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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Earning My Keep
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I started to work when I was 10 years old. The Second World War had just ended. From then until retirement, I was lucky never to have been unemployed. And compared to most folks my age, it appears I haven't had very many jobs. I've had even fewer careers, which suggests that careers might be a good way to organize this section, since several of them have run in parallel, overlapping chronologically.

  • Boyhood jobs: I really think a person's early work experience shapes the future in ways that have a much wider scope than the work itself.

  • College junk-jobs: I was in college for a total of 15 years, at Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from 1953-56, then at Wisconsin in Madison from 1956-68. But what I call the junk jobs covered just the first two years of this time. I was self-supporting, so I had to work. It was a fairly difficult period for me.

  • Computing turned out to be my main profession, though I certainly didn't have that in mind when I set out to do it in 1955. This span of over 40 years breaks down further into three distinct periods:

  • Teaching Russian: I was a graduate student in Slavic Literatures from 1963-68. For the first three years I was a Teaching Assistant and was planning to get a PhD, though I never finished the degree. As a TA, I taught first-year Russian language classes and second-year Russian language and literature courses. I loved teaching with a great passion.

  • Radio broadcasting: In 1977 a friend asked me to help with his radio show on the local listener-supported station, WORT-FM. That led to having my own shows and to many other wonderful things over the course of more than ten years of being a classical-music disc jockey.

  • Music criticism: In the late 70s I started writing reviews of classical music concerts for a weekly newspaper in Madison, Isthmus. This remained a major focus of my life until near the end of 2001, when an injury to my hand woke me up to the fact that my real interest and talent is for actively making music, not writing about it, whatever success I'd enjoyed as a music journalist.
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