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    Before I became a teacher...
    By L.P.

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    I was a journeyman-level upholsterer. After seven years, my allergies became so bad I had to quit (Doctor's orders). Since I'd become unhappy with being an upholsterer anyway, the decision to leave wasn't a real difficult one. I found a job working as an assistant for our local school district and enjoyed it so much I started going to college to earn my degree.
    Upholstering is a physically demanding job. You pull and tug on fabric all day long, either stripping it off the furniture or putting it on, and since I wasn't the boss, I was the one doing the strenuous work while she sat and sewed. Putting the fabric back on had to be done just right or she would rip it back off and tell me to do it over. (Feelings weren't spared, this was done in front of co-workers.)It had to be applied as tightly as possible, so it wouldn't sag later on. I developed incredibly strong arms and hands from holding the fabric tight then stapling it in place. I lifted weights and exercised to keep myself strong. And dealing with the customers wasn't easy, either. Cathy-Dee is right about dealing with the public. Some people were impossible to please and downright nasty. My boss kept a "hag list". The people on this list were charged extra, if she worked for them at all a second time. When I first started working there, I was so shy, I hated dealing with the customers. But gradually I got used to it and could run the shop when the boss was gone. Although it was exhausting physically, the stress level was a lot less than that of being a teacher. However, it was tedious and "just a job". It wasn't a career and didn't give me the satisfaction that teaching does.

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