On The Mark: Still wondering what to be when she grows up


I am so impressed with the youth of today. They are inspiring. They seem so focused and totally goal oriented. They know what they want and they work to get it.

I'm impressed by them and yet I'm freaked out by them at the same time. I'm 72 years old and I'm still wondering what I'm going to be when (and if) I grow up.

A friend and I were discussing our work histories the other day and it dawned on me that I have been a Jack (or Jill) of many trades but master of none.

While I was in high school I worked as a hat check girl (for tips only) at my uncle's bowling alley. The summer after high school I worked as a "receptionist" for a small company in Akron. My boss used to enjoy himself chasing me around my desk. Fortunately, I ran a little faster in those days.

That fall, when I went to Kent State University, I worked nights at LuJan's Drive In in Kent making hamburgers. The late night work got to be a bit much (working until 2 a.m. and getting up for school at 7 a.m.) so I got an afternoon job at a car dealership, working in the parts department.

When I left school (I ran out of money) I went to work for Ohio Bell Telephone Co. as a switchboard operator. When I got tested for the company, the supervisor told me I could do any job there, except anything that involved typing. Interesting, no?

As an operator I learned I could never be a police or fire dispatcher -- too much pressure. One horrifying night shortly after I started working, a call came from a lady who said her house was on fire. In my panic, I called the wrong fire department. She lived in Barberton. I called Akron. Not good.

Not long after that I went to work as a teller for Ohio Bell in the business office. The cost for a private phone line, as opposed to a party line, was $6.05. Think about that when you're paying your three or four digit cell phone bill.

I LEFT THE phone company when my daughter was born and did a number of jobs from home -- typing envelopes for a small company, selling Avon, delivering telephone books (busted my car's springs so that career was short-lived), babysitting my neighbor's kids, and working for a small telephone answering service (that job lasted two days .... I never went back).

My training for the answering service lasted one night -- from 5 to 11 p.m. -- but the supervisor assured me I would never work alone for at least a month, so I could learn as I earned.

The second night on the job I was on my own, all alone. It was a catastrophe. I had no idea of what I was doing or where the calls were coming from. One lady said she needed someone to pick up a body -- a dead body. I had no idea the answering service had a funeral home as a client.

Another woman called and said there was a burglar in her building. I told her to call the police (how was I supposed to know the call was for a security company the answering service had as a customer?) I stayed until my shift was over, but I was so angry, I never went back.

For several years, I helped run my husband's business and I worked for two temporary agencies, mostly as a receptionist -- since my typing always left much to be desired. I really liked working as a temp since I got to see from the inside what different companies had to offer -- or not offer, as the case may be.

Then one fateful day there was an ad for a part-time reporter for the Cuyahoga Falls News. That was in 1974 and I have been involved with newspaper work in one form or another ever since. All the time wondering what I'm going to do when I finally do grow up.

Email: dmarkulis@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4184

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