In A.A. you frequently hear people refer to someone as “doing a geographic.” A person who does a geographic is one who refuses to accept that drinking is the cause of their problems and believe life will get better if they move somewhere new and get a fresh start. I’ve also seen this take place among people with mental illness – primarily bipolar disorder. Being an alcoholic and a person with bipolar, I had a double whammy. Just as I would move away for greener pastures, I also found I myself doing a geographic by switching jobs for a better life. Some were logical, some were not. Here, in chronological order, are the 28 jobs I’ve held in my 52 years on this planet:
My first job ever was as a (1) paperboy.
My second job was also as a (2) paperboy
In high school a buddy and I started our own (3) cleaning service. We only had one client and were out of business in 3 months.
People on the west coast were never able to enjoy the experience of having a (4) Charles Chip man bring fresh and delicious potato chips to their door. My friends called me Chuck Chips.
I drove all over the city in my truck. Customers would leave their large empty cans with money on the front stoop and I’d replace their empties with fresh full ones. It was like the milkman, only tastier. I was still in high school when I started the job and would drive my truck to school so I could begin my deliveries immediately afterwards. It was not uncommon for me to be called from classes to the front office, only to find a teacher, or the principal waiting for me with cash in their hand. They needed their chips fix as soon as possible.
(5) Managed a Baskin Robbins
(6) A Sales Clerk at a Hallmark store
Marriott hired me as a (7) bellman and it was an excellent job for someone in college. It can be an extremely lazy job that earns high tips. This is especially true if you could be a little shady…maybe more than a little. One of my regular tippers was a beautiful high end prostitute who would hang out in the hotel bar. She tipped me handsomely on a regular basis even though I never referred anyone to her. Little did she know that when customers asked where to get a prostitute, that I would suggest a bar at the Ramada Inn. The bar there was pretty nasty, but no one ever complained to me because they couldn’t get laid.
Based on classes I took, I had to occasionally switch positions to accommodate my hours. In addition to being a bell man I worked:
(8) Front desk clerk
(10) Reservation agent
(11) Dry cleaner pick-up and delivery driver.
(12) Sears distribution center
(13) Boxer at Colgate Palmolive plant
After 15 years in North Carolina, it was time to leave the state. I wanted to stay with Marriott, but no longer work in a hotel. There were only 2 good options. Either our corporate office near Washington DC or Marriott’s Worldwide Reservation Center in Nebraska. I couldn’t afford Washington so it was “Hello!” to the Cornhusker state where I started as a (14) reservation sales agent.
(15) On the Job Trainer
(16) Phone order taker for products advertised on TV
After two years in Nebraska, I went on vacation to Arizona in January. One morning I climbed out of the pool and walked through the living room as there was a special alert on TV about a blizzard in Nebraska, I said out loud that I was moving there within 6 months. And I did. There was a reservation center for all the Marriott’s in the area and I accepted the positon as a (16) reservation agent, taking the gamble that promotion opportunities would come along:
(17) Reservations Supervisor
(18) Area Reservations Manager
(19) Sold water filtration systems
(20) Sold pre-burial plan
I loved Arizona and planned to be there the rest of my life. However, an opportunity came up in Las Vegas that was too good to turn down.
Marriott planned major expansion throughout Las Vegas, so I was hired as the (22) Director of Reservation Sales and quickly moved there to oversee the construction of a new reservation center and run it. My Vice President highly suggested I go to Vegas first to check it out. I told her that I was moving from one desert to another and I didn’t think there’d be much difference. Boy, was I wrong,
Two years later, Marriott cancelled their plans to expand there, so we shut the office down.
Central Valley California
I hated Las Vegas, but it had its good side. This was not true of Stockton, California. Having lived all over the country, I never lived anywhere that did not have some redeeming qualities, until I moved to Stockton. The only thing good I can say is that it’s only 80 miles from San Francisco.
I was promoted to (23) Area Director of Reservation Sales for a much larger area. Our center had 250 employees and my territory ran from Monterey, California to Anchorage, Alaska.
I finally had the big desk, in the big office, with the big window and I hated every minute of it. It was time, I believed, to get out of the hotel industry.
I left Marriott to get out of the hotel industry and fell right back in again. A hotel franchise company in Socal owned Best Westerns, Marriotts, Quality Inns, Hyatts, and more. The owners caught wind that I wanted to leave Marriott and recruited me. I don’t remember my title, but I was a (24) manager who did database administration, some programming, human resources, quality control, computer training, sales training, and more. Wow. Looking at that list, I can’t for the life of me remember why my manager had to do.
Sadly, this is where my drinking got out of control. I was a lush in Stockton, but it got much worse when I moved south. It affected my performance and then September 11th occurred and the hotel industry tanked. No one was traveling. Waves of layoffs started happening and my boss fought like hell to keep me, despite my worsening performance. Not long after I was laid off with a healthy severance package. That money was quickly spent. Penniless and barely able to function I wound up homeless.
I don’t know the details of what went on, but on December 8, 2003, I got sober. Things in my life worsened before they got better, but eventual I got my first sober job, working at (25) Trader Joe’s. Employees there do pretty much everything, so we all were cashiers, baggers, stockers, etc.
It was after leaving Trader Joe’s and I (26) Managed a coffee shop when all hell broke loose. I had always had times of mania and depression, but it reached the point I could no longer function. I was having seizures too. I ended up on disability and have been on it ever since. That was over ten years ago.
I did work a short stint as our church’s (27) office assistant while they found a permanent employee.
Today, I am a (28) writer. It took 40 years of work to figure it out, but I’m exactly where I need to be.