Odd Jobs

Friday night I was having dinner with some friends at the Bedford Springs Resort and Spa…I was there for a Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts Board meeting.  Anyway, during dinner one of my friends turned to me and said, “What was the most unusual/unique non-teaching job you have ever had.

I had to stop and think for a moment; then it came to me.  I hadn’t thought about this for years.  The year between high school graduation and my first year at Penn State I worked as a “Bundle Boy” in a local dress factory.

This factory was unique in that it occupied the basement, second and third floors of the building in which it was housed.  The first floor was a food store…yeah, it was strange.

My job was to help get bundles of cut dress pieces up to the sewing floor – third floor.  I had to check to make sure that each bundle contained pieces of the same size.  After all, it wouldn’t do to have a size 16 sleeve thrown in with a size 20 yoke.  The job required constant movement.  Pieces had to be brought up from the basement.  Partially sewn dresses were to be taken from one section where sleeves were attached to another section where the skirt was added to the garment.  The completed dresses were then taken down to the second floor where they would be pressed and prepared for shipping.

Since it was piece work in the factory, ladies were paid by the amount of pieces they got out in a day, you can imagine the constant hustle that was taking place.

I also sometimes helped spread the fabric.  There were long tables in the basement.  Rolls of fabric were attached to machines.  We had to walk this back and forth making a fabric pile several inch deep.  At night the “cutters” would come in and lay patterns on the fabric, and then cut the pieces.  The next morning we would take those cut pieces and sort them by size to get them ready for the ladies upstairs.

As I said earlier, I hadn’t thought of this for years.  It is amazing how a simple question can trigger a memory.  So I ask you, “What was the most unusual/unique non-teaching job you ever had?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Odd Jobs

  1. That is an interesting job. I hope you had an elevator to get between floors. I worked in a booth in our mall that engraved metal. I did lots of charms, platters, pitchers, and frames. We also made keys, it was called Can Do, now it’s Things Remembered.

  2. Fascinating to read now. Was it fascinating for you then? Strangely I had only summer jobs before I started working as a teacher. I fondly remember being a mailman(girl) in a countryside one summer, and working in a gardening school another summer.

  3. Wow…my mother would have enjoyed reading about your job. She liked to design her own clothes and would have appreciated your part in dress making. As for me…I had a similar job as elsie….but I also had a job for just a couple of weeks for the advertising agency where my mother was media director. They needed someone to listen to the radio. I thought that sounded great…but after two weeks was glad it was not a permanent job. I had to listen for certain commercials, write down the times, and chart it all. There was a dispute on if the radio station was airing the right commercials at the right time…for the proper length of time. My little tape recorder helped a little…but I know that today it would be so simple. Wow…you did spark a memory!

  4. What an interesting job. Also, thanks for the idea for a future blog. It is so interesting to hear about various jobs!

  5. I can only imagine how tiring that job would have been – even for a young person! It is hard to believe that garments were made like that. I can’t say that I had any unusual jobs – babysitter, papergirl, and McDonald’s. But I did work from a very early age and I think that is what gave me my work ethic today!

  6. Judy C.

    How interesting, but I’m sure as when you were working it, it was very tiring (and probably didn’t pay well). I lived in a small town when growing up and my jobs consisted mainly of babysitting and typing, filing for a small business owner.

  7. What an interesting job! Great idea for a post. I worked as an usherette at Kings Island, as an assistant to a veterinarian, a director of activities at a state park, a waitress, and an assistant at Miami U.’s admission office. I’m sure there are a few more thrown in here and there. Fun to think about!

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