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My Year On A Paper Route aka My Year of Insanity

Updated on April 24, 2016
One of the joys of a paper carrier...ignoring traffic signs.
One of the joys of a paper carrier...ignoring traffic signs. | Source
Bizzard? So what, get those papers out there!
Bizzard? So what, get those papers out there! | Source
The route must be delivered despite the weather.
The route must be delivered despite the weather. | Source
Tavern Row; at two a.m. this is a place to be avoided....unless you are drunk of course.
Tavern Row; at two a.m. this is a place to be avoided....unless you are drunk of course. | Source

Let me preface this article by saying this whole experience is Bev’s fault. For the un-initiated out there, Bev is the love of my life, the woman I plan on living the remainder of my days with, and there is no other person walking this planet who I respect more. However, this experience was her fault.

Before I go any further you need a little background information. It would be silly to begin this story without an introduction; that would leave you roaming around lost like a dog without his bone and that would be cruel of me, so please, allow me to backtrack a bit so you don’t need a GPS unit to find the story.

In October of 2010 I abruptly quit my teaching job. While in a staff meeting the principal called me unprofessional at which point I picked up my keys, tossed them to her and walked out into the drizzle that is Olympia. I was embarking on a new life; only problem was I had no idea what that new life would consist of. Now some might call me impetuous for my actions but we just ignore those people so no harm, no foul. Fact is I had been slowly weaning myself off of the fixation with full-time work. For forty-five years I had worked full-time and I was beginning to question my sanity, so when the opportunity to make a meaningful departure was presented to me I grabbed it with both hands.

As I was driving out of the school parking lot that day I clearly remember both of those hands shaking. What the hell had I just done??? I was sixty-one years old at the time and I had just quit a paying gig that included health benefits and I was driving home praying to the gods I didn’t get in a wreck and require medical care.

Once the hands stopped shaking and I gained a semblance of calm I realized that all was okay in my world. I didn’t want to work there anyway so no big deal. Now, what was I going to do? It took me about a month before I decided I was going to become a freelance writer. What, no experience? No big deal, I’d just fake it until I made it! In the meantime, maybe a part-time job wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Enter Bev stage left! Bev had been a paper carrier for eleven years and she had just heard of an opening on a route. Would I be interested? I gave that about as much thought as I had given quitting my teaching job and said yes, I’ll give it a try!

The rest of this article is rather painful and I fear I’ll get a bit emotional, so please, be gentle with me, give me some understanding, and allow me to tell this to you at my own pace. I may have to stop for tissue from time to time but I’ll carry on as bravely as possible.

THE ROUTE

The first thing you need to understand is that paper routes are run in the friggin’ middle of the night. Gone are the days when a paper boy walks around the neighborhood flinging papers on the front porch. Most routes are run when the vampires are out for their nightly feeding, from one a.m. to about four a.m. If you are lucky you finish your route while it is still dark outside so you can scramble back in bed for a couple hours of sleep before the sun rises and the night people slink back to wherever they came from.

My route consisted of about 400 papers, sixty stores and 55 miles of driving nightly. My first night of training I was told to show up at twelve-thirty. I stumbled out of bed by midnight, found my way to the warehouse and then the fun commenced.

It would be hard to categorize the average newspaper carrier. My general impression that first night was of a collective moroseness. Being the new kid on the block nobody spoke to me other than the guy training me and he wouldn’t shut up. How could anyone have that much to say at that ungodly hour of the night? For three hours I rode with him on the route, learning the ropes and listening to his non-stop chatter about the nightlife and night creatures of Olympia. He wanted to train me a few more nights but I could not envision two more nights of inane conversation so I told him I was fine handling it from then on.

I had signed on to do the route three nights a week for $600 per month. Do the math! Nobody gets rich doing paper routes; I guess the attraction is the side show that goes on each night while you are on the route. My route took me right through downtown Olympia right about the time the taverns let out at two a.m. More about that later.

SLEEP, OH BLESSED SLEEP

I don’t know how many of you have ever worked a graveyard shift but let me tell you, man was not designed to work the middle of the night. I rapidly discovered that you are constantly tired when you work the graveyard. Tired as in zombie tired! I also found out that working three nights a week is a kiss of death because just about the time your body and mind shift into graveyard mode you are back to normal hours and just about the time you shift into normal mode you are back to graveyard. There is a very good reason why they call it the graveyard shift: you feel like you are dead each and every day.

That shift may be fine for raccoons and possums but for a human being it is taxing at best and hell at worst. I would get done with the route by five, slip into bed for two hours, get up and write until dinner time, then back to bed at six and up at midnight. After a few months of that nonsense Bev got the opportunity to take the route from my supervisor and she asked me if I wanted to do it seven nights a week. Naturally, because I was brain dead by that time, I said okay. How could it be any worse? At least I would be on the same schedule every night, right? My body would get accustomed to it, right? WRONG WRONG AND MORE WRONG!!!!!

NO CONTINGENCY PLAN

Here’s something to consider when you are working seven nights a week: there are no breaks, no sick leave and no back-up plan whatsoever. You could be bleeding internally and you are expected to deliver those papers. Substitute? What’s that? Your car breaks down? Find another one and hurry! Tossing your cookies from food poisoning? Suck it up and get out there! What, you want a vacation? Hahahahahahahahahaha!

I have no idea how Bev did it for over a decade. I know for a fact she ran that route at times so sick she could barely stand up. I know she went through, easily, ten cars during those years. Hell, the truck I had had for ten years finally gave up the ghost on the route leaving me scrambling for a solution one evening at seven. Thank God I still have friends who like me and who loaned me vehicles.

And oh my God, the weather! Through rain and sleet and snow and whatever the papers must be delivered. Mail carriers are wimps compared to paper carriers. At least they get to drive around during the day when there are normal people walking around who can help them. If we broke down we had our choice of asking the homeless for help or else the drug dealers. Either one was a crap shoot and could earn you a knife in the gut for being so bold as to ask for help.

OH YES, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE PEOPLE

I learned early on never to make eye contact. It’s simply safer that way! Be polite in a distracted sort of way, never stop for small talk with the street denizens and always carry pepper spray. Running the tavern gauntlet every night taught me to be aloof, be wary and be outta there as quickly as possible. There is no way to reason with a drunk; if anyone should understand the wisdom of that statement it is me. One night I found myself in the middle of a small riot involving maybe thirty hell-raisers. I just shut off the engine, locked the doors and became as invisible as possible. Twice I was accosted but those incidents ended quickly when I took out the pepper spray and declared my intentions to blind anyone within five feet of me. Three times I was approached by teenage girls at three a.m. who wanted a ride and more times than I care to think about the homeless asked me for extra papers so they could use them for insulation in their coats on a cold winter night.

For the most part I found the night people to be grudgingly acceptable because after a time my worst nightmare became a reality: I had become one of them by virtue of longevity. By the way, the Olympia police were wonderful and deserve a round of applause. They watched out for me, gave me a break on more than one occasion and were friendly and courteous. The Tumwater police, however, really need to get a life! I was stopped once because the trailer hitch ball on my truck blocked one of the letters on my license plate. Our tax dollars at work! Tumwater either needs more crime or more donut shops!

ONE YEAR AND SEE YOU LATER

I had promised one year and they got thirteen months. On December 31st, 2011 I ran my last night of the route. Because I had lobbied hard during the months leading up to that night it was also Bev’s last night on the route as well. I had finally convinced her that the job was bad for her health and we both needed to work as a team on the freelance writing business to get it up and rolling.

How long did it take me to adjust to a normal life again? Oh, about one day! Are you kidding me? I was elated and said goodbye and never looked back. Bev had withdrawal for a few weeks but now, five months later, she is rested and happy and oh so glad she listened to me and made the break.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m not sure what your impressions are of paper carriers. I have to admit I have a different opinion now than I did when I began. What I found for the most part were people who had regular day jobs who simply needed the money that a second job brings in. These are tough economic times and they call for tough decisions. More than once I had someone ask me why I was doing a route when I had three college degrees. I had one friend suggest that the job was beneath me.

My dad provided the best answer to those questions and comments. He told me a very long time ago that no job is beneath me. Every job is an opportunity to learn and grow and that I should treat each and every job as if it were the best job on the planet. I should always work harder than expected and I should never complain because there are a lot of people who would be very happy if they had my job.

Would I do it again? There is no way to answer that; if I had to, yes, because we all do what we have to do. I am not too proud to take on a job like that again but good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise I’ll never have to.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

A great hub about running a paper route:

http://thoughtsandwiches.hubpages.com/hub/Fear-and-Loathing-on-the-Paper-Route

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    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Bill this reminds me of working the 7pm to 7 am shift at the hospital as an RN, one of the most difficult things I've done to my body. This was great. Poor Bev got the blame but at least you got a great hub out of it! Take care, Kelley

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, working the middle of the night is insanity...I don't know how people do it year after year. I'm done for sure. Thank you for stopping by; it's always a pleasure seeing your smiling face.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi Bill. We do not have paper routes here done in the dead of the night. The guys start off at about 4 in the morning and are done with by about 9 AM. I know the deadbeat feeling that a graveyard shift gives.

      I'm glad the fun for you is over! lol.

      I think you have found your niche in writing and I enjoy and learn so much from your life experiences.

      Keep writing Bill. We love you.

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Bill,

      Oh my, my, my...you WERE in the trenches!! I feel as if my night of hell was nothing compared to 13 months and that is because it wasn't!!

      The night creatures. The Reno area had them by the dozens and, like you, I did my best to avoid and ignore them as we hurled newspapers in various directions and on the (occasionally) correct porch!

      Great Job! Voting Up and sharing!

      Thomas

      PS...Thanks for the link!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! If we delivered papers at the time they do in your country I might still be doing it. Those hours aren't bad at all! I'm glad you enjoy my writing; I respect you as a person and a write and your kind words mean a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thomas, thank you Sir! It was a very long year for sure. I did see some amazing things and the freedom of ignoring many traffic laws was fun and liberating, but I have no desire to return. Thank you for the follow!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I agree Bill, I can not do the night shift either. My body and mind just don't work well like that!

      You did a great job of detailing what it is like to live that life.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      LOL Bill, great insight into the life of a paper carrier! I have worked night shifts and they are hard on the body and mind. I'm glad you made your way to the freelance writing world :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I have no idea how people do it for years but I can't. If that makes me a wimp so be it. At least I'm a wimp getting good sleep now. :) Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, you are so loyal! Thank you dear friend; I really do appreciate you as a person!

    • profile image

      VirtualSoundNW 5 years ago

      I substituted on a paper route as a teen for a couple of weeks and it wasn't too bad, but that was a whole different thing than what you describe: papers delivered during the day by walking down the suburban street I lived on.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I delivered what in this part of the country is called a motor route delivery papers to people who live outside the city. this I took on to work my way through college.I usually started between 4am and 5am. I have had jobs with night hours and they were as bad as you say.I could get practically no sleep whatsoever $6.

      The routes were really more like self employment as independen contractors.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I so enjoyed this hub! Your dad was a very wise man, every job is an opportunity to learn. My sister ran a paper route for about a year, and she had a very similar story to tell. The snow was high that year and, as you said, the paper still had to be delivered. Voted up!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Great hub! As you know, I currently work as a paper carrier. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I drive 75 miles and deliver 80 papers. On Wednesday and Friday I deliver 2 different newspapers - total of 300 papers and drive 90 miles. Sunday is the biggest day! I drive right at 100 miles and deliver 360 papers. This is 99% rural route to individual homes. Oh, and Mon-Fri we have to be done by 5:30 a.m. Saturday's deadline is 6:30 and Sunday is 7:30.

      It can be tough and I do get the occasional uppity person looking down their nose at me, but I like what I do! It's honest work and it allows me to have my days free to write or to work at my other job as a human-powered search engine!

      Thanks for writing this! You get multiple thumbs up and an awesome vote! Oh, and a funny vote, too!

      P.S. Sorry I took up so much space!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      How dare you have only ONE year of insanity. You can't be in the Krazee Klub anymore! Minimum requirement is at least 5 continuous years of utter insanity. I could swear I sent you the rules!

      Up and "EXTRA, EXTRA, read all about it."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Virtual, thanks for commenting. I'm not sure what I expected when I took over that route but it wasn't what I got. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahoglund, that's exactly what they are...independent contractors. No safety net out there at all. Thank for stopping by and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, I actually had no idea that you were a paper carrier. Well nice to know I keep such good company. :) I think the papers are the same everywhere; I used to hate the weekend papers, especially Sunday. I ended up with tendinitis in both elbows from the strain of lifting the papers continually.

      Thank you my dear and you can write as much as you want anytime you want.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, that was just one year of insanity on the paper route. You have to re-instate me for my years of insanity prior to that. I'm a charter member of the "Walking Insane Club."

      Thank you my friend; I can always count on you to make me laugh.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, I have never forgotten the words of my dad. He had the Great Depression as a real life teacher and those lessons are hard to forget. Every job is a good job when you need it.

      Thank you as always!

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

      I dunno-- any job where you don't make eye contact and always carry pepper spray sounds pretty awful to me, not matter what the time of day-- but in the middle of the night? You are a hero, bullybuc. I don't know how you did it for a whole year. I bet every time you get writers block you just think back to what that paper route was like ans are soon churning out blogs, articles and hubs.

      fabulous read as always

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Roberta, I can say without hesitation that the route made me more aware of my surroundings at nighttime. I would have people step out of the shadows and almost cause heart failure. I'm awfully glad I'm done and you are right about the writer's block. Thank you once again for visiting.

    • upsidedownworld profile image

      upsidedownworld 5 years ago from Not a mental hospital YET! o.0

      I must say, your story made me laugh! I also delivered papers for a year, but while working a day job and I was a walking zombie. I am glad to have joined the day time people only, and left behind the night crazies..those night time shadow people freaked me out sometimes. My husband has been carrier for over 3 years now, 7 days per week, sick or not, no vacation unless you can miraculously find a sub... and the car breakdowns, don't even get me started on those! In the last 4 months, we've had $1200 worth of car repairs on his paper-mobile. He's actively searching for 1st shift employment. This night time stuff has got to go. There are people working there who've done it for 20+ years, I have no idea how they continue with it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know...I talked to some people who had over 20 years and I just shook my head. The car repairs alone made me question my sanity. So glad you and I are done with it. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment. We can both laugh now.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      What an experience! I can't even imagine doing that for one week, let alone an entire year! At least you have some interesting stories to tell - and, when you have a really bad day, I'm sure it doesn't half compare to that year of insanity! Great hub, thanks for sharing! :)

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Greatly enjoyed your writing about the humorous side of this experience. Paper routes are unfortunately no longer for 12 year-old-boys who lolligag down the street throwing newspapers onto the roofs of houses in their neighborhoods. Wonderful, how writers can turn any experience into grist for the mill. Thanks and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MelChi, thank you and you are right about perspective....it may not be the worst job I have had but it was bad enough to keep me positive now that I'm not doing it. Thank you so much for reading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, I've noticed the same thing about writers, the ability to take mundane subjects and find something interesting to write about. Thank you for your kind words.

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      ONLY one year of insanity??????! I work 8pm to 4am get home shortly after, pick my child up from childcare at 5am, get to bed by 5:30am because I have to be up at 6:45am (1 1/2 hours) to get her ready and at school by 8 am and then come home and try to sleep from 8:30-2:30. Of course, I signed up for it so as challenging as it can be, I don't mind. I've been on this shift 22 years but once I sell my house in Las Vegas and move to Oregon, I'll be home at night. Mind you, I didn't say sleeping, but I'll be home and my child will sleep in her own bed!

      Anyone looking for a 2452 square foot house on .62 acres in Las Vegas?

      Anyway, great hub. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed your writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Baking LOL yes, only one year of insanity! It was either quit after one year or lose it entirely. Daddy didn't raise no fool! Thanks for reading and you have my admiration for the schedule you keep. Best of luck with your move to Oregon!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I just love your style. No matter what the subject is, it's always a smooth read. Your humor and honesty provide entertainment and human reaction. You're like a book you just can't put down! And that, my friend is what a great writer is all about!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you are so kind. It's all in the voice and I guess I just developed it over time. I write much the way I speak when I teach...a storyteller by nature I guess because it really isn't a conscious style. Thank you my friend and have a wonderful Sunday!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      You're a smooth operator. Isn't that a song???

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! That sounds like a hellish job. I have had some family members do this between jobs. The described some of the scary nightlife as you have. They began taking cameras with them and eventually snapped a photo of what they feel certain is a Bigfoot. I am glad you and Bev don't do that anymore.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, that was a song but I am clueless who sang it. Now it will be stuck in my head all night long. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am too, Tammy; it was starting to take a toll on Bev's health. We are much happier now. Thanks as always my friend.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Sounds like a tough job. Loved your detailed description of your adventures. I don't know if I could last a year doing it, but like you said you do what you have to do. You really brought this story to life, and I was hooked from your first words. Great Job!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Truth....there are much harder jobs out there but I think I'll pass on all of them. I appreciate you stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I just had to Google it, Bill. Sade 1984. Aren't you glad I didn't put maresee doats and dosee doats in your head? Ha ha.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha....LOL

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      So funny, and so true. I did a year of night shifts at a TV station and decided I'd rather be a hobo living under a bridge then ever work nights again. Good on ya for surviving it and being willing to so it again if need be. As always a super entertaining hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Thunder, thanks for stopping by. Yes, hobo living sounded pretty good about December of last year. :) I appreciate your words and best wishes to you.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Dear Billy ~ The mail carrier job certainly gave you an experience to write home about and look how many sympathetic friends you've garnished here on Hubpages. Glad you found your niche in writing. Good luck to you and your friend, Bev. A great team! Blessings, Debby

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debby, thank you so much. I am a lucky and blessed man and I greatly appreciate your lovely words.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Now, this is encouraging, we had paper routes as kids too, crazy, fun. Great hub. Your book is growing, nice to see.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, for some reason I didn't have a paper route when I was a kid. I saved that fun for when I was sixty-two! Thanks for dropping by!

    • profile image

      mikeydcarroll67 5 years ago

      Interesting hub and perspective!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mikey, it was an interesting job for sure. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Rosalinem profile image

      Rosalinem 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Billy, you are a fantastic writer and this is a great read and I have liked what your dad said about any Job and it teaches us to be appreciative.Voted up and interesting and very Funny.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rosalinem, I appreciate your kind words. My dad's advice was usually pretty darn good if I was willing to listen and learn.

    • profile image

      Christy Zutautas 4 years ago

      Great hub...I love how you took a difficult time in your life and turned it into an entertaining (and very funny) story!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Christy; I'm glad you stopped by. It was interesting, as all my jobs have been. I think we can all learn something from every experience.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      "My dad provided the best answer to those questions and comments. He told me a very long time ago that no job is beneath me. Every job is an opportunity to learn and grow and that I should treat each and every job as if it were the best job on the planet. I should always work harder than expected and I should never complain because there are a lot of people who would be very happy if they had my job."

      Your dad, Bill, was a very wise man...and a good man for teaching his son well.

      I really enjoyed this hub in several ways. Working backwards, I was so moved by the paragraph re: your dad's advice that I just wrote a love letter to my daughter, Amber, based on the inspiration. She just finished her first week in the restaurant section of a local bakery. Her shift consists of opening twice during the week at 5 AM. As you know, most young people struggle with working at early hours, but God bless her, she did good this first week. Anyway, I am thankful for your father's words, Bill.

      Secondly, I love how you tossed the keys at your administrator and did a Johnny Paycheck number. I, too, turned my back on a bagel baking job a few years ago--a job I needed given the economic upheaval, yet a job I hated because it involved working in Redmond and thus being physically apart from my wife and daughter (son had already moved on to attend graduate school). Living in the Rainier Valley, as you can well imagine, was in itself worth a series of hubs...or not!!!

      Third of all, I know the agony of graveyard shifts all too well...and how it can erode one's physical, mental, and spiritual health.

      Finally, I want to share with you the good kind of pride and self-respect I felt as I walked away from it all, grateful for having been given a job yet unwilling anymore to take the crap from an unappreciative boss who presented well to the public yet failed in his human relations with his employees.

      All too well, I identify with the nagging self-doubts and ugly negative thoughts that follow.

      We push through adversity, free-falling from having jumped over a cliff, idiotic daredevils at an age when our peers have their retirement years well taken care of...

      ...and yet absolutely, astoundingly, and marvelously FREE!

      With utmost dedication and deference to my Higher Power--the God who's never deserted me--and working for the best boss in the world--myself--and so very happy to be home with my beloved wife, I'm free to conduct my own business full-time, write at any hour of the day or night, read some of the best writing in the world right here on HubPages, and walk to my heart's content and my body's pleasant fatigue (sure does beat standing on concrete for 8+ hours a night and the long two hours of bus and light rail commute each way to and from work).

      Just my long-winded and rambling way to say, "Thank you, Bill!" for a powerful and dynamic hub.

      Have a good day, my friend, and be forever cognizant of the power of our words and how they can uplift and encourage so many souls!

      Joe

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, I do believe I have found a kindred spirit from Walla Walla.

      You and I...we may not have followed the exact same path, but darn close. I love my life now. I love writing...I love not working for someone else, although I did love being a teacher. I name my hours, I spend quality time with my wife, and I have an appreciation for life now that was missing for quite a few years. There are still mountains to climb, my friend, and I look forward to every single one of them.

      Have a fantastic weekend, Joe, and thank you for your kindness. If my words have power and meaning then I am a grateful writer.

    • profile image

      Mark Glick 3 years ago

      I substitute in Rural Minnesota about 300 to 500 papers. Blizzard, rain, Idiot drivers. I feel your pain. Lucky I got a friend that goes with me but for all the advertisement money paper company's make they could pay better.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mark! The pay is getting worse here; they just cut the pay last month and a lot of carriers quit.

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      kimberly 3 years ago

      thanks.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Kimberly; thank you!

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      Kathy 3 years ago

      I loved this, it is so exactly put in the right words! I just started a 7 days a week 335+ paper route and now going into 3 weeks. I am tired, grumpy and not cut out to do this shift all over again. I keep praying for God to give me the strength to "carry on."

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathy, I wish you all the luck in the world. One year was more than enough for me. I'm glad I did it, and at the time I needed the money, so no regrets....but enough is enough. :) Thank you for the visit.

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      Rozalyn Winters 3 years ago

      I tried this. I only lasted two weeks. I've been trying to return to the workforce since I graduated from college, and was desperate because I was deep in debt (and still am).

      My summa cum laude degree in business (and psychology) from our state university is worthless, and going back to school at 40-something was a complete nightmare, but nothing like the nightmare of trying to return to the workforce over 40 in the midst of the Great Recession.

      I found this article when I was in the midst of those two weeks, and I was grateful to have found it, just to know that someone else had also gone through the same thing--it helped and it was actually how I discovered your writing on HP.

      I don't know if I'll ever recover from all of this. Taking that paper route was the lowest point of my life. I always believed that working hard would pay off, but that simply is not true anymore in this country. The worst part is that I never received any payment for my work, since my "contract" required me to give a month's notice.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rozalyn, I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles. I agree with you about hard work paying off. It is no longer a guarantee in today's world. I have no answers based on today's economy. All I can do is wish you well.

      Thank you for sharing this.

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      Shawna 23 months ago

      Wow! Oh the troubles you came alon during your paper route, sounds crazy. I might be starting a paper route next week paying $350/week 5 days a week for the Philadelphia Inquirer if I get the job. They say the paper gets to the warehouse around 2 am and I finish around 6:30 am. The guy is taking me out on Monday at 2 am to show me the route. I hope it works out cuz I really need the extra $350/week

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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shawna, I hope it works out for you. That's not bad pay for four hours per night.....good luck and stay safe.

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      Lea 20 months ago

      I just found this article and I must say, I laughed so hard. I just started a paper route for my small town. Let me just say, my knees hurt from stopping and going on the car's gas pedal/breaks! I get to the warehouse around 2am depending on the day and then roll papers and haul tail out of there to get papers delivered . I also work a full time job that start's at 8am. On a good night I get 4-5 hours of sleep. Last night I only got 3. I have never guzzled so much coffee and redbull in my life! I took on this job to bring in more income. I feel like a zombie. I have no idea how I'm even driving my car. haha,. I'm in the beginning stages of learning my route and I must applaud carrier's who already know their routes. I feel so confused! I also had no idea how picky people can be about where the paper is thrown onto their yard. WOW! Anyways, I am very tired, delusional but happily hoping that I catch on and this second job works out. I really enjoyed the article and insight you provided. I feel better knowing that someone else has gone through what I am going through!!! Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, it is an experience, for sure. Good luck and be careful out there. There is no shortage of crazies out there in the wee hours...but there are also some very nice people, which was the biggest surprise I found. :)

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      Brady 14 months ago

      Try working nights @the railroad

      Feel your pain but since I'm up anyway might as well deliver the paper and make some money...

      The way that read ...

      I can see why your a writer, enjoyed it!

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      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Brady, thank you. I appreciate you finding me and commenting. Best wishes!

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