Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The many careers of Fonda Bruises

Recently, in my research for Reuben's Grave, I blogged about being a cemetery memorial designer. Burgh Baby left me a comment that said:
How exactly does one evolve from gravestone designer to nail goddess? You must explain this!

To do this, I must start from the beginning. After graduating with a degree in accounting and computer programming, I took a job at Papercraft in Pittsburgh. It was a company that sold everything to do with Christmas. We sold Christmas trees, wreaths, wrapping paper, you name it. Funny thing was, it was a Jewish owned business. It was Christmas 24/7/365 and probably explains my hate for the season.

Papercraft also owned a subsidiary known as Knomark. Knomark manufactured Kiwi Shoe Polish and Snuggle Fabric Softener. I was the accounts payable clerk for Snuggle. I was miserable and hated that bear something fierce. I secretly fantasized about ripping his head off and pulling all of his stuffing out and hanging his unstuffed carcass from the antenna on my car.

I applied for every administrative assistant or accounting job I could find. On a whim, I applied for a job at a local monument shop that was looking for someone with artistic ability and computer skills. I went for the interview with a stuffy man in a suit in a funeral home. I didn't get the job.

About six months later, I either quit my Snuggle job or got fired, I don't remember at this point. I spent a week at home, doing nothing and I mean nothing.

I got a call from the memorial shop owner asking me to come in for another interview. At this point, I am pissed with life and ask him if it matters how I come dressed because I don't have any clean clothes. He said come as you are and I agreed to go right in.

People, let me tell you. I hadn't showered in days. I had sweats on. I looked like a bag lady, but you know what? I didn't care. I was so sick and tired of getting dressed up, putting panty hose on and interviewing for jobs that I was so qualified for and not getting the job. There was no way in hell I was going to shower and get dressed up for a job that I knew I had no qualifications for other that I had "artistic ability and computer skills".

I went on that interview and this time, I was interviewed by a working man, not a man in a suit. I was sat at a computer, with a madonna on the screen minus a nose. I was asked to draw her a nose using a digitizing board. I did and I must have passed, because I got hired and worked there nearly nine years.

I quickly learned computer aided drafting (CAD) on my own and soon, I was not only digitizing new designs and designing memorials, I was running the entire office and the sales room. I was a one woman show.

I also started freelancing in Pittsburgh at Carlini Brothers on Saturdays. Carlini's was located on Beechwood Boulevard in Pittsburgh across from Calvary Cemetery. I worked there many years after I moved on from designing memorials 9-5 due to the sheer love of the craft. I worked there until the owner passed away.

I left the local monument shop for personal reasons after about nine years. I got hired at a local credit union as a "Special Accounts Rep", which is a polite way of saying bill collector/repo woman. I did my job, and did it well to the point that I collected debt and worked my way out of a job. After a stint as a Consumer Loan Officer, I ended up being the Marketing Coordinator for the credit union.

After about six years, I was miserable working there. I got tired of a lot of things, especially now that I was in management. At dinner, on a Friday night, Mr. Bruises asked my why I didn't quit, that I didn't need the job. At that time, I was very active as a Stampin' Up Demonstrator and was living off of that money and banking my credit union salary. He was right and I quit that job on June 1, 2001.

By August, I was bored. I kept seeing ads for the local beauty school and their nail program. I called and went to tour the school, but I still wasn't sure. I called my former nail tech and asked her what she thought. She said that when I first came to her, years ago, that I mentioned that I would love to do this for a living. After talking to my mother, who reminded me that I had been doing nail art since I was five, I decided to go for it.

I graduated in late September and started working immediately in a local salon. I stayed there until June 1, 2004 when I opened my own salon. Notice the date. Three years to the day, I went from being a miserable marketing director to being a happy salon owner.

I guess the moral of the story is, do what makes you happy. You spend so much time at work, it helps to do something that you love. I hope that answers your question Burgh Baby!


YD said...

I totally agree with the "do what makes you happy" statement. I know a lot of people just do their job because of the money, not because they love it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Burgh Baby said...

That is one hell of a journey! I'm glad you found that one thing that makes you happy, and thanks for explaining the path!