K. Michelle Doyle, RN and coworkers, circa 1989

Like most people that I know, I have had a variety of jobs over the years.  Quite a variety. Listing them in one place makes me realize that I have done a lot of things, in a lot of places with a lot of different people. I started working regularly at age 14 after turning in my working papers to the State of MO. And I have been working ever since.

What ‘counts’ as a job? For this exercise, something counts as a job if I was paid regularly for doing it, or if I was elected to a position that had tasks (like being on the NYSALM Board of Directors, or the Vestry of my church).

  • Employee/self-employed
    • Babysitter
    • Housecleaning
    • Research assistant/lab technician (Immunology Lab at Washington University in St Louis, MO)
    • Preschool teacher’s aid
    • Office assistant in Dean’s office Pitzer College
    • Deli counter worker
    • Ice Cream Scooper
    • Grill cook
    • Line Cook
    • Sous Chef
    • Baker (Basalt, CO)
    • Coffee shop manager (The Grove House, Claremont, CA)
    • Midwife assistant
    • Registered nurse working Labor and Delivery (Harbor General and Long Beach Memorial, and some agency whose name I have forgotten, all in Southern California)
    • Nurse Case Manger in prenatal program for primarily undocumented women (Healthy Beginnings, Glenwood Springs, CO)
    • Midwife (10 years as employee and attending births in hospitals, 9 years and counting as self employed midwife, attending births primarily in client’s homes)
    • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (Troy, NY)
    • Teaching Assistant for BCST
    • Teacher and lecturer for BCST
    • Misc editing and writing jobs
  • Businesses owned
    • Local Care Midwifery, PLLC
    • Cool Waters (Wine shop, San Pedro, CA)
    • Sweet Dreams (Futon company, San Pedro, CA) ??
  • Community Service
    • Parent to Parent Board member (Glenwood Springs, CO)
    • NYSALM BOD (Regional Rep, Alternate Reg Rep., Secretary)
    • St Paul’s Church (Vestry member, Warden)

The number (assuming I haven’t forgotten any) is 29.

Twenty-nine. That is a lot of different types of jobs. And I didn’t separate out working the same job but with a different employer. For example, I worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse. That is one type of job that I have held. I worked L&D at two different hospital and as a Traveling Nurse. So that is really three different employers for one variety of job.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of jobs held by Americans in my demographic (I am a ‘younger baby boomer’) is 11.7. This number is not the type of job but the total number of jobs held. (I am counting working as a Labor and Delivery nurse as one type of job. The BLS would count my working as a Labor and Delivery nurse as 3 separate jobs.) But even if the 11.7 jobs held by the average younger Baby Boomer were all the same type of job (Line Cook for example), that is quite a lot of different places and people to be involved with for work.

Looking over my list, I can see how some of my early interests have gotten honed as skills -really, by now I certainly should be a descent cook and baker, I  mean I did this stuff as a paying gig for years!

It also intrigues me how the pieces of my past work history come together in my current profession, midwifery. It is easy to see how the nursing and teaching jobs fit with midwifery. But my previous babysitting, housekeeping and cooking jobs are also good fit. Of course, it is helpful for a midwife to know how to comfort an infant, calm a toddler, or clean a bathtub. It is also really useful to be at ease in a variety kitchens when attending home births -I never know where I’ll be at three in the morning or if the laboring mom will need a cup of tea, or piece of toast. At one birth earlier this year, my digging through the fridge and puttering in the kitchen produced a big pot of spit pea and ham soup that feed us all for days (it was a particularly long warm up to labor and the soup was greatly appreciated).

What does your list look like? How do those past jobs influence you today?

May all babies be born into loving hands