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Cujgie  (Level: 170.4 - Posts: 754)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 2:58 AM


A thousand years ago, I was 15 and answered an ad by Time-Life to sell magazine subscriptions by phone. I was the only one in a tiny "office" behind the produce section of the local IGA (where I got my second paying job). I'd call out of the phone book and was supposed to use the patter the company had whomped up: "Hello. My name is Carol and I am trying to earn enough money to go to college." Since I was only a sophomore in high school and had no clue where I would go to college, or even if I would, I couldn't get myself into the "fun" of the spiel. I desperately wanted to sell at least one subscription from a long list of magazines, even though most people were't at home, some who were said no, and a few hung up on me. Finally, I got disgusted enough that I just asked, "Hi, would you like to buy a magazine subscription?" I think I lasted about a week in that job and swore I would never do telemarketing again.

Papermanbill  (Level: 41.3 - Posts: 1313)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 5:30 AM

At the age of 15 in 1960, me and two kids I went to school with got hired to keep score for Bowling Tournaments. This went on from February to June. We got paid cash $21 to $28 a day, plus tips. The longest this would take would be eight hours. I was clearing almost as much as my father who was a factory machinist at the time. It got so good that my friend Murphy and I would get excuse slips from one of our counselors , skip gym classes and study hall and go to the bowling alley, keep score for a squad and go back to school for the rest of the day. We both cleared over $200 one week when we were on spring break.

Bigbird  (Level: 236.0 - Posts: 3300)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 6:03 AM

My first paying job (not counting baby sitting) was the summer I graduated from high school. I was dumb enough to reject all help from my parents - who had gazillion contacts - and insisted I was going to get a job on my own. Stupid kid! No one wanted to train me for anything, since I would be going off to college in 2 months.

I ended up working in the office of a linen supply company, where I typed index cards the whole frigging day. I typed and I cried. I cried and I typed. Got to use the @ sign a lot. It went like - 3 aprons @ 21 ยข . I was never so bored in my life. It took me a bus and three subway trains to get there.

The highlight of the day was when the Mr Softee truck would come around sometime mid-afternoon. The staff got a 15-minute break at Mr. Softee time. The highlight of my work experience there was when they taught me how to use the addressograph machine. I actually got to stand up, move around, and do something new.

The moral of the story is take all offered help, all the time!

Gypsylady  (Level: 140.7 - Posts: 6036)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 6:15 AM

I was seventeen and just graduated from high school. I was a country girl moved to town on my own for the first time which was really exciting. My first job was in classified advertising for the Effingham Daily News. I would take the ads either by phone or over the counter, type them up, proofread them when they came back from the press. I also did the layouts for the box ads. Also, send out the monthly statements. I can't remember my salary, but sure it wasn't a lot. I do remember most of my wages went for rent, food, clothes and the jukebox.


Mplaw51  (Level: 176.9 - Posts: 1582)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 7:35 AM

When I was 16 I applied to the local supermarket, Shoprite, for a job. I was a cashier at a time when you had to push in the numbers of the price then press enter, no scans, no electronics-simple stuff. All the high school kids were the part time help. I don't know how they put up with us. I met my husband there though it was another 10 years, college and several boyfriends later before we got married. I stayed there until I was 18 and went off to college.

Keithr81052  (Level: 142.0 - Posts: 147)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 8:11 AM

My first job other than paperboy was as on a farm, up at dawn to feed the hogs, irrigate the fields, buck hay sometimes I even weeded the onion fields with the migrants, worked from daylight to sundown and all for 50 dollars a month and room and board

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 8:14 AM

My first paying job as a teenager was gift wrapping during Christmas season at a hardware store my father managed. (They also sold housewares and toys.) The most unusual thing I was asked to gift wrap was a post-hole digger - no box or container for it. I asked the woman if she like a bow tied to the handle. "No" she wanted the darn thing wrapped.

I put paper around it, folded the corners neatly and slapped a bow on it. When she walked away with it, I hoped that the husband did drop thing on his foot. Wrapping paper certainly couldn't hid the fact of what it was.

Enjoyed the job, though.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 8:15 AM

Oops, meant to say that I hoped the husband DIDN'T drop the thing on his foot.

Davidf  (Level: 102.1 - Posts: 746)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 8:21 AM

Had a paper round after school then switched to a morning one, earned what I though was lots of money and spent it on my family and spectrum computer games

Rnmorg  (Level: 128.2 - Posts: 690)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 9:07 AM

Since I lived on a street filled with orchards, I went to work for the family that owned them very early on. I got paid .25 a quart to pick strawberries when I was 12 and a little more for raspberries. The owner would only allow girls to pick the raspberries, because he said the men and boys squished them with their big hands! I graduated to picking apple drops and thinning fruit on the trees after I turned 14 (for $2.75 an hour--you could get less than minimum as an underaged farm worker) then finally! got to retire into luxury, working in the store as a cashier.

Flcyclist  (Level: 122.3 - Posts: 691)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 9:13 AM

I grew up in truck farming country and when I was 12 or 13 (who can remember that far back?) the farms used to send trucks around to pick up kids willing to pick ripe whatever. Usually strawberries, but also beans and other things. Then when I was 16 I got a job as dishwasher in a high-class restaurant. That's were I got my first taste of lobster and other expensive foods (I came from a poor family). Greasy job, but I felt good earning money.

Revdodd  (Level: 68.7 - Posts: 775)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 9:22 AM

My first job?

A human mosquito meter.

Back in the day, the South Carolina Mosquito Abatement program would pay teenagers (and stupid ones at that!) to drive to remote corners of the Lowcountry each morning before sunrise, get out of their trucks and stand perfectly still. Then you'd count the number of mosquitoes that bit you. No swatting allowed, though cussing was an option.

We'd then drive back to the office and turn in our "Bite Me" sheets. The worst spots were given double-red flags, and the Death Bomber (and old DC-3 that sprayed Malathion) would be dispatched to deal with the devils. We were usually done before lunch time, meaning we could head to the beach and sleep.

By the third year, the getting up was rougher than the getting bit, so I took a summer job with the Migrant Health program,,,,but that's another story.

Alas, progress and Hugo have obliterated most of the places I worked.

Donden  (Level: 112.5 - Posts: 2127)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 10:21 AM

My first real job was tow-barring cars to auctions at age 16. A local dealer would by groups of cars from some of the larger dealers in Detroit, "Fix 'em up" Hah! and then we would tow-bar them to Columbus and Akron OH, Butler PA or Calumet City IL and run them through the big auctions. There was a guy from Detroit that used to come down with a step van and actually cut a tread into bald tires. Then they would go on the auction cars and we would zoom down the highway with our "hook-ups" at well over the speed limit. Man, were we dumb! We would also clip a few thousand off the odometers so they could sell as low mileage cream puffs.
Although we had a few mishaps, luckily no one was ever seriously injured. None of the dealer tricks are practiced too much anymore. Laws back in the fifties were pretty vague and what statutes that did exist were rarely enforced.
To this day I will never by a car from an auction.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 10:40 AM

I just can't beat "human mosquito meter".

Babysitting, then gift shop clerk, then waitress in a breakfast diner, then pizza delivery (some great stories there)...

But my STRANGEST job was as a spy for a Fitness Center. The state of AZ had just passed a law that a fitness club had to allow new memberships to pay in monthly installments over the life of the membership term. But most of the health clubs wanted it all up front. So I was hired by one place (that WAS following the new law) to go into other places and buy a membership. I was supposed to do everything I could to get them to let me pay monthly. Then sign whatever agreement they had (with a three day change-your-mind cancellation policy). Put a stop-pay on the check and then write up a report for my boss. I got interviewed on the TV news after the "sting" was all over! Can't remember how much I got paid.

Bbear  (Level: 159.3 - Posts: 2301)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 11:24 AM

At 16, my first job was working in a Green Giant canning factory. Worked from early June peas through saurkraut (October). Minimum wage was 1.15 and then I got 50 bucks a week in unemployment through the winter, which was cool.

Job was truly gross (would be a great episode of Dirty Jobs). Picking bugs and stuff out of moving lines of veggies, standing knee deep for 12-16 hours a day in cabbage foam, but it got me through my last 3 years of high school.

Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1141)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 11:33 AM

My first jobs were babysitting. There were two boys in the neighborhood that were junior perverts that I would babysit from time to time. One summer I watched these boys for a whole week. I had a girlfriend stay with me to help. I was taking a shower one morning and naturally the boys were trying to get in the bathroom. My girlfriend was having trouble fending two of them off. They were actually trying to wrestle her down to get in. One backed up and was charging her and she threw one of those spiky hairbrushes at him. It connected hard and we ended up having to take him to the emergency room. Stitches! We all agreed to a more easily digestible story for the mom. I still babysat them after that because that mother paid about three times the going rate (I think she had to know her kids were little Hugh Hefners) and she had the best food!

RevDodd - you surely win for most unusual job! You're probably immune to West Nile.

Kaufman  (Level: 253.7 - Posts: 3936)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 11:36 AM

Not counting mowing our lawn and delivery of weekly ad-rags, my first was at age 16. While Alice says don't turn down help, I offer a coautionary tale. I got a position through my father doing whatever in a store-brand Q-tip factory. I think most of what I did was getting rid of boxes of discontinued brands. It was terrible. I lasted two weeks or so.

Oogie54  (Level: 198.5 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 12:36 PM

At fourteen I mixed mortar and carried concrete blocks for a buck an hour.

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 12:42 PM

Wow, man, deja vu all over again. I just answered this on the Truckers thread.

Elaine0602  (Level: 48.5 - Posts: 111)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 1:57 PM

My first paying job was in Jr High school. I babysat for a family with SIX kids and a HUGE great dane dog. It was nerve racking but the pay was good. When I graduated high school I wanted a job to save up money for college. The only job my dad would let me have was working at my older brother's gas station pumping gas and putting in oil. Way back then cars had the gas tank openings hidden in various places, behind the license plate, behind the tail light, under the hood...etc. Being a little prissy girl I knew ZILCH about a car beyond where to put the key to turn it on, and still don't. Men would drive in and sit forever,,,laughing...while I ran around the car...trying not to look STUPID...looking for the gas tank. So embarrassing,,,,it made me appreciate those days of babysitting six kids and a Marmaduke!

1mks  (Level: 207.9 - Posts: 5864)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 2:43 PM

I worked in the toy department at Sanger Harris which is now Dilliards or some other name. AND I was in that department at Christmas time. Parents just dropped off their kids there to wreck the displays while they shopped in another department. I had a hard time holding on to the concept that the "customer is always right". Hated that job.....digging ditches would have been more dignified....AND probably more profitable.

Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1141)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 3:00 PM

Still, Marsha, that job was a little more dignified than human mosquito meter! I always had a hard time with the concept that the customer is always right though. Sometimes they are bullying jerks. This has been an entertaining thread!

Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1141)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 3:02 PM

A little credit to Salzypat who started it on the trucker thread.

Cujgie  (Level: 170.4 - Posts: 754)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 4:16 PM

I shaudda given credit, since that's where I got the idea. Didn't want such a delicious topic to get lost in another thread.

Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1141)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 5:15 PM

Thanks to you too, Cujgie for getting this thread going. It's been fun!

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2856)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 7:27 PM

My first real job - after I suddenly left school for family reasons - was in
the local Tax pre-computer days.
Because everything was done manually it was up-close and personal,
and we had the power to demand "Clients" to come in for "interviews".
Don't know who's brilliant idea it was to allot TEACHERS to someone
fresh out of school----but I sure made some teachers squirm!!!!

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2856)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 7:30 PM

oooops Pepper....
was that what they call a "freudian slip????"

Smeans  (Level: 109.2 - Posts: 301)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 9:36 PM

Aside from jobs as a kid babysitting and mowing grass for elderly neighbors, dog sitting and house sitting. My first real job, IRS taxes taken out of my pay, was when I was 19. I went to work for Springs Industries in Nashville, TN. I was a packager stapler when I first started and would staple those lovely tags you find on rugs in the store onto the rugs after inspecting them. The rugs where hot because more often than not they had just came out of the dryers and until I got the hang of it, I often stabbed my fingers with the needle on the staple gun thing we put those plastic tags on with. The most fun (heavy sarcasm here) was folding the nice hot 8x10 area rugs and cramming them into those plastic bags after untangling them because they were all wadded up in the bin they were sent down to us in. I lasted as a packager stapler about 6 months before bidding off onto a job as an order assembler, which in essence was a gravy job. I pulled rugs for Sears orders off the racks and took them to the shipping area to be boxed up. Good thing about that job was....I lost a ton of weight because I was walking an average of about 8 miles a night up and down the isles and ladders when needed, every night 6 days a week.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 9:46 PM

LOL, Rowlanda! Yep, I'm afraid so.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2856)
Sun, 27th Jul '08 11:44 PM

I know what you mean....I lost about 35 LBs in 12 weeks on the Line
at Chrysler AND THE REALLY BAD thing about it was....
I CRAVED salads and other healthy foods!!!!

Embee  (Level: 86.7 - Posts: 362)
Tue, 29th Jul '08 11:05 PM


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