A Real Saturday Post – The Odd Job

Yes, I am actually departing from the norm and blogging on Saturday, but there’s a reason.

As regular visitors may have noticed, on Tuesday I was tagged. At the time we were in the middle of Andrew Peterson’s blog tour, and the conversation that post generated spilled out through Thursday. I could easily have continued talking about Christian fiction and theme on Friday, but wanted to get that review of A Promise to Remember up (I have a friend waiting to borrow the book).

Then I plan to get back to my Mount Hermon report next week. I have the pictures out of my camera (yes, my camera. My kind neighbors who lent it to me for the conference said I could keep it. I consider it on long term loan—if they need it back, it’s theirs. But meanwhile … I’m going to have fun!) and onto my computer, so it will be fun showing you some of the Mount Hermon folks and walking through the week.

All that to say, if I’m going to participate in this meme thing, well, a Saturday post is necessary.

Marcus Goodyear and Me It’s an interesting kind of meme too, not one that seems so purposeless, as many of the just-for-fun ones seem. This one was generated by friend and senior editor of TheHighCalling.org , Marcus Goodyear (pictured here with me at Mount Hermon during the autograph party).

So what is the task?

1. Write about the Strangest Job I Ever Had and tell what I learned from it.

2. Link to other “Lessons from Odd Jobs” posts.

3. Tag my post “Lessons from Odd Jobs”.

4. Tag other bloggers, in or out of the HC [High Calling] network.

5. Link back to the Lessons from Odd Jobs page and and email this month’s host at “Marcus AT highcallingblogs DOT com”.

As I read my tagging friend, L. L. Barkat’s post, detailing her struggle to think of an odd job she’d held, my thoughts clamped onto mine.

It was the summer between my junior and senior year in college, and I was back in Denver with my parents. My dad knew a guy (who probably knew a guy, I don’t even remember), and lo and behold, before I knew what hit me, I was interviewing for a factory job. Yep, factory job. The main sticking point seemed to be that I was temporary since I’d be returning to California for school in the fall. Still, I got the job.

The work involved sorting phone cords. For those of you unfamiliar with old fashioned technology, phones all used to have cords, and the one attaching the receiver to the base was a coiled thing allowing it to stretch. My job, for that first week, was to sort through piles and piles of such used cords and discard the ones with obvious problems—tears in the outer plastic or distorted color (usually from dyeing). The rest went through a washing process.

After that first week, I was promoted to inspection. During this phase I sat at a cubicle and checked over washed cords and their connecting wires for smaller tears we missed in the first pass and ink spots.

Later, after another week or two, our supervisor reorganized the process, putting us in an assembly-line of sorts, where one of us would check the coiled portion and another the wires.

But here’s the thing. By the end of the summer, I had seniority and was in line for promotion to group inspector. At first my co-workers couldn’t understand why I didn’t get the position—until I told them this was just a summer job for me.

What did I learn? Non-Christians are people too. 😉 Seriously, I really liked a number of the women I worked with and went back to visit the plant on my Christmas break. Thing was, most of them weren’t working there any more.

Which leads me to the next lesson. Part of working hard is showing up, regularly, continually, faithfully.

The third lesson was key, I think. Yes, I felt the need to do a good job—it’s why I was hired. But the work was tedious, repetitive, uninspiring. So we played games. Not real ones (though we did have a few water fights—don’t ask). Mind games (mostly). And we told stories, recited nursery rhymes, discussed … life. Nothing too deep, mind you. We still had to concentrate on those cords, keeping an eye out for holes or ink spots, and we had a quota to meet, as I recall. But work should be about doing the job and developing relationships with co-workers, I think.

Of course, now I wish I’d been bolder and talked to my co-workers about Christ. That would have been ideal, but I was pretty immature in my faith and only by the grace of God were any seeds planted for eternity during those three months. I think the job had a bigger impact on me than I had on the job.

Now, as to others posting on Odd Jobs, check out David Zimmerman, Shalene at A Proverbs 31 Woman Wannabe, and Marlo Boux at The Joyful Christian Wife. I don’t know any of these three, but found their stories and lessons really gratifying. It’s a picture of God at work in individuals’ lives.

So I think that’s it, except for the part about me tagging (an unspecified number of) other bloggers. Who will play this game? I think I’d love to hear from Brandilyn Collins who has a blog tour coming up with CFBA, Wayne Thomas Batson, and Christopher Hopper. The latter two are off retreating somewhere, I think. Hopefully all three writers can take time away from their schedule to share lessons from their oddest jobs.

Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm  Comments (15)  


  1. Another odd job that I had was making calls for the Shriners circus when I was in High school. only three weeks. each night I wanted to quit. But my parents kept encouraging me. The folks around me did not really work that hard. I did make some sales for the circus. I don’t think I hit the quota too well.

    Just like when I cut those pesky onions at Duchess Family Restaurants. The bucket was slow in filling up. And the walks to the cold refrigerator unit were welcome. Yet that job also taught me perseverence even when working through my handicap. So odd jobs definitely build character.

    thanks for sharing yours. feel free to check out the blog of mine. scott


  2. Good job, Becky!
    (Arrggh, no pun intended!)

    I still have to do my odd job, too. I’ve been in the midst of promoting the upcoming OCCWF writer’s conference and free time has been at a premium.

    So congrats on getting your Odd Job posted! Hopefully I will get mine done this weekend.

    Hmmm. My job is to post my Odd Job. Do I need to get a life?


  3. I got the best laugh from your comment about how all phones used to have cords! Very good.

    I also liked the part about “showing up”. It’s hard to show up again and again, to be faithful not only to a job but also to people.

    Thanks for playing along.


  4. I am amazed. I thought for sure we’d be hearing about those darling little roaches you took care of in college.



  5. What really struck me is that you all played mind games to pass the time. I think you meant that these games were positive, but it got me thinking. How often are we playing mind games at work (the negative kind) simply because we’re bored?


  6. Laura, it’s only a matter of time before people won’t remember what it was like to have a corded phone. One of those “ancient” technologies. 😀

    Sally, for some reason the cockroach job never crossed my mind. But of course, you’re right. That was by far the strangest job I ever had. I’m not sure what lessons I learned from it, though, so maybe it’s a good thing I settled on the other one.

    Mind games can definitely be good or bad. I was trying to remember what all we did. I think we told jokes and riddles for a while, then went on to reciting nursery rhymes. I do know someone, our supervisor maybe, cautioned me, saying it was OK to do what we were doing as long as we didn’t slack off in our work. I noted a time or two, after that, when my co-worker would stop to think. I mean, really stop. Hands stilled. Eyes forward. Long pause. Hmmmm.

    Merrie, your factory job was much more … taxing! 😮

    Scott, I’m off to read yours now.



  7. The oddest job I ever had was working at one of those pick-your-own strawberry farms.

    And from that job I learned two important things:

    1. Jesus can find you ANYWHERE.

    2. I did NOT want to do manual labor for a living.


  8. I heard from Brandilyn that she doesn’t do the memes thing—understandable since I’m sure she would do little else if she responded to all that people asked of her.

    Wayne, thanks for weighing in here.

    If anyone else would like to play, please let us know here by leaving your link so we can read your post. (And if my spam service sends your comment to moderation, never fear. I’ll dig it out and post it for you.)



  9. […] A Real Saturday Post – The Odd Job by Rebecca Luella Miller, who sorted phone cords. Truly […]


  10. […] A Real Saturday Post – The Odd Job, by Rebecca Miller at A Christian Worldview of Fiction […]


  11. […] A Real Saturday Post – The Odd Job by Rebecca Luella Miller, who sorted phone cords. Truly odd. […]


  12. […] Becky had an exciting job. Not! But she made good, anyway. And Otto the Popsicle guy wrote a great post. Made me wish I’d bought something when the ice cream man went by earlier. […]


  13. […] Becky had an exciting job. Not! But she made good, anyway. And Otto the Popsicle guy wrote a great post. Made me wish I’d bought something when the ice cream man went by earlier. […]


  14. […] Phone Cord Sorter : Phone cord sorters (who, thanks to the advent of cell phones, are a rare breed these days) have […]


  15. […] Phone Cord Sorter : Phone cord sorters (who, thanks to the advent of cell phones, are a rare breed these days) have […]


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