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Twenty-four years ago today

August 22, 2007

Ha! You thought I was going to talk about a wedding anniversary. Nope.

Twenty-four years ago today I started my career at Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group in southern California.


I was a young, single mother of two and was lucky if I was earning $20,000 a year. I ended up staying with Pepsi (in various locations and franchises) for twelve years. I’ve never worked so long for one company since. Nor have I had a relationship with one person last as long. Weird, but still okay.

I don’t know why I thought of this today, but every August 22nd it crosses my mind. It was a great starting point for me and my manager at the time taught me some very good work ethics that still serve me well today. Things like being proactive. Thinking ahead. That time was also when I first started becoming quite computer savvy. Learning spreadsheets with Visicalc. Anyone remember that? And DOS. And fax machines that were as large as the top of a filing cabinet.

My kids grew up wearing and using all sorts of Pepsi paraphanalia. I was even working at the bottling plant when the white lab guys from Somers, NY came out to line test Slice before it was called Slice. I remember my friend and I cracking up and making jokes about the name. We thought it was dumb.

Pepsi was a big part of my life then and part of raising my daughters. I will be forever grateful for the start that company – and particularly that plant manager – gave me. I got to manage the installation of a new phone system and the training that went with it. I got to plan company picnics and holiday Santa events with toys for all the employees kids. This included shopping for toys using a company spending account. How cool is that?

Since then, a lot has changed. I’ve moved, my jobs have changed and grown, as well as my skills and income. My daughters are grown and having their own children (and thankfully not raising them alone.)

I’m not in a melancholy, retrospective mood, just a quick look back. I think it’s always good to review and reassess and appreciate what brings us to who and where we are today.

I’m grateful for today.

  1. Laura permalink
    August 22, 2007 10:41 am

    Every September 19th I remember that that was my 1st day at my 1st full time job. That was 29 years ago and I was all of 18 and was sooo exhausted after putting in my 1st full day!! Later on when I was still working full time with 3 children and a husband who was allergic to housework, I had to laugh at the thoughts of that naive girl who was so tired at the end of the day. I have to admit, I almost choked when I saw your wages. Get this! I make $20,000 a year NOW. (Gross, not net). That’s why I have a 2nd job as a waitress. I’m divorced with a house, 2 cars and all the expenses that go with them.
    A while back I commented to you that I sewed with previously used maternity panels when making my own maternity pants. Remember that? Now you can see why I’m so cheap. Just recently I made a really cute Burda top out of an eyelet shower curtain. Very cute and very cheap!!!Oh well, money doesn’t buy happiness !!

  2. August 22, 2007 11:12 am

    Laura, I sure hope I wasn’t insulting when commenting about the wages. I sure didn’t mean to be. I have the utmost respect and admiration for people who manage to make ends meet on such a modest income.

    I also know that I am fortunate to make a good salary and am eternally grateful for it. I also am fully aware that there are far too many people living on minimum wages and supporting families – and expenses are high.

    I do remember your comment, and tucked it away for future use. My daughter only has about 10 more weeks to go with her pregnancy and it looks now as if I won’t be sewing for her. That makes me sad, but at least I’ll have a grandson to sew for.

    I would love to see your top you made out of the shower curtain! I love things like that. Reusing what we already have is, to me, the ultimate in creativity and cleverness! I applaud you. Seriously – send me a picture and if you don’t have your own blog, I’ll post it here!

  3. August 22, 2007 11:46 am

    Visicalc! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve heard that name. I taught myself how to use Visicalc one summer lo these many years ago. I think it was on an Apple II.

  4. Laura permalink
    August 22, 2007 11:53 am

    Please!!! I certainly wasn’t insulted at what you wrote!!! I’m so sorry you got that impression!! I live on the east coast, so our wages and cost of living is much less than yours!!! I just thought it was funny. Actually, I do plan on starting a blog soon so that I too can post pictures of things I’ve made. I love doing things just a little differently. I could probably get a lot more sewing done if didn’t constantly add my own interpretation!! I know what you mean though about not getting to sew for your daughter. I promised my daughter who’s away at school ( a vet tech school in Pittsburgh) that I would sew her some skirts this summer, and I never got around to it! Although it sounds like she might move south when she’s done so she might get them for Christmas. (I’m not saying what year).

  5. August 22, 2007 1:34 pm

    Oh Laura! My youngest daughter is also going to school (in Seattle) to be a vet tech! Seems like that is the hottest new job these days. =) Looking forward to seeing your blog when you get it set up. We have much in common.

  6. BjP permalink
    August 22, 2007 3:08 pm

    I, too, remember very well my first day at my first “real” job. The very day I started, my now husband proposed….a very memorable day, Feb 14th, 1972!

    35 years later, I still have the same husband, but not the same job. I learned so much in the 15 years I worked there and I still look back fondly on what I did, what I learned, and those that helped me along the way. I managed the data entry department, back when info was on reels of tape and doing a “search” took a half hour or longer. And I still remember the field names for about everything: <106 was the item description. Ha – I cannot remember what my cousin’s name is some days, but I remember that!

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