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When Do You Think You Have Worked Enough To Retire

Updated on August 12, 2013

My Employment and Life at Work

This hub is something way different than what I usually write about, which is addiction to alcohol, but my wife and I were talking about my employment history and I thought this would be a good way to put my work history down on paper so to speak.


I got hire by a local farmer when I was 13 years old and my very first job was picking string beans. I woke up at 5am in the morning and my best friend and I were taken to the farm to start our day. As the sun came up, it got hotter and hotter with each bean being picked. After hours of picking string beans I went to the carriage with my bushel basket and received my ticket which was worth $.84 (cents). Do you know how many beans it takes to fill one bushel basket? Many I can tell you. The whole entire day I filled only three (3) baskets with the grand total of $ 2.52 for the day. After we cashed the owner of the farm let everyone jump in his built in pool to cool of and to get the pounds of dirt of us. That was the highlight of my day the entire summer.


I went house to house cutting peoples grass and then shoveling their snow each year to earn that almighty buck.


In High School while many of my friends played sports I looked for jobs and found one in a auto parts store stocking shelves and unloading trucks until I got my driver license and then delivered the parts to the local gas stations. I had my eye on the owners car which was a 1964 Corvette. I continue working at the auto parts store thinking I will save enough money to buy that car from my boss. The day came and the car went up for sale. The price was $1,800.00 and I had the money to buy it and I did. I was the talk of the High School. The only person to have a Corvette while still in High School and why is that? I was the only person working everyday and weekends to make the money to buy that car while everyone was playing sports


I landed a job that paid well in a glass plant working in the hot end of the plant where the sand, lime and all the ingredients were melted to make the glass. I had to go up on the crown of the furnace in a asbestos suit and boots with 5 inches wooden soles to sweep the crown off of dirt. You could not stay up on top of the furnace for more than 2 minutes tops because of the intense heat. If you stood in one spot more than a couple of seconds the wooden boots would begin to smoke. It took a whole 8 hour shift to complete that job. I had to go down into the silos with a miners pick on a Bowman's chair and knock the lime off the side of the silo that had gotten stuck in which it was 60 foot down from the top hanging on a chain. I would swing back and forth from side to side and swing the pic at the sides on approach. I applied for a position in the plant at the cold end where the glass was the finished product. Here I had to pack the glass coming off the line. Some of the orders the sheets of glass being packed by hand with of course protected clothing was 8 foot wide by about 5 foot tall and 1/4 or more thick. I was a hard job and a very dangerous job also.


I started in the hospital working in Central Supply making $3.33 per hour. I worked there a few years until a job posting came up for Physical Therapy and a pay increase. i loved that job, but the money was not what Ii needed to support not only my first Corvette but the second one also. Yes, 2 Corvettes at the same time. I moved on to maintenance, them making $7.37 per hour and to courses on Cardiac Rehab. in the hope I will land a better job at the Hospital. In the mean time I did Autopsy's with the Pathologist making $25.00 per autopsy. I did all the traction setups in the Hospital and the ER. I met my wife working at the Hospital and after our first child was born I had to leave to work in a factory for more money to support our family.

I also worked with an electrician for my second shift at the hospital running co-axel cable through the entire hospital for the new computer system they were putting in. Months and months of 16 hour days until it was done and worked with him on my days off with his personal business doing electric work for extra money.


One more factory job all for the ;love of money. I was a mixer on the 3rd floor of a resin plant in which we made all the plastic pellets to be shipped and melted down to make LP records. back then the plant had a big contract with Columbia Records when Bruce ( The Boss) was hot selling records. We used many different chemicals in the mix some being liquid and some powders. One was called Black Monarch which was so fine a fly going by would make it go into the air. We used a lot of lead in the mixes and I was made to drink one (1) quart of milk per 8 hour shift to dissipate the lead out of my body. That didn't help because I did wind up with lead poisoning and out of work for about 3 weeks. I got laid off 3 times in one year because I was the low man.


I started my own business painting and wall papering homes and offices. My father in-law hooked up with me and we worked as a team. He had been a house builder his whole life and asked if I would be interested in building spec home and selling them. Of course I said lets do it. We built 7 homes from the bottom up, Did all the concrete work, framing , installing window and door and all the block work for the basements or crawl spaces. After a couple years and after taxes took a toll on us we called it quits. i continued to do my odd jobs to make the money needed and then applied for a Job at a local Catholic High School.


Worked in a High School doing maintenance of building. Cutting of all the ball fields and surrounding areas. Waxing all the floors in the school. In the meantime I took my driving test to get my BUS 1 licence so that I could drive the teams and the band to their games and concerts for the extra money. In then I added on more job to my day by painting the entire Rectory for the priest. I also had the honor of working w\ith Greg Liginski (The Bull) from the World Champion Phillies.


I took on a so called part time job with my wife's uncle that build large developments. He need a painter to paint inside and out of homes. I bid on the job and got it. I left work at the High School and headed to the development to paint to the wee hours of the morning everyday including weekends in which I had to hire a guy to help me spray the interior of the home. His job was to continue mixing and feeding me the paint as I sprayed. These homes needed to be finished in a timely manner because they were all sold and ready to go to settlement.


My boss of the High School was offered a job being the manager of a large Cemetery in Trenton and he turn it down do to him being close to retiring from the school and wanted to just take it easy. I overheard his conversation and I stepped in and said, " tell them I am interested in the cemetery job. so I went for the interview and got that job. I had 8 hours of training and the prior manager walked away leaving me on my own to learn the cemetery business. I stay for 3 years until I was offered a better position in a different Cemetery and Crematory.


I was interviewed for the job of the second cemetery and was hired. This job was a manager job, but there was a few more things I needed to learn that I didn't have to do in the first Cemetery, which includes running the crematory when the cremation operator was not available, and learning the sale and design of granite and marble monuments which was a job to learn in it's self.

November 5, 2011 will be 21 years employed at this job. I ask myself, "have I done enough work to warrant retiring or just taking a part time job here at the shore.? Have I paid my dues with very dangerous jobs?

I have written a few hubs regarding living life simple and still be happy, so I guess it is time to put my money where my month is, so to speak. IT IS TIME TO PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH!!


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    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      @ Louise.. Hello Louise. It is so nice to see you again. I have done many jobs,but my present job is getting to me now after 21 years. Wife is not in favor of this at all. She claims we have to wait until we have enough money saved and my answer was , "we will never have enough saved the way this economy is now. I will have to work on her LOL, but I would never do anything without her approval and backed 100%

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Mark, I can certainly relate here! A long daily commute is no fun. It sounds as though you would be happier working part-time? You've gone through so much in your life, you deserve to be happy.

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      @ Barbara -Well I really don't have enough money, but I will get a little part time job to make ends meet. Something like I said above, a little bit happier than what I do now,(Cemetery) Thannks for your comment and also good luck to you and your husband as well :)

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      @ Vocalcoach - Thank you so much for you comment and most of all your kind words to me.That really meant a lot to me. Thanks!! The wife is a bit nervous but I have provided our whole married life and I will continue to do so, just a lot less money (income) we have everything we need and paid for, so we just need money for everyday living expenses. I think I will go for it. :)

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      If you've got enough money saved, go for it. My husband wants to retire, but we need to save more before he can do it. It sounds like you've worked hard all your life, so you deserve it.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Like a very good book, I couldn't put this hub down! I lived every job, disapointment, and emotion with you. All I can say is...#1 Youre a hell'uv-a man and #2 and a good writer as well. You deserve to live out the rest of your life in complete joy and good health. A huge thanks to you for sharing this story - and a huge vote UP!

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      princesswithapen - Thank you so much for your comment. Since I quit drinking 2 years ago this month my thoughts and action in life have changed much and all for the better. I feel now I can do anything such as retiring early and be able to think it out clearly without the booze talking. The only way to find out if it will work is to just go for it. As hard as work is to find out there I am sure i will not have any problems with my experiences if need be. Little part time job in a happier job would be perfect for me. To much death for too many years.


    • princesswithapen profile image


      7 years ago

      From farming to auto parts to a glass plant to a hospital to a factory to painting to a cemetery.

      Superb hub, Mark. I felt as if I was right there, while reading about the intricacies of your work history.


    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      @ point2make- I guess we think a like. You know everyone is afraid to make that move and I realize it takes lots of money these days to survive but I recently sold my home (short sale that is )and lost lots of money and moved into a double wide mobile home 6 minutes for the Ocean and the bay right down the street, Paid it in full remodeled it complete. That was my first move to easy living and now all I have to do is to get enough guts to make that final move and get a little part time job here at the shore and enjoy life what time I have left here, no one knows but one person. Life is too short my friend. I keep telling my wife that and she is scared to death of me leaving a good paying job, not to say I drive 120 miles day back and forth to work.

      Thank you for your comment



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