In these troubled economic times, it helps to think of the good old days when getting up and going to work actually was stimulating, rewarding, and fun. It's different for each of us but there's an attitude pattern. It comes out when folks in the East County talk about the best job they ever had.
Mike Donnelly of Oakley said teaching was tops for him. "The pay was lousy but the work was fascinating. I had the ability to affect the lives of people. Working with them in sports was the best."
Anne Cakebread of Antioch worked with clergy for 24 years in a small religious nonprofit organization. "They were inspiring people who became great friends. I never was bored and each day was a satisfying experience," she said. "I've missed it terribly since I was laid off four years ago."
Being a soldier in the army was the best for Leonard Shavies of Antioch. "I spent 14 years in uniform. It taught me to handle responsibility and grow up as a man. At the same time I was serving my country," he said. "But, I got out in 1987, mainly because racial prejudice became too hard to take."
Joe Murano of Discovery Bay is a retired iron worker. "I spent 21 years in construction and miss it. The pay was fine. The benefits were good. And I got to work with my hands," he said. "It's a great job for anyone willing to get their hands dirty in the outdoors."
Oakley's Sandra Gonsalez's best job was in day care with kids. "It's a teaching job," she said.
Dolores Baker of Oakley was a cake decorator for 14 years. "There are so many opportunities to express yourself in this very creative job. And, it's even better now than when I quit 10 years ago. The pay is good, but you have to handle some of the more physical tasks that come with the job," she said.
Collette Chess of Discovery Bay thinks back to when she was 17 years old. "I was a dental assistant in Milwaukee and got to work with handsome, intelligent and fun-loving young dental students," she said. "One year later I got married to one of them. The experience taught me a lot about both dentistry and life."
Brentwood's Corine Comaus loves the job she now has been working at for nine years. "I'm the cashier at a gas station. I get to meet a lot of people, some of whom become good friends," she said. "The pay may be only mediocre, but the hours are good, I get to walk to work, and it's just a nice place to be."
Gina Medders of Rio Vista picks being a mom. "That's what I was put on this earth for," she said. "There's no monetary advantage but there are loads of other rewards. There's nothing more exciting than teaching kids about Jesus and encouraging them to seek happiness through Christ."
Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.