Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Vast Array of Jobs We've Had!

Sometimes when we look at people we believe are successful, we don’t realize that they had a lot of unglamourous jobs along the way. Movie stars aren’t born movie stars, and my mom wasn’t an author until later in life. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at all the different jobs my mom and I have had. I’m only including jobs that we earned money for.

Mara's jobs:


—House Cleaner

—Telemarketer [Note from Toni: I had no idea! Note from Mara: The Davis Enterprise in ninth or tenth grade, I think.]

—Light Designer


—Actress (multiple times different projects)

—Dancer (multiple times different projects) [Note from Toni: Mara sings and dances beautifully, and is a great choreographer.]

—Dance Teacher (multiple times different studios)

—Farmer’s Market Worker for a bakery (I gained at least10 pounds that summer)

—Political Campaign Staffer

—Event Planner

—Professional Jump Roper 

—Jump Rope Instructor/Aerobics Teacher

—Production Coordinator

—Dance Studio Owner (never actually earned a paycheck, but it was a full-time job!)

—Political Fundraising Aide

Toni’s jobs: (starting with my very first one—and, no, I never babysat for money!)

—Gift Wrapper during the holidays at my father’s store on Hollywood Blvd. (the most fun job I ever had even though it ended when I was nine-years old)

—Political Campaign Staffer (many times over the years, starting in my teens)

—Cashier at my undergrad university's main eatery (University of California, Riverside) 

—Ticket Seller and Usher at the university's theater

—Fast Food Worker at a Tastee Freeze in Riverside (the worst job I ever had)

—Copying numbers from one piece of paper to another at Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco (the most boring job I ever had)

—Staffer at U.C. Davis’ main library, typing out 3 x 5 cards and filing them in the card catalogue (this is all computerized now)

—Researcher for a sociology professor who was studying health care workers’ attitudes toward the visibly disabled

—Clerk at Discoveries, a fancy gift store [Note from Mara: They were known for their beautiful gift-wrapping and my mom is a fantastic gift wrapper.]

—Clerk at a health food store (two different times, years apart) [Note from Mara: My mom used to make me carob chip cookies instead of chocolate chip ones. I am still very bitter about this.]

—House Painter, both the insides and outsides of houses

—House Cleaner (I see that Mara and I have both done this)

—Worker in drying sheds during the hot HOT days of summer. The job: cut an apricot in half; dig the pit out; lay the apricot on a tray to dry; repeat for nine hours; make ten bucks a day (the most physically demanding job I ever had) [Note from Mara: I love that my mom had this job.]

—Ticket Puncher. The job: walk through peach orchards and punch tickets of pickers when they show me they've filled a crate with peaches (this was a promotion from the drying sheds)

—Teaching Assistant while in law school

—Legal Intern for a local family law attorney

—Researcher for a law professor on his California discovery law treatise

—Researcher for a law professor on a water law project

—Legal Intern for a firm representing plaintiffs in a class action suit against Stringfellow Acid Pits, a toxic waste dump in Riverside

—Legal Intern for an attorney who was suing General Motors for defective brakes on his client’s car

—Faculty member at U.C. Davis School of Law

—Dean of Students at the same school (the hardest job I ever had)

—Teacher of law exam prep courses (my moonlight job to help pay for college for my kids) [Note from Mara: "BarBri" is seared into my brain forever.]

—Writer for Psychology Today online

—Author of books (the most satisfying job I've ever had)

Whew. That's a lot of jobs between the two of us (16 for Mara and 25 for me). Let us know your strangest or most interesting job!
Apricots on trays, ready to dry


  1. To this day, I cannot look at a row of rhubarb without grimacing, for the *day* I spent yanking intractable stalks of ruby rhubarb from endless (and I mean endless) rows of bushy mounds while in Sweden one summer....

    1. Well that sounds like the beginnings of a very interesting story...harvesting Rhubarb in Sweden...