I Am Well Groomed….I Think

My resume reads like a laundry list of knowledge within the pest control industry. I am a certified applicator with licensing in five states. My name graces certificates such as Associate Certified Entomologist, Master Technician, NWCOA Certified Structural Bat Management Professional. I am Quality Pro certified. Whew! That’s a lot of laundry.

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Every time I test and obtain a new license or certification, I immediately wonder “What am I going to use it for?” I know my work requires me to have these, but am I just “collecting” them?

I have a career as a pest management professional, which is something I know I will never give up. I believe that every step, or stumble, brought me to this very point of existence. I have been thinking about how I got to today. Not just waking up and getting out of bed, but to the love of my current choice of work.

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My first real job was working in a pizza restaurant as a cook, waitress, and sometimes a dishwasher. I was 16. I got my first lesson in death of my paycheck from all the taxes held out. Concurrently, I had a paper route, and was cleaning the office building where my mom worked. I got mad and quit the pizza place, but even in my teenage years, I held two jobs.

It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I had another full time job. Convenience store. $3.50/hr. It was there I formed a friendship that has lasted 30+ years. I was also attending a vo-tech for computer programming. I was tired all the time. I wrecked my truck on the way to class after working 3rd shift, and the tow truck driver gave me a ride to school. I still passed the final exam.

When I quit my job at a grocery store to work for a pig farm, the owner said he was sorry to see me go, and that he’d go too, if he “didn’t own this place”. Those family owners trusted me with keys to the store. I was 24. At one point, that same owner fired me, then hired me back.

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I’ve had many other jobs that didn’t fit into the grand plan – or so it seemed. Hardware store cashier, machine shop drill press operator, restaurant dishwasher and cook, many times. That pizza chain actually hired me back at a different location to be a phone order taker. Then to a flour mill where I found my passion for bugs. Well, the passion for them to NOT be in my food.

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I didn’t know it then, but I was being groomed through my own actions, and the words of others, to be in love with pest management. Restaurants taught me the basics of food safety. The machine shop gave me knowledge about how food equipment works. I was on the front end, and rear end, of animal production. I threw a newspaper and broke a window. Customer service schmoozing helped me to calm that homeowner. And, yes, I paid for the window. My grocery store manager taught me that quality control was necessary as he grabbed an apple on the way to unload a truck. That hardware store sold pesticides and such.

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I have learned many things in all the job-hopping. Customer service HAS to be Number 1… always. No exceptions. Being trustworthy, and having a great work ethic, is a must. Don’t give up. Don’t wear yourself too thin. Only take on what you can handle.. in the moment. Learn from EVERYTHING! Including failure. Don’t give doubters a place in your head, especially not yourself. You have permission to get mad, but do so constructively.

I am not done learning. I have a plan for what’s next. Do you?

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states including a DOT CDL/HazMat. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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