Odd Jobs in Undergrad

While I was in college I was never without a job. I lived frugally but still had a great time. Because I was in school for eight years I held a number of jobs. Sometimes I changed jobs for more money but most of the time it was just trying to find something that worked with my school schedule. I had some real unusual jobs and to this day when I am hiring a veterinarian I am very curious about their work experience unrelated to veterinary medicine. I think it tells a lot about their work ethic.

Some of my jobs were extremely unrelated to veterinary medicine. I was a night time janitor at Target so if you need advice on waxing floors I am your man. Profiling is a common concern in today’s world. I can tell you that it was alive in the 70’s as well. After working as a janitor in a large department store I can tell a little story that gives a picture of what it was like. I had been one of the janitors for over a year. Most of my interaction with the other employees was limited to clean ups and hauling their garbage away. One evening I was called to clean up a mess at the jewelry counter. The saleswoman was in a talkative mood and she asked me if I had any plans besides Target. When I told her I had just completed my fourth year of undergrad and was entering Veterinary School the following fall she was shocked. She wasn’t even aware that I finished high school.

I also moonlighted as a Fuller Brush salesman for a very brief period to try to make some money during a winter recess. I had already applied for admission to veterinary school and had been interviewed by the admissions committee. The head of the committee was Dr. Magilton. Selling anything door to door in the middle of an Iowa winter was no fun. Fuller Brush wasn’t exactly a hot item so I spent most of my free days walking the streets of Ames carrying a bag full of brushes with doors slamming in my face. Some of the people were really nice and they let me inside to warm up and proceeded to buy a brush to get rid of me. One particularly cold Saturday I was setting the world record for consecutive no responses when I walked up to a very nicely maintained house. I rang the bell and was already backing up as I prepared for the next no. The door opened and there stood Dr. Magilton. He didn’t buy a brush but he was very nice and I kept my hat pulled down tight in hopes he wouldn’t recognize me from the interview. After I was enrolled in veterinary school I considered Dr. Magilton one of the truly nice people you meet in the profession. I told him the story and we had a good laugh about it. I came close to setting the bag down and running away when he opened the door.

The final job to describe here is one of my favorites. I was the dough boy in a Pizza restaurant named Happy Joes. Happy Joes was just opening and I was one of the first employees. The owner was a man named Hank Kohler and he was just a few years older than me. We became great friends and played all kinds of sports together. 

As the dough boy, I had my own room down in the basement to make the dough and role them into skins for the Pizza. One afternoon Hank came running down and told me to take a look at the girl he was interviewing. He said, “She’s the one for you Carp.” Well, I took a look and that was the first time I saw my wife Debbie. We have been married for over thirty years so Hank had a pretty good eye.

Some of my jobs were great, some not so great but they all shaped my views on work in general and I met a ton of nice people. My favorite will always be Hank and Happy Joes. Hank, thanks for the pizza and my wife.

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