Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal header image 2

45 Years of Peeling the Onion for a Paycheque

July 27th, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what is my most valuable takeaway from 45 years in the workforce?

I am on an unofficial countdown to retirement. For the record, the clock stands at 3 years and 9 months. As I look back at those years. I find that I can divide my work history into four categories each with its own life lesson.


My first job was a part-time job in a grocery store during high school for the princely wage of $1.45 an hour. A few summer jobs followed, through high school and college years, including manual labour and timekeeper at a large facility construction site. I spend one idyllic summer as a supervisor of six students working for Long Point Region Conservation Authority.

Lesson Learned as a Student-for-Hire: Renting yourself out is strictly a means to an end.


My first professional job out of college was as a one-man-band reporter/photographer for a weekly, community newspaper for 18 months. On the upside, I gained a lot of great experience. On the downside, I had to work six and sometimes seven days a week. I knew after a year it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Lesson Learned as a One-Man-Band: If your heart isn’t it, pack it in and start over.


I circled back to attend university and returned to the summer job circuit to pay my way. I spent one summer as a clerk in the maintenance office of Ontario Place back when that institution was still a going concern. It was a tedious job, but it paid the bills.

One of my most interesting summer gigs was two seasons as a supervisor in the Ground Services Department of Canada’s Wonderland in the Happy Land of Hanna Barbera area. Pretty sweet as summer jobs go, although I could not get the Hanna Barbera music out of my head for years afterwards!

Lesson Learned as a Student-for-Hire Encore: Renting yourself out is a means to an end, but you can have a few laughs along the way.


I plied my trade for 15 years in the marketing end of legal publishing advancing from copywriter to supervisor to manager. It was during that period that I had the unpleasant and eye-opening uncommon experience of being downsized out of a job.

And finally, my longest stint at one job – 18 years and counting as a Marketing Specialist for a workplace health and safety association. I count myself lucky to have landed at an employee-friendly organization in an era when many companies treat their staff as chess players on a board to moved around or disposed of as the spreadsheet numbers dictate.

Lesson Learned as Marketing Maven: The more you know the more there is to know.

A common metaphor for learning is peeling an onion. After 45 years of peeling layers off the onion, the most important life lesson I have learned is surprisingly simple but invaluable beyond measure: You don’t necessarily need to have the right answer. You just need to be convincing in the answer that you give.

I’ll leave you to ponder that assertion as I continue to countdown to the sunny shores of retirement.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments