Take This Job and Shove It

It’s not too uncommon for those with bipolar disorder to hold down many jobs. At least that’s true for me. I’d be the best employee on earth one week and the worst the next week. I’d bust my ass to be the best employee I can be (and usually was), but suddenly would get a bug up my butt and find a new job.

In addition to my bipolar disorder, I also am an alcoholic. Alcoholics are notorious for dealing with jobs the same way. They typically are great employees as long as they make it to work. I was able to balance that pretty well until I started putting white stuff up my nose. As a database administrator, it’s a little hard to concentrate on programming when crystal meth is swirling in your brain. Most of my working career was working in the hotel industry (16 years), but even there I held numberous jobs. Here’s my list of jobs, plus comments on each:

In the hotel industry:

  • Bellman (Great job. Have to be a scam artist and it’s fun)
  • Front Desk Clerk (Fun employees. Guests are a nightmare)
  • PBX Switchboard Operator (Dull but was good third shift job to earn extra income. Never had to do anything but listen to late night talk radio and get paid for it)
  • Reservation Agent (This became my calling for many years)
  • Worldwide Reservation Agent (More different than in hotel reservation agent than you’d think and a continuation of working in reservations)
  • Area Director of Reservation Sales (This became my career. My territory was Monterey CA to Anchorage AK)

Other jobs I’ve held:

  • Newspaper Boy (I was terrible. No one got their paper on time)
  • Charles Chip Potato Chip Delivery Man (Door to door potato chip sales. What a concept)
  • Manager Baskin Robbins (Gained too much weight)
  • AAA Motor Club Salesman (Hard to make a good living selling $35 club memberships)
  • Hallmark Gift Shop Clerk (Started as a favor to a friend and wound up staying awhile. A grown man working in a gift shop – am I gay or what?)
  • Laundry Pick Up/Delivery (Worked around 3rd shift PBX job. Shouldn’t be driving as tired as I was. Other drivers should be grateful they’re still alive)
  • Grounds Crew for Public Housing (City benefits and good pay)
  • Cleaning Printing Presses (Dirtiest job I’ve ever held. Climbing inside and scraping ink. Gay men don’t like dirt under their fingernails.)
  • Baker (Again, gained too much weight making donuts)
  • Packager for Sears Distribution Center (Not a bad job even though I don’t like Sears)
  • Order Taker for Junk They Sell on TV (Pure misery)
  • Gallup Pollster (One of the worst companies I ever worked for)
  • Water Purifier Salesman (Had to be a total crook. I wasn’t good at that)
  • Waiter (Not a bad job, but I was the worst waiter on earth unless you like your steak cold)
  • Database Administrator (Great job, but this is when drug abuse was in full swing. Company was nice enough to lay me off rather than fire me)
  • Grocery Store Checker/Stocker (My first job after getting sober)
  • Coffee shop manager (Good job, but hated working for a racist/homophobic/sexist company – No, it wasn’t Starbucks but one of their 3 main competitors)
  • Church Office Clerk (Great job, should have kept it. Low pay but fun)
  • Web Designer (Career I began until bipolar went full swing. Consider it my current career even though I’m not working) I love it and hope it’s the one I retire on.

Looking back and at my list, it’s obvious to me now why I’ve been perceived as more than a little flaky. Can you imagine trying to put together a good resume with that background? Let’s just say I have to fudge a bit here and there.

17 comments on Take This Job and Shove It

  1. That is a long list…lol You know I really think that having my own business helped hid my disorder. I too held a number of jobs but quit or got let go… the funniest time was down here when I took on a job, sent one whole day training for it and the next day i started and i quit by lunch time…lolWorking for my-self, I could not get fired… If I’m down i don’t work and when I’m up I do tons of work… not the best plan, but it has helped me a somewhat… :)chatoChato

  2. Wow, your list reminds me of my list. The only thing I’ve found it good for is amazing people by so often being able to say, “Oh I did that for while and…” They either thing you’re superman/woman or nuts. Didn’t realize that was common in bipolar disorder though. Well, well. No wonder.

  3. @chato That’s why I’m trying to get my own business started. Based on my past I can’t imagine working for someone else again. Keeping fingers crossed.@immi I don’t think having so many jobs is as common for those with bipolar as those who are alcoholics, but it’s not at all uncommon either. At least from my experience in support groups.

  4. Wow!! It seems like you really had a rough time of it, but are doing better now. Some of them are funny. Too many food ones…I could never do food. I love the Hallmark one!!! Thank you for sharing this list. It is an eye opener for those who don’t really understand how much bipolar effects employment.

  5. @clueless I hate working in the food industry. I don’t know how I wound up working in the industry so much.@ mama bear I’m glad to hear your dad is sober. What a wonderful thing. I hope your mom is able to find balance. My thoughts and prayers are with her.@alan I’m doing fine. My goal is to have my own web design business so I don’t have to worry about a resume again.

  6. Looks like my husband’s work history. He’s got very severe ADHD and can’t keep a job because of it (even medicated). I’ve helped him doctor his resume countless times, even pretending to be a job reference from time to time.

  7. @jenny I’ve also had to doctor many resumes. You wont believe how many times I’ve had to take sabbaticals to care for sick parents or had my own business. LOLFortunately, many companies just don’t have the time to validate resume’s, even though they say they do. (coming from my HR experience, which I failed to include on the list). @stephany Maurice is always amazed when we’ll be chatting and I’ll mention some job I’ve had. The list seems endless. Can’t included cartoon…that’s always been just a hobby, for now at least.

  8. This is a really interesting list. I was once a paper girl and lost money because I wasn’t assertive enough to collect from people who didn’t want to pay me. I also worked in a couple of bakeries. The library jobs I had were good for me when I was depressed, I could hide away from the world. Then I worked in the special education realm and the children and adults were never an issue for me but dealing with co-workers always was. Now I am a stay at home mom…homeschooling my son who has autism and doing some freelance writing on the side. I am fortunate to be in this place right now. I feel…dare I say it…happy.

  9. Wow, that’s one heck of an interesting list. Experience though, right ? Anyway, wishing you lotsa good luck on starting the business…

  10. Though you no longer accept being tagged for awards, I did it anyway! Just know that I consider you and your blog an inspiration, and thanks for always supporting me.Stephany 🙂

  11. Heehee Well, you’re clearly a man of many talents! That’s for sure. I’ve done a pretty crazy variety of different things, too. Mostly because I get bored really easily. And hey, at least you can say you’ve led an interesting life!

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