My friend Mark Christian asked on Facebook yesterday for people to list their first seven jobs. I enjoyed reading the answers so much I posted the same question. The idea has compelled me to say more than simply listing the jobs, so here are the jobs I held (not just the first seven).
- Mowing lawns--I had been mowing our lawn since learning how to use the riding lawn mower in 2nd grade. My dad bought me a new push lawnmower for my birthday when I was in 4th grade. That year I began mowing lawns for my grandparents at their house and their rental properties. I would ride my bike to their house and back. That summer I also worked for my grandparents when they were remodeling their lake home. This job included mudding and taping, painting, and other tasks.
- Library clerk--My first job outside the family was working at the Miami Public Library when I was 15. I worked at the front desk and restocked books. I also learned how to repair bindings. This was also the only time I've been fired (at 15); and I'm still not sure why.
- Painter--When I was in high school my summer job was painting dorms at the local college. This was when I learned my disciplined and precise painting skills.
- Dishwasher--My freshman year at Oklahoma Baptist University I needed a job for spending money and the only thing left I could find was working in the dishroom. Washing college student dishes is not a pretty task. We also cleaned the cafeteria tables and mopped the kitchen.
- Pizza delivery--The summer after my freshman year I was a pizza delivery boy for Pizza Hut and really enjoyed that job. Tips were okay, it was fun driving around listening to the radio, and the best part was when kids would get all excited when you arrived with the pizza. My favourite story was the one time two boys, clearly home alone, had ordered a pizza and paid for it by handing me a mason jar full of change. And they had the exact amount included.
- Philosophy department grader and tutor--My sophomore through senior years at college I worked for Professor Don Wester grading quizzes and exams and also tutoring all Intro to Philosophy students with a weekly session that reviewed the material in the class, which was when I first began learning how to teach philosophy.
- Odd jobs--For a summer job in 1994 and 1995 I worked for Ed Walker, a member of my home town church, running errands and doing all sorts of odd jobs from painting his wrought iron fence to delivering appliances for his son's business.
- Graduate assistant--In grad school from 1996-2001 I was a graduate assistant, first grading for professors and later teaching my own classes. My final year I was a research assistant for the Current Bibliography of the History of Science.
- Camp counselor--As a summer job from 1997-1999 I worked as a YMCA day camp counselor and ultimately directed the program for 1st-2nd graders.
- Minister-- I began working as a full-time Associate Pastor in 2001 and Senior Pastor in 2005. I've served Rolling Hills Baptist in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Royal Lane Baptist in Dallas, Cathedral of Hope in Oklahoma City (and originally also the founding church in Dallas), and First Central here in Omaha.
- Columnist--In 2005 I began writing a column for the on-line, Oklahoma City-based, LGBT newspaper Hard News Online and in 2008 changed and began writing for The Oklahoma Gazette until we moved in 2010. Maybe what I miss the most about living and working in Oklahoma City was my Gazette column and getting to contribute to the larger social debate on a variety of issues.
- Lecturer--Since 2014 I've been a lecturer in the philosophy Department at Creighton University. This semester I'm teaching a course entitled Philosophical Ideas: The Foundations of Science.
So, what, in particular, were your early jobs?