm the logistical manager to three kids.

Posted by: greenie at April 13, 2011 11:42 AM

My day job is working at the technology help desk for a university. The best part of my job is helping people (namely students staff and faculty), the worst is when people scream at me (and let me tell you they do- you have to have a very thick skin working my job...seems technology can bring out the best and worst in people). Do I like my job? I like Charlene's answer...most days.

Posted by: Amy at April 13, 2011 11:43 AM

I am in business development for a staffing company. We staff the oil and gas industry with high level engineers. We provide contract people. Most of my people have 20+ years experience and thats why they are hired to work on a certain project.

I have been here just over a year and its frustrating. The easiest thing is to find open jobs. The hardest? Finding the exact right person to fill it. The type of positions I am filling are not interested in someone wanting to change industries or being a "fast learner." Nope, they have to come in, well trained and hit the ground running. Basically, its like finding a needle in a hay stack.

Posted by: Debbie at April 13, 2011 11:53 AM

I am the Team Lead for the Optical support group at a really large networking company. I manage the day to day operations of this group. I do like what I do as it gives me a pretty flexible schedule, and I get to teach people things that they don't know. I love the company and co-workers.

The only issue I have is that being the team lead, I catch everyone's problems from work-related to personal. Sometimes I just want to ask the question, "Do you really think that I care about that?"

Posted by: Rex at April 13, 2011 12:10 PM

I am a family child care provider for infants and toddlers. Babies are complex, wonderful creatures and I love my job. Right now, I have three 1 year olds an a 2 year old. I have been doing this so long that my first group is getting ready to graduate from high school. My next client will be my own daughter and son-in-law. My first grandchild is due on Halloween. Yippee!

Posted by: LeeAnn at April 13, 2011 12:11 PM

I have several jobs. The one that pays the bills is, I buy television time for infomercials. Yep, those things you hate to watch, it's all my fault. I bought time from the station and now it's all mine and can put in any show I want.

I am also a personal assistant to a 5 year old and a 48 year old man. One, I birthed and one I married.

Then... when it's finally quiet I run my own business designing/sewing/marketing reusable snack and sandwich bags which I mainly sell on Etsy.

Career-wise I feel like I live in 2 worlds, one of mass-produced, earth-polluting crap and one of the thoughtful handmade world.

All my jobs have their perks and some days I love them more that others, but my family of course is my most challenging, most rewarding and my all time favorite.

Posted by: me at April 13, 2011 12:35 PM

Going anonymous for this one, just so my job isn't linked with my blog.

I work in philanthropy. I work in a foundation and help nonprofits find funding for the work they do. I work with individual donors and help them find projects they would like to fund. I spend a lot of time listening, which I am good at, and connecting, which I am not as good at. I see a lot of raw need and bad ideas and wastes of money, but I also see a lot of passionate people trying really, really hard to make the world a better place.

I don't think I will work here forever. Right now I'm the person who helps people find the money to do their work. Someday I would like to be the one doing it again.

Posted by: CK at April 13, 2011 12:35 PM

Well, my job title is Senior Buyer, but that's going to change soon. I work for a small private university in California. So while I was originally hired to be a buyer, right now my job description more resembles Evangelist. I am basically a systems girl for AP and Purchasing. I am involved in testing, writing documentation for our processes, re-training users who just don't get it, smoothing ruffled feathers regarding systems features or internal processes, helping out whereever needed in AP and Purchasing. I am not a coder; IT has those guys, but I am supposed to be well-versed in all things PeopleSoft AP, Purchasing, and Travel.

I hate my job, but not because of the job. My work environment makes me crazy. No one wants to be good at his job. They all want to complain about how all these new systems we're bringing on line make their jobs harder, and they cut corners and waste money and it really pisses me off how everyone is striving for mediocrity and the execution of our policy really just serves the lowest common denominator.

My daughter's dad recently announced that he is moving to Iowa, releasing me from the obligation of living near him. So perhaps in the next few years, I can ditch L.A. and go home to NorCal and get a job I love with Apple or Facebook (yeah, right).

Posted by: Brooke at April 13, 2011 12:37 PM

I am a Front-End Web Developer for a small web development agency outside of Chicago.

Best part of the job is creating slick UI interfaces and layouts and in general seeing all the neat stuff happening in the field. The worst part is tedious client requests, but hey, it pays the bills.

Now that I've got my Front-End chops down, I'd like something a little more varied on the web - web writing, usability testing, project management, etc. But like another person said, I don't think I'd keep doing this if I won the lottery.

Posted by: Jesse at April 13, 2011 12:41 PM

I work in the Community Reinvestment department of a regional community bank. Half of the job is data analysis/federal compliance- making sure loans are coded correctly and that what was put on paper is what ended up in the computer, running reports, making sure that we are in federal compliance (of the the Community Reinvestment Act); and the other half is volunteer development. In the past 2 years, I've helped create our intranet-based volunteer database (capturing the details of our employee volunteerism), created a volunteer list-serv, and proposed (and just implimented) our children's financial education program.

Pros- I have a great boss who's given me a lot of freedom (mostly through lack of other things to do) to create projects for myself. Our bank is very committed to the communities we serve and gives back in a lot of great ways. Our department only has 4 people, and we all get along really great. And I feel like what I'm doing is meaninful and worthwhile.
Cons- I work for a bank. And even though we're a small community bank, and didn't have any significant part in the crazy mortgage crisis, we've had to receive ALL the same punishments doled out to the big banks (no pay raises for the past 3 years, stock deflated, 401(k) matching eliminated, coworkers who were laid off). Plus, everyone hates us these days...

Posted by: Tai at April 13, 2011 12:45 PM

Librarian- like the job, HATE the hours (long nights and weekend duty b/c in my town, the library is open 7 days a week). Also a part time college English teacher- ambivalent about the job, love the hours because it's all online. Married to an IT geek.

Posted by: rebecca at April 13, 2011 12:50 PM

I'm a pharmacist in a large retail chain in Canada.

The best part of my job has always been the hours. I have always been able to work as much or as little as I wanted. Never put the kids in daycare. Could always find enough weekend/evening work to avoid it. The people are good too. Those who appreciate what we do and make an effort to tell me when something I recommended really worked out.

The worst part of my job is the hours. Without my input, I recently lost a weekday shift in order to be able to work every other weekend. I'm kind of over working every other weekend after 12 years. The other worst part is the people. The ones who scream and holler and swear and throw stuff at me when they don't get what they want. And the ones who want what they want IMMEDIATELY with no regard to the process involved in filling a prescription.

Posted by: chrissie at April 13, 2011 1:04 PM

Lurker here... I'm an accountant for a large group of non-profit hospitals. It's a good job that I took for the stability and the money. I'll probably never leave this department and I'll retire just fine.

More interesting though was the job I had prior to this one. I was the accountant for a large animal shelter, the 3rd oldest in the US. I had a cat sleeping on my desk most of the time, I had litters of foster kittens at home, I could go walk a dog if I needed a break, and I got to be a part of finding loving homes for homeless animals every day. It's still my passion and I still volunteer there, but the job was not challenging career-wise, and the money is never that great in the smaller non-profit world.

I don't regret leaving, because I have to support my family, but it was the best job I ever had.

Posted by: Laurie at April 13, 2011 1:31 PM

These comments are so interesting! I love reading about how people live their lives.

I raise money for a shelter and housing program for women and work in development for a small arts non-profit (which also involves raising money). The work for the arts non-profit is very part time, and I work for the shelter full time. The work I do for both organizations is similar, but the strategies are a bit different. Cultivating donors for the arts is a completely different beast than cultivating donors for a women's shelter. Both jobs involve working from home and I work part time in an office at the shelter, which is a great fit for me. I love the flexibility of working from home, but it is nice to have an office and structure part of the time as well. This arrangement allows me time with my 1 year old in the mornings, and a space away from him in the afternoons where I interact with adults and pee by myself.

The work itself is very rewarding. I run the development team in both organizations, so there is a lot of creativity and fulfillment when we secure a grant, or see that a fundraising strategy is successful. I am lucky in that my bosses are very supportive and encouraging, so I never feel hung out to dry if we are not awarded a grant, or if a fundraiser brings in less than hoped.

I love my jobs and feel very grateful that I can say that. I've worked for seven years in various not-great jobs with not-great leadership and to finally be in a place doing work I enjoy with bosses I respect is a relief. The pay is not great and I probably make less than most of my friends with the two salaries combined, but I love what I do and more importantly, I love who I work for.

Posted by: Anna at April 13, 2011 1:45 PM

I am a newborn and children's photographer and I love, love, love my job. The drawbacks are that every [mom] with a camera is a photographer nowadays, and in Bend (where I live) there is an insane amount of good and bad photographers which makes it challenging to stay busy.

Best part - capturing awesome moments for my clients. Worst part - not having an actual studio and having to cart my newborn crap from session to session.

Posted by: Lesley Barr at April 13, 2011 1:47 PM

Your comment section today is as good or better than the rest of the interwebs.

Actually, I'm training to be a biomedical researcher by doing hardcore biomedical research (3rd year of the PhD in Biochemistry). My focus is on structural biology and enzymology associated with mutations in proteins relating to lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a host of other autoimmune diseases.

Technically, I'm a graduate student and have been for the last 5 years. I got the masters degree in computer science and made the jump over to the biological side of the fence in order to be a serious threat in the biotech world. Graduate work in the hardcore sciences is spectacular if you can hack it, because you get paid to go to school. I was in the military for 14 years before this and I've never been so happy as I have since becoming a student again. I'm considering just racking up PhDs until in various departments until they force me to leave.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at April 13, 2011 1:57 PM

When I'm not engaged in my Mom duties, I work part time for a friend who is a personal organizer. She's teaching me the ropes so I can eventually start my own business doing the same. I love that I work for my wonderful friend who is flexible and funny. The hours are built around my son and the work is usually interesting. I've learned more about the DC area working with her than I had learned in the whole previous year living here. The cons of the job are that sometimes clients are unreasonable or decision-challenged. I'm also sometimes amazed at the money people waste on things they don't need. If you have more than three items in your closet with the tags still on them, it may be time to rethink your purchasing process. I feel very lucky to be doing something I enjoy, with someone I like, that accomodates the rest of my life so well.

Posted by: Annie at April 13, 2011 2:01 PM

I was a stay at home Mom for years and then my husband retired and so now I stay at home taking care of him. But I also breed wire haired dachshunds.

Posted by: Maribeth at April 13, 2011 2:08 PM

I'm every taxpayer's worst nightmare - federal procurement. Essentially, my job is to spend the government's money. This would bother me except for the fact that I work for the agency created by George Washington in 1789 to protect the judiciary (think The Fugitive) and my specific office does directly support the federals courts.

I used to swear that I'd never work for the government and then when I became a fed, I swore never to get into procurement. I have since learned never to say never. I love my job, I love the people for and with whom I work, and I love the agency's mission. The only bad thing about it is the end of the fiscal year crapola and when Congress can't do their jobs and pass a budget.

Posted by: jen at April 13, 2011 2:17 PM

I am an Accountant for a construction company. Every day I sit down at my desk and open my left-hand drawer where there is a note that says DEBIT. Then I open my right-hand drawer where the note says CREDIT. This way, I always know where to put the numbers on the balance sheet. When I grow up, I want to be a better paid Accountant who gets to travel in the company Ferrari.

Posted by: Procrastamom at April 13, 2011 2:39 PM

I am a traffic engineer for a small consulting company in a metropolitan area. The company I work for mostly does operational projects for local Cities, Counties and the State. I really like it and am happy to be able to work part time (we have 2 small kids) however I am SUPER underpaid, given my education and experience. I am looking for a new job, hopefully in the public sector. You know, for the huge pay raise and entitled lifestyle. Just kidding, most people in my field move around every couple of years, and I could use the public experience.

Posted by: diana at April 13, 2011 2:45 PM

I'm an educational assistant at an EMT/Paramedic college. I schedule the students' training at hospitals and on ambulances.
The best part of this job is knowing that (even though blood and guts gross me out) in my own small way, I am helping to make sure you have the best people treating you when you call 911.
Worst part? This new generation of kids (18-25) that think they are entitled to everything and their parents still coddling them!

Posted by: Angela at April 13, 2011 3:20 PM

I'm a freelance translator. I work from home, receiving the texts to translate almost exclusively via e-mail from people I've never met (many I've never even spoken to on the phone). I translate from French or Spanish into English. The fields I work in are medical, scientific and technical, as well as general stuff (websites, business letters, brochures...). To ensure that I do actually leave the house on occasion, I also teach part time at the local university: I teach translation and terminology to postgrad students in the Arts faculty and scientific English (whatever that is) to science students (varies every semester - currently 2nd year biology and chemistry and 4th year IT) at the Science Faculty.
The pros to my (main) job are the free schedule which allows me to participate actively in the PTA, go out for a coffee whenever I want, etc. I also have no "office politics" to deal with and get to see my name in print.
The cons are accounting (I do it all myself as I can't afford an accountant and I SUCK at maths), chasing up poor payers and the fact that I can never just leave it all behind: if I don't work, I don't get paid, which is why for two children I had only 7 days of maternity leave total (here in France, "regular" employees get 12 weeks).
The pros of teaching are meeting people - most of the students are great and I enjoy being with them (even if they now make me feel horribly ancient). The cons are exam sessions on Saturdays (got one this week, from 8 till 12, which just kills me as it means I don't see my daughters from 5 pm on Friday), grading in general and administrative guff. But they're all pretty minor cons.
In an ideal world, I would be a writer/illustrator but I don't have the guts to get out there and send stuff I've done to publishers or what have you.

Posted by: Kirsty at April 13, 2011 3:43 PM

I'm a librarian for the government. I love it!

Posted by: Katherine at April 13, 2011 3:47 PM

I am an adjunct professor at a university. Hopefully, once I finish my degree...and Monday I got one step closer when my proposal was approved! I was in advertising, dotcoms, banking, etc....and I absolutely love what I am doing now.

Posted by: Krush at April 13, 2011 4:17 PM

I am an Adoption Specialist with a non-profit agency contracted to the State. I find forever families for children whose birth parents had their parental rights terminated by the State.

I love my job most days. I can get emotional when I read why my kids came into care and the lack of sense that the birth parents displayed while they had their child in their care. I also get angry when the birth families stand there and make excuses or blame the state for taking away the kid despite clear and convincing evidence of abuse (physical, emotional, medical, academic and sexual)or they state that they have no idea how a three month old suffered third degree burns and yeah the child was in their care and they were right there but damn if they know how that happened.

Posted by: Dee at April 13, 2011 5:42 PM

I've been an RN for 14 yrs. Currently working in the OB Dept. Sometimes I work in L&D, see the "miracle of life"....that never gets old. Seeing a new little person enter the world is beyong anything. Knowing they could grow up and be anything, anybody, do or go anywhere they wanna go. Sometimes, I work in Post-partum dept, taking care of the moms/babies after delivery. The sucky part, hospitals don't close on weekends or holidays, but I knew that going in.
Overall, happy place, but I really get sick of the drama that some of the families have and seeing people who should most definetly NOT have children...i.e. the ones on drugs or impoverished that I know I'M paying for with welfare. Trust me, they have better clothes, jewelry, cars than I do and getting all this money from the gov't. I work 3 night 12 hr shifts a week, makes for a long day, but get 4 days off a week to enjoy.

Posted by: Christine at April 13, 2011 6:27 PM

I'm a Learning & Development Manager for a major hospitality company - in other words, I manage the training and onboarding of our employees.

The best part of my job is my awesome team (bittersweetly, I just had 3 promoted in the last 4 weeks). The worst part of my job is that it used to take 4 people to do it and now there is just me...

Posted by: Melissa at April 13, 2011 6:42 PM

I am starting a brand new job in May - Senior Online Editor at Canadian Family magazine.

Until now I have been the Editorial Director at UrbanMoms.ca and an editor at SCholastic (yes, that scholastic)

I LOVE what I do. Love love love love.

Posted by: alimartell at April 13, 2011 6:44 PM

I'm a Social Service Worker who, last week, started a new job as an Outreach, Education & Prevention worker for a Hepatitis C centre. I've been doing the job for another agency (focused on HIV) over the past 8 months - as a student - and was hired to create a whole new program for a dual-agency partnership addressing both HepC and HIV.

I do harm-reduction workshops, do a needle exchange, hand out crack kits, talk about safer sex, do education around HIV and HepC and all sorts of other nifty things. I teach people how to maintain their health while using substances (like how to properly inject/snort/swallow drugs) and it's incredibly fulfilling. I work with marginalized populations for the most part - lots of homeless people, mental health problems, and, obviously, plenty of addictions.

I worked for over a decade in various admin roles in the world of Big Corporations. Then i went back to school for Social Services. My new job pays about 1/3 - but it's saving my soul from dying a painful death from boredom. Love love love it.

(My husband is a linux network admin for a CLEC - and thinks my job is the worst sounding thing EVER. :)

Posted by: Violet at April 13, 2011 9:16 PM

I also love reading what other people do for their jobs.

I'm a teacher. Currently I teach 5th grade, but will be moving back into a math curriculum leader position next year. I will be working with teachers on supporting their math instruction and coordinating services to children who struggle in math K-6 for our school.

I generally love my job. Otherwise I don't think I could do it. I've taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, been a reading specialist, math specialist...being able to move around in my district makes my feel challenged and interested in my work. It's never a dull moment. Especially with kids.

The best thing I did this week was introduce my students to School House Rock - remember these videos from the 70's - perhaps I am dating myself. You may be too young. But it was fun to hear them comment on how bad the animation was - "They all blink at once!" "Can you make the video clearer?" and comment on the stereotypes in them.

Anyway, thanks for asking. It's been fun to read people's.

Posted by: Sharri at April 13, 2011 9:28 PM

I'm a director at a community music school. Anything that might need to get done I do- teaching music, playing, fundraising, recruiting students, hiring teachers (firing teachers) writing a preschool play (yes, you read that correctly), directing 60 preschoolers in their play....and that's what I have done this month. ;-)

I'm also a freelance musician on the side. I got tired of the inconsistent paychecks so I have a day job and play when something good comes along.

Posted by: Dinwizzle at April 13, 2011 9:37 PM

I'm on disability for mental health issues, but my last few jobs and my little bit of sidework I get consist of doing graphics/site design, and I also sell a little beadwork on occasion.

What I like most about both of those things is the creativity involved.

What I dislike most about the design work is when I have a client who wants something absolutely awful looking and I cannot put it in my portfolio. The worst of the beadwork is sometimes a piece may be incredible once its finished, but getting there can take many hours of tedious and slow work.

Posted by: Debra at April 14, 2011 4:50 AM

I'm a video producer/editor for a major healthcare institution (yes, you've heard of it). Basically, I make movies for everything from corporate training to surgical documentation.

I love that every day is different and every project is different from the last.

Added bonus: the look on people's faces when I tell them that I am to blood-n-guts all the time. heehee...

Posted by: leslie at April 14, 2011 7:42 AM

Oops, my brackets were mistaken for code...

Last sentence should have read:

the look on people's faces when I tell them that I am THISCLOSE to blood-n-guts all the time

Posted by: leslie at April 14, 2011 7:44 AM

Until 7 months ago I was a loan officer for a credit union. I hated it.

Since the birth of my daughter (3rd child) I've stayed home. I now work part time from homing doing QA/ Production for a company that produces mobile phone aps. I love that it is so flexible and I can do it after bedtime. My office mates are incredibily demanding though. (ages 3 and 7 months)

Posted by: Lisa at April 14, 2011 8:52 AM

When I worked full-time ages ago, I did Administrative Assistant work. Spent 5 years in the Air Force and then, had 3 jobs before we had our son. My last job was working at Syracuse University for the School of Architecture. It was a job that I fell into and loved working for the Dean of the school. There is something wonderful about working on a campus and watching kids change, learn and flourish. I gave it up when we decided to move out west and within a month I was pregnant.

I worked at Eddie Bauer part-time for 2 years when my son was 4. Recently, I was a librarian substitute for 2 years. I loved it, but gave it up when they continually called me for every other job classification and they couldn't get it fixed in the system.

But, I have been primarily been a stay at home mother for the past almost 16 years. Most of the time, I love it. It has enabled me to be there for our son. Be an advocate for him and gave me the time to be a dedicated volunteer. I kept very busy, lately not as much.

If I were to go back to work my ideal job would be working in a library or bookstore somewhere. I love books and working with children.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at April 14, 2011 9:44 AM

I am the mental health faculty at a family practice residency program. I assist with mental health issues of the patients and physician well being.....okay I'm like Mikey here...."give it to Mikey he'll eat anything". This the the aspect I both like the most and least. Love the varity of the jobs I get to do, but why would the mental health professional write the clinic disaster plan?....see told ya Mikey.

Posted by: Elizabeth at April 14, 2011 10:06 AM

Teacher. Right now, parents' demands of me.

Posted by: Heather at April 14, 2011 10:39 AM

I am a Federal Park Ranger. I love my job! I got to be outside as often as I want. In the summer I interact with a lot of people from all over. I am very social, so this works out well for me. I am also the volunteer coordinator at my park, so I get to be in charge of people at times. When my job isn't awesome, it is really, really bad. The bad times are when someone gets hurt, or I catch someone destroying something. I would say 90% is awesome!

Posted by: Ashley K at April 14, 2011 3:21 PM

I am en elementary school office manager in the 5th largest school district.

I love myjob most all time. The just perfect amount of interaction with the kids, balancing our school's $, being a "go to",etc.

Hate office politics, hate constant budget cuts, no state balanced budget, teachers don't follow directions well.

I'm trying to move to AR, and the only field I can find work in,is to be a 911 operator--not sure if I can do it. I have no idea what my passion is. My 12 year old has more insight into her future than I do. + our district is projecting 2500 cuts & I have no idea if that will affect me.

Posted by: debb at April 14, 2011 3:30 PM

I work in the medical department of a prison here in California. I keep up the schedule for the nursing staff, including all the nurses, clerical staff, and supervisors. And I HATE my job. I hate the place I work. I hate my boss. I hate a lot of the people. I hate the work I do.

I took the job hoping that it would be a stepping stone to a promotion. (I've been with the State for over five years and haven't been promoted. I think it's mostly because the place I worked before (for almost five years) never had any openings above my level and out of all the interviews I had I know that when it comes between promoting someone you know and someone you don't you usually pick the one you've worked with before, right?) And then the hiring freeze came down. Lucky!

One thing that would make my job better would be if I could, only once in a while, feel like I completed something. At least at other jobs you have those fleeting moments where your In-Box is empty, even for just ten minutes, and you can let out a relieved sigh. In scheduling there is never that moment because you can see that snarl in staffing that's going to happen next Wednesday, but you're not allowed to take care of it until Monday because you have to hope that a nurse will take the shift out of the goodness (or greediness) of his heart.

So far, the best job I had was the one where I sat at the front desk of my dorm for four hour stretches five days a week and spent most of the time getting paid to do my homework.

Posted by: ticknart at April 14, 2011 8:31 PM

I used to be a computer geek. I was good at it, it paid the bills, but it made me want to kill people on a daily basis, and every time I thought about one day taking my manager's job over I sort of wanted to cry.

So now I'm in grad school to be a physical therapist. I'll still get to do all of the things I'm good at - problem solving, fixing things, etc - but I'll get to work with people instead of computers. It is SO much fun and WAY more interesting, although at this point it's a lot of work.

Upside #1: I'll get to fix real problems, that I actually care about. Like "I can't walk because I had a stroke last month," which is, to me, far more of an issue than, "I can't get to my work email at 2 am on a Saturday and need you to fix it RIGHT NOW."

Upside #2: No one ever calls their physical therapist at 2 am demanding to get something fixed.

Posted by: Dawn at April 14, 2011 8:49 PM

family photographer. love it!
kdimoffphotography dot blogspot

Posted by: kati at April 15, 2011 12:23 AM

I love reading all the comments on this post, so many people have such exciting sounding jobs! Before I had kids, I worked as a preschool teacher, then a nanny. (Sad that there is more money to be made watching a couple of well off children, than teaching a whole class of preschoolers but that's another topic.) My current career involves making sure my 3 year old and 5 year old survive childhood with all their limbs in tact, and everyone has clean underwear, and that dinner gets made every night, and that someone(me) does the dishes, and the no one feeds the goldfish to the cat. Exciting right? The pros are I get to be with my kids and involved in their lives and they're not in day care. The cons are I am with my kids pretty much 24/7. My Dh is a Telecom/IT geek and he commutes far and works long hours and is on call most of the time, so weekdays or if there are problems on the weekend, it's just me and the kids most of the time. But in the fall, my little one will be in preschool, and my "job" will get so much easier! I can't wait to have an hour to myself to clean the house in peace! Ha.

And really this job I have now is way harder than anything I ever got paid for. It's also way better too. :-)

Posted by: Steph at April 15, 2011 3:01 AM

Wow, what a lot of comments & variety!

I'm a captioner, so I basically create captions/subtitles for TV, primarily for people with hearing difficulties. The wages aren't the best but I actually love my job for the first time (used to work in accounts). The work suits me (finally allowed to pick people up on the misuse of apostrophes without it turning into a social faux pas!), the people are really great (intelligent & highly sarcastic for the most part, my kind of people) and I do shift work, including overnights. Primarily I create captions for the news so there's definitely the benefit of feeling like you're doing something useful, something that actually helps & benefits someone. Don't mind that it's a bit unusual too - at least half of the time I tell someone I'm a captioner they ask what a captioner is!

Love this post btw, hope I'm not replying to it way too late.

Posted by: Abi at April 16, 2011 10:16 AM

I'm an automation engineer for a major pharmaceutical company. Basically, I'm a business integrator that tries to translate operations needs into functional solutions.

I love the technical aspect of my job, but the politics sucks the soul right out of me most of the time.

when I grow up, I want to be a maternity/newborn/birth photographer. I started a business 2 years ago, but it's hard to dedicate the proper amount of time when I have a full-time job and a toddler.

Posted by: Jenn at April 16, 2011 9:55 PM

H Chris! It's been a while since I visited your blog (or any other blog). Sort of late, but to answer your post question, I'm applying to law school! that's my current full time job.

Posted by: Carmen at April 19, 2011 5:42 PM

I do what you do. Only below sea level. Best part is that I get to wear jeans and a shirt to work, even if I have meetings with senior management. The worst part at the moment is that this year, one in six at the office will get fired. Probably not myself, since the cyber operations budget was increased. But it still sucks.

Posted by: FreezeM at April 20, 2011 10:06 AM