4 min read

About Claudia (part two)

As the one hundred things about Claudia continues, I thought I'd finish up the work section.   Last week, we talked about my first ten jobs.

About Claudia : Work

11. UC San Francisco - Hepatitis : I graduated college just as the US economy was crashing. Massive lay offs. No jobs anywhere. Most of my friends continued working in their college jobs. I was able to get a half time position at UC San Francisco in a Herpes Lab. They had just started researching HIV and Hepatitis non-A, non-B (or now called Hepatitis C).  The AIDS epidemic was just becoming national news and, outside of knowing what the virus looked like, no one knew anything about it. After three months, I was hired full time to work for a brilliant, but deeply bitter, British guy.

12. Spats! :  In order to afford working at UC San Francisco, I served cocktails at a bar called Spats in downtown Berkeley. Spats was the only restaurant/bar open after ten o'clock at night, so everyone who was in town came there for sustainance. I met Russian Ballerinas, rock stars, and regular people. I slept about four hours a night to keep up with my work schedule.  After a few months, I quit to preserve what was left my sanity. And luckily, I was hired full time at UCSF.

13. UC San Francisco - Herpes : At this time in my life I had the delusion that I would become a doctor.  In order to fill my resume, I transitioned to another UCSF lab that focused on Herpes. The lady investigtor said that she wanted to help me to go to medical school. Of course, her husband had an affair and... Well she went completely psycho. There's no way to know if she was like that prior to husband's zipper problems, but she was crazy, mean and cruel. Since I had 17 years of childhood training, I was used to the treatment. I stayed for two years still believing that she would help me with medical school. When I gave up on the idea of medical school (how could I ever afford it?), I knew I had to leave.

14. Into the fire company : Suffice it to say that I jumped from the frying pan to the fire. They were a small antibody company with extensive animal labs, tissue culture and an 'anything that pays' attitude. Frankly, I didn't handle the job very well. I was laid off or quit or was fired - depending on who you talk to. At the moment of separation, I felt like the entire universe hurled me from science onto the empty road of life. I had road rash for decades.

15. Combustion Engineering : Because the economy was still in the toilet, I was able to get a job right away as a temporary secretary. People were willing to hire temps, but not permanent people.  I worked all over the East Bay until I got a job at Combustion Engineering. The division was heavy into personal computers (new at the time). As the group disbanded, I was their secretary. The men were smart funny and worldly. I leanred about computers, and became the assistant to a Warton graduate intern. He taught me basic accounting. Through him, I learned how business worked.  After years of insanity and ego at UCSF and the fire company, I felt like I could breathe - for the first time.

I moved to Venice Beach because the former got a job at a big law firm downtown. You would think my financial worries were over. Nope.

16. ISA : Unsure of what to do next, and with massive debt, I applied for any available job. I received a job at Interviewing Services of America, a market research firm. I programmed statistical tables for large market research projects. Everything you could imagine happened while I worked there. Every piece of office drama, power play, and odd behavior running the spectrum between cocaine use (office mates), fake engagement rings (coworker) and Japanese Martial Arts. I mostly kept my head down and did my work. I met my husband there - which is another story.

17. Adventure-16 :   I started working here to help pay some medical bills (another story).  A-16 is a wilderness outfitters in West Los Angeles. The people who worked, and shopped there, were some of the world's adventurers. They climbed Everest. They hiked the John Muir trail (before it was finished). They were wild people who lived exciting lives. And , if my Facebook account is accurate, they continue to live the adventure. I met many movie and television stars as well as studio people working to outfit movies. I worked as a salesperson, a cashier, a manager, and finally an accountant. I continued working at A-16 through graduate school and my first therapy jobs. For all the negative people in the world, A-16 was an oasis of "Why Not?"

18. Glendale Adventist : My first therapy job was at a Drug and Alcohol facility in Glendale Adventist Hospital. Wow. I learned so very very much about everything. Mostly, I learned that the best counselors are the ones without the degrees. I met some amazing people there and interacted with over fifteen hundred clients. For the start of a career, I couldn't have asked for a better experience or better people to learn from.

I moved to Denver with the now-husband.

19. YMCA, Adams Community Mental Health, Insights Counseling, CETP, and any place that would give me hours : One week prior to our moving to Denver, there was an insurance crisis in Colorado. Fourteen alcohol and drug treatment facilities closed over night. And, I couldn't find an addiction counseling. I worked as a temporary secretary for some amazing characters. One tiny job at a time, I began to piece together hours for my license. I ran groups for forth graders for the YMCA. I facilitated DUI classes for approximately forever. I worked with felony offenders. I worked with dual diagnoses people at Adams Community Mental Health. And in 1997, accumlated 5, 000 counseling hours and 500 supervision hours to receive my CAC III and my license.

20. Psychotherapy Private Practice : I saw my first private client in 1995 for twenty-five dollars. She was an alcholic who tried to kill herself by driving into a truck. She survived. What to do next? From there, I built a successful private practice. I became well known for working with PTSD clients as well as dual diagnosis. I saw mostly adults, but also worked with kids and families. I really loved being a therapist. I particularly loved working for myself. I'm not exactly sure why I 'had' to take a sabbatical. I can only tell you that after I announced to my clients, my husband became very very ill. I continue to see a few clients in more of a coaching capacity.

There's a few more jobs, but I think I'll leave this for now.   Capricorn Cringe asked to hear more about my educational experiences. Next week, 10 educational experiences.

Thanks for reading!