What I learned from having a job for a day

Robert over at Middle Zone Musings is having another Group Writing Project. This time it is about what we learned from odd jobs. The same group writing project is being held over at good word editing and is called Lessons from Odd Jobs.

What I learned from having a job for a day

I haven’t had many jobs in my life. In high school I paid for my first transistor radio by spending a great slab of my summer holidays cutting apricots. These were then dried ready for sale in shops. It was hot, sticky backbreaking work. I was paid 12 cents a tray. Each tray was about a square metre in size and took about a half hour to fill. I didn’t get rich quickly.

My second job lasted 35 years and it was spent behind bars in a classroom full of noisy children. More recently I’ve done some relief driving for a friend’s courier business. That’s it. The sum total of my working life. Except for one day.

In my second year of teaching I was the Head Teacher of a school in outback South Australia. Real frontier stuff. I had the grand title of Head Teacher. I was the only teacher. For a dozen children. Being the only government worker for nearly eighty kilometres in any direction I was offered a job for a day. Returning Officer for the government elections. I ran the polling booth in the classroom, opening at 8am and closing at 8pm and then waiting until nearly midnight for the ballot box to be collected.

So – what did I learn from having a job for just one day?

Patience sometimes has its own reward

I learned patience that day. If I remember correctly, I only had the grand total of 16 voters turn up for the day, and that included me! But sometimes patience has its own reward; I was paid more for that one day’s work than I earned as a teacher in about three weeks!

 

8 Responses to “What I learned from having a job for a day”

  1. Hey, looks like we have something in common – I’ve been a poll worker too! I made a remarkable amount of money, considering all I had to do was drive a circle between 6 polling places and make sure “everything was working well”. If they weren’t I… made a call!

    Would have driven (!) me crazy to make a living that way, but it was a good money-maker during an unemployed period, I’ll tell ya!

  2. […] What I Learned From Having a Job for a Day, by Trevor Hampel at Trevor’s Writings […]

  3. […] What I Learned From Having a Job for a Day, by Trevor Hampel at Trevor’s Writings […]

  4. I was behind bars in a classroom full of teenagers for ten years. (In fact, I never meant to leave teaching, it just sort of happened.)

    I love the image of you doing your duty to democracy and collecting only 16 votes. I’m curious, though. After all the patience, did you feel that the job had merit? Or was it just an easy way to earn 3 weeks pay in 12 hours?

  5. […] What I Learned from Having a Job for a Day by Trevor Hampel who once worked at a voting station in the Australian outback where he collected 16 votes in 12 hours. Hey man, every vote counts. […]

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi there Mark – thanks for the comment.

    Yes – I felt I’d done my little bit to keep democracy in good shape. There was a bonus or two – it meant I was able to spend the whole day with my girlfriend (now my wife) who assisted me on the day, helping me to cope with the rush of voters. She also was paid handsomely. I also was able to catch up on quite a deal of school work – the polling booth was in my classroom (the ONLY classroom – it was a very small school).

  7. […] What I Learned from Having a Job for a Day by Trevor Hampel who once worked at a voting station in the Australian outback where he collected 16 votes in 12 hours. Hey man, every vote counts. […]

  8. […] What I Learned From Having a Job for a Day, by Trevor Hampel at Trevor’s Writings […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *