© PJ Hayward, New York 2008
First Published 2008 by Hold On Publications
Revised © PJ Hayward New York 2013 &  PJ Hayward New York 2019

This is a list of all the various ways I have attempted to make a living since I left home at the age of 17 back in the early ’60s. 

As I mention at the end of this piece, my reason for showing this list of travesties and successes is to show you proof that even though a person wastes half a lifetime – it is never too late to apply yourself and succeed

  • Telephone Solicitor
    • One of those horrible, annoying people who call you to take a survey and you either curse them out or you hang up on them
    • I got fired from this job for hardly ever showing up for work
  • Survey transcriber
    • A person who receives the written surveys a telephone solicitor takes down from those poor people with no lives who will actually participate in one, and transcribes the data into statistics
    • I got fired from this job for being late all the time but primarily for getting into a brawl with a  co-worker.
  • Factory worker
    • I worked in a vinyl pipe factory doing 2 jobs.  First I was one of the people who carved the Flash (unwanted plastic that is a residue of the molding process) from the finished pieces.  Then I ran the injection molding machine, which is a life threatening job where you stand next to a screaming hot steel injection molding machine and when the mold opens, you have to pull the hot plastic pieces out of the mold before it closes  on your arm  for  the  next batch of molten plastic to inject into the mold.
    • I quit this job one day when I went up to my foreman, threw my hands up in the air and declared, “These hands were meant to create fine art!!  I can no longer subject them to such abuse!!”  The foreman reviewed me with a look that clearly said “Shit – should I call the guys in the white coats??”
  • Offset printing press operator
    • I ran the printing press at a local college
    • I can’t remember whether I quit this job or got fired, but at some point I left
  • Legal Secretary
    • My first attempt at secretarial work
    • I got fired after 2 days because I couldn’t type or take a phone message and I was late to work both days
  • Brass Lamp Factory Worker
    • Packaging brass lamp parts in boxes so the consumer could do the final assembly.
    • Since I chain-smoked weed and  stayed high all day long, I got fired from this job for putting all the wrong parts, or only some parts, or no small parts at all, in the boxes and screwing everything up. 
    • Also I was late to work almost every day.
  • Artist
    • In the ‘60s in Miami I made a bit of a living with my Art. 
    • Worth more to me than money though, the local art supply store felt I was worth supporting.  I would make paintings or drawings and give them to the store owners in exchange for supplies.  They would frame what I gave them and hang the stuff for sale in their shop.  Some of it actually sold – although since they paid me in supplies I never saw any cash from those sales. 
    • That was okay with me though because they kept me very well supplied with every kind of paint, spatulas (small utensils for use in painting) brushes, rolls of canvas, stretchers (to stretch the canvas on) and any other supplies I needed. 
    • As a matter of fact, in order to encourage me to try new things, they even gave me stuff I didn’t ask for, such as a huge box of oil pastels and other media aside from paint.  I believe if I had had any confidence in myself I probably could eventually have had a small show and maybe become  known in some small way, at least to the local people.
    • The only reason I quit doing so much painting is because I left Florida for a new life in California.
  • Coalition for Spiritual Enlightenment Church
    • Clerk in the File and Record Room
    • Graphic Artist, producing artwork for Church newspaper ads
    • I left these jobs when I finally became disillusioned with the Church
  • Pearl polisher and pearl sorter
    • Working in a pearl jewelry factory – my first job there was polishing the pearl dust off of pearls. 
    • My second job was a promotion – sorting the pearls by size and color (no easy task at first when they all look exactly alike)
    • Me and my friend Roberto were both working there and got simultaneously fired when we tried to organize a union.

Everything I did in the 10 or so years between this time (around 1970) until 1980 or so when I left my husband and started working at my honest job, was scuffling, scamming, scheming and doing anything I could to make a dollar. 

Working at that real job was the beginning of my attempts to turn over a new leaf, live right and work hard like a person my son could be proud of and talk about.

  • Oh there is one slight exception. 
    • Tony and I had a beautiful boutique in Little Rock for a couple of years during that time.  We kept a house in Little Rock and our place in L.A. and we would take turns traveling back and forth between the two cities, taking care of our various businesses plus our store at the same time.  We had all kinds of stuff going on there. 
    • We had a tailor who made beautiful one of a kind jumpsuits and outfits.  Some we sold to the public but he also made all sorts of wild custom made outfits and stage-wear for musicians and other show people and we would get a little cut of those sales. 
    • We had a leather guy too, who would make custom made key chains, belts and other leather accessories etc. for people.
    • Also we sold costume jewelry.  
    • We closed the store because first we got robbed in the night one time of everything in the store and then later on we got robbed again. 
    • That second time I got hurt very badly so Tony decided to just pack it in and close the store. 
    • One last thing we did there was this. 
    • There was this very racist white lady who was our supplier of beautiful costume jewelry that looked just like the real thing.  Tony had asked this lady several times to put a case of jewelry in the store on consignment but she always refused.  When I came to Little Rock to work in the store, miraculously when I asked her, she couldn’t get that case into our store fast enough.  So what we did when we knew we were closing the store – we took all the jewelry home and sold it to our friends.
    • After we were already back in L.A., Tony called the lady and told her to come to the store to pick up her weekly money and her jewelry showcase.  
    • Of course when she got there the only thing she found was an empty store full of dust balls. 
    • We had a lot of good laughs thinking of how she was getting her Redneck Cracker Just Desserts. 
  • Office Clerk
    • This was the job I told you about earlier where I narrowly missed losing my life on the crash of Flight 191. 
    • I did great at this job because I was finally ready to apply myself to earn an honest living at a regular slow job. 
    • Even more than that, I kept track of each and every piece of paperwork  I processed,  phone calls I took, how many errors I made or didn’t make and so forth.  When Review time was close at hand I took my statistics to our boss to prove what an asset I was to the company and to him personally, because my productivity made him look good. 
    • He agreed with me and gave me a 17% raise – unheard of in that office where the most they gave out was 3-5%.  Aren’t you proud of me?
    • I left this job only because me and my son ran away from Tony and came back to my home – New York
  • Executive Secretary
    • A series of permanent and Temp jobs I held between 1981 and 2004 when I retired.
    • Of these jobs I did fine at the first one and then that company promoted me to Assistant to the Vice President. 
    • I really wasn’t up to that job yet and so eventually I got fired. 
    • I was very blessed even in that though – because everyone in the office liked me and even the Vice President who found he had to fire me, felt bad about it. 
    • He gave me all the time I needed to find a job and even gave me all kinds of help in writing a good resume.  
    • It turned  out  it only took me a couple of weeks to find a job and that one paid  several  thousand  dollars more than what I was making for the Vice President.
    • In the end, getting fired turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 
    • That job and other jobs after that became stepping stones to bigger and better things, till I finally ended up at the luxury retailer I told you about, where I became one of the highest paid Assistants in the company.

Let this be a lesson to you:  even though a person wastes half a lifetime – it is never too late to apply yourself and succeed

Just believe in yourself and trust God – He will never fail you and will ALWAYS help you in learning how not to fail your own self.


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