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Old 03-16-2010, 02:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
Martian's Avatar
Location: Canada
What Do You Do For A Living?

Recently, the_jazz made an off-hand comment that perhaps three people on this site know and understand precisely what he does for a living. I recalled this comment when talking with my co-worker today about how our work is hard to define. I thought it might make an intersting topic of discussion.

So, The Question:

What do you do for a living? What's your job title, what daily tasks are you expected to complete, what sorts of things do you deal with daily?

I recognize that in this economy not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job. If you are unemployed, what would you like to do for a living, or what are you trained/in training to do?

I realize that a lot of jobs can be summed up with one word answers. For those people, I might suggest going into more detail. What makes your position unique, or what's an interesting aspect of your job that most people might not know about?

I'll go first.

I am... well, as mentioned above it's hard to define exactly what I am, title-wise. Technically I'm an administrative assistant. I work in an office with one other person daily and a third once or twice per week. I provide support for them, which involves filing, sorting, faxing, shredding, typing, answering phones and in general making sure things run smoothly.

So far, so good. Probably seems pretty straightforward.

The twist is that the office I work in is a social services office. Specifically, we're a non-profit government funded organization (I believe NGO is the term used in the states) with a mandate of providing support and advocacy services for the developmentally and/or intellectually disabled adults in our community, allowing them to live independently. Because the office is small and we don't have a ton of funding, my job often spills over into that of the case workers; I go to the appointments or meetings that the case workers are unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts as well as handling mundane issues involved with case management, such as submitting invoices for payment, tracking bills and medications, things of that nature. And of course I do interact with clients on a daily basis as well, which demands a good deal of patience and a good sense of humour.

The number one qualification for my job, as stated by my boss on my first day of work, is the ability to not freak out. After my first month on the job I can only agree with her assessment.
I wake up in the morning more tired than before I slept
I get through cryin' and I'm sadder than before I wept
I get through thinkin' now, and the thoughts have left my head
I get through speakin' and I can't remember, not a word that I said

- Ben Harper, Show Me A Little Shame
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
Location: My head.
I work for burger king. I make sandwiches and after three months they'll give me dental.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
I am a mechanical engineer. My day is spent as follows:

20% dealing with requests generated from customer service/sales, either for product improvements or technical documents. Some of these product improvements are large enough in scope that they become projects, others (Can I get it in blue?) are small enough they can be handled with a single document called an Engineering Change Request, that I submit to Document Control.

20% is dealing with our inspection department. Best case, this is spent approving First Articles (that is, samples of the first parts off a new tool that a supplier makes) with no defects. Worst case, it's dealing with Inspection Rejection Reports, where a part doesn't meet some section of the requirements, either because a dimension is out, it doesn't meet rated strength, or the paperwork is wrong. I have to either determine that the parts are acceptable and update our drawings to reflect that, temporarily allow a deviation (if our inventory is low, usually) to accept the parts but require a new first article next time we buy from that supplier, or the dreaded RTV--return to vendor, do not pay.

40% of my duties are new product development projects--doing everything from high level conceptual design ('what features do we want?') to down and dirty solid modeling (although I have designers that do most of that work for me). I also coordinate ordering and testing of the prototypes, and oversee the whole ramp-up for production. I usually only have one or two major projects at a time, and their scope is 6-18 months each.

Until recently, 20% of my duties was handling line defects...production would have an assembly that wasn't going together, and I would have to troubleshoot it, find the reason, if the reason was a part, fix it, if the reason was a process, update it, if the reason was a design, change it. We now have a manufacturing engineer (again), so this part of my duties should be offloaded.

Finally, lately, I've had 20% or so responsibility with Continuous Improvement, specifically 'Kaizen' events. Once every other month (there are four of us, events are held twice a month and we rotate), I lead a week long seminar going into extreme detail on some process, like our shipping area, or our Change Request process, etc, and we analyze all the waste in the process, and setup a future state process. This has been pretty interesting thus far, it's an interesting problem-solving challenge.

So...yeah. That's what I do. I have worked two other companies, and most engineers seem to have a similar work load, although the percentages can vary, and some infrastructures make people specialize more.
twisted no more
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
Evil Priest: The Devil Made Me Do It!
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Location: Southern England
I run the quality management system and regulatory affairs function for a medium sized family owned medical devices manufacturer.

As it is a small firm, I am involved in almost every aspect of running the business, and as resident science and computer geek type person, I write insanely complex spreadsheets that let everyone work out who is buying what, how often and what they're paying over time and so on.

I am also (due to having worked previously in the print industry in a similar role for a specialist pharmaceutical packaging printer) involved in our artwork and packaging design, and in sourcing and negotiating deals with printers and other suppliers.

I audit factories (including foreign ones in Asia and across Europe), and visit customers (large retailers, NHS hospitals, etc).

Basically, I put in place all the measures that make sure when an end user puts their faith in our product, I know it has been designed, made, stored, supplied, and applied correctly.
Overhead, the Albatross hangs motionless upon the air,
And deep beneath the rolling waves,
In labyrinths of Coral Caves,
The Echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand;
And everthing is Green and Submarine

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Old 03-16-2010, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
comfortably numb...
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Super Moderator
Location: upstate
i worked my ass of for the federal govenment for 20 years and the state of new york for 10 years...

now i golf, and sub-teach...

fuck it, i'm retired...
"We were wrong, terribly wrong. (We) should not have tried to fight a guerrilla war with conventional military tactics against a foe willing to absorb enormous casualties...in a country lacking the fundamental political stability necessary to conduct effective military and pacification operations. It could not be done and it was not done."
- Robert S. McNamara
"We will take our napalm and flame throwers out of the land that scarcely knows the use of matches...
We will leave you your small joys and smaller troubles."
- Eugene McCarthy in "Vietnam Message"
never wrestle with a pig.
you both get dirty;
the pig likes it.

Last edited by uncle phil; 03-16-2010 at 03:36 PM..
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Over the rainbow . .
I'm a stay at home wife and mother. I guess that means I'm a cook, house cleaner, nurse, seamstress, financial consultant, secretary, party planner, laundress, tutor, personal shopper and all around life coordinator.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
MiSo's Avatar
i'm a flute player for the U.S. Army band.

i just joined so i'm still in the training phase at the school of music.
my daily activities consist of playing in a few ensembles and attending music theory classes and ear training classes. if i'm not doing that, i'm in a practice room.
so basically, i get paid to play my instrument all day. it sounds easy but its a hectic schedule. i pretty much don't have a personal life.

once i get to my unit, my job will be to perform for anything or anyone they tell us to.
lots of ceremonies and chamber music type stuff in addition to the marching band stuff we'll have to do.
- this space for rent -
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
Minion of Joss
levite's Avatar
Location: The Windy City
I am a rabbinical student. In mid-May I will be getting my rabbinical ordination. But what I really do is teach. For the past six years (less one in the middle), I've been teaching Jewish Studies at a Jewish high school. If I can score the full-time position, that's what I will keep on doing after ordination. If not, I'll find something else in Jewish education. But I want to be teaching high school Jewish Studies. I love teaching high school kids: old enough to be able to learn complex ideas, but still young enough that their first instinct is to give you the finger. I love the challenge.

I also have been beginning to publish articles in the Jewish popular and academic press; hopefully this summer I'll be writing a short, popular book on theology. Also hopefully, someone will publish said book, and it will not be my last book....
Dull sublunary lovers love,
Whose soul is sense, cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
That thing which elemented it.

(From "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne)
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
dogzilla's Avatar
Location: New York
My job: senior software engineer.

Currently I'm responsible for some open source software and proprietary software, pretty much start to finish. My work spans some low level C programming, some C++ and some Java programming on very large computer systems. What I do from day to day is all over the place but includes the following
  • Work with my research division contacts to turn their prototypes into marketable software
  • Plan work for the next year and divide into smaller cycles
  • Allocate work to myself and rest of my team, some of which is local and some offshore
  • Design work for current work cycle
  • Write and debug pieces of the software
  • Answer questions from the rest of my team about how the software is supposed to work, what they should be doing and helping them debug their work
  • Figure out what needs to be tested and how it should be tested
  • Write the user documentation for the software
  • Tech support for customers who have problems with the software, including fixing the bugs
  • Coordinate work with related teams and work with project management to make sure everything stays on track
  • Work with other members of an open source team I'm part of
  • Work with company lawyers to make sure my company doesn't get sued over copyrights and patents and that we don't give away important technology
  • Meet with customers to talk about product plans and make sure what we are doing is useful to them
  • Deal with random requests from people in the company who are interested in our software
  • Whatever random request my manager decides to toss my way
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
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Location: Oregon
I work in childcare. I am the manager of a small childcare operation at a local church. I coordinate schedules, I photocopy coloring sheets, I purchase and stock supplies in our nursery, I perform outreach to our parents, I coordinate a remodel project in its beginning stages, and most importantly, I work directly with the children in our care. As a childcare worker, my work with children covers everything from bandaging booboos to explaining common phenomena to reading stories to changing diapers to utilizing positive discipline.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
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Super Moderator
Location: East-central Canada
I'm an editor for a trade book publisher, editing anything from poetry and fiction to business and new age.
I'm also a freelance editor of various types of textual materials.
I'm also a web designer/webmaster, blogging coach, market researcher, marketing director, and database administrator, amongst other things.

The editing process is largely misunderstood by the general public. It's more than just fixing spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It's also about word usage, stylistic considerations, and the logical flow of the overall work.

When I'm not editing books, etc., much of my day-to-day activities include emailing, writing business communications such as press releases and catalog copy, maintaining a media contact database, designing and implementing author websites and blogs, and so on.

I leaf through my Canadian Oxford Dictionary and Chicago Manual of Style with delight, but, unfortunately, not nearly enough.

I must needs wear many hats.
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 03-16-2010 at 05:21 PM..
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
Teufel Hunden's Freundin
Sue's Avatar
Location: Westminster, CO
I'm a Certified Medical Assisant in pediatrics for almost 6 years. I give shots, draw blood, administer medication, and assist in minor procedures. On a Saturday when I work, I sometimes help out in the front answering phones and scheduling appointments.

Two more years of nursing school, and I'm out of peds. I like kids, but I like them better outside of the office.
Teg yw edrych tuag adref.
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
raging moderate's Avatar
Location: Whatever house my keys can get me into
I think this is a pretty interesting thread.

I work in management at a feed manufacturing facility making feed for animals. Any given day I could wear the hat of a production worker, floor supervisor, administrator, sales consultant or accountant. It's fun and challenging.

These are the good old days...

formerly Murp0434
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
Riding the Ocean Spray
BadNick's Avatar
Location: S.E. PA in U Sofa
Quite similar to telekinetic who posted above, I'm a mechanical engineer (by degree a BSME) working in manufacturing. So I'm also ultimately responsible for a lot of what he mentioned. The few companies I've worked for over the years all manufacture similar products and since I've been doing this for 38 years, I end up having more experience and knowledge about it than most people in this field. Persistence and longevity worked in my favor...and I'm also not too dumb. Of course with all this experience, I'm now also heavily involved in long term stategic planning, product development, marketing, and sales. I have a great, very capable staff to support our efforts and the company I work for continues to do very well...we're lucky and smart which is a good combination.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: Grants Pass OR
I work for an architectural millwork/casework company as an estimator. I take a bid set of blueprints, and specifications, determine our scope of work, and provide a quote.

I have worn several hats in this company, I started with the company as a panel saw operator. I operated a computerized saw which took big pieces of wood and made small pieces of wood, in the 10+ years with the company I have held almost every position in the shop including being a supervisor.

I have been in the office for probably 6 or 7 years. During that time, I have generated cut lists and material orders for the shop, been a draftsman (I hate drafting), and been a project manager. Managing projects has been, by far, the most challenging position I've held with the company. as a project manager I was responsible for managing multiple projects (I had 17 at one point) insuring that all aspects of our scope of work were completed accurately, an time, and were profitable.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
Location: Suburbia
I'm a lot. My title is Lead Tech, my subtitles include Systems Administrator and Help Desk Rep. I work for a company that hosts email for a lot of people.

In my day to day I take care of tickets that come from a variety of sources, from lower level help desk folks, directly from customer, from billing or sales and from my boss. Lots and lots of tickets. I also have to take calls, but not many. I also help out a lot of people with their jobs like explaining how something works or, more often than not, how it doesn't work the way they think or wish it does. That's most of my 9-5, then there's the late night upgrades of client servers or troubleshooting after business hours. I also put in some flex hours on the weekend taking care of anything that can't wait until Monday.

I recently was shipped off to Boston to train some folks on how to do what I do, to some degree, but for their own systems. It went alright.

I do what I do from home, 100% of the time. It lets me spend way more time with my family and with no commute time or expense, I feel really good about it. That and not having to wear pants to work. That's pretty cool too.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
Fotzlid's Avatar
Location: Greater Boston area
I am a charge nurse in a small community hospital emergency room.
My main duties are to, basically, get the patients in and out of the department in a timely manner.
I assign patients to rooms/nurses. I resolve disputes about which staff needs to be where for whatever reason. I do lots of paper/computer work and answer an insane number of phone calls.
I also assist the other nurses in whatever way I can and I am the primary backup for a nurse that has a very sick patient.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
ObieX's Avatar
Location: Shirt and Pants (NJ)
I sell video games and video game accessories.

I spend most of my time cleaning up after people who know how to pick things up, yet not how to place them back from where they picked them up. I also answer stupid questions like "can i ask you a question?" 100 times a day and "is this (the name of my store)?" on the phone after i clearly tell them.

The rest of the time isn't bad. Can chat with folks about games and such between trying to sign them up for subscriptions or add things to their purchase.

The job has 2 small perks that make the job suck a little less. First is the employee discount, which i use often. The other is being able to play pretty much any game in the store any time i want for free.

I get paid in pennies and the wooden shavings from sharpened pencils (not that fancy inside stuff).
We Must Dissent.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
At the moment, I'm a political campaign consultant. I've worked on campaigns for federal government as well as state government. This has involved a variety of responsibilities, though none of these descriptions are totally accurate because every day brings new and interesting challenges:


I've been responsible for finding and organizing volunteers and interns for direct community outreach via phone banking and canvassing. The goal is to spread the campaign message, but also identify supporters. I would also organize events such as house parties and community forums, arrange participation in parades, or any number of other things to improve visibility in the community and keep volunteers energized. When I did this I worked with 3 other guys in a field office and we were collectively responsible for about 400 volunteers and 12 interns to cover an area of ~100,000 registered voters. The campaign didn't win, but it wasn't our fault: our area exceeded campaign goals


On another campaign I was in charge of all fundraising. This involved organizing fundraisers, researching prospective donors, writing fundraising letters and e-mails, and most of all working with the candidate every day to make fundraising calls. Thanks to the donor research done by the rest of the finance staff, some trusted volunteers, and me, there were always new prospects to call, and the majority of any day involved making sure the candidate sat down, called people, and made a direct ask for a specific donation amount. No one likes this part, and candidates hate it the most, but it needs to get done to pay the campaign expenses. One thing I actually liked about it though was that the only person who worked more closely with the candidate was the campaign manager, so that was enjoyable. We ended up raising about $100,000 a month on average.


On two campaigns now, I've been responsible for writing e-mail blasts to supporters and have been involved with managing the campaign website. The most recent campaign I worked on, where I was campaign manager, didn't have a communications director so I did everything involved with that role. This included press releases, filling out endorsement questionnaires, writing all website content, and writing all campaign e-mails. We worked with a campaign consulting firm to design our mailings, which were mostly based on the website content.

Campaign Manager:

Other things I've had to do as campaign manager include finding an office, finding and hiring a campaign staff, and managing the campaign budget (this most recent one was ~$100,000). Early on in the campaign when it was just the candidate and me, the job involved going out into the district to collect enough signatures so we could get on the ballot. Shortly after that, we looked at other candidate's signatures, found someone who didn't meet the requirements and filed a motion to get him taken off the ballot (we succeeded). Since it was a small campaign, I also spent a lot of time participating in the basic field work of canvassing and phone calls. The biggest part of being a campaign manager, though, is managing the candidate. Managing his/her time, spirits, and coaching him/her regarding what to say and what not to say if they're inexperienced.

And, like I said, a lot more. Something new every day.

At this very moment, though, I'm unemployed and looking for the next campaign to work on. At the same time, I'm keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. For example, I'm applying to work in Antarctica next year! (It's extremely competitive so it's unlikely I'll get it, but worth a try!)
Le temps détruit tout

"Musicians are the carriers and communicators of spirit in the most immediate sense." - Kurt Elling

Last edited by SecretMethod70; 03-18-2010 at 01:26 AM..
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
Master Thief. Master Criminal. Masturbator.
Location: Windiwana
Originally Posted by Xerxys View Post
I work for burger king. I make sandwiches and after three months they'll give me dental.

don't forget the free "food."
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for me And there was no one left to speak out for me.
-Pastor Martin Niemoller
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:49 PM   #21 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
Willravel's Avatar
Currently? Nothing and it's everything that I thought it could be. Since I left my job back in August, I've caught up on five years of reading, I can work out all day long, I'm helping my grandmother around her house, and I'm spending time with my friends and beagle. I don't plan on actively looking for work for another 4 or so months and I don't need a job for at least another 10. I'm starting to think this on/off work thing is the way I'm going to spend the rest of my life.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:02 AM   #22 (permalink)
seamaiden's Avatar
Location: With the man of my dreams in Halifax Nova Scotia
I work part time as a receptionist in a Diabetes Management clinic...booking appointments, registering patients, answering phones, faxing, filing, and so on. I also do some casual shifts as a ward assistant in an emergency department.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:16 AM   #23 (permalink)
Une petite chou
noodle's Avatar
Location: With All Your Base
My title is Psychosocial Specialist.
I work for a large, non-profit hospice program. With the largest pediatric palliative and hospice program in the US, currently. I currently am covering half of another caseload whilst a coworker is out, so I'm offering support, case managing, and generally waving my magic wand at 54 families.... usually it's around 36. I also do education regarding chronic illness, coping, end-of-life issues; bereavement; referrals; coordination of school issues; sibling counseling; and support group for the kids. I don't particularly enjoy working just with grown-ups. Oh, and it's all in the field--home, school, hospital, McDonalds... wherever they are--because I can't sit in an office all day. I'm responsible for paperwork on every single interaction I have regarding any of my patients and families and for keeping up with ACHA and NHPCO standards. I have an invisible tiara, magic wand, and cape, since apparently I'm supposed to be saving the world. But, each can only be used once per day... so no major fuck-ups, y'hear?!

I'm also a full-time PhD student in Clinical Psych with a health focus so I can do most of that at the clinical level and make more that $39K a year. That would be nice.
Here's how life works: you either get to ask for an apology or you get to shoot people. Not both. House

Originally Posted by Plan9
Just realize that you're armed with smart but heavily outnumbered.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:31 AM   #24 (permalink)
Paladin of the Palate
LordEden's Avatar
Location: Redneckville, NC
I work in a very small computer repair shop with my boss and sometimes his wife (She handles the money). We are mainly a B2B shop where we act as the IT staff for compaines that are big enough to need a dedicated IT person, but not big enough to afford one. We can handle anything from running network cable (UTP or Fiber) to help desk support for workstations (and everything in between).

I handle any repairs with PCs that come through the door (various hardware problems or spyware/virus/I Broke It), build any PCs that are going to client sites, building servers for network upgrades, product research, answering the phones, handling invoicing/billing, helping any personal computer repairs, maintaining inventory, ordering the parts we need, and going to client sites to fix anything my boss can't get to.

Mainly I just play on the internet. Hopefully I'll have a new job in the next few weeks.
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
In my own personal experience---this is just anecdotal, mind you---I have found that there is always room to be found between boobs.
Vice-President of the CinnamonGirl Fan Club - The Meat of the Zombiesquirrel and CinnamonGirl Sandwich
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:24 AM   #25 (permalink)
...is a comical chap
Grasshopper Green's Avatar
Location: Where morons reign supreme
My technical title is Accounts Coordinator, but I'm essentially an administrative assistant. I work for a small company, so all of us wear more than one hat. My main responsibilities are:

Assisting the VP of sales to prepare for sales presentations
Creating and maintaining sales and production spreadsheets
Preparing in house purchase orders and all of the paperwork that goes along with it
Company liason to our outside sales reps
Preparing all of the paperwork necessary to get our products to our customers
We just launched a new product and I'm pretty much the go-to person for anyone who has questions about it
I'm also the problem solver by default; management can pass the buck to me and it stops there. Unless the problem is about something financially sensitive or is HR related, it often lands on my desk.

I also handle an A/R account, share the receptionist duties (since we don't have one), assist shipping/production when they are overloaded and assist customer service when they are overloaded.
"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings; steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king"

Formerly Medusa
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:58 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Location: Chicago
My business card says "Senior Vice President - Casualty Division" but my internal paperwork says "Senior Broker". One is to impress, one is descriptive. Guess which is which.

So I'm a wholesale insurance broker who specializes in third party corporate liability (to dumb it down). Basically, we're all familiar with the special insurance companies for bad drivers, right? The same thing exists for corporations and it makes up about 7% of Property/Casualty insurance in the US.

My clients are, as a rule, other insurance agents, usually working for the top 100 insurance agencies/brokerages in the country. I don't have a territory, so I get to go wherever I want. When they have something that is too difficult or they need specialized coverages or higher limits, they call me. Most of my time is spent schmoozing and overseeing my assistants' work with the markets. The accounts that I write tend to be large (median premium is around $65,000) and either have a potential for nasty claims or have had nasty claims. Chances are that you've seen something that I placed the Product Liability on in the last 24 hours.

To make things even more complex, I do General Liability, Umbrella/Excess, Auto (if there's an Environmental exposure), Product Recall, Wrap Ups (both OCIP and CCIP), Contractors Pollution, Environmental Impairment Liability and Product Warranty.

I'm the third largest producer of non-admitted casualty business in Minnesota even though I don't live there. If you bought a house built in Las Vegas between 2002 and 2006, there's a 18% chance I wrote the GL coverage for it (don't file a construction defect suit). There is - literally - not a single product manufactured or imported into the US that I cannot find coverage for, no matter how bad it is. Yes, including nuclear. Yes, including lead-filled children's toys from China. Yes, including log splitters that remove hands. No exceptions.

I typically field calls while typing posts here. I find that it gives them a pleasingly disjointed look at times and a downright undecipherable one sometimes. And I like it that way.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - B. Franklin
"There ought to be limits to freedom." - George W. Bush
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:30 AM   #27 (permalink)
Functionally Appropriate
fresnelly's Avatar
Location: Toronto
I work as a developer for a software company that makes two applications, one for lighting and stage design in the entertainment industry and the other for the event and conference industry.

They allow you to draft up your venue or show in 3D and then light it ahead of time virtually.

All of the lights and their effects are based on real fixtures and it's my job to create their virtual CAD models and working profiles. I do this by live testing the real fixture and taking that data and wrestling it into our code. The software is used around the world and to give you a cool example, the Who performance at the Superbowl was preprogrammed with our software.

I work mostly by myself which I like.
Building an artificial intelligence that appreciates Mozart is easy. Building an A.I. that appreciates a theme restaurant is the real challenge - Kit Roebuck - Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:43 AM   #28 (permalink)
What day is it?
Location: Downey, CA
I am a refinery operator. I work in a sulfuric acid alkylation plant. The plant takes low value, reactive light hydrocarbons (propylene, butene, and pentene) and makes a high value product known as alkylate. Alkylate is an additive that will make just about any other refining end product better, pretty much the refining equivalent of bacon.

Most of what I actually do is observation. Looking at gauges, level indications, checking for leaks, listening for unusual sounds which could signal equipment failure, touching motors/pumps/piping to check for unusual vibration, checking for leaks using my nose, SO2 is noticeable in very low concentrations and if I smell it, there might be an acid leak.

The physical part of my job is climbing lots of stairs and ladders (I have a columns in my plant ranging for 40ft to 220ft tall), turning valves (some of which take 30-45 minutes to open or close), and riding my bike from one end of the plant to the other (on a busy day I'll probably ride 7 or 8 miles).

The job can be very hazardous, I've got about 500,000 gallons of sulfuric acid in the plant at any given time and if you are not careful (really even if you are), it is pretty easy to get acid on you. I've got quite a few holes in my coveralls from tiny bits of acid spray I wasn't aware of. The rest of the plant is packed with liquid propane, butane and pentane which tend to be a wee bit explosive. Injuries are pretty rare though.

Probably the roughest aspect of the job is that I work rotating 12 hour shifts and I go from days to nights every set of shifts. My schedule is day day off off night night night off off day day off off off etc. etc. My body clock is always fucked up.

Last edited by Shagg; 03-17-2010 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:23 AM   #29 (permalink)
nomcat's Avatar
Location: UK
I'm a consultant/contract winemaker and vineyard manager.

During harvest (2 - 3 months of the year) I'm working with a winery helping with production, overseeing and sampling grapes coming in, allocating appropriate tank and barrel space, ensuring correct and accurate additions are made, checking lab analyses, hooking up hoses, pumping wine, overseeing hygiene and cleanliness of winery, initiating fermentation, monitoring fermentations, getting wine into barrel etc.

The rest of the year I'm working with vineyards, making sure that the correct work is done at the correct time and done properly, especially pesticide spraying, but also pruning, trellising, leaf canopy managment, monitoring growth, sampling etc.

I can't express how much I love my job... it's not work for me, it's a fulfilling lifestyle with monetary reward! Sure, for 2 months of the year I get maybe 1 day a week off and work 12 - 15 hours a day, but I wouldn't trade it for any other job.

The only part that sucks is being away from my wife for a couple of months during harvest, depending on location. On the flip side, I've made wine in England, France, California, and South Africa, so seeing these places is awesome!

There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:45 AM   #30 (permalink)
Groovy Hipster Nerd
Jove's Avatar
Location: Michigan
I am an I.T. Technician for a medical care facility and since I am the only I.T. person in the building my unofficial titles are:

I.T. Director
System Administrator
Network Technician
Telecommunication Technician
24/7 Help Desk Support
Computer Hardware and Software technician

I maintain 8 servers, 104 workstations, 45 printers, 25 switches and 22 wireless access points. I deal with a lot of impatient people who have very little knowledge of computers or electronics in general, so when a computer/printer/ or network issue occur, it needs to be fixed immediately (like within 5 minutes and if it takes longer than 5 minutes, they get really upset). On top of all of these duties, if a resident moves to a different room and has a phone, I have to move the phone wires in the communications room from the previous slot connection to the new slot connection. This is actually an easy, but time consuming task.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:13 PM   #31 (permalink)
Getting it.
Charlatan's Avatar
Super Moderator
Location: Lion City
I am a Program Manager for a cable channel.

Part of my job is spent sourcing content for the channel. I watch a programmes and a lot of it is very, very bad. You have to wade through the garbage to find the gems. In sourcing content, I do a lot of research so I am on top of what's coming up so that I can access it before our competition does. Once I have decided I like a program I have to negotiate a contract for the rights to that content. It's a lot of back and forth over various terms, conditions and pricing.

Another part of my job is building the channel's schedule. I get to decide when we are going to air the programs I've just licensed. I work with our sales department to build special strips or thematic blocks that they can market to our advertisers.

I also oversee a team of schedulers who take my program grid and enter it in out system. In addition to implementing my program plan they also schedule all of the breaks between programs (promos of our shows, advertisements, fillers, etc.).

I am also involved in developing original content for the channel and work with our development people to come up with new ideas or refine existing ideas to go into production.

I also work with the marketing department to help them to better understand the content I've brought to the channel and how best to position it with regards to our audience and advertisers.

There's more that I do but those are the broad strokes.
"My hands are on fire. Hands are on fire. Ain't got no more time for all you charlatans and liars."
- Old Man Luedecke
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:30 PM   #32 (permalink)
We work alone
LoganSnake's Avatar
Location: Cake Town
I am a sales associate by day at a fairly sizable electronics recycling company. I don't get commission since I work for a sales person, but the benefit is that I can basically make up my own schedule. It has proved to be wondrous when I was going to school, but now the reality of shitty pay has caught up with me.

I also hold a degree in graphic design and I do some freelance work when I'm not lazy enough to look for it. My goal is to have a full time graphic design related job by the end of the year.
Maturity is knowing you were an idiot in the past. Wisdom is knowing that you'll be an idiot in the future. Common sense is knowing that you should try not to be an idiot now. - J. Jacques
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:57 AM   #33 (permalink)
i'm a stay at home dad during the day of my 17 month old, and soon to be newborn at the end of may. at night i service your auto insurance questions.

the company i work for is great, the 2nd shift night diff. is fantastic and the benefits are really going to help when the 2nd bean is born. i get the weekends off, and that gives me time to see mrs. dubbs.

it's the first full time job i've had since i was laid off due to the economy of being a print designer, I can see myself staying there long term, and possibly going back to school to get another degree in business.
Old 03-18-2010, 06:01 AM   #34 (permalink)
Location: ontario
HR systems analyst for the govt
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:05 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Super Moderator
Location: essex ma
these days i'm an editor. i run 20 or so academic databases in sociology and communications. so i have to figure out what's actually in these things try to make sure that it's possible to locate what in them and so forth. but mostly i go shopping for content.

i write things that have been getting published and i think i've made a little bit of money from it. and i do experimental music/intermedia performance work. so far i think i move through phases with these activities; at the moment i'm mostly writing but i feel a jones to start practicing again so who knows.
a gramophone its corrugated trumpet silver handle
spinning dog. such faithfulness it hear

it make you sick.

-kamau brathwaite
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:18 AM   #36 (permalink)
has all her shots.
mixedmedia's Avatar
Location: Florida
Currently I am a student in pre-nursing and will begin my career as a true nursing student this fall which will be another two years of schooling...seems like it's been forever just getting this far...but I am excited to finally be so close to the real deal. I'm tired of pre-requisites.

On the side, my boyfriend and I run a small but fairly profitable amateur porn site.
Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats. - Diane Arbus
PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile. - Ambrose Bierce
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:20 AM   #37 (permalink)
I Confess a Shiver
Plan9's Avatar
Mostly I really wish I got paid to do this:

I do nothing for a living. The living comes to me like manna from the heavens. Seriously. It's weird.

Soon, however, I will be back in a uniform of some sort and be serving an order maintenance function.

Perhaps such is my lot in life... the guardian... to keep one group of humans from harming another.
Whatever you can carry.

"You should not drink... and bake."
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:44 AM   #38 (permalink)
I change
ARTelevision's Avatar
Location: USA
...artist, writer, teacher...but you already knew that.

Just living is really what we are doing for a living...sometimes we do it well, sometimes poorly.
create evolution
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:54 AM   #39 (permalink)
Easy Rider
flstf's Avatar
Location: Moscow on the Ohio
I am an unemployed/retired Industrial Control System Engineer. The small company (60 or so) where I worked for 20 years was taken over by a much larger company and most of us who were over 50 were terminated. I think they referred to it as downsizing.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:04 AM   #40 (permalink)
Marlon's Mom's Avatar
Location: In the woods. With a shotgun.
I don't know what the hell I do. Scrape by, mostly.

Once upon a time, I was a high-end admin. Executive Assistant, Program Administrator, that type of thing. Then I had my mid-life crisis a few years ago, and left it all behind for a simpler, happier life in the country.

And it is a simpler, happier life, no doubt. I've got chickens and kittehs and a yard and garden that I can't get enough of. I've made ends meet quite nicely through freelance writing and editing, with a little pet sitting on the side. Ghostwrote three books. Had the ultimate gig going for a few years with a big auction house in Dallas, researching and writing catalog descriptions for items going on the block. They'd fly me out for two weeks and I'd work my ass off, then I'd come home for two weeks and relax. Paid very well and I LOVED the work.

Then the economy tanked, and that writing gig dried up (oh, they still send me boxes of things to work on once in awhile, but it's not nearly enough to keep me in beer and skittles). I've got a few other clients who have work for me from time to time, but again, not nearly enough.

Still pet sitting. I sell or barter the eggs my birds lay, as well as organic veggies from my awesome garden (my chiropractor discounts my adjustments for eggs and veggies!). I also do a little organizing/cleaning homes and offices for two of my pet sitting clients. Twice a year or so, I'm a contract proofreader of foreign language printed matter - election materials, DMV booklets, public health messages, etc., in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog, Spanish, Karen, Russian, and a few other languages. (No, I neither speak nor read any these languages fluently. It's hard to explain.)

But none of it amounts to much of anything.

So, I'm back to searching for an admin job. My resume is killer, but so is everyone else's, so it's all a crap shoot. I keep praying that the auction house will suddenly have more work for me, or that Baraka_Guru will realize he could use some help and will suggest my name to his employers...

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