My Life in Dollars and Cents

It’s hard to work at a job you don’t love. But it’s even worse to work at a job where you hate the people you work with.

Maybe that’s one reason why I’ve had so many entrepreneurial adventures in my life. The first two ways I’ve made money, aside from babysitting, were teaching piano lessons and taking care of other people’s dogs when they went away on vacation.


Kid Jobs

Teaching piano and a little flute, has been a satisfactory job. The money is good for the work you do. However, if you aren’t lucky enough to get a student who has even the slightest desire or natural ability to play, it’s just not good. It’s not worth the money. I’ve taught musically inclined students, which was awesome, and I’ve taught children who played too many video games and couldn’t put their thumbs and fingers together on the piano keyboard. Ugh.

I wrote a bit about my dog boarding kennel experience here. Overall, it was one of the best entrepreneurial ideas I’ve had. I love animals and I love walking dogs. I was fortunate that the owners who hired me with were always good to me.

In my grade 12 year, I got my first real job. I worked one evening a week and every other Saturday at my local town library. Most of the women I worked with were nice. The job itself was tedious, especially washing the books. However, I didn’t mind shelving the books. I think I was one of the fastest shelvers they had ever had and, to this day, you will see me tidying up the rows of books in any library I go into.

Piano/Flute Teacher Job Satisfaction Rating: 8 (10 being highest, 0 being lowest)

Income: 9 (same scale)

Dog Boarding Kennels Job Satisfaction Rating: 10

Income: 8

Student Library Page Job Satisfaction Rating: 7

Income: 6


Becoming a Cashier

My first summer home from University, I got a job working in a convenience store. I started off working in the bus depot (I liked that) and stocking shelves (ugh, hated that!), and quickly moved to cashier. Learning the cash register and cashing out was a huge learning curve, but in no time at all, my fingers were flying over the numbers and I was cashing out with only a penny or two over or under.

I remember the day I went to work after getting the news of my Mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis. I sat in the office and cried with my boss. She knew my Mom. She let me cry. She was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had.

Cashier Job Satisfaction Rating: 7

Income: 7


Another Good Boss

The next summer, I got my first full time day job. I was working for my town’s Chamber of Commerce. I began about a month after my Mom died which was better than sitting at home doing nothing. I had worked with the other employee, who was basically my boss, at the library and we had gotten along well. She too knew what I had been through and she was very kind to me. The joys of living in a town.

One of my project’s that summer was to make up a database of the businesses in the community. It was pretty awful because at first, I didn’t exactly know what I was doing and I was too afraid to ask. And then, after I figured it out, it was the second most boring job ever. Data entry sucked.

My dog died about a month into the job and I had to take some time off. I think it was only half a day, but maybe it was a full day. I remember walking into the office to tell my boss that my dog had died and I was crying more than after my mom had died. Grief is strange that way.

Summer Office Intern Job Satisfaction Rating: 6

Income: 8


University Years Continued

The next summer, I stayed in the city where I was going to University. I was in summer school and I needed a part time job. I found work at the Humane Society. It was not what I thought it would be. I imagined walking dogs and cuddling puppies. Nope, that was for volunteers. That wasn’t fair! (I eventually did volunteer at the Humane Society, bathing puppies and walking dogs.) I wrote about some of it here.

Then I got a job as a cashier at a gas station. The customers in the city were not nearly as kind as the customers in the town I had previously worked at. More than once, a customer left me in tears with their harsh words.

My immune system wasn’t great and I was getting sick frequently with juggling school and work. After I got strep throat, I decided to quit. I was almost done my University education and I decided to look for full time work.

Humane Society Job Satisfaction Rating: 7

Income: 7

Cashier Job Satisfaction Rating: 5

Income: 6


No Competition for the Weirdest Boss

My next job was working for a lawyer. In his house. Which he kept at approximately 15 degree celsius. Fortunately, I had a space heater in my “office” which I blasted the entire time I was there.

My boss was many things, one of them a hypochondriac. He was incredibly eccentric and spent his days out of the home, only wandering in and out once or twice a day. Most of the time, I was in his house alone, from 9 am to 4 pm. The house was empty of most furniture but it had piles of paper everywhere. I imagined that he was a serial killer and I never felt comfortable around him.

After a few months of working there, I had had enough. I was about to get married and move across the city and I didn’t want the commute. So I quit.

Law Office Secretary Job Satisfaction Rating: 3

Income: 8


Random Jobs, 1998-2001

After getting married, I taught flute lessons, then got an additional part-time office job at a Rehabilitation Company. It was a decent job but I was never comfortable with my coworkers.

I became a certified fitness instructor and took contracts through the City I lived in as well as volunteering at the YMCA.

After I got pregnant for the first time, I had a temporary job as an office administrator. I worked with a good friend of mine at the office but the rest of the people were not my kind of folk

Overall Job Satisfaction Rating: 6

Income: 6



Most everything I’ve done since having children has been volunteer. I have had two church office secretary jobs, just to fill in. My first pay cheques after having children came in the form of home-based businesses.

First I tried Stampin’ Up! which introduced me to the world of card making. Stamping and card making is an excellent way for a stay at home mom to express her creativity. I don’t know that I made any money from it, but I ended up with a lot of stamps and I made new friends by bringing the hobby into other women’s homes.

Next, I tried to sell “healthy chocolate”. I definitely didn’t make any money! I don’t want to talk about it.

Then I signed up to sell lia sophia jewellery. This time, I made money AND I got a lot of jewellery! Although it was a good opportunity, it wasn’t me. I’m not a big jewellery person and I’m definitely not a salesperson! After about a year and a half, I got out of selling jewellery.

Home based Business Job Satisfaction Rating: 8 Stampin’ Up, 2 for healthy chocolate, 7 for lia sophia jewellery

Income: 0, 0, and 6


Always Learning

I had been a certified fitness instructor previously and after having five babies, I had worked hard to get back “into shape.” I hate that word, but that’s the best way I can describe it. In 2013, I decided that I wanted to take it to the next level. I certified as a Personal Trainer and also earned certifications in Prenatal/Postpartum Fitness and Kettlebells. I’ve earned money teaching people how to work out at home and teaching the odd class.

Personal Trainer Job Satisfaction Rating: 7

Income: 5


Me, Not Your Normal Personal Trainer

I tried to get into the online fitness world but I lacked confidence in myself. I wasn’t willing to post pictures of myself exposing my lack of six pack abs.

The fitness I teach is a lifestyle. I’ve done the restrictive diets and the crazy hard workouts. That’s not what Moms need to do.

Moms need to take care of themselves through healthy eating that also includes desserts and their favourite foods without the guilt. Moms also need safe exercises for their postpartum bodies that correctly strengthen the things that have been compromised during pregnancy and childbirth. They don’t need insane workouts that make them puke and require them to give up one or two hours of their day, every day. If you want to know more, I’m at Kettlebell Mom.

Mom Satisfaction Rating: some days 2, some days 8, most days maybe a 6? It’s freaking hard.

Income: 0. Worst paying job EVER!


My Latest Venture

Lately, I’ve been making money writing. Mainly parenting articles. It’s not easy, but it requires less confidence then selling myself as a Trainer to women who want to lose weight with fad diets and extreme exercise plans.

I’m also starting to write fiction, and now with NaNoWriMo around the corner, I’ve been preparing this month to write my first 50,000 word story! Writing fiction is such a great way to get creative and lose myself from the insanity of raising five kids. 🙂

Writing Job Satisfaction: 8

Income: 4



Wow, so that’s been my life in terms of income! I’ve never made loads of money and I doubt I never will.

The jobs that I’ve enjoyed are ones that give me freedom and the ability to create.

The jobs I’ve liked the least involve expectations I can’t live up to (sales) and people. More precisely, bosses and co-workers. I don’t really have an explanation for that. It’s not that I resist being told what to do or getting along with people, I just find it incredibly exhausting. As I’ve gotten older and perhaps as I’ve been stretched to the limit as a mother, I’ve come to realize that I need to be careful with my mental energy. I don’t want to give it all to a job.

Writing this article: interesting.

Does it need work? yes.

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