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What jobs did he/she hold during his/her lifetime? Selecting this Topic helps you organize his/her experiences in the workplace, from childhood jobs through retirement.
When he/she was a child, did he/she have a job or do chores at home?
- What kind of tasks did he/she have to do? Did he/she get an allowance or wage for what he/she did? What did he/she spend his/her money on?
- Did his/her parents own a business that he/she helped out with? What did he/she do for them? Was it hard to have his/her parents as a boss?
- What did he/she want to be when he/she grew up? Why?
Did he/she have a job when he/she was a teenager?
- What was his/her first job as a teenager? Did he/she wait tables, pump gas, or take care of children? Did he/she like it? Did he/she like his/her boss?
- How did he/she find his/her first job? Did he/she look in the newspaper? Did his/her parents help him out?
- Did his/her parents own a business where he/she worked? What did he/she do for them? Was it hard to have his/her parents as a boss?
- Why did he/she have a job? Was it to earn spending money? Did he/she need to help his/her family out? Did his/her parents want him to learn to be responsible?
- How much did his/her first job pay? Did he/she think that this was a lot of money? Did he/she ever get a raise?
- How did he/she deal with the responsibility of a first job? Was he/she dependable? Did he/she take his/her job seriously?
- Did he/she change jobs as a teenager or did he/she stick with the same one? Why?
- What did he/she want to do when he/she was older? Did he/she take steps to get experience in this area?
- Was balancing his/her work and his/her studies an issue for him? If so, how did he/she do it?
Did he/she work as an adult?
- What expectations did he/she have about the working world and his/her first full-time job? Did his/her expectations turn out to be true?
- How did he/she go about finding his/her first job? Did he/she send letters to several businesses or fill out applications? Did a parent or friend have connections?
- Many people find that it takes a long time to find a job. How long did it take him? Did he/she do part-time or temporary work while he/she was searching for a full-time job?
- After he/she left high school or college, what was his/her first full-time job as a young adult? Why did he/she choose this job? Did he/she like it? Did he/she like his/her boss?
- Describe the company where he/she worked. What was its name and purpose? Where was it located? Did he/she have to move to work there?
- Was this job the first step in a particular career path? Did he/she know what he/she wanted to do with his/her life? Did he/she just take a job that was available in order to pay the bills?
- What were his/her responsibilities at this job? Did he/she begin at an entry-level position and work his/her way up? Did his/her responsibilities change over time?
- How much was he/she paid? Did this seem like a lot of money to him? Did he/she have benefits? What were they?
- With whom did he/she work? Were they the same age as he/she was? Did he/she feel like he/she fit in or did it take a while to feel comfortable with them? Did he/she become close friends with anyone?
- What type of work environment was he/she in? Did he/she work indoors or outdoors? Was it a desk job or otherwise? Did he/she have a lot of contact with other people?
- Did he/she have to learn how to operate any new equipment in this job? Tools? Office machines? Did he/she have any mishaps while he/she was learning?
- What was the hardest thing about his/her new job? Did he/she dislike working 40 or more hours each week? Was the work challenging or were some people difficult to get along with?
- Was anyone his/her mentor in the workplace? What did he/she learn from him or her? Why did he/she look up to this person?
- What was the most important thing that he/she learned from this job? Did he/she become more responsible? Did he/she learn a specific skill? How did it help him in life?
- How long did he/she keep his/her first job? Did he/she stick with one company for a long time or not? Why?
Was he/she ever a stay-at-home parent?
- Why did he/she stay home instead of work? Was he/she not expected to work? Did he/she need to take care of the children?
- Did he/she ever feel pressure from others to go to work? Did he/she think that people looked down on him because he/she didn't have a "career"?
- How did he/she spend his/her time at home? Was there a routine or was each day very different?
- When he/she was first at home, was he/she unsure of his/her skills? For example, was he/she nervous about taking care of young children? Did his/her skills improve over time?
- Did he/she feel lonely at times? Did he/she have enough interaction with other adults during the day?
- What did he/she like about being home? Was there anything that he/she disliked? Would he/she have worked outside the home if he/she could have?
Did he/she decide to work as a parent?
- Why did he/she work outside the home? Was it expected? Did they need the money?
- Did he/she ever feel guilty for working outside of his/her home? If he/she had children, did he/she feel that he/she didn't spend enough time with them?
Did he/she ever change jobs as an adult?
- What jobs did he/she have as a young adult or adult? How long did he/she hold each of them?
- How did his/her responsibilities change as he/she gained more experience in the workplace? Did his/her salary change too?
- Did he/she become close friends with any people at work? Whom? Did he/she spend time with them outside of work?
- Did he/she ever work with an "office clown"? What did this person do? Was it a good way to keep the tension level down?
- Was anyone at any of his/her jobs a mentor to him? What did he/she learn from them? Why did he/she look up to them?
- Which job did he/she like the least and which the most? Why? What about his/her bosses?
- Did he/she ever have any disappointments in the workplace? Were there any projects that failed? Was he/she passed up for any promotions? What did he/she learn from these experiences?
- What were the most rewarding aspects of his/her jobs? Did he/she make a difference in some way? What accomplishments was he/she proud of?
- Did he/she ever change his/her line of work? If yes, what made him decide to switch? Were the job opportunities better? What about the pay?
- Did he/she ever take a significant amount of time off of work? Why? Was he/she ill? Did he/she travel? Did this affect his/her employment?
- Was he/she ever fired or laid off from a job? If yes, what caused it? Was he/she glad to be rid of the job or not? Did the loss of his/her job cause monetary problems?
- Did he/she do a lot of traveling because of his/her job? How much time did he/she spend away from home? Did this cause family problems? Where did he/she go? Did he/she have time to sightsee? Describe some of his/her experiences.
- Did he/she ever receive an award or special recognition for his/her job performance? What was it for?
- Did he/she ever have to relocate because of his/her job? If so, how far did he/she have to go? What was his/her new home like? Did it cause any problems for his/her family or was it an exciting change?
- How did the workplace change after he/she first started out? Did the ratio of females to males change? What kinds of machines or procedures went by the wayside? Were any of these changes for the better?
Did he/she own his/her own business?
- Why did he/she decide to go into business for himself?
- What type of business was it? A service, retail shop, or farm, for example? Where did the idea for this business come from? Was it a new or an established business?
- What was the hardest part about owning his/her own business? Were the hours too long? Was it hard to "get away" from work? Was it difficult to find good people to help?
- What was most rewarding about running his/her own business? Did he/she enjoy being his/her own boss and having control over all aspects of the business?
- How did he/she finance his/her business in the beginning? Was he/she able to get a loan or did he/she not need much capital to start it up?
- Was there ever a time when he/she feared that his/her business wouldn't succeed? What caused the difficulties? Was he/she able to get through this time or did his/her fears come true?
- How did his/her business change over the years? Did he/she start out struggling and then become successful? Did the purpose of his/her business change at all?
- Did he/she ever feel as if his/her business had "made it"? When was this? What made him feel this way?
Since the 1800's and before, labor unions have served to promote and protect the rights of wage earners. Did he/she belong to a labor union?
- To what union did he/she belong? How did he/she become a member of the union? How did he/she feel about unions in general?
- The goals of labor unions often clash with the theories and beliefs of the government. For example, in 1905, unions wanted to limit working hours, but the Supreme Court ruled such limits unconstitutional. What was the political climate towards unions during his/her career and how did it affect his/her job?
- Did he/she feel that being a union member benefited him? What did the union do for him? Did he/she ever hold a non-union job to which he/she can compare the working conditions and benefits offered by his/her union job?
If he/she belonged to a union, did it ever initiate a strike while he/she was a member?
- What were the circumstances of the strike? What brought about the need to strike? What were the demands of the workers in his/her union? Did he/she believe that the demands were reasonable? What did he/she personally do to help win the demands?
- Did he/she participate in the strike? If not, did he/she continue to go to work while other union members were striking? Why didn't he/she participate in the strike? Did he/she think not participating was the right decision?
- If he/she did go on strike, did he/she find it difficult either emotionally or financially? Was there any violence because of the strike? If so, was he/she injured or frightened? Did he/she think participating in the strike was the right decision?
- How long did the strike last? Did his/her union win its demands? How did the strike affect him personally? Did he/she get higher wages or better benefits?
Were labor issues such as safety in the workplace, fair wages, and child labor important to him?
- Safety in the workplace has always been a concern. Were the working conditions at his/her place of employment ever unsafe? Describe what was unsafe about his/her working conditions.
- The U.S. government has on many different occasions passed laws to help regulate wages. Some laws were passed to create reasonable minimum wages, others to ensure that men and women were paid equally for the same work. Were his/her wages fair?
- Most industrialized nations regulate child labor, but this was not always true. Did he/she work as a child? What was the job? What were his/her working conditions and pay? Did working prohibit him from finishing school?
- What about discrimination in the workplace? Was he/she ever prevented from getting a job or a promotion because or his/her race, religion, or gender? How did this make him feel? What did he/she do?
- The U.S. government has created laws, departments, and systems to help the nation's workers. Did labor legislation such as the Civil Rights Act, the Social Security System, the Fair Labor Standards Act, or workmen's compensation affect his/her working life?
Did he/she retire?
- Did he/she ever have any pressure from others to retire? Who? Why?
- As you matured, did he/she ever look forward to his/her retirement? Why?
- Did he/she think about or plan for his/her financial security after retiring. If so, what did he/she do?
Did he/she keep working into his/her older years?
- As he/she got closer to retirement age, did he/she look forward to retiring? Was he/she ready or reluctant to leave the workplace?
- Did he/she have a retirement party? Who attended? Did he/she receive any gifts?
- Did he/she feel as if he/she was financially secure when retirement age came around? Did he/she think that he/she had been able to prepare sufficiently or did he/she worry about what might happen if he/she became ill?
- What did he/she plan to do after he/she retired? Did he/she have any special projects that he/she wanted to work on? Did he/she want to travel?
- Was it hard to adjust to being at home so much? Did he/she ever feel restless without a schedule? What did he/she do to get over these feelings?
- Did he/she decide to work part time or volunteer after he/she retired? Why or why not? If he/she did work, what did he/she do? Was it satisfying to do this kind of work?
- Was he/she able to spend a lot of time with his/her family after retiring? What did they do together?
- Did he/she feel as if he/she lost a lot of friends after he/she retired? Had many of his/her friends been in the working world?
- What was the best part of retirement? The freedom? The chance to do things that he/she had always wanted to?
- Was there any part of retiring that wasn't enjoyable? What? Did retirement change his/her outlook on life? Did he/she become more carefree?