Saturday 9: It's a Man's Man's Man's World (1966)
Since Labor Day was introduced to celebrate the American worker, we are highlighting the hardest working man in show business: James Brown. Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) Before he was able to support himself as a musician, James Brown shined shoes, boxed, picked peanuts and delivered groceries. He admitted he didn't enjoy any of those jobs. What was your least favorite job? That would have to be a summer job, when I was just out of 8th grade. I worked in a medical laboratory washing bloody test tubes. That wasn't so bad, but the poopy slides gagged me every time.
2) What job have you enjoyed the most?
I started out as secretary to 3 physics professors at the University of California, Berkeley. By the time I left the job (to have a baby), one of the professors had retired and the other moved his office up to the Radiation lab, so I was just a private secretary for a man who has remained my good friend since I left the job in 1966. He wrote a textbook while I was there and I typed it three times on an IBM typewriter with interchangeable keys for math symbols (this was in the days before the Selectric). The book is apparently still in use today and has been translated into 10 languages.
3) James loved performing and in the mid-60s, played 335-350 dates/year. Do you have time off this weekend? Or will you be working?
I have time off 24/7, since I am retired.
4) With that grueling schedule, James spent a lot of time on the road. Do you enjoy traveling and staying in hotels? Or are you a homebody who prefers to sleep in your own bed?
I enjoy traveling, but hate hotels, even ritzy ones. I am never comfortable in hotel beds and am always very happy to be home.
5) While Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, millions of Baby Boomers are still part of American labor. Do you think it's easy or hard for people of different generations to work together? Or don't you think age matters?
It's never been a problem for me.
6) 72% of employers report that they give their employees sick days. Tell us about a time when you called in sick, but weren't.
I can't think of one. I am sure I have done it, but not often. I even went to work as a receptionist when I had zero voice and my boss's wife had to come and answer the phone for me.
7) According to the 2010 Census, 5.9 million Americans regularly work from home. Is working from home something you have/you would enjoy? Or do you benefit from interaction with coworkers?
The one thing I miss about working in an office is the camaraderie of co-workers. I work as a theater critic now, but it's a job I do from home. I've discovered that when you leave a job, you leave your friends behind you. At least that has been the case for me, no matter how much I try to keep the friendships going.
8) 12% of workers report they prefer to report for work early -- before 7:00 AM -- so they can get more done. Are you a morning person?
I used to be a morning person but now I find I sleep later and later (8 a.m., which is very late for me) and it takes me longer to get started. When I was working, I often went to work early but now at my volunteer jobs, I always choose time slot that start in the afternoon.
9) The NFL season starts on September 8. How do you think your team will do this year?
Well, because I am a San Francisco native, I am a 49er fan, but I don't follow football all that closely so I only pay attention if they are in the running for the SuperBowl. One of my sons, however, is a 49er faithful and has raised his daughters to share his love of the 49ers.