Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

The work me

I had a question/comment on one of my entries that asked what I did in my work life before I retired.

My first job was when I was 16 one summer when I worked as a dress shop assistant in a manufacturers outlet store owned by friends of my parents. I sucked at it. (The beginning of kind of a theme.)

During my last year of college I started working as a newspaper reporter on the Wheeling News Register. I switched over to the morning paper - the Wheeling Intelligencer after graduation. After about a year or so, I got a job at a big paper - the Pittsburgh Post Gazette - which I lost before I started due to a strike.

It was winter and it was cold so I moved to South Carolina and got a job as a reporter/photographer for the Aiken Standard. It was a 5 day a week paper in a wonderful little town and I loved it but the pay sucked pool balls and I wanted money.

So I decided to go into sales and launched a 'hire me' campaign that was really fun. I ended up at IBM where I went through their sales training which was extensive and difficult and I was the first woman in my branch office (following on the heels of the first black). But, I made a lot of money even though, I sucked at it. I was skirting on my 'the only girl' ticket and I knew that wasn't going to last so I quit.

And moved to Southern Pines, N.C. and opened up a business finishing people's needlework, making dresses, and teaching macrame. Really. I picked Southern Pines because they had a weekly paper and advertising would be cheap. It was and I managed to even buy my first house.

Then I got married and moved to Charlotte, NC because my husband worked at the newspaper there. I got a job as a legal secretary because I could operate their word processor (I had learned during the IBM years). But, I totally sucked as a legal secretary. No spellcheck and I couldn't spell worth a damn.

I then found a job as a marketing manager for a perfectly charming non profit performing arts theater in downtown Charlotte. It was really a fun gig but, again, no money. So... one of the board members was the Communications Manager at the local IBM plant and he hired me.

I did internal communications writing and speech writing. I loved it. I moved to NY/Connecticut where I did speech writing and marketing coordination for IBM's real estate division. Another fabulous gig. Then I got a chance to work for a very cool guy I admired greatly and moved to Minnesota where he headed up the development of the AS/400 and I wrote his speeches and helped him 'sell' the lab.

Then he got a big shot promotion to Northern California and took me with him. This time I managed a team of communications people and speech writers.

And then I decided I wanted to live in Arizona and my manager was gracious enough to send me (and fund my job here for the first two years). The job sucked but OH how I loved Seattle. Then they moved my job to Phoenix. They gave the choice of moving to Phoenix or taking an incredibly generous buy out. Gimme the money.

I got a job with a small PR firm that lasted all of 3 months. I sucked at it. By that time, I had discovered the web and web pages. It was 1994 and the internet was still kind of a secret in the business world so my skills were in pretty high demand and the guy at the PR firm who fired me (it was actually pretty darned mutual) suggested I go to work for myself building websites for businesses. Which I did.

And then the web got more complicated and I was losing ground since my only teacher was me and I suck at teaching. So I went to work for Microsoft and building one of their first internal websites.

Then the dot com era bloomed and I got head hunted by a start up who's offices were across the street from my house. Trade in my 40 minute commute??? Heck yeah. Then that dot come blew up and I looked around the neighborhood and found another one kitty cornered from the first and went to work there.

After a couple of years I got laid off and found work doing contract web work for this guy and his contracts were with Microsoft. I did that for a couple o years until I found a better guy and did the same thing for him. (Those two guys later went into business together which always kind of amused me.) I worked out of my home coding pages for Zune and then for

And then I got laid off. I had been thinking about retiring anyway so I did.

And that's the whole story.
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