Back to the Working Class

My Work History

Employers and Dates:

Employement Period: 10/69-02/70

Uddenbergs Thriftway
Position: "Box Boy"

Employement Period: 6/70-8/70

Multi-Purpose Center
Position: Social Worker

Employement Period: 09/71-04/73

United Construction and Engineering
Positions: Serveyor, Time Clerk and
Inventory Clerk

Employement Period: 05/73-11/73

Harrison Memorial Hospital
Positions: Nurse Aid/Orderly
Areas: Emergence room, Cast Room
X-Ray Room, as well as General
Patient Care

Employement Period: 11/73-04/75

Colt Industries, Trent Tube Div.
Positions: Saw, Break Press, &
Roll Form Operator.

Employement Period: 06/75-08/75

Bremerton Memorial Hospital
Position: Nurse Aid

Employement Period: 08/75-03/77

Hal's Cheveron Station
Positions: Gas Station Attendant,

Employement Period: 05/77-05/88

Michellen Tire Co.
Position: Mechanic

Employement Period: 06/88-10/88

Brownsville Automotive Center
Positions: Asst. Manager, Mechanic

Employement Period: 10/88-02/89

Hal's Cheveron Station
Position: Mechanic

Employement Period: 02/89-04/89

Naval Exchange
Position: Asst. Manager, Mechanic

Employement Period: 04/89-06/89

Harold's Shell Station
Position: Asst. Manager, Mechanic

Employement Period: 07/89-02/81

Firestone Tire Co.
Position: Mechanic

Employement Period: 03/81-08/81

GoodYear Tire Co.
Position: Mechanic

Employement Period: 12/82-02/83

Nitendo, Inc.
Positions: Assebler,
Quality Control Inspector

Employement Period: 03/83-12/83

Structural Instrumentation
Positions: Assembler,
Functional/Electrical Testor

Employement Period: 02/84-3/84

Positions: Assembler,
Quality Control Inspector

Employement Period: 3/84-2/85

Tone Commander Systems
Positions: Quality Control Inspector,
and Testor

Employement Period: 3/85-3/94

Sundstrand Data Control
Positions: Quality Assurance Auditor,
Receiving, In Process,
Precision Mechanical,
and Final Inspector,

Employement Period: 4/85-2-95

Coastal Manufacturing
Positions: Mechanical and Receiving

Employement Period: 12/95-06/00

Quinton Instruments
Positions: Mechanical, Receiving,
and In-Process Inspector

Employement Period: 06/00-04/01

Self Employed
Operating my own Internet Business,
Racing Sailboats, and Part Time work
at AAA Tank Service

Employement Period: 04/01-07/01

Advanced Digital Information Corp.
Position: Quality Inspector Lead

Employement Period: 07/01-01/02

Travis Industries
Position: In-Process and
Final Inspection

It's hard to be humble,
When there's so little gain,
Too easy to stumble,
And be left in pain!

I have lost most of my records of the dates of previous employment. So I will have to do the best that I can to give an accurate account. I have had numerous jobs up to the time that I graduated from high school. Most of those were working for the family in the summer as a logger or as an oyster picker/harvester. My first job with taxable income was for a grocery store in the last year of high school. I took that job in order to pay for my first car. The job came to an end because of a new assistant manager. I and several left our jobs, due to him.

After high school, I got a temporary summer job working as a social worker. My main responsibility was to set up and provide the children of low-income families with entertainment and social experiences of the middle and upper-class children. There was a young woman my age also hired to work with me and help with this program. Together, we were quite successful with achieving allot of inspirational activities and entertainment for them.

When that job ended, my cousin and I traveled down Nevada with the idea of getting a job at a government facility there. It did not pan out, so we went to Los Angeles, California to visit with some of the family. From there, we went up to Bellingham, Washington so that I could go to a technical school and he enrolled in college there. Due to running into a financial bind, I dropped out and moved back to live with the family.

Several months later, I got a phone call from my dad. He told me that there was a job opening as a surveyor in Georgia and if I wanted it, he paid for my flight down there. So I moved down there and got the job working for United Engineers and Construction building a hydroelectric power plant. I started out working in the surveying department at a Rodman/Chainman. It was not long to gain enough experience to be promoted to an instrument operator position. After about a year and a half and construction was nearing an end for the surveying department, my dad got me lined up with the Boiler Makers Union for employment as a parts clerk and time clerk. I was laid off several months later as construction was coming to an end.

Not knowing the area very well, I took any job I could get. What was easily available is a job at Harrison Memorial Hospital there. After working there in several positions at minimum wage, I never gained much interest in that line of work. I met this one young lady that worked there, Kathy Threadgill. We hit it off so well that we later became married. One of the patients that I became acquainted with ended up dying. One of his last requests was to the company that he worked for. He requested that they give me a job there.

After I was notified that he had done this, I turned in my two weeks notice that I was quitting and went to work at that company, Trent Tube. I started out at minimum wage and within a year, had achieved about four cents per hour less than the top pay scale at that union job. That was about $3.87 per hour. That does not say much for the strength of the United Steel Workers Union.

I left that job and we moved to Tahuya Washington. We were both looking for work as soon as we got settled in. The nearest major town to find employment was in Bremerton. I took my wife to Harrison Memorial Hospital there, to see if there were any positions open for her. During the conversation with a lady from the personnel department there, Kathy mentioned that I had experience in the medical field too. We were both hired for part time positions. During the period that I was working there at near minimum wage, I was also looking for other lines of work.

Probably with too much haste, I accepted a full time job as a gas station attendant at Hal’s Chevron Station at near minimum wage. Due to the irregular shift hours, it was not feasible for my wife to continue working at the hospital. During the period that I was working there, my grandmother sold me one of her lots in Tahuya and arranged and paid for a house to be built on it for me. My house payments amounted to $200 a month. I did about one quarter of the work on it myself and was putting in up to eighteen hour days working on it and the gas station too. Along with marital problems stemming from my overly consumed time, irregular work schedules and shifts varying between opening, mid-day, and late evening shifts, it was a struggle for me to develop my automotive skills there.

It was not long after the house was mostly completed and we had been living there for a few months, my wife divorced me. After a few years working there, the owner paid for my training and I became a mechanic. Even so, the pay scale was barley enough to get by with. Due to that, my divorce, the 75 mile round trip commute, and other frustrations, I left that job.

I found an opening at Bremerton Tire & Auto Repair. On the way to the interview, I tried to pass a car that was doing about 15 mph in a 25 mph zone and got side swiped by a car pulling out from the opposite side of the street. After exchanging contact information, I went on to the interview, and got the job. The commute worked out a lot better for me. One of my co-workers was a certified master mechanic. He lived in Belfair, which is located about half the way to work. I made arrangements ride to share the commute with him. I learned a several things from him, including a more inconspicuous way to drink and drive. He would stop and pick up a bottle of Coke on the way home, empty half of it and top it off with whiskey. After about a year of working there, we got a new assistant manager. He got impatient with me one day and ended up loosing the job.

Within a couple of weeks, I was hired as an assistant manager at Brownsville Garage, working for a co-owner who used to be the senior mechanic at Hal’s Chevron when I was working there. To say that employment there was informal is an understatement. Instead of being paid a set hourly rate, I was paid for half of the labor I did in individual automotive repairs plus commission on related parts sold. This amounted to about $9.00 per hour. I did not know prior that this co-owner named Guy, was illiterate. That caused several problems, especially dealing with the work schedule on customers’ cars when he went on vacation. He did not relay the total repair schedule to me at the time, I found out upon his return. About a month later, someone broke into the place and stole a variety of things off vehicles inside and outside of the building. All of my tools which, were mostly Snap-On, were stolen too. Guy told me that the insurance company would cover my loss. A few days later, he told me that the insurance would not cover my tools and that he would pay me for the loss. He later said that his credit was not good enough with Snap-on Tools and that he would reimburse me for the tools if I purchased them. So on credit, I purchased the replacement tools. The business went downhill fast after the burglary, and Guy did not start reimbursing me for the loss, so I quit. He never did reimburse me for the loss, which was over $1000. excluding interest.

It was easy for me to get a job back at Hal’s Chevron, so I worked there quite successfully as a mechanic. Within a few months of working there, one of the customers told me that he was a manager of a Navy Exchange auto repair shop and that he was looking for an assistant manager.

I was interviewed for the job and got it. The building was a couple of days away from completion when I was hired, so I got some orientation at the Navy Exchange branch located in the Bremerton Naval Ship Yard.

When the building, located at the Bangor Submarine Base was completed, I started working there. It was over an 80 mile round trim commute for me. The first day there, I was told that I would be paid minimum wage until the place was stocked and ready for business. I figured that would be ok, with the understanding that within a couple of weeks, I would be paid the original amount that we had agreed on. Within those two weeks I, with assistance from other employees got the place set up for business. This included putting in the shelves in the front sales area and stocking them. Also we had to set up the auto repair bays by assembling and installing a variety of related equipment. After we got the shop ready for business, I was told that my pay scale would not be changed. Along with that, I also found out that the manager had no prior commercial experience and his only qualifications, was that he was previously an officer in the Navy. Due to that and the lack of skilled auto repair employees hired, the business started going downhill fast. Due to the managers’ prior affiliation with the Navy, it was easy for him to make a scapegoat out of me and I got fired.

When I filed for unemployment insurance, I found a job posted at the Employment Security Office for an assistant manager at a gas station in Bremerton. I got the job, but like the previous job, the place I was hired to work at was not ready for business yet. The owner had several gas stations, and I was told that I was to work at one of them and that I would be paid near minimum wage until the newly purchased station was ready to be opened.

When the new place was ready, I went to work there and finished setting it up. As it turned out, the job was more like a gas station attendant and I did not get the pay originally agreed upon. I was getting into a financial bind by now, and getting quite frustrated too. Due to the lack of support by the owner to this new business by providing adequately skilled employees and other shortcomings, business did not do so well. Again, I was held responsible and within a month or so of working there, got fired.

About a month later, I got a job as a mechanic at a Firestone tire store in Bremerton as a mechanic. The pay was a little better, and the facility was well organized. Finally I had found some work that allowed a sense of employment stability. To reduce the cost of living and commute time, I had made arrangements with one of my family members to rent my house in Tahuya and I moved into a house in Bremerton very close to work. Due to the various things that put me in a financial bind, my grandmother foreclosed the loan that I had with her to pay for my house in Tahuya. After a year of working there, I remember thinking that it sure would be nice to make $800 per month. I was still way short of making that. My car was getting quite worn out from all of the miles that I was putting on it, so I bought a used endoro motorcycle from Paul, a friend of mine. As it turned out, we got a new assistant manager and the business started going downhill within a few months. I got laid off. During the period that I was working there, I met this lady named Shelly thru Paul. I ended up moving in with her, sharing rent in her apartment.

It only took me about 2 weeks to get a job nearby at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Finally I got a stable job that paid over $800 per month. Things were going quite well there. I developed very good customer relations. The assistant manager there said to me that, I appear very qualified to work as an assistant manager. The trend continues. Within a few months of living in Seattle, someone stole my motorcycle about a week after I got it paid off.

In the fifth month of working there, I was told that Goodyear was going to close the store and that some of the employees, myself included, would be transferred to other stores. The employees that were not laid off during the closure were required to pack up the stock and move it out to various nearby stores. The some of the inventory had to be taken to one of the main Goodyear warehouses in Portland Oregon. I volunteered to drive the twenty-four foot truck down there. When I got there, I thought I was going to have some help unloading the truck. That was not the case, I found out. So, I hand carried it all from the truck to pallets on the loading dock. When the truck was about half way unloaded, I came across one box that weighed about 200 pounds. While carrying it, I hit my knee on something and which caused some pain. I was so tired by then that I did not realize how bad I was hurt. I notified the forklift operator that I hurt my knee, but I still did not get any help. I finished unloading the truck, which took about 4 hours total time. It was not until about an hour into the return trip, when I stopped near Kelso, Washington to call my brother about staying the night at his place that I started realizing how bad my injury was. When I pushed in the clutch, my knee hurt pretty badly. I got no answer when I called my brother, so I drove the truck back to the apartment in Seattle. The next day, I notified the store manager about my injury and continued to finish moving out the remaining inventory throughout the remaining week. I did not want to cause any problems that might disrupt my employment there, so I did not seek medical assistance for the injury. I then was transferred to Goodyear store in Everett, Washington. I found a condominium to rent about 2 blocks from the store and moved in. Once at work there, I kept getting assigned the low profit repairs by the assistant manager, which made my productivity level look bad. It was about a month later that I was fired because of his actions.

Needless to say, my spirits were quite low by now. I moved back in with Shelly and collected unemployment. I was very uninspired to look for work.

After several months, I got a job as a mechanic at a Target store. The pay was so low there by comparison to what I was previously making, that the Unemployment Security Department subsidized my income. I found that the work aggravated my knee injury quite a bit, but I kept on working there. I was being considered for an assistant manager position, which did not pan out. This did little to help my spirits. I lost interest in working there. I ended up with a mutual agreement to get laid off.

My spirits went further into a slump and me knee kept getting worse. It started swelling up until it was about the size of a volleyball and my left leg was about a half inch longer than my right because of it. I started getting medical attention through state industrial insurance. I had the fluid drained from my knee and was prescribed some anti-inflammatory medication. That medication upset my stomach, so after a couple of days I quit taking it. I later found out that the same medication was killing people in Europe. I went back to the same doctor and notified him of the effect of the medication, so he prescribed something else. A few weeks later, my knee had swollen up again. He drained almost an equal amount of fluid from it again. That medication had some unwanted side effect too, so I started taking aspirin instead which kept the swelling down. I quit going to the doctor and figured that I would let nature take care of itself.

Several months of leaning toward despondency had gone by and I still had little inspiration to continue that line of work. Shelly was getting intolerant of my condition and suggested that I go to school for electronics assembly training. I did very well in the class and ended up going out with one of the teachers too.

It was not long afterwards that I got a job at Nintendo thru a temporary employment agency. Within a few days of working there, I was asked to work in their quality department as an inspector. I gladly accepted the offer, even though it meant no difference in pay. It involved playing/testing the games about half the day of those that were built the day before and inspecting the workmanship of those being built that day. Working there was my first taste of employment in manufacturing. It was far from the working environment that I had any concept of. They had big speakers in the ceiling and piped in rock and roll music of a local radio station all day. The both manufacturing leads and my supervisor were female. One of the leads and my supervisor had a crush on me. I was quite flattered. The game we were manufacturing was Popeye. I remember some of the technicians there going around with cans of aerosol coolant spraying the woman’s breasts looking for “Popeyes”. I was really surprised when I went to one of the after work parties and a couple of male employees had the female manufacturing supervisor “sandwiched” and she was enjoying it. After enough were built to saturate the market, I was laid off.

After that, I got a job at Structural Instrumentation as an assembler. Working there was not nearly as organized as Nintendo. It was a family owned and operated manufacturing firm. The first week that I worked there, this one older man walks into the area that I was working in. I had not seen him before and assumed that he worked there. He was dressed informally like everyone else there. Out of curiosity, I asked him who he was and what he does there. He answered that he is the company owner and that he does as he damn well pleases…then laughs. I guess my assertiveness to be a good worker intimidated the manufacturing supervisor there. Or it may have been my sense of humor that set him off. After lunch one day, he and some of the gang were talking about family traits. I said, “there is only one trait in my family…diarrhea, it runs in the family.” He instigated some contempt for me by the lower management there (the owners brother) and eventually I was fired. I got a letter of recommendation from my supervisor though.

Not long after this, I got a temporary job at Sea-Fab as an assembler thru Volt again. Within a couple of days of working there, I talked to the Sea-Fab management and convinced them to put me in the quality department there as an inspector. The job was working out well. I was getting allot of diversified experience. One of the funnier things that happened there was at lunchtime. One of the employees, a hippie looking character who lived in a low rent area of Seattle, asked if there were any cheap places to rent in Bellevue, like a slum area. I said no there are none there, but you can move there and start your own. He did not get it, but it sure got a good laugh from the other people near by. Within two weeks of working there, I had convinced the management there to put me on as a permanent employee. I had to wait until the one-month contract with Volt expired first, but Volt agreed to three weeks. The Monday of week that I was hired as a Sea-Fab employee, I got a phone call from Tone Commander who were offering me a job there as an inspector for a dollar an hour more than what I was making presently. I had an interview with the quality department supervisor at Tone Commander prior to my employment with Sea-Fab. I gave Sea-Fab a once week notification of quitting.

The job at Tone Commander worked out quite well. It was the first company I worked for that provided health insurance. It had a very well organize quality department. It is one of the few companies that I have worked for to this day that had a Quality Engineer assigned to generate inspection instructions and quality requirements for the inspection and manufacturing departments. I gained more diversified inspection and auditing experience and skills. After about a year of working there, they had a big layoff that included me.

During the period that I was working at Tone Commander, I moved out of the place that Shelly and I were renting and moved into an apartment as a roommate, closer to Tone Commander.

Within a month of losing that job, I had landed a job at Sundstrand Data Control, found a place to share rent on the waterfront of Mercer Island for $300 per month including utilities, and I bought the Sandbagger. Luck was finally going my way. The skills and highlights there are far too expansive to include here. But still my self-esteem was not very high. I remember at times feeling selfish about buying that sailboat, since most of my life had been one of extroversion. I could not afford to be otherwise prior to this. I was originally hired to work as a night shift, in-process inspector. A week after I started working there, I was offered a day shift position as a quality assurance auditor. Being a morning person, I gladly accepted the offer. In that position, I progressed in the department faster than any other inspector hired prior. My promotions came sooner and my raises were always at the top of the limit. I worked hard to achieve them too. I survived several lay-offs as the company kept downsizing. It was not until one of the senior quality engineers became the quality department manager that I got laid off. In his prior position, he often became upset with me for continually requesting corrections to various errors found in the quality manual. Most of those errors were his responsibility to correct.

He gave me a one weeks notice of termination. In that week, I heard of some positions coming open in another division, Global Wolfsberg, and that was to be moved to the Redmond area. I went to the personnel department and got no cooperation from them, so I got the phone number of the manager at the Global Wolfsberg. With his help, I bypassed the personnel department and got a job as a shipping clerk without a drop in pay scale and seniority. By the end of the week, I had coordinated a flight to Irvine, California for two weeks of training at Global Wolfsberg before it was to be moved up here. I worked there for two years until Sundstrand was sold out to Allied Signal. The Global Wolfsberg division was then transferred Little Rock, AR. Only a few of the technicians were offered a job there. Needless to say, I was laid off again.

I found a job at Coastal Manufacturing as a night shift mechanical inspector. At each job I was always learning something new, including this one. Learning is easy to do when you like what you are doing. I lasted there for 5 months and 3 weeks. Due a major loss in business, they had a major lay-off one week before I was to receive one weeks vacation pay.

From there, I got a job at Quinton Instruments as a mechanical inspector. I learned a lot more working here about medical related manufacturing. I also learned how to operate a variety of computer operated inspection equipment. I progressed quite quickly there too, achieving top-level pay raises. I developed my efficiency to do the work of 3 to 4 inspectors. When the fitness line that I was most directly related, was sold to Stair Master, things started going downhill fast. The workforce was reduced in the quality department by 50% while, but the workload was only reduced by about 20%. Along with that, contact with other department personnel meant dealing with hearing their constant reflections of contempt for Stair Master. On top of that, I had been dealing with my roommates suicide attempts. As it turned out, again I had attained the brunt of some employees’ contempt was terminated.

With all that took place over the last couple of years, my motivation level dropped extremely after that job ended. I spent a lot of time working on my web site, trying to make some money there, along with part time work for a friend of mine and racing sailboats to keep my spirits from dropping too much.

It took several months to get enough inspiration to land another job. This one was thru On-Site at Advanced Digital Information Systems as a Quality Inspector Lead on night shift. When I went to On-site and was told of this position, I got a gut feeling that something was wrong. They also had a quality auditor position open. I wish I had taken that instead. I got thru the interview quite well and got the job as a “temp to hire”. The company had some good aspects though in other ways, it was underdeveloped. I liked the way they had developed their documentation system. All of the manufacturing, quality, testing documentation was available at computers stationed at various locations along the assemble lines, and all inventory was recorded in the computer system too. It was primarily a “paperless” manufacturing system. Too bad they did not implement a more balanced budget toward ensuring that the related support documentations was adequate. It was nearly the opposite of working at Sundstrand Data Control and Tone Commander in that sense. Another thing that seemed to be a downfall was that they primarily hired temporary personnel. It seems to me that doing so allows for a high turnover rate. I got the impression that temporary personnel are prone to be not as committed to supporting the company as someone hired as a permanent employee. During my three months there, three of my employees were fired due to poor work ethics. The cause of the last one to be fired had started long before I was hired there. Even so, as a result of that employee’s actions, I was terminated too.

Out of the necessity for immediate income, I took a job at Travis Industries. I was hired with the idea of doing the receiving inspection for them. As part of their training process, they wanted me to get experience with the various products by doing in-process inspection. Apparently, I did not fit in with such an informal manufacturing system. They manufactured wood and gas stoves and furnaces. The acceptance criteria are poorly documented and were not available to the manufacturing personnel. What quality documentation that was available to the inspectors was for the most part, obsolete. What seemed strange to me was when my supervisor would come to me and start making various accusations reflecting that I was incompetent without giving me any circumstances to back those accusations up. I figure if you are going to tell me that I am doing wrong or inadequately, you should at least let me know what it is that I am doing wrong or inadequately. It sounded to me like he was venting, rather than requesting corrective action. I survived one lay-off there, but I did not survive the next downsizing.

So here I am, presently regrouping after seeking employment for the last four months. I have had no success and am thinking about taking most any job outside of flipping burgers. Heavy sigh!

So where does that leave me... Spare Change Anyone?

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