Skip to comments.First Jobs
Posted on 07/18/2012 4:15:47 AM PDT by Kaslin
What was your first job?
I stuck pieces of plastic and metal together at an Evanston, Ill., assembly line. We produced photocopiers for a company called American Photocopy.
I hated the work. It was hot and boring. But it was useful. It taught me to get good grades in school so I might have other choices.
Four years later, good grades got me a job as a researcher at a TV station.
To my surprise, that became a career. I never planned to be a TV reporter. I hadn't even watched TV news. I never took a journalism course.
But by showing up and trying stuff, I found a career.
I write about this because I'm appalled watching politicians kill off "first" jobs. (They say it's to protect us.)
First, they raise the minimum wage. Forcing employers to pay $7.25 an hour leaves them reluctant to give unskilled kids a chance -- why pay more than a worker can produce? So they offer fewer "first" jobs.
On top of that, the Obama Labor Department has issued a fact sheet that says free internships are only legal if the employer derives "no immediate advantage" from the intern.
Are you kidding me? What's the point of that? I want interns who are helpful!
The bureaucrats say they will crack down on companies that don't pay, but that's a terrible thing to do.
Unpaid internships are great. They are win-win. They let young people experiment with careers, and figure out what they'd like and what they're good at. They help employers produce better things and recruit new employees.
I've used interns all my career. They have done some of my best research. Some became journalists themselves. Many told me: "Thank you! I learned more working for you than I learned in college, and I didn't have to pay tuition!
I could have paid them, but then I would have used fewer interns. When I worked at ABC, the network decided to pay them -- $10 an hour -- but it also cut the number of internships by half. Politicians don't get it. Neither do most people. Polls show that Americans support raising the minimum wage. Most probably also support limits on unpaid internships, believing that they replace paid work.
But they don't.
OK, sometimes they do. But the free exchange of labor creates so many good things that, in the long run, more jobs are created and many more people get paid work -- and we get better work.
But American politicians think they "protect" workers by limiting employers' (and workers') choices and giving handouts to the unemployed.
Outside a welfare office near Fox News, I was told that because of high unemployment, there are no jobs: "There's nothing out there. Nothing." I asked my team to check that out. They walked around for two hours, and within a few blocks of that welfare office they found lots of businesses that want to hire people. On the same block where I was told that there are no jobs, a store manager said he was desperate for applicants. "We need like two or three people all the time."
Of the 79 businesses that we asked, 40 said they would hire. Twenty-four said they would take people with no experience. All wished more people would apply.
I told German Munoz, a recent high school graduate, about one of the jobs offered, at a soul food restaurant. He went there and was hired to wash dishes for minimum wage. Within a few days, he was promoted to busboy -- then to waiter. Now, two weeks later, he makes twice the minimum wage. German doesn't want a career as a waiter, but he says it's great having a real first job.
"I meet successful people, and they give good advice and tips on how to become successful. I love it. I love going there every day and learning new stuff. It is like a stepping stone," he said. Exactly.
Low-wage first jobs are indispensable for both personal advancement and social progress. Our best hope for prosperity is the free market. Government must get out of our way and allow consenting adults to create as many "first" jobs as possible.
I started working at a little grocery store at the age of 9 and have worked ever since. Back then I worked for 25 cents per hour and later got a raise to 50 cents.....wow!
My first business was selling cold drinks to the construction workers building houses on my street. On hot summer afternoons they paid handsomely for a cold bottle of Nehi. My bicycle would carry enough to take care of those working on one or two houses. They would take their break when I arrived with the cold drinks.
As an 11 year old entrepreneur I did well. (I did have help. My mom drove on public roads to the store where I bought the drinks)
Harvesting Tobacco was my first job.
I worked on my fathers farm and after we got our crops in I hired out to the neighbors, for 5 dollars a day and lunch.I was 14 the first time I was hired.
I disagree. Politicians, particularly Democrats do get it. They want more unemployment and dependency while claiming they are helping people. Dependency on government programs guarantees a larger Rat power base. Why would they want a prosperous, independent and free voter base? They might vote Conservative.
I started my FIRST job in 1945 at age 10. At 77 I’m still at it, but I’m down to 50 hours a week. I’m a 4th generation watchmaker, taught by family, in a traditional apprenticeship. This country is woefully short of people of my trade, and the rules and regulations handed down by the governments is a large part of the problem.
I’ve always wanted to teach a youngster this trade, but with the exception of two young cousins, the 5th generation at the bench, I wouldn’t consider it. What a shame.
You could substitute any of dozens of vanishing trades for the word “watchmaker” and the reasons are the same.
It was awful.
And I was thinking the whole time about all my friends out having a ball while I was dying in that dark, dirty, noisy place.
Of course, the pay was great and I was able to buy my first car cash and get into college.
This can't be stressed enough. Many students coast through school without any real idea of the value of an education. Oh they say the right things, but when it comes to applying themselves toward getting an education (as opposed to getting good grades) they fail. And that failure continues through college where the expectations about that first "real job" veer off into fantasy-land. Lessons about word & education are better learned early.
Summer at age 14.
Mowed 4 peoples yards on a regular basis
Caddied 2-3 times a week at the local golf course.
Sold golf balls (recovered from fields) You would not believe the money this generated....
Dug a foundation ditch (helped) (shovel) for a person building a garage.
All cash jobs and I made GOOD money
I never forget, I was was watching a game show in 1967 and the host asked one of the contestants, who looked about 25 years old, what he was doing. The contestant replied he was a college student. So the host asked him what he wanted to do when he graduate. The contestant replied. I have no idea
I cropped tobacco , too. Eastern NC, started when I was 13, summer of ‘73. Also drove the tractor, loaded the curing barns, unloaded the barns, topped and suckered, you name it. Dad wasn’t a farmer, it was a friend of his I worked for. Dad worked at MCAS Cherry Point, but was raised on a tobacco farm. I come from a long line of NC tobacco farmers. Anyway, 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, pay was $2.00 an hour back then.
My first job was covering my High School’s varsity sports games for the local newspaper when I was a freshman. I was paid by the age so I learned about ‘padding’ quickly.
I had TWO first jobs! I worked in a beauty shop cleaning hair brushes, sweeping hair, keeping the reception area organized and taking money (had to do the change in my head), during the week and on Sunday’s took care of the nursury at my church. Saturdays we had to first help daddy with the yard and then clean our room and whatever our weekly rotating area was. Ended up with a career in commercial property management- loved it most of the time.
When I think of all the people I KNOW who are getting government handouts it about makes me sick. The younger ones rely heavily on their parents when these don’t make ends meet. God get all the free money you can is their way of looking at life. Older ones who opted out of health insurance and their health faded, got on LONG TERM disablity or employee disability insurance programs where they worked. Some live a luxury life off government grants to give them expensive operations as they think they deserve them! Their health is finally somewhat important. I comment now to them that I am blessed by my GOD that I could live out my dad’s stern rule to us-—you cannot go without health insurance and have savings or insurance enough to bury yourself. We did without finer things in life for insurance-health, car, home, life—BUT, never did without love, respect and ethics in life as a family. My sisters and I carry that on as my nieces all have jobs that support them and/or their family and all have insurances. We have a situation going on now with preemie TWINS and if they had not had insurance would have cost the taxpayers a million dollars. Some of the preemies are uninsured and the cost is unbelievable. And, imagine after spending a full day in the hospital with these babies then going to a non-profit room nearby for emergency calls and hearing a banging headboard several times a night waking you up! True stories!
I also know of a case where a motorized wheelchair sits out front of a house because he lost the key to it. And, when I ask my senator what happens to them after the patient isn’t using the ones WE pay grandly for...no answer. Guess the family sells them on Craig’s list or e-bay.
UNLESS we fall into a hole financially as a nation or have a religious revival what will change this mentality?
My first job was shoveling hog manure on the farm.
Was always paid in my internships. Engineers usually are. Honestly, I don’t understand why you would work for free at one. That hints your field is not very good.
I picked radishes and green onions. On my knees. In the field. I was paid by the “twistie”.
People may not know this, but the green onions and radishes you buy at the store were bunched in those little twisty ties right where they were pulled out of the ground. By a human being.
When I turned 15 I sometimes would be paid by the hour to come up behind the other “bunchers” and put their piles of bunches in the wooden boxes and load ‘em onto the tractor, take it into the barn and wash it. Washing meant dunking each box into a big sink a couple of times and pulling it out and into a stack.
When I turned 16 I drove the truck load of veggies to the distribution centers for places like Safeway.
I think most of what I did is now illegal to allow young people to do. What a shame.
I had that job all through high school and college, from stoop labor to assistant farm manager. In fact during the amnesty of 1986 I had between 20 and 60 migrant workers through out the harvest. I only had 2 that that were illegal. We had immigration officials pay us a visit a couple times a month.
That job bought a moped, a '68 Camaro, payed for half my flying lessons and offset a great deal of college expenses.
There are more and more days I simply miss that job.
Babysitting. Then waitress in a diner. Then short order cook in a factory.
Have an acquaintance who’s business needs drivers. Hard to find one that you can trust NOT to text or check them when driving. Last driver ran off the road with the hard work of the shop wrecking an F-350.
I know there are LOTS of good stories but we are like the news, tend to hear the bad ones....
I was 14 doing farm work at a beef cattle operation. $1.10 an hour in 1972. Hard but interesting work (forking manure, putting up hay and ensilage, grinding feed, helping dehorn and, ahem, “emasculate” the little bulls, plowing and discing the fields).
Being tighter than 2 coats of paint, in about 18 months I saved enough for a 5 year old Camaro.
I doubt many farmers hire local kids for this kind of work much anymore. Too many illegals and lawyers around.
I earned my own money as a kid from an early age maybe eight or nine, cutting lawns, delivering newspapers, selling garden produce and crafts. My first real hourly wage job was at a veterinarians cleaning kennels, I loved dogs and still do. I smelled like a nasty kennel if I didn’t shower and change clothes, that was not big with the ladies in high school.
First job - (unpaid) - worked at Grandpop’s gas station. Learned customer service, how to make change and “face” the bills, etc. Went with Pop to weekend masonry gigs (fetch bricks, find where I put that hammer I was playing with)
First paying job ever - went with Grandmom to bingo and walk up and down the aisles - I’d fetch coffee, hot dogs, sodas, whatever, and the ladies would tip me with dimes & nickels. (around 8-10 years old?). Would also mow lawns, shovel snow, clean out garages in the neighborhood.
First official job ever - worked at the local five and dime as stock boy, gopher, sweeper-upper, whatever.
Other jobs over the years:
Lifeguard (3 summers)
Dishwasher (includes KP)
Store-window squeegee & floor waxer (at malls)
Ice Cream Man (back in the days of actual bells, not muzak)
Animated film-cel painter
Oil-spill mopper (factory)
Line attendant (factory)
Sludge-pit cleaner (factory)
Furnace cleaner (factory)
Mall clothing store stockboy
Furniture mover / delivery
Door-to-door salesman (cable TV)
Banquet worker (set-ups, serve, cleanup)
French cuisine cook (coquilles St-Jacques a specialty)
Computer (mainframe) operator
Computer (PC) programmer / systems designer (consolidating international subsidiaries’ accounts)
Beer drinker (oh, that’s right, never got paid for that)
Corporate financial analyst
I could go on.....
Many of the jobs I did at several establishments (e.g., bartender), some for long periods of time (22 years at the longest stretch)
Sad part is, not many of these jobs are available to the youth of today (what with OSHA, lawsuits, regulations, etc.)
I started as a 9 year old paperboy. Had my own route, did my own paperwork keeping track of my collections. Tough job for a little boy. Difficut getting customers to pay at times. And delivering papers in a snowstorm was a nightmare. Good lessons learned though.
This was my first "real job" too. I did it for 2 summers - '63 and '64. You had to start showing up in March-April on Saturday and Sunday. After that, it took a couple of weeks for the caddy master to put you out shagging balls - his way of insuring that he had people he could be sure were going to show up.
There were 3 or 4 of us from my neighborhood who did this. During the summer it was a 6 day a week job - the course was closed on Mondays - and, on a typical day, we would be on the course before 7 and back before noon . with $5 or $6 in our pockets. If we got a double, it would be $10 or $12.
Then, it was down to the bus stop in Freeport and off to Jones Beach.
I had more "just for me" disposable income then than I ever had again until my kids were out of the school and out of the house.
Any work is creative work if done by a thinking mind.
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
I got my first job at age 13 delivering newspapers. It was the summer of 1975 and I remember waking up at the crack of dawn for that stack of newspapers to hit my front porch. I was making $15 to $20 a week and for a 13-year-old, that was a lot of money at that time for what basically amounted to an hour of work a day.
Having that paper route gave me a taste for having money in my pocket so I kept that route for several years and took on whatever other part time jobs I could find. Shucking clams in a clam shack. Bagging groceries at a supermarket. Washing dishes in a restaurant. By time I was in high school, I was used to taking home at least $50 a week - the minimum wage back then was $2.65 an hour.
I managed to get my own kids into part-time jobs when they were in high school but it was a struggle as most of these jobs have dried up. About the only employers who still take on young kids these days (under 18) are supermarkets and fast food joints.
Not counting babysitting or mowing the neighbors’ lawns, my first job for a real company was in a flower shop when I was a bout 14.
I got to learn how to work a register, take phone orders, check deliveries for accuracy, take inventory, and of course...arrange floral arrangements.
Fun job. Harder than it looks.
First real job was at 15 as a waitress. It was a nasty little place that stored food in the back on the dirt because there wasn’t a floor. The toilet got stopped up one day and the owner never fixed it. He also never turned in our w/h or ss and forgot to pay us sometimes. Lots of lessons learned right out the gate.
Between my senior year in High School and my Freshman year in college worked as a clerk at a discount store.
Then I parlayed a computer programming class I took in High School into a job as a computer operator, part-time, at the University I was attending (at 2.5 x minimum wage!). This was back in the early 1970s when computers were booming and anyone with any familiarity with them could find something in that field. Paid all my college expenses (except tuition, which my parents paid), and actually allowed me to save a few bucks.
Of course this was well before the ridiculous run-up in college costs, so you could work and pay for college.
Of course, I could not have done any of that without the government allowing those businesses to operate.
Agreed, however, with hindsight, I'd still have taken one. Got a degree in Electrical Engineering, looked for over a year for a EE job and no one would take me without any formal experience. Any kind of an internship would have made that transition easier.
So instead, I went into computers and that's paid my bills for the last 20-ish years. I guess I can't complain.
Instead of interning, I worked college summers as a Convention Coordinator. Ultimately, that was more valuable than an internship, I think, because it taught me how to deal with people.
But, at the time and after being told for four years... "Yeah, you'll graduate. No problems finding work. Engineers make a ton of money, too!" .... no work was a little hard to swallow.
Spotting nails at 4 while my dad hung sheet rock/drywall - 50 cents/wall. Stocking and pricing groceries at 5 and 6....loved that paper price tag gun. paper route at 13, lifeguard at 15...
Hostess at a lunch resturaunt in Downtown Boston, the Bulkie, remember it? Packed donuts and then worked as a CNA all through age 16. Worked in a factory for a little while, it was a PhD in Life.
My first job was at 10 years old, washing the udders of cows, ahead of the milking machines being applied.
I was hired to play the organ at a little church out in the country at 13 (8th grade). The organ was so small that I had to push it out from the wall and plug it in when I arrived. I worked with a cantor (congregational song leader) and a tiny choir of her 3 friends. The monsignor promised that if this format worked out, he would buy a good quality organ at the end of the first year, which he did.
I was paid $40.00 a month, which equaled the cost of my music lessons. This worked out to about 4 hours of work at the church for rehearsal and mass, and a couple of hours at home practicing.
I was treated like a professional, and I did my absolute best to merit that respect. I felt the weight of adult responsibility to a large crowd of good people. Every mistake I made was out loud and in public, so I didn’t want that to happen too often. Holy Week was very stressful.
I kept that job through college, with increased pay and responsibilities (weddings) and my boss, the pastor, helped me get a scholarship that helped pay the expenses.
Monsignor Michael Flynn is one the first people I want to see when I get to heaven.
Did not say an internship would not help — but I still consider unpaid internships as a rip-off. I had four years experience as a computer operator and database analyst by the time I graduated from college, and got paid for that work. My oldest son had two paid summer internships at Lockheed-Martin in college. And so forth.
I am not really sure of the value of unpaid work, however. Know plenty of people who did unpaid work, and then spent a year (or more) after college looking for work.
Key to finding paid work is focus and networking. Spent my non-classroom/study time working in college rather than partying and found my jobs via networking — someone who knew someone else was looking for someone to work for them. I think a lot of folks go to college thinking everything will take care of itself once you get the degree. I went there thinking I better dig hard if I wanted a job after graduation.
That might also be true in some other fields, but if they don't have to pay for them, they don't. Our company has gotten good employees with both paid and unpaid internships. I suppose you could say that we don't treat engineering grads and business grads equally at the intern level. Maybe it isn't even fair, but it is what the laws of supply and demand dictate.
From the very beginning in America, work was honored as a means of achievement, for an individual growing up, and as a citizen later. Many came to these shores as apprentices, learned a trade, and went on to become prosperous as they, in turn, offered opportunity to others in this land where liberty was the prize and freedom to pursue happiness came to be a goal of good government.
Beginning in the late 1800's and early 1900's groups of arrogant elitists, calling themselves by different names (currently "progressives") latched onto another idea. That idea, called by whatever name, is counterfeit and tyrannical and enslaves those it professes to "help."
"Ideas have consequences"! Weaver
A rediscovery of America's founding ideas can restore freedom and opportunity.
The challenge is ours!
Worked part-time after school as a salesclerk in a department store in Rochester, NY. After I graduated, my first job was as an office clerk for Noah’s Ark. My employment was very short, as I’d taken a county civil service test during my senior year, and ended up being hired as a clerk at the child welfare department in Rochester. More money, and better job security.
>>>>Any work is creative work if done by a thinking mind.
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged<<<<
Hanging this one in a prominent place in my classroom this fall. Thanks.