All in a Day’s Work

Readers recall tales of triumph, tragedy, and the Talking Heads in our round-up of college job memories.

We asked readers to share stories about the jobs they worked in college, and alumni responded with tales of how they discovered unknown talents, developed self-confidence, or found fulfilling careers—and even lifelong love.

Model Employee

For most of college, I worked nights and weekends at Bamberger’s in the infants’ department. We were required to wear white nurse’s uniforms so customers would think we knew what we were talking about. In my junior year, I was offered an additional job in Monmouth’s art department as a life model—that is, modeling in the nude! The benefits? A job on campus (no commuting), I could work between classes (nights free), and there was no uniform (no clothes at all actually). Best of all: The pay was almost three times what I made at Bamberger’s. On day one I was a nervous wreck, wondering if I was pretty, skinny, or sensuous enough. During my first break, I overheard a student and teacher discussing me and my fears vanished. To the art students I was just shape and shadow, muscle and form—not a centerfold. In time, I became so comfortable I even fell asleep during a session. To this day it still counts as the best, easiest job I’ve ever had.

Tikki Biondic Russell ’72

Orange, Texas

Prepping for the Rat Race

Wanting to get a job in my future field of psychology, I took the only one that was available to me at Monmouth: feeding the rats that were used in experiments. Since then, I have had to deal with a lot of “rats” in other jobs, so that was a good way to start my education.

Sunny (Slack) Donald ’72

La Jolla, California

Designated Driver

One of my jobs at Monmouth was giving guest speakers a ride home or to the airport. Some of the people I met included George Plimpton, then of Paper Lion fame, and Harrison Salisbury, the one-time Moscow editor and managing editor of The New York Times. Given Mr. Salisbury’s profession, I thought we would have an interesting political conversation during the one-hour drive to his home in New York City. But it turned out he loved automobiles, and when he saw my Triumph Spitfire all we talked about were sports cars the entire ride.

Joseph B. Rall ’69, ’72M

Laurence Harbor, New Jersey

The Write Stuff

I learned I could write by taking a creative writing class, and my success in the class led me to join the editorial board of Monmouth Letters, the school’s literary magazine. Now that I was a starving artist—literally—I needed a job to pay rent, buy food, and pay off  my student loans. A trip to Monmouth’s job placement office led to a three-year stint as a copywriter at WJLK-AM in Asbury Park, New Jersey—part time during the school year, and eight-hour days during the summer. My college work experience and GPA eventually led to a full scholarship to the University of Denver for a Master’s in Mass Communication, which in turn led me to a 46-year career in advertising. And it all started with that creative writing class. I owe all my successes to Monmouth.

Fran Scannell ’68

Denver, Colorado

Critical Experience

I had a for-credit internship at the Asbury Park Press, which led to a paid position as an editorial assistant, which led to my working as the paper’s music critic during the summers before and after senior year. I went to dozens of performances in and around Asbury Park, did phone interviews with musicians, and received free albums from record labels. Several shows stood out. The Talking Heads and the B-52s at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall: That was some double bill, even if interviewing B-52s singer Fred Schneider was like pulling teeth. The Ramones at the Paramount: 30 songs in 70 minutes—gabba gabba hey! The Who at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic: Their first show after Kenney Jones replaced the late Keith Moon on drums. After the second summer ended, I decided to explore other areas of journalism, but that’s a whole ’nother story

David Wilson ’80

Woodbridge, New Jersey

Answering the Call

I was a dispatcher for the Monmouth University Police and worked overnight shifts for several years while completing my undergrad degree. I saw everything from 3 a.m. dorm lockouts to various medical emergencies while on duty. Occasionally, the officers brought someone into the station for some youthful shenanigans and I would realize, “Uh-oh, that guy is in my Monday morning history class! This is going to be super awkward!” Since graduating, I have continued working as an on-call dispatcher because I believe in the good work Monmouth does as a whole and that the MUPD does specifically.

Sean Quinn ’08, ’11M

Morristown, New Jersey

Double Duty

I worked two internships my senior year that couldn’t have been more different from one another. As a STEM instructor at Snapology, I ran educational parties and community events for children ages 4 to 12. At Stratus Technology, I sourced leads and developed strategies to fill staffing roles for IT companies. And I did all of that while holding down a six-class course load with mostly 300- and 400-level classes. I miss every minute of the chaos of my senior year. Enduring all of it made real life a whole lot easier.

Kenny Morgan ’19

Blairstown, New Jersey

Good Sport

I served as sports editor of The Outlook in the early ’60s and was surprised one day when I received a phone call from the managing editor of the (now defunct) Long Branch Daily Record. She had been receiving The Outlook each week and thought I could help them produce a daily sports section until the editor, who was hospitalized, returned. I met her and was quickly hired at the ungodly salary (to me) of $70 per week. That became my college job because, when the sports editor returned, he made me his assistant. I later worked for several other newspapers and was twice named New Jersey Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. I attribute it all to my first college job at good old Monmouth.

Chuck Hassol ’61A

Leesburg, Florida

Detailed Account

I started my freshman year in 1967. I worked in the school library part time and made a whole $1.25 per hour. I usually worked between 10 and 15 hours a week. I enjoyed my two years there. I majored in accounting, and at the start of my junior year, I started working part time for a local CPA firm in Asbury Park. There I worked between 15 and 20 hours per week. I now was making $5 per hour. That was good money in 1969. I worked there for my junior and senior years. The four years that I spent at Monmouth college was a great time in my life.

Michael Wach ’71

Mesa, Arizona

Love Among the Suds

When I joined TKE, I learned a lot of the brothers worked in the school cafeteria. I joined them, thinking it would be a good way to meet girls. I started out in the dish room, which was a hot and dirty job with little downtime, and eventually worked my way up to student manager. That had its perks: I got to eat for free and hang out in front looking professional. As for meeting girls? I met Wendy Stempler, an elementary education major who was the same year as me, when she was busing tables and loading dishes onto the conveyor belt. When I became manager, she worked for me, and I often gave in and gave her easier work. The rest, as they say, is history. Wendy and I have been married for 45 wonderful years.

Allen (Buke) Bukowsky ’72

Warren, New Jersey

Behind the Stick at Tradewinds

Needing money to pay for off-campus housing, I took a job bartending at Tradewinds in Sea Bright, New Jersey. It was the place to be for Monmouth students in the late ’90s— particularly for the Thursday Night Nitro dance party, when the place would be packed with students dancing to multiple DJs until 2 a.m. The bar also brought in national acts, and I was lucky enough to be working the stage bar for some of the better shows: Counting Crows, Match Box 20, Third Eye Blind, The Wailers, The Wall Flowers, the late great Eddie Money, and local favorites like Bruce and Bon Jovi. A couple of the bands even continued the party at the house I rented in the Highlands, which overlooked the New York City Harbor. I wasn’t in a fraternity in college, but working at the Tradewinds gave me a similar experience.

Rick Baeta ’98

Red Bank, New Jersey

Late Nights at the Inkwell

My junior and senior year, I worked at the Inkwell. During the week between classes, I’d pick up food for the establishment in my old Pontiac. (I guess they figured why pay for delivery when they could pay me minimum wage to do it.) On the weekends, I cooked in the back and cleaned tables after everyone left, which usually wasn’t until sometime the following morning.

Tom Marino ’68

Gaithersburg, Maryland

A Man of Many Hats

During my time at Monmouth, 1974–78, I worked several jobs including:

  • Guggenheim Library doing about everything imaginable. Some of my responsibilities included returning books to the shelves, “reading the shelves” to organize the books properly, staffing the guard desk (“Bad looks lose books” was our motto), and working in the upper-floor research area (great paintings and photos). I started at $2.05 per hour and “advanced” to $2.20 per hour. During my time at the library, they were changing the numbering system used to organize the books (Dewey to Library of Congress—I think) which made things challenging.
  • Handyman for a real estate office in Elberon and Deal, New Jersey. Maintenance and repairs to office-run rental properties, staffed the office as a reception person occasionally on the weekends, worked at the office’s owners’ property doing maintenance, maintenance and repairs at the office, and messenger/courier for paperwork between real estate offices and attorneys.
  • Odd jobs for several Long Branch, New Jersey, homeowners I met through the handyman job at the real estate office.
  • Gas station attendant. 
  • House painter (a business with my cousin and a high school friend)  as a summer job.

Fred Preissler ’78

Shrewsbury, New Jersey

Working Man’s Blues

In 1971, while attending Monmouth College, I reunited with some high school friends to reform The Charlie Smith Blues Band. We played shows at Jersey Shore bars and established a “following” by playing at the Smoke House, a campus coffeehouse. Our band had previously opened for B.B. King in my hometown, Albany, New York, on two prior occasions, so when he came to Monmouth I asked the student activities director if we could open for him. We were hired! The original bill included the Allman Brothers Band, but their guitar player, Duane Allman, was killed three months prior to the event, so the band was replaced by Seals & Croft.

Andrew V. Shawn ’74

Oakhurst, New Jersey

A Tale of Two Jobs

I worked in the Guggenheim Library for two years under Robert Brooks, a really great guy, and also Mr. Wong. I shelved books for the nice ladies at the circulation desk, and I also worked the desk at the front door, counting people coming into the library. It was an enjoyable experience. I worked with Ralph Knight and many other good people.

My other job at Monmouth was umpiring softball intramural games for Coach [Mike] Spaccaratella of the baseball team. I think I was paid $6 per game. I worked with Steve Reno Moore ’74, Big Ed Halicki ’73, Pete Cusick ’74, and Mark Kelly ’73. It was a lot of fun. Our softball team lost in the intramural finals to the cafeteria team, 8–6. Larry Richardson ’74, Mike Warner, and Mike Reinfeld ’73 were among my teammates.

Mitchell E. Sirotta ’74

New York, New York