You couldn’t have predicted that.

You know the old saying, “You don’t know where you’re going, unless you know where you’ve been”? I’ve concluded whoever came up with that phrase must have been drunk, or high, or drunk and high. If you look at my career progression, I don’t think anyone would have guessed I’d be where I am today. I sure as heck didn’t plan on being here.

Here’s a sequential rundown of my positions (from high school to present)…

  1. Assembled x-ray machine equipment in a factory
  2. Worked for my college campus’ student activities dept
  3. Kitchen cook at summer camp
  4. Director of student activities for college campus
  5. Ropes/outdoor activities guide at summer camp
  6. Jansport sticker-er (put price stickers on backpacks for 8 hours)
  7. Pac-sun retail
  8. Building manager for college campus building
  9. Background “extra” for various television shows
  10. Psychiatric technician
  11. Special Agent

Seeing that my first 10 positions are in no way related to my current job, I don’t think anyone would have predicted I’d be a Special Agent. Maybe the “You don’t know where you’re going….” phrase holds true for some people, but I’d be willing to bet the majority of us have pretty diverse career paths.

Let’s see how accurate this statement is, shall we? Take a second to drop a comment with your job progression. Reflecting on your career path would you say you could have predicted you’d be where you are today? I’ve had 11 jobs since high school, how many have you had?

p.s. It’s Girl Ninja’s Twenty-SEXY-Sixth birthday today. Love that girl to pieces…

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at Apr 17, 2013, 10.37.33 PM

24 thoughts on “You couldn’t have predicted that.

  1. Happy Birthday Girl Ninja. I could probably see my progression. I worked in retail, then I entered ecommerce, and now I work helping retail customers get into ecommerce. That one is an easy progression.

  2. Happy birthday to Girl Ninja!

    Cashier, hostestt, waitress, office assistant/slave in study abroad office (work study), clothes folder (retail at the mall), teaching assistant for a lab, undergrad research assistant… engineering intern, software engineer, systems engineer.

    There is something of a progression, minus the first several high school / college jobs, which are your typical hodge podge. The best college job I had was waitressing – hard, but it paid well and worked pretty well with my schedule.

  3. Lets see:
    1. Barista
    2. Bakery janitor/assistant
    3. Assemble circuit boards on an assembly line
    4. HVAC assistant
    5. Software QA
    6. Physics TA
    7. HVAC assistant
    8. Software QA
    9. Software QA
    10. Software Developer

  4. I can definitely see a progression in mine, mixed in with random odd jobs so I could pay the bills!
    Sacker at a grocery store, intern/copyeditor at a local newspaper, department store phone operator, copyeditor at college newspaper, waitress, page designer at college newspaper, sandwich delivery person, multimedia company intern, copywriter for ad agency, marketing specialist, freelance copywriter, currently running my own freelance writing/design business.

    Happy birthday Girl Ninja!

  5. Happy Birthday GN!

    No progression here – I’ve been:
    1. Avon delivery (dropped off orders for the Avon Lady who was elderly and had a hard time walking)
    2. Construction Company office manager
    3. Apartment complex office staff
    4. Real Estate developer accounts payable dept.
    5. Design College receptionist
    6. Body Armor company office manager
    7. Temp
    8. Paralegal
    9. Church secretary
    10. Stay at home mom
    11. Preschool teacher
    12. Homeschool mom & rental property manager

  6. Oh this will be fun!

    1. Pizza maker
    2. Deli sandwich maker
    3. Server
    4. Gopher & Key organizer at law school (yeah really)
    5. Pizza delivery driver
    6. Cashier at family restaurant
    7. Notary signing agent at mortgage closings
    8. Server at seafood restaurant
    9. Telemarketer (for 1.5 days)
    10. Dog walker at vet’s office
    11. Dog bather and groomer
    12. Pizza delivery driver (again)
    13. Seafood restaurant hostess then server
    14. Pizza delivery driver (again)
    15. Notary signing agent at mortgage closings (again)
    16. Intern at tax consulting firm
    17. Tax Advisor at tax consulting firm
    18. By day Senior Tax Analyst at global Fortune 50 company and by night CFO at real estate investment company

    I’m definitely a long way from slapping out pizza dough and expressing anal glands these days!

  7. Happy Birthday!
    I have been:
    Door to door salesman
    Mail clerk
    Ceramic sprayer
    Camp handyman
    Management trainee
    Sales engineer
    Regional Accounting manager
    Accounting supervisor
    Sr. Financial analyst
    Controller
    Vice president of Finance
    Chief financial officer
    Business owner
    Financial consultant
    Teacher
    All of my experience has helped me in every career.

  8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GN!!

    Every single one of the jobs I’ve had since high school (almost 30 years ago) have involved Customer Service in some form of capacity:
    Waitress
    Hostess
    Customer Service Rep (Order Desk)
    Customer Service Rep (Order Desk)
    A/P & A/R Clerk
    Retail Cosmetic Sales
    Senior Customer Service Rep (Order Desk)

    Sensing a trend? 😉 I’ve probably had a dozen or so jobs since my High School days, most of which were in the same Administrative fields.

  9. Chuck E Cheese (yes, I was the mouse)
    Barista
    Bookseller
    Retail Sports Equipement Sales
    Pool Boy
    Assistant Youth Director for a church
    Special Agent (just like Ninja)

  10. 1. Delivered fliers
    2. Delivered newspapers
    3. Cleaner at a mall
    4. Pizza Hut (cross trained to the max)
    5. Built wooden calendars for the summer
    6. Some landscaping
    7. Dishwasher
    8. Golf – mens locker room attendent
    9. Ice maintence (curling)
    10. NT Administrator
    11. Consultant in specialized financial software
    12 IT Administrator
    13 Project manager / BA / admin / developer? (current)

  11. Waitress – Jerry’s restaurant
    Waitress – Bonanza
    Temp at a factory making motors for appliances
    Salad bar prep – Pondorosa
    Vacuum cleaner sales door to door
    part timer at London Fog at an outlet mall
    2nd assistant manager retail store at outlet mall
    factory worker at magazine bindery (three weeks! HA)
    Part time cashier at Lowe’s
    Full time cashier at Lowe’s
    Customer Service associate at Lowe’s
    Auditor at Lowe’s
    Accounts Receivable manager for a manufacturing company
    Cashier supervisor at a bookstore
    Accounting manager at bookstore
    Assistant Director at bookstore

    So yes, I’d say that the progression was at least a bit obvious. Many of those previous positions equipped me for the work I do now.

  12. Happy Birthday GN! Hope Ninja is treating you like a queen (even more than usual!)

    My job history didn’t reflect my career until much later on, since I am in a regulated profession (meaning you can’t work in my occupation without being registered with a regulatory body with requirements for education, training etc.) But here goes…

    1. Babysitter (age 11-19)
    2. Piano teacher (age 13-19)
    3. Office temp (summers of high school and university)
    3. Cashier (at various retail stores) (during undergrad)
    4. Cell phone salesperson (during undergrad)
    5. Employment Counselor (summer co-op)
    6. Research Assistant at a non-profit (summer co-op)
    7. Teaching Assistant (undergrad and grad school)
    8. Research Assistant at a health agency (grad school)
    9. Telemarketer (ya gotta do what ya gotta do to keep those student loans down during grad school)
    10. Psychometrist (grad school)
    11. Resident at a hospital (final training year-we finally got paid, pittance, but something at least)
    12. Psychologist (current job)

  13. Happy Birthday Girl Ninja! (I am loving your column, by the way.)
    The job progression looks weird — but honestly, I think every job has helped, in its way.

    Writer — since I could scribble on paper. I can’t remember not being able to read — or write. (Mom says I was doing both regularly by age 3.)

    1. Babysitter.
    2. Clerk at a hardware store (all through high school, as well as college breaks and summers).
    3. College: scrubbed toilets and cleaned at a church, secretary for a CPA, clerk at a pick-your-own apple stand, house cleaner, waitress, cafeteria worker (in the ‘pit,’ washing dishes, Sunday morning food – ever cracked 5 or 6 dozen eggs in a row? – and making ice cream), tutor for college students. I also taught a college course (Children’s Literature, ENG291) and managed a Children’s Book Fair. Rock climbing and backpacking instructor. And one memorable summer, helped smuggle Bibles into Communist countries!
    4. Grad school: live-in housekeeper and babysitter (for room and board), class assistant, eggroll-maker at a Chinese restaurant.
    5. Post-marriage (getting Husband through college): Office manager for a Reformed church, marketing/writing/administrative asst. work for a merchandise wholesaler
    6. Assistant to the Publisher at a major newspaper; began actively freelancing, as well.
    7. Stayed home to raise two babies, while continuing to freelance. Did some catering, stitched quilts for people, etc.
    8. Editor at major quilting magazine. Started teaching and lecturing about quilting, as well.
    9. Started my own business (Brickworks), teaching, lecturing and writing. Became a certified appraiser. Started judging competitions. Restored and consulted on quilts and textiles. (Still doing all of these jobs, by the way.)
    10. Picked up jobs here and there, as business grew. (Husband was out of work some during the beginning, as well, and we needed the extra income.) Worked at Wal-Mart in their Radio Grill (later became a cashier), taught piano and voice, edited books for others and wrote some (6-plus) of my own, continued to freelance. Catered now and then.
    11. Writing increasingly on a wide range of subjects, instead of just quilting and crafts. Regular gigs writing for other bloggers, as well as my own blog.
    12. Personal property appraising.
    13. And the newest job: raising chickens and selling eggs!

    That was kind of fun!

  14. Happy birthday to girl ninja!

    My career progression isn’t too lengthy, and most of them are related to another job I’ve had at one point in time:
    1. table busser (cleard tables after people ate in the restaurant)
    2. cashier/host
    3. retail at build-a-bear
    4. cashier at habitat for humanity restore
    5. choreographer/extra help in a “let’s perform a short musical” class.
    6. direct support staff for individuals with disabilities.
    7. IT assistant.

    I guess maybe I have had more jobs than I thought!

  15. My list will be short!

    Healthcare aide while in nursing school.
    Registered Nurse – Job #1 for 10 months on medical floor, Job #2 for the last 26 yrs in ICU.

    I have basically ALWAYS worked in my chosen profession, from age 18 to today at age 46.

  16. Babysitter
    Waitress/hostess
    Waitress/bartender
    Floor worker/cashier at Target
    Telemarketer
    Waitress/bartender
    Park & Rec worker
    Substitute teacher
    English teacher
    Media Specialist

    Most of the flow made sense…….at the time. Working in customer service industries helped me a lot when it came to dealing with ridiculous parents when I was teaching…..and now my customer service is for the teachers & students. I miss the tips.

  17. receptionist
    administrative assistant
    research assistant
    legislative assistant
    associate counsel
    senior advisor
    head of acquisition
    vp procurement
    general counsel
    senior counsel

  18. hmm

    elementary school/highschool years:
    1) delivered fliers
    2) picked raspberries
    3) babysitting
    4) short order cook/cashier in a cafeteria-style restaurant
    5) worked in the receiving area of a department store
    summers/coop in college:
    6) Customs/Border inspector
    7) Licensing officer for the transport of hazardous waste
    8) Collections officer for Revenue Canada
    9) Admin assistant for Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Small Craft Harbours division
    after college:
    10)Clerk working for Employment Insurance office (I lasted 3 weeks before I quit – there’s a whole story there!)
    11)Clerk working for the Crown Prosecutor’s office generating subpoenas and delivering them to the cop shop to be served
    12) Collections Officer for Revenue Canada
    back to school!
    13)Software developer/DBA/project manager/consultant/operations manager/IT person for a small software company for the past 13 years.

  19. There is absolutely no way I would have envisioned 10 years ago that I would be where I am today. 10 years ago I was certain I would be a hotel manager. I didn’t even know there was more than one insurance company in this country… I’m now 8 years into a career in insurance which I adore! Here goes…

    Waitress
    Cashier at a major hardware chain
    Supervisor at major hardware chain
    Property management assistant
    Pizza delivery driver
    Call centre operator for taxi company
    Call centre operator for insurance company
    Assistant underwriter for insurance company
    Underwriter for insurance company
    Insurance broker
    Senior underwriter for insurance company

  20. Happy birthday to her! I’ve had quite a few jobs, but most of them were in retail before I started on my career path. All of my jobs in my professional life (during/after college) have been in the same field as my current job, and the same one I graduated in. I’m hoping my career will still progress, I just don’t know in which direction.

  21. Happy birthday, Girl Ninja!

    Let’s see the jobs I have been through:

    1. Dog walker
    2. Part-time babysitter
    3. Receptionist at a laundry shop
    4. Service crew in a fast food chain
    5. Student assistant in our university
    6. Tutor for high school students
    7. Avon dealer
    8. Technical Support Representative for a cable internet company
    9. Sales Representative for a voice over internet company
    10. Customer Service Representative for an in-house credit card
    11. Technical instructor in a community college
    12. Quality Engineer for a cellphone manufacturing company
    13. Research engineer for a computer hardware company
    14. Freelance Writer/blogger
    15. Soon-to-be rental property owner.. and I hope I stop here! LOL.

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