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How many jobs have you had?

The Department of Labor projects that people will hold on average 10.2 jobs between the ages of 18 and 38... Fletcher, An  Eye on the Future, T.H.E. Journal, July 2007.

Fletcher is only the latest in a long line of futurists, change advocates, school reformers, journalists, and other individuals of shady character to quote the statistic above. 

Personally, I don't find it shocking or all that meaningful. While flying here to Portland, I reflected on how many jobs I had the first 20 years of my non-farm working life. I think my first job was gathering eggs at about age four - a terrifying experience which made me work-shy to this day but which gives me a sense of revenge each time I eat a chicken nugget. They are made out of chicken, aren't they? Anyway, here's my list:

  1. Seed corn plant laborer (Mostly stacking 60 lb bags of chemically treated field corn seed.)
  2. Dishwasher at the university food services (All you could eat, too!) 
  3. Silage truck driver (Only four days before I crashed a truck and was fired.)
  4. Hod carrier (The guy who mixes mortar and humps bricks and block for masons. Lost 20 pounds first two weeks on the job and made college immediately more important.)_40398707_hod_bbc_203.jpg
  5. Furniture deliverer (Almost fired for starting a fire in the packing blankets in the back of a moving truck with an errant cigarette.)
  6. Laundry worker (More familiar with dirty diapers from nursing homes than anyone ought to be.)
  7. Surveyor's assistant (Light, outdoor work. Great summer job.)
  8. High school English teacher. (World's worst. I still owe those kids an apology.)
  9. Gas station attendant. (Supplemented my big $7,600 a year first year teaching salary.)
  10. Hospital worker (Central sterilizing from 3-11PM working through grad school. Autoclaves and endless 3-gown surgical packs.)
  11. Junior high librarian and English teacher. (First job I really, really enjoyed.)
  12. Motel clerk. (11PM to 7AM - teaching income still needed a boost. Pretty interesting people who inhabit the wee hours of the morning. Learned to sleep sitting up.)
  13. Library media specialist, K-9. (Working for the Aramco Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. Sweet income!)
  14. High school media specialist. (Good job.)
  15. Writer. (I started getting paid for my work when I was in my late 30s so I'll count this one.)

Summer jobs, part-time jobs while in school. Really only two professional jobs in four different schools.

Were transferable skills important? I suppose. But they were "soft" skills - reliability, cooperation, communication, strong back, high tolerance for boredom, etc. - not really job-specific.

How many jobs did you have from 18-38? Is this a statistic that has any meaning? How should it be used when we talk about school reform?





The sacrifices I make for my professional organizations

I'm missing it to attend today's ISTE Board meeting: the Eugene Celebration Parade.

Why does this feel like a sacrifice? Because the Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropods - or SLUGs - are marching in the parade. Excuse me - participating, not marching, since slugs being monopods can't march.

It may have been my one and only chance to see this group in action. Rats. My kind of people.

nw_slugqueen_0908.jpgGlorious Gastropause (aka Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant) snorts at the notion of order: "The celebration is about being out of step." Thomas Boyd The Register-Guard ""Slugs do not march," said Slug Queen Inspira Gastropodium. "Slugs have one foot; it's physically impossible. They slither, they slime, and they crawl on their bellies, but they do not march."


Room on your shelves for Wikipedia?


If the English version of Wikipedia were printed out (as of August 2007) from Nikola Smolenski (via Stephen's Lighthouse blog).

Using volumes 25cm high and 5cm thick (some 400 pages), each page having two columns, each columns having 80 rows, and each row having 50 characters, ≈ 6MB per volume. As English Wikipedia has around 7.5GB of text (August 2007, length of wikitext counted by myself) ≈ 1250 volumes. Note that this is a conservative estimate, as it doesn't include images, tables etc. which take up more surface than the text which describes them.