September 2020 Volume 7, Issue 1
Right out of high school I knew I wanted to be in biology, but it took a while to figure out exactly what kind of job. Such difficult decisions – what to study in college and what to choose as a career for the rest of your life.
I grew up in a college town, so I had many wonderful job possibilities related to biology. Looking for a summer job, I first interviewed with a professor doing research on chocolate. I think I was a little too enthusiastic about the chocolate tree in the greenhouse and didn’t get that job. Then I interviewed to take care of chickens for another research project. Yes, “taking care of ” meant chopping their heads off and that wasn’t for me. Feeding cockroaches used in research would have been fine with me in the next job possibility. I must have recoiled just a little when they opened the barrel of roaches though, so I moved on to washing dishes, proofreading medical transcripts, sugar beet research and then mushrooms.
My first mushroom job was picking mushrooms at the college test facility, which grew different strains of Agaricus bisporus, the common white button mushroom. A benefit to this job was bringing home free mushrooms – sometimes even garbage bags full of them. Then I worked in a lab that kept a collection of a variety of fungi grown regularly on agar filled Petri plates (fungi like potato juice in their agar) and then stored in liquid nitrogen. These contacts lead to my first full-time job after graduation as a lab technician. We studied the proteins fungi use to break down paper in hopes of seeding landfills for faster waste decomposition.
All this time I was enjoying a hobby as a musician. When we moved away from the college town, I turned my hobby into a job. I played trumpet in two local symphonies, a jazz band and best of all a brass quartet with my husband. For almost ten years I taught piano lessons.
I had gone from biology research to teaching music, two very unrelated areas. Never before thinking to put the two together, I applied for a biology instructor position at the nearby community college. This journey of many types of jobs lead to SVCC. Not to sound corny, but teaching at Sauk is the most rewarding of all the jobs I’ve had.
I really didn’t intend for there to be a moral to this story. If you asked me, I would recommend that you consider jobs in many areas and even your hobbies. Be ready for the unexpected to lead to a fulfilling career.