Like most people of my Generation (GenX), I’ve had a lot of different jobs.
In high school I worked as a babysitter, a housecleaner, and a box office ticket taker for a local theater. In college I waitressed at Denny’s to earn tuition money. When I spent a year abroad, I earned my keep as an English language teacher in Chile.
After college, I held jobs as a union organizer, a freelance writer, and a media specialist for a health care reform campaign. When the campaign ran out of money, I joined the fundraising team. Eventually I went to grad school, became a journalist, soon became disenchanted with the state of journalism . . . and decided to remake myself as an Internet professional, a field where lasting six months at a job makes you one of the old-timers.
According to my most recent count, I’ve had more than 25 jobs in all. As you can imagine, having all these jobs means I’ve also had a lot of bosses, good and bad.
There was the owner of the pub where I worked as a cocktail waitress, who shamed me in front of the cooks about my wine-pouring technique (or lack thereof). There was the marketing guy who bought me my very own fax machine (this was cutting edge technology in 1991) so I could work for him as a copywriter from my dorm room in college. (This seemed like a magnanimous gesture to me at the time, but now I see it was a way to hang on to cheap labor.)
There was the guy who ran the video production house in San Francisco where I thought I was being hired to work on industrial shoots and learn to operate a Betacam, but instead spent most of my working hours dubbing porn (making VHS copies) for customers. There was the startup founder at my first Internet job who hired a masseuse to rub our sore shoulders because we were exhausted from working 12-hour days.
And there was the boss I wrote about in Maxed Out who, despite our occasional differences, was a true mentor. She gave me some wonderful professional opportunities and encouraged me to try new things, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
But all those different managers just make me appreciate the boss I have today. She encourages me to work on projects I care about, and she gives me all the flexibility I need to have a family, a life, and a career. She’s the best boss I’ve ever had. I wish everyone could have a boss like her.
Read all about her in my column, published today on MarketWatch: 7 Reasons I Love My Boss.