Alternative Occupations

You can no longer work in the book industry: what do you do to earn a living?

This is the stuff that dreams are made on, as Shakespeare wrote, (and was misquoted in The Maltese Falcon as “made of” and so nearly everyone says it that way, but I digress.)

I think only the Fox who asked this is actually paying the bills in the industry, but who wouldn’t like to?

I have not been working steadily for a some time due to health complications and family necessities.  Now that my time is freer it’s much more the health concerns, but I did like working regularly. Most of the jobs which I have had gave me a feeling of accomplishment, and I always learned something…and the money was absolutely necessary most of the time.
(No one understands how little I have learned to get by on.)

If you have been reading here at all, you know that I owned a bakery/restaurant. I also worked at it before I took it over, (as we also discussed in ‘opening businesses’). I also did personal cheffing, which is a lot easier and more lucrative.  I had also been asked by a local restaurant to go in and make desserts for them, so, all else aside, I could cook and/or bake. I cooked at a store deli where I added to the menu.(They were upset when I left.) I also worked doing general and specialty diets foods at an upscale assisted living center.

Need a part time cook? Need special diets attended to? I could easily go back to personal cheffing, health allowing.

Food, I can do.

I can also sell, if need be. We discussed ‘first jobs’ here, where I was supposed to go in to help the floor manager, (‘jane of all trades’), of a store but ended up arranging, stocking and selling. I knew watches, but those where when you wound them and ‘they took a licking and kept on ticking’ Timexes. I can fix a lamp harp to fit the lampshade you want to  the lamp that you love. I can help with the choice of upscale children’s wear, quality and fitting. I the proper serving pieces that you may need and their capacities.  I know quality craft items, a bit about sewing, so there is that, as well. I worked with many artist and so learned the subtleties of choosing the right frame size and colors hidden within wood to enhance a painting, so I could work as a framer.

I was a cashier, too, when needed.

For years I did some bookkeeping for a couple of businesses. I would not want to go back to it, but I could keep abreast of accounts in a bookstore/café which I would love to have, which we spoke about recently in the topic: “Would you like to open a business?”

Although looking at some of my house, you may not know it, but I did work as a housekeeper for a while. I did it for someone I knew who needed trusted help and also knew that I needed a job. I helped her clean and organize the large house which she was just finishing renovating. I worked with her carpenters, painters, tiler, handymen and delivery people.  After the house was arranged and the renovations finished, I moved on to being her Personal Assistant. I chauffeured her son, I ran errands, did pick-ups and deliveries. I arranged a party for her. I worked with her decorator, who loved the smell of the meals I was preparing as a personal chef for the friend, as well as my work at the house; I could find work through her, if I were up to that.


Would I rather glue myself to my chair and crank out all the stories in my head, though?

You betcha.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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15 Responses to Alternative Occupations

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I wish you could come and advise the “chefs” at the senior apartment complex where my mom lives. Their menus are getting to be a joke. Anyway, it’s good to have a backup plan, and it looks like you’ve got that covered. Hope your health issues are resolved soon so you can go back to writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, that is too bad about your mother’s place; there is no reason for that. The desserts for the diabetics had been the only problem at the time when I entered that job; they had them down to sugar-free ice cream or cookies…every day. I stepped it up. There were a few people with food allergies and the staff was on top of those, but now that there is so much gluten-intolerance or sensitivity diagnosed, (although I believe much is due to GMOs, “Round-up” and other man-made factors), I imagine that a good kitchen is not as easy to run. Where my brother has been in residence has pretty good food, I must say, but some of the places were terrible.
      One problem is low-paid staff but really, the biggest is budget. It would amaze you to find out how little is allotted per resident per day in any group situation. Nursing homes generally budget $4-6 dollars; in a private, assisted living situation, it may be lower than $10 where your mother lives; you may ask. It was a great deal lower,very much lower, when I worked, but the man in charge was an Army chef who could shop and make things go very far. He amazed me at how he could keep the good meals being cranked out and still squirrel some away to have sirloin tips for Father’s Day and the like. Even if the allotment seems reasonable,(remember that they buy in bulk and wholesale, so the food is less expansive than retail grocery prices), the manager may not be competent, (or may be misappropriating funds, food, or taking bribes from inferior suppliers.)
      I’m still working on stories; the brain never stops.Research is ongoing!


  2. jbrayweber says:

    You have definitely worn many hats, Tonette! I’d be proud! When I was growing up, I always had the idea I could do anything. I still pretty much feel that way (is I am physically able). But I found it wasn’t *me* who had the limitations. It was the obstacles, roadblocks, prejudices, time, of *others* that kept me from it. Well, except being a jockey. I simply grew a few inches too tall, despite still being short. LOL!

    Btw…didn’t know that about the Shakespearean quote. Cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, let’s just say that I have had a number of experiences.I didn’t realize that some were ‘cool’ until they get pointed out to me.I do keep telling young people to take any training or learn anything they can because you never know what will come in handy.(I wish that I had asked a seamstress friend of my mothers to let me apprentice for her.I will always kick myself for missing that one!)
      I understand where you are coming from, Jenn! My mother would tell me that I was smart enough to do or be anything, but she had hard-held prejudices about what women did or didn’t do at the same time, despite the fact that she held a good position during WWII at a ‘war plant ‘ and saw many women capably working in traditionally male jobs. In fact, her best friend was a woman engineer! But that was Mom.(Set me up for dates and then try to back me out, that sort of thing.)
      When I was 13, I realized that I would NOT be able to know everything there was in the world, or at least, everything worth knowing.I truly fell into a depression that no one around me understood. I bet that you do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jbrayweber says:

        I do, Tonette. I have been turned down for positions I was well-qualified for because of my intelligence, race, and gender. I have also been told because of my looks (too blonde, too much chest, too pretty) I’d “be a distraction” to the men. I wish I could have taken that as a compliment. But even in my early twenties, when I was still self-conscious and too young to really “get it”, I knew that I had been disrespected.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Are you complaining or bragging? Just kidding!(“Too much chest” was never a problem that I had). I WAS told that I was ‘too much of a lady’ for one government position when I was in my 20s, (1975?)…can you imagine anyone having the nerve to say that now? Even then, the manager, who I believe truly thought that he was right and complimentary, (and said that he wished that he had an opening in another department for me), back-tracked on the statement.
          Wow, you really got hit. So sorry.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Quite a variety of experiences — and you seem to have approached all with enthusiasm and determination. And professionalism.
    Sounds quite like a Renaissance Woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve also had various occupations I could fall back on, including having my own business making novelty cakes, which was fun. But I’m very happy to be able to devote my full time to writing these days, and rely on my retirement income to support me. I know not everyone can. We have those experiences from the past to use in our writing. And should the time come when we’d have to get another job, we could fall back on one of those.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, Sharon! You really must experience people and life to write well. You can always tell a very young and/or sheltered writer by the way they tell a story…poorly. Thanks.


  5. You have many things that you could fall back on if the need ever arose Have you ever written a cookbook? I love your food blog! I do hope your health improves soon. I know how difficult dealing with health issues can be. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the prayers and thanks for the compliment, Angie! It does my heart good to know that my efforts have paid off. I need to go back to that blog. I got disheartened when I foolishly did not save the recipes and pictures for another series and lost them in a computer crash…SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, externally!
      As for a cookbook, well the blog would have been one. It started as a letter to someone who wanted meatless recipes and although there are plenty of meat recipes in the blog, (and gluten-free and vegan), I found out why so many people turned to food blogging: There is a “Catch 22” situation when it comes to cookbooks . You can’t become famous for your cookbook these days because you have to BE famous before they will publish your book. You don’t have to be a celebrity chef, just a celebrity. Gwenyth Paltrow’s first cookbook had nothing to do with the reality of your average kitchen, yet to was a big seller and they gave her contracts for more of the same. ( I can’t tell you about her subsequent ones; the first with so many recipes for duck breast was more than I could handle.) I tried to let regular folk know that they CAN cook and entertain, but no one was interested. It’s OK; My blog has grown with my own knowledge. I can add so many more gluten-free recipes now. (Quinoa will feature prominently soon.)
      Keep checking in!


  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I probably couldn’t make it in your occupation list. I’m not that great of a cook. I’d have to go back to teaching.


  7. Teaching is oneof the best occupations I can think of! My husband as a teacher when I married him and he taught for 16 years…he would still be, if circumstances were different. To make it professionally in any kitchen, you need to really WANT to cook; it’s hard enough even with that driving you.


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