My parents said I would regret not getting at least a bachelor’s degree. So far, I must admit that I don’t regret it. Maybe that day is still coming, but somehow I doubt it. (Although, kids, don’t listen to me. Stay in school and don’t do drugs.)
When I got out of community college, I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life, other than marry Mr. Everything. That part I knew for sure. I quickly found that my approach to life would be, “Fake it ‘til ya make it.”
The first job I faked was as a typesetter/proofreader at a rubber stamp company. Talk about a stimulating and fascinating occupation. I can’t even tell you the number of times a day I typed, “Pay to the order of Bank of America.” I went into the job with little to no computer experience. Back then, we didn’t really have computers in school, unless you took computer lab, and I didn’t. I learned to type on a typewriter. (Did you know they call it keyboarding now? The Beetle said he wanted to sign up for a keyboarding class, and I thought he meant piano!)
In the interview, the owner of the company asked if I was familiar with computers. My answer was yes. It wasn’t a lie. I knew what a computer looked like! He trained me on the computer and quickly found that I had no idea what a window was and why I wanted to open it. It was a good thing I was a fast learner! I managed to fake my way through that position enough to endure a year there. Then, I just couldn’t type, “Pay to the order of…” one more time.
The next job I had was as a preschool teacher. I was interviewed by the entire board of directors of the Christian school where I would work. They asked if I was familiar with working with kids. Well, of course I was. Why, I had actually been a kid at one point! How hard could it be, right? Early in the morning on the first day of school, as I made final preparations for my class to arrive, I realized something. I was teaching four year old kindergarten, where kids learned to print, but there was a flaw in my plan. I did not know how to print! I went to a Montessori school when I was little, and I was taught cursive, not print. I ran to my principal’s classroom and said, “You’ve got to teach me to print!” She was the first grade teacher too, and her friend, the kindergarten teacher, was in there with her. They both laughed at me and thought I was kidding. “I’m not kidding,” I told them. So, they got to work teaching me how to print. I was living the old saying, “Watch one, do one, teach one.” Luckily, the four year olds didn’t know the difference, and I survived that school year plus two more.
After teaching preschool, I moved on to selling Pampered Chef. I couldn’t even cook. I had never touched a whole chicken in my life. The first time I cooked one, I had to wear rubber gloves to be able to prepare it for the oven. Soon, people began telling me I was such a good cook. I would tell them that I owed it all to Pampered Chef. They had no idea how very true that was.
Several years later, Mr. Everything and I had the genius plan of buying a paint-your-own-pottery studio. There was one in town that was struggling, and the owner was willing to sell it cheap. We bought it (through the grace of God and my daddy) and knew right away that we had no idea what we were doing. We inherited kilns and glazes and strange looking powdery substances. The owner had said that he would stick around to teach us what we needed to know. However, he gave us a ten minute crash-course on running the kiln, and he split. We never heard from him again.
By this point, we had a week of spring break camp fully booked with kids. We had no idea what we were doing, but we knew we had to do it. Mr. E and I figured, if we knew any pottery terminology at all, we were doing better than the vast majority of people who walked through our door. We began reading and studying and talking to people, and slowly, with just a few disasters, we managed to make it work. I won’t mention the Father’s Day Fiasco of 2004. Let’s just say it was bad.
We stayed in business from 2003 to 2007 and closed at the end of 2007, due to the declining economy. Then, we morphed the store into a traveling company that taught sculpting to kids in day cares. Apparently, we managed to make it work, because we didn’t starve to death in those years. Now, Mr. Everything and I can talk about pottery with the best of them, and we actually sound like we know what we are talking about. (And of course, Mr. E does, because he, indeed, knows everything.)
After pottery, I got a job as an editor. I can’t really say that I faked that one, because I am an English teacher’s daughter. Grammar and punctuation have been beaten into me since birth. (teehee… Just kidding, Mama!) That was the first job I took that I actually felt like I somewhat knew what I was doing. Of course, I did not know all of the technology that went with it, but I picked that up pretty quickly.
Six months after I began editing, I was asked to be a trainer. That put me right back into the “Fake it ‘til ya make it,” mode. I asked my boss if she was sure she wanted me to train. I felt like I was doing such a bad job. She said she was sure, so I took the job. I think I had my first trainee so confused. She stayed with the company for quite a while, though, so I must not have messed her up too badly!
So, through the years, although I’ve had no clue what I was doing, I have managed to somewhat pull it together. Maybe my life would have been easier with a college education, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as much fun. -Al