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Friday, February 17, 2023

My Favorite Job

TGIF!  I hope you had a good week.  All is well here, with the exception of the temps being a wee bit chillier than I would have liked.

I took Miss Debbie out for a belated birthday lunch to Il Bracco.  The food and service were exemplary.  We ordered an Olive Oil Sundae, my favorite dessert in the world.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting it up with a friend when we landed on the subject of our favorite jobs.  We traded war stories with plenty of giggles in between.  She thought that my story warranted a blog post, so here goes. 

One Summer, a friend and I worked in a massive vault in the basement of the Judge of Probate office filing wills.  We would go hours without seeing daylight.  This was difficult because we spent most of our waking hours slathered in baby oil while baking in the sunshine.

We may have misfiled a few wills and codicils, but we sure had a lot of laughs. 

Another Summer, my father got me a job packing Bic Bananas.  He wanted to teach me the value of a good education.  My coworkers consisted of about a dozen women in their fifties dressed in colorful smocks.  We would sit in chairs surrounded by large boxes filled with individually colored pens.  It was like a sewing circle for pens. Our mission was to pack the pens in the yellow pouch.

That Summer, I would fall asleep at night repeating my mantra of the day... red, yellow, orange, green... I even dreamed of our irritating boss dressed up as a Bic Banana. 

The ladies were very kind to me.  They would throw pieces of advice and words of wisdom my way.  My favorite was from Angela.


If you don't want to spend your life on your knees cleaning the bathroom floor, don't marry a hairy man.  

The ladies would eventually forget I was there, which was when the party got started.  I loved hearing these ladies candidly chat about their families, marriages, sex life, and menopause, or as they called it, the change.  Whenever they would talk about a sensitive subject, such as cancer or divorce, they would never say the word out loud.  They would mouth the word a few times around the circle for everyone to see. 


I think my father expected me to come to him in a Hallmark moment at the end of the Summer and tell him that I learned a valuable lesson.  I learned a lot of lessons that Summer, none of which included the importance of a good education.


Through my coworkers' conversations, I learned the value of female friendships, the power of unconditional mother love, marriage is not for sissies, and the secret ingredient that makes any chocolate dessert taste better (coffee).  


Years later, after graduating from college, I attended the Katherine Gibbs Entre program, which was a 6-month course geared toward the college graduate with absolutely no skills.  That was me in a nutshell.  

I graduated from Gibbs with less-than-average typing skills.  I was a crackerjack at steno, provided the person who was dictating spoke verrrrrry slowly and stuck to two-syllable words or less.

I took my razor-sharp skills to NYC. 

 I was ready to turn the world on with my smile.


I signed up at an employment agency, and they kept me busy running around all over NYC interviewing.  The only interview I remember took place at a large publishing house on Broadway.  The interviewer was a VP and was in his early forties.  He greeted me with a nod and asked me to sit down. 

The first words out of his mouth were:  

Tell me a dirty joke.

I froze.

Needless to say, the interview continued on a downward spiral, and I practically ran out of the creep's office.  I reported what happened to my employment counselor, and she red-flagged him.

A few weeks later, I was working as an admin for a subsidiary of a big advertising firm on 60th and Madison.  I made very little money and had over an hour commute each way to Connecticut.  I loved riding the train to work and grabbing a seat in the smoky bar car on the way home. 

Every evening I was welcomed home by my parents with the same greeting:  you smell like a brewery. I took that as a compliment.


I loved my job.  The best part?  I had a TV on my desk.  The advertising firm bought ad space for their clients.  Or at least I think that's what they did.  When one of the clients had an ad running during All My Children, I had to verify that it was shown. 

So when I wasn't misfiling or typing at my desk, I was over at one of the studios watching a preview episode of a TV show.  If there was a "questionable" scene, such as an animal or person being abused, or a sex scene, I would write up a report for my boss, who would pass on buying the ad space for that particular episode.

During those glorious days, I was privy to the next stunt Alexis would pull to keep Blake and Krystle apart on Dynasty.  I was in the know as to the next scheme JR was planning on Dallas.  Btw... no one was allowed to screen the most famous episode, Who shot Jr?

My most vivid memory of my dream job occurred on 7/29/81.  Let's just put it this way... not a lot of typing or misfiling was done on that day.  My buddies were green with envy, knowing that I was soaking in every moment of the royal wedding. 

I worked two fun-filled years on 60th and Madison.  

I left to seek fame and fortune in Chicago.

Spoiler alert:  

I never found it, but I had an awful lot of fun looking for it!

Now it's your turn.

What was your favorite job?

Secret Service Detail

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Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. My favorite job was during college in the summers working in the ticket office for ferry company that travels between Cape Cod and Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard. I worked with girls who attended high school with me. This was pre-computers/internet, so tickets were so in-person. Selling tickets before each departure was very busy, but then we just hung out and talked between boats. It was fun talking with tourists and answering their (sometimes crazy/absurd) questions. Best of all, I was set up by a coworker to go on a blind date with her old brother. Things worked out and we’ve been happily married for almost 28 years. -Niki

  2. You are the ultimate cutest and this had me smiling for the entire time! True story for 18 years I ran the communications department for our local hospital and had a TV in my office for you know, communication things, lol in case there would be a serious event, lol. Well, the day that one life to live went off the air I was so distracted in my actual job that the day all my children was ending I took the day off, lol! Best decision I ever made besides resigning and retiring early from that job, lol!

  3. This is such a hoot. One of my favorite jobs was working in the Athletic Ticket Office during college at Univ of Texas. Great football seats and lots of fun working there! Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Well, that was fun! I was smiling the entire time!

  5. What an enjoyable read!! Thank you for sharing this part of your past with us!
    Is Chicago where you met the Mister? Or was it stealing a gaze from afar while you walked the runways in Milan, where you met the Mister?
    Inquiring minds wish to know. : )
    -m in HI

  6. Passing thru quickly, catching up here and there. Enjoying my friends and hope to do a post on Monday. Loved your stories, Katie, about your early career starts!! (wink) xo

  7. How fun! I have a draft post of my first job but my n cr job was at the hospital my dad worked at. I was in medical records.I had to flag all the ( paper) charts the docs needed to sign. Similar memories with the women in this departments. I worked there every summer in college! my brother was an orderly and he had the best stories when he worked on the psych floor. Of course i got to r ead those charts ( you know checking for missed signatures).

  8. What a cool post! So different and very enjoyable. Now I will think of all the cocktails I slung, the bottles of wine I opened and the chefs I should not have slept with! When I broke my shoulder I taught myself to open wine with one hand and used my feet! (I only used this technique at home, though).

  9. What a fantastic post! As I'd said earlier today before I even read your post, one should have a fun singlehood before settling down in married life. You did & I'm pretty certain if memory serves, I did too! 😆 If I hadn't moved to Washington, I'd have loved to work in NYC.
    Ok, now my question to you: WHAT is an olive oil sundae??

  10. Love this fun post Katie. I love the bic banana story! Sounds like you had an interesting batch of co-workers.
    As for watching tv for work, sounds like a wonderful time too!
    Have a great weekend, enjoy the Mister and your little pups.

  11. First of all, the Secret Service detail is adorable! I have nothing nearly as exciting for jobs to share. I worked in a drug store and book store during summers and holidays in college and straight into school teaching for 31 years. Some of those teaching years were more colorful than others.

  12. I am a Katie Gibbs girl also. Were you there when you had to have white gloves? I was. I still use my shorthand when I don’t want anyone to know what I’m writing.

  13. No one tells a story like you Katie! LOL! Love what you learned from your elders! My reality check with employment came after having the time of my life in college and was led to believe employers would be knocking my door down with job offers only to hear crickets! My best friend worked at a temporary agency and would send me out to companies requesting switchboard experience and light secretarial skills of which I had neither but the pay was good!😂 KTG

  14. When I was young my favorite job was at a clothing store called Judy's. The only problem for me was that I rarely had much of my check left after buying my favorite clothes that came in.
    Your story is great!

  15. Oh this was so fun to read! It must have been amazing working in NYC! My favorite job was placing substitute teachers. I am still in the staffing business now but most of my time is spent placing HR professionals. I would love to work with teachers and schools again!

  16. Great memories! I love the Bic Pens. Not a job I every imagined existed but I guess someone had to do it! My first job was at 7/11. All the slurpees you could drink! Then I spent a few years at Woolworth's Department store. Started as a cashier and ended up at Customer Service, where we did a little bit of everything for the store. I loved working there, and the people I worked with.

  17. You got to watch TV? Lucky Duck!
    My favorite job was as the Coat Check girl at the Carlisle Barracks Officers' Club during my senior year of high school. Other than arrival & departure times, I read a book & drank free Tabs from the bar tender. Sunday brunch was busier with people streaming in & out. I could make $150 in a night in tips, in 1984. That's 300 hours of babysitting! I would take that job today but the tips might not be as good as when I was 16!

  18. Have you read The Barbizon by Paulina Bren? I had to come back to your post to leave a comment because she talks about the Katie Gibbs girls who lived there.


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