Since my blog posts are made into yearly books, which hopefully our children and grandchildren will one day enjoy reading, I thought it would be fun to add my career history as well just for posterity sake, starting with my marriage to Carl in 1986.
June, 1986 to September, 1986: K-Mart, Wichita, KS
Just out of college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-and Hearing Science, which at this point is useless in my field without a Master’s Degree, I go to the local K-Mart for a job where they give me a pricing gun and a list of products to update each day and I spend hours placing new price labels on products all. day. long.
September, 1986 to sometime in 1987: Vollrath, Memphis, TN
My mother-in-law, Sue, who was working outside of the home for the only time in her life since I’ve known her, got me a job as a secretary at the company where she worked. I don’t really remember anything about that job except that the company had to do with medical supplies.
1987: Bob Blow’s Office, Memphis, TN
I don’t know why I changed jobs but I do know that it was right across the street from the apartment that we were living, which was very convenient. Bob Blow (I’ll never forget his name) was a technological early adapter and was involved in buying cell phone towers in cities across the county. He had a giant, corded cell phone in his yellow Mercedes that I would get to drive around to run his errands (pick up his dry-cleaning, go to the bank) and I would call Carl from the car because it was so cool!
Bob frequently traveled to Washington DC for the cell phone tower lotteries and then I could forward the phone calls to our apartment and just stay home those days. I remember it being a relatively boring job since there was just not much to keep me busy. I think I only worked there about 6 months until I started graduate school.
August, 1987 to May, 1989: Memphis State University (now called University of Memphis)
I attended a two-year graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology. Since all graduate students in the program perform therapy throughout their training, I actually went to graduate school for free and was paid a monthly stipend of $400. Sweet!
May, 1989 to December, 1990: DeSoto County School District, Southhaven, Mississippi
(Southhaven is just across the border from Memphis and so that is why I worked there for those of you that are clever enough to realize we’ve never lived in Mississippi.) My first professional job was as a public school speech-language clinician at an Elementary School making a whopping $19,000 per year. I love this photo from when all my family came down for my graduation and I pasted in Gale from a similar photo so that I’d have all of us in one photo (that’s old school Photoshop!).
I actually worked during the month of May after graduating, then had the summer off and returned to work in August. One of my biggest memories from that job is that the public schools in Mississippi still paddled children at that time. It was quite traumatic for me to be walking down the hall and seeing a child bent over getting paddled on the backside for bad behavior.
Another memory is the fact that there were still many families living with dirt floors and no running water or indoor bathrooms in this school district. The social worker and I would have to go to the homes of some of my students to obtain signatures (because they would never return the forms on their own) and I was amazed at the conditions of some of the homes. Again, another very traumatic experience for middle-class me.
I love the fact that after getting hired in my first professional job, I immediately got pregnant. I wouldn’t even make it through my first full year before having Kelly in April. After having Kelly, I had the rest of the school year off and then the summer off, giving me over 4 months home with her before returning the following school year just 2-1/2 days per week, which is what I worked for most of my career.
January, 1991 to June, 1991: Memphis/Shelby County Health Department, Memphis, TN
A former supervisor in graduate school hired me to complete preschooler speech and language evaluations and write reports a few days a week.
August, 1991 to August, 1993: Excellcare Rehabilitation, Prospect Heights, IL
After moving to the Chicago area, I got a great job with a Rehabilitation contract company that offered me full benefits and guaranteed me 30 hours per week. My first year, I traveled around the suburbs, serving in nursing homes, hospitals and a Head Start program. I was definitely not a fan of my time working with the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals and this was the only time I did so in my career.
They eventually found me a contract at a private, special education school which was not far from our home, which was so much better although this was my first experience with children with significant needs, including autism, Tourette’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome.
One of my favorite memories of this job is that they had a few condos that employees could borrow for a $50 cleaning fee. We were able to use this amazing 3-bedroom condo in Beaver Creek, CO with Carl’s parents during the week of Carl’s brother’s wedding in Vail.
August, 1993 to August, 1995: Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, Naperville, IL
In a move that still blows my mind, after seeing a classified ad in the Speech-Language professional magazine, Carl and I bought an established private practice near us. The business came with a part-time administrative assistant and contracted with several therapists. The leased space included a reception area and three offices. I eventually had to let the administrative assistant and the other therapists go and I handled all the business myself because I couldn’t afford to keep them.
The business needed someone with a lot more business knowledge and a lot more drive/desire to market and build the business. At that time, I didn’t even want to work full-time and we were going through infertility treatments trying to get pregnant again. I should have never given up a well-paying, steady job to try to run my own business. Luckily, we were able to sell the business and recoup most of our money, although I didn’t really make any money for the two years that we owned the clinic.
August, 1995 to April, 1996: West Chicago School District, West Chicago, IL
I returned to the school system as an elementary school speech-language clinician. My two main memories of that job are 1) there was a huge Hispanic population and I had to try and do speech-language therapy with many students using an interpreter and 2) they threatened to sue me for leaving the job before the end of the school year after we had moved out of state.
April, 1996 to April, 1999: Fairfax County Schools, Fairfax, VA
I worked as a speech-language clinician two and a half days each week at Forestville Elementary School.
April, 1999 to late 2000: Stay-at-home mom
After moving to Minnesota and with Zack’s impending adoption and subsequent arrival, I took some time off of work to be home with our two young sons. Keeping them in line was definitely a full-time job!
Late 2000 to Feb, 2001: Target, Chanhassen, MN
After staying home full-time for over a year, I had a desire to get out of the house without children so I got a job in the evenings at Target as a cashier. I remember working over the holiday season but don’t remember when I started working there.
August, 2001 to August, 2002: Edina Public Schools, Edina, MN
I finally decide that if I’m going to work outside of the home, I’d like to make more than minimum wage and decide to go back to speech-language therapy in the public school system. I worked at a high school a few days a week in a nearby district.
August, 2002 to June, 2007: Chaska Public Schools, Chaska, MN
Our local school district had a part-time opening and I’m was able to move to our home district. In a unique position, I’m a public school speech-language clinician placed in the large Catholic elementary school. In all other states that we’ve lived, if private school students need special services, the parents are responsible for transporting them to the public school for services. In Chaska, they actually place clinicians within the larger private schools. For the 2006-07 school year, I only worked two afternoons a week doing evaluations for the school district while Anthony and I tried out homeschooling for the first year.
August, 2006 to March, 2013: Homeschool Teacher, Chaska, MN
Anthony is homeschooled from fifth grade (8/2006) until halfway through ninth grade (1/2011) and Zack is homeschooled from halfway through second grade (12/2006) until two-thirds through eighth grade (3/2013).
For the first few years of homeschooling, I kept up my Speech-Language licensing. But by the second year when things were going well with homeschooling and we were in it for the long-haul, I decided that when I ever went back to work, I would be ready for something different. I think by this point I was just tired of working with children and the paperwork necessary to do the job. So I let my licensing lapse and I retired from Speech-Language Pathology.
July, 2011 to present: KLM Bookkeeping
Carl was a member of the Chaska Rotary Club Board of Directors and their long-term bookkeeper decided to retire. Carl suggested me, since he knew that I was good on the computer and managed our family finances on Quicken. Plus, this was a job that I could do at home. After starting with the Rotary Club, members started calling to hire me to do their bookkeeping. And thus my bookkeeping business was born!
I have found that there is a difference between training and gifting…I was trained as Speech-Language Pathologist but I am gifted as a bookkeeper/computer geek. So I find a lot more enjoyment with what I do now and feel that I am better suited for it. But speech therapy was a good career while raising a family since it very flexible, had school hours and summers off and it was always in demand throughout our moves…there was never difficulty finding a job quickly. But I am certainly grateful for the second career that God presented to me and have enjoyed working with so many different clients over the years.