Astor Memories: How Astor Services Shaped My Working Life

The most influential and inspiring messages, with the greatest impact on my life, have always been something spoken quietly to me.Thinking back on the people and staff of Astor always made me wonder about their work and how I can now appreciate what they do. Out of these thoughts came ideas regarding good-works vs. work, career vs. job, calling vs. transitional employment.

Today, I am writing about my working life.

Although absolutely necessary, having and holding employment was never difficult to obtain and manage. Often I found it fun with so many choices. Eventually over my working lifetime I explored five long-term careers, working each of them for 1, 2, 11, 11 and  20 years, respectively. And in pursuit of these professions I did other work: I was a street sweeper, taxi driver, bartender, warehouseman, substitute teacher, roughneck, turkey farmhand, messenger, photographer, waiter, dishwasher, house painter, and a two-time on-screen film extra; I de-tasseled corn, sifted feathers and sawdust.

I think I was easy to hire, yet out of work, because I wanted to be.

So where is Astor Services in all this?

Astor seemed to naturally fit in my life; everything led to it, so it’s certain I had to leave home, travel, start over time and again. I was always excited to be moving on, seeing new places and meeting new people.

I credit Astor for my self confidence, intellect and wonderment. Because all are learned attributes and skills, employers actually sought this quality over the usual skills required for employment.

Keeping a job or career position, considering the time (the sixties through the late nineties), was always a choice between salary and satisfaction.

My decision to be rich, poor, criminal, happy, activist, mediocre or fulfilled weighed on every choice—and I had a lot of choices. Only once did I choose to take or leave a job because of income.

I credit Astor again for some of the things that characterize my work ethic.

My Astor house-mother was named Lois; she taught me when I learned how to make my bed “that a half completed job is the same as a job never started.” Also, “deciding to do something is not the same as doing something.”

Gladly and sadly some tasks both professional and personal over my lifetime, despite putting in very hard work, ended with predictable results. So I have lived and learned, and enjoyed working for a living, for fun, for travel and adventure!

I am retired now and I volunteer when I can. I putter around the barn trying to keep busy. That’s who I am now, that’s what I do. I feel at home.