As 2021 drew to a close, the average hourly wage at small businesses locked in at $30, according to the Paychex IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch.
I paid my way through college by working at a foundry, where I made sand cores and handled office work, such as payroll and ordering. After graduating from college with a degree in English, I worked on the docks for a trucking company, where I learned a new version of English! I wanted to write and took a job in circulation at a Maryland newspaper with hopes of breaking into the reporter staff. I landed a job at a radio station writing commercials and enjoyed the creativity of that – combining copy, sound effects, music, etc. to craft an effective advertisement. I’ve always loved dogs and owned dogs, and a friend of mine who worked in veterinary pharmaceutical sales told me about an opening as assistant manager at a warehouse. Since I had a background in shipping from the trucking company, I got hired. It was a detour from writing work, but I grabbed the chance at much better pay. It was a pleasant working environment with an easy schedule, and I might still be working there, but the company was sold. We were shocked to get a phone call from our new owners! We all lost our jobs. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I used the severance pay to fund an adventure – I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, in the company of two of my dogs. I wrote a story about the adventure, and a magazine purchased it. I soon applied for a reporter job at a big city newspaper and remember sitting in the waiting room with my slim folder with that one published clip. I didn’t think I had a chance. The editor was a stereotypical, harsh-voiced man who opened my folder, and laughed, waving the clip. I was fueled by the confidence of 2,000 plus miles under my boots and challenged him to send me on a story at that moment, and he did. I have worked for newspapers ever since - full time, part time and correspondent. I have also worked as a freelance writer for various magazines, including Buckmaster’s, Gun Dog, The Ruffed Grouse Society magazine (where I write a column called Purely Dogs), and others. I’ve written for websites including Cabela’s and The Sportsman’s Guide. In 2019 I received a (Pennsylvania) Keystone Award for my outdoor column. I love to read and write! Other hobbies include dog training, home remodeling, hunting and fishing, and photography.