With the terrible state of our country's economy and all of us pinching pennies and finagling to figure out how and where we can possibly find a few more dollars for the budget these days, I recently started wondering just what my present job skills are. This led me back to thinking of the jobs I had when I first entered the job market to start earning some money of "my own."
Can you remember your very first job that you got paid for? Other than doing chores around the house to earn allowance from your parents, I mean. Like so many others, I babysat for neighbors, family and family friends. But I don't really count that as it wasn't like getting a steady salary check.
When I was growing up, in our town we couldn't be legally employed until the age of sixteen. However, you could work on a corn detasseling crew when you were a year younger. So that's what I did the summer I was fifteen. Talk about hard, hot, exhausting work! The comraderie with other girls from all over the various parts of our town of 60,000 was a fun experience, but we did work for our pay.
When I was sixteen I got a job working in a two-story department store. I worked after school a couple nights a week and Saturdays during the school year. My assigned area was in women's casual clothing but we all had to take turns running the rickety, very old elevator when the regular operator was sick or on break. (This was obviously pre-self operated elevators.) The darn thing scared the bejeezus out of me as it wouldn't always stop when you wanted it to and trying to line it up level with the floor you stopped at was always a challenge. Once when I was coming from the second floor down to the main floor, the elevator wouldn't stop until it reached the bottom of its cable system in the basement. It was a dungeon of a basement and not where any customer (or I!) wanted to go. On this job I earned sixty-five cents an hour and a 10% discount on any clothes I bought.
During my second year of working retail, I was offered a job in a small manufacturing company. A distant relative worked there and suggested I apply. I did and was offered the job. When I told my boss at the department store I was leaving for a better job, he asked how much more I would be making and I told him the salary was one dollar an hour. The dear man offered to up my wage to a dollar an hour if I would stay but not tell any of the other girls I was making more than them!
Whatever my reasoning, I decided to move on to the new job. You'll never in a million years guess what the company where I went to work manufactured. Freckle cream. Yup. It was a white cream in a little glass jar that supposedly would remove freckles from anywhere on your body. The fragrance was lovely. Did it actually remove freckles? Not having any of my own (freckles, that is), I couldn't try it out. My guess now is that it had some kind of a bleaching agent in it and would no doubt be outlawed these days by the Food and Drug Administration.
There were only five other employees in the building plus the boss who had inherited the business from his father. The boss was a kind man who drank his lunch every day and spent most afternoons with his head on his desk sleeping it off.
During the couple of years I worked there full-time during the summers, the boss's daughter came in to help out a few times. She was two years younger than me, a delightful person, and fun for me because the other five employees were four old women and the chemist, an old man. Really, really old. (Read: Younger at the time than I am now!)
The other person hired my last summer there was a boy my own age who was a nephew of the boss. He was a total dork, well over six feet tall weighing about 110 pounds. He developed a crush on me and continually asked to go out with him. I mean continually as in being extremely obnoxious. The day he chased me around a work table (yes, he did) trying to grab me and kiss me was the day I went to the boss and said, "One of us has to go. Either him or me." He went.
What did I do at the freckle cream factory. Hand-folded little boxes (thousands and thousands of boxes) and slid the jars of cream in. Then I packed the little boxes into cases.
I filled in as the boss's secretary on her days off or on sick days. That drove me bonkers because there just wasn't that much to do. Especially in the afternoon when my boss was . . . ah . . . resting. I was always happy to get back to folding boxes.
Okay, those were a couple/few of my first jobs. Now it's your turn. Care to share about your first experience(s) out there in the working world?
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