New York Times  Bestselling Author

Join Me for a New Story Weekend!

Here we go again! I’ve loved reading about your lives for the past couple of weekends, and I hope you’ll join me again for week three. This weekend’s theme is:

FIRST JOBS.

The rules remain the same:

  • The story must be true.
  • Try to keep it under 100 words. That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.
  • Avoid offensive language.

Have fun, and as usual, I’ll kick it off with my own comment.

30 Comments

  1. Diane Chamberlain on June 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Jersey Shore, waitressing on the boardwalk. A summer with my best friend, Zan. Ten pounds gained on sausage sandwiches and cheesecake. Guys left tips in glasses of water turned upside down on the tables. Biggest tip: $1, from the man on whom I dropped a plate of spaghetti. Fell madly in love with the boss’s son, all sweaty behind the grill. My feelings weren’t reciprocated. Ultimately, a very good thing.

    • Kathy on June 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      17 years old, senior high school. Took Civil Service test with whole class before graduating. In 2 weeks got a call from Los Angeles County offering me a job at County Hospital as typist clerk. It was like being plucked out of a safe cocoon and sent to work at the information desk of a huge county hospital. Parents away on vacation, our dog got run over, I grew up quick and stayed in Healthcare for 40 years.

  2. Elna Barber on June 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    My hometown is small. When I was a senior, Olan Mills came and set up a bank of telephones in a motel room. After school I would go to the room and call people from 4-8 in the afternoon selling packages. About 9 months later I was on my first date with a guy. As we rode past the hotel, I said, ” I used to work in the second room from the end.” (Never thinking how that looked!)
    As soon as I said it, I tripped over my words explaining myself. Obviously he believed me because we have been married for 38 years!

    • Diane Chamberlain on June 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      LOL, Elna!

  3. Linda on June 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    My first “job” was probably babysitting like every other girl my age. But my first job for pay other than from my parents or someone else’s parents was in downtown Wilmington, NC, at Kress’s Department store selling shoes on Saturdays from 9 until 2. I was paid in cash and it came from Mrs. Penny in a bank envelope at the end of the day. I think it was less than $5.00. But back then a coke was a nickel and gas was .25 a gallon, so $5 went a long way!

  4. Ann Weightman on June 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I didn’t work while going to high school. My first job after high school was at a mortgage company making up settlement figures for sellers of homes. Worked in the escrow dept.too. It was a learning experience for me. When I bought my first house at 23 yrs. old I knew what I could afford and how to shop around for the best interest rate for a mortgage. They should teach this in schools. .. maybe the foreclosure rates wouldn’t be so high today with people spending way beyond their means.

  5. Kelly on June 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    working in a receiving home with 7 children from 5 – 11. All stopped wetting their beds within the week so promoted to child care worker. The children had all been taken away from their homes for one reason or another – some permanent, some temporarily. The best line (I was 15, she was 5) – I am not being adopted unless Kelly can be adopted with me. A great education and a terrific job that lasted more than 7 years with training on weekends and during the week.

  6. Linda Sullivan on June 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I worked for my father as a typesetter for a few years in and right out of high school. He was a great boss, we travelled alot, spent alot of time together with mom and ate lunch every day together. To this day I am a good typist thanks to him for making me correct all my errors, I owe him alot, I wish to go back to office work! Wish I had the chance to tell him how much he taught me those early years … I miss him ALOT!!

  7. Jeri Holmes on June 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Wrapping Christmas gifts in a department store. I was terrible at first but got better. I have to laugh when I think about it. Those first few gifts must have looked terrible but everyone just smiled and took them.

  8. Cindy Griffith on June 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I was 11-years-old when I accepted my first paying job – one Saturday two weeks before Christmas in a local grocery store. (Yes, there were child labor laws back then, I guess, but they weren’t strict.) I was dressed up in my Christmas finery, with my long dark hair pulled back with a red ribbon, and stationed at a candy display. I did a good job selling the candy, so much so, that I was invited back later in the year to sell 25 lb. bags of flour! That wasn’t as easy, but I managed to sell a lot.

  9. Hailey on June 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    My first job was a cashier/bagger at Stop and Shop and I loved engaging with the customers and asking how they were doing, whether they had found everything they needed, paper or plastic bags, if they needed help out with their groceries, etc. That job helped me pay for a trip to stay in Australia for three months after graduating from high school. Even though it wasn’t my favorite job, I’m forever grateful being able to save up my money and travel to a different country and experience life with my sister and her husband.

  10. Iris M. on June 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Age 16, minimum wage clerk-typist for Copyright Office. Orientation took place at Library of Congress in DC. Worked in the 4th floor of a high rise and twin sister worked in the 4th floor GSA office of an identical building across the courtyard. We could look out our windows and wave at each other. Nothing memorable about the job except my typing speed increased 20 WPM and I went thru a lot of Wite-Out.

  11. Lisa Rich McIvor on June 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    13 or 14, unofficial position as human paper shredder in my dad’s law firm. There were certain types of files that could be destroyed after 10 years of storage. He brought me files, and I ripped, then went to a card catalog to note destruction info on the file’s 3 x 5 card. I was cheaper than buying a paper shredder, but I was very slow. Due to an early interest in law, I read the files as I ripped….and I tended to make designs of my destruction notes. I know I drove my dad crazy, but we both enjoyed our time together that summer.

  12. Fiona Slee on June 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Local supermarket when I was 15. Within two weeks I had accidentally stabbed myself with a steak knife and had to be rushed off to be stitched but despite that they decided to keep me.

  13. Doreen Scott on June 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Other than baby sitting, my first job was cutting coupons out of ration books
    at the open market in my home town. The man I worked for sold every kind
    of cookie imaginable. This was just after the second world war, but I only worked
    for him on Saturdays. It gave me a little pocket money, and enough to buy presents
    for my mom for birthdays and Christmas. This also took place in Grimsby England.

  14. Cindy Mathes on June 25, 2011 at 12:26 am

    After the regular babysitting jobs, The summer of 73 I turned 16 and got my license. Dad and Mom gave me a 1964 Comet… Started 11th grade and got a job as a waitress. No experience for this very shy girl that did everything backwards. Loved my job and became bolder and more confident. Wrecked my car just a week after I started driving. Had to buy myself my next car. A 1964 Plymouth Fury with a Push Button Transmission and a very small Steering wheel. 150.00 of my very own money. I was very proud.

    • Kathy on June 25, 2011 at 2:06 am

      In 1964 I bought a brand new, bright red Dodge Dart and I LOVED that Push Button Transmission! My payments on a new car, $70.00 a month.

  15. Hope Jinks on June 25, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Picture this: It’s the Spring of ’54. I’m learning to operate the old-time plug-in switchboard at The Vanity, a downtown dress shop in Mobile, AL. (“Number, pleeeese!) Living on the cheap with my fun aunt and her family, walking home for lunch every day, drawing $19.25 a week, and meeting lots of cute boys who liked the beach, helps to take the edge off the reason I’ve been shuffled off to “Sweet Lunacy’s County Seat,” when I should be studying for finals in my Old Main dorm room on the Alabama College campus in Montevallo.

  16. Joanna Pederson on June 25, 2011 at 2:03 am

    No surprises here! I worked at a Waldenbooks til my father asked me to work with him. He owned a newsletter focusing on which oil companies were coming & going in our area. We lived in West Texas & petroleum companies came here from all over the world, so he had his hands full! (PS-We lived in Odessa, TX. I went to “Friday Night Lights” Odessa Permian and got a great education….and marched in the band in a few football games! 🙂 )

  17. Sheree Gillcrist on June 25, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Babysitting for sure. I am a youngest child and in our house, my mom owned the stove.lol I was doing an emergency job while the family took one of their kids to the hospital. They came home with bad news and asked me to make them a cup of tea on the old kemac. I put the kettle on and listened raptly while they told me what was happening. I felt so grown up. Two hours later we all smelt something burning. Ah the kettle I had forgotten about. I had burned it dry and put a hole in the bottom. Many years later when I graduated from high school I received a gift of a charm bracelet with a wee silver tea kettle on it. One without a hole in the bottom. As my dad always use to say ‘It’s tough when you’re learnin’.

  18. Joanne Grover on June 25, 2011 at 6:10 am

    1966, downtown Plainfield . Bakery on the main street. Was able to bring home bread and sweets at the end of the day. Hence my love for sweets ,even to this day. It was good stuff.Ahh sweet memories

  19. Lois Manowitz on June 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

    1967, Part-time, after school job in Plainfield, at a local stock brokerage. I got very good at the switchboard (yes, switchboard!) with all its wires and plugs, but nearly caused disaster with incorrectly filing/sorting the puts & calls orders (buy and sell orders) and mixing them up. These were pink and blue bits of paper (absolutely no computers then). Really screwed up some customers orders. My bosses were amazingly kind when they told me I couldn’t do that anymore.

  20. Kristine on June 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

    My first real job was working at a Chinese food restaurant! My sister and my brother also worked there, we were they only Americans and people thought it was the craziest thing. We were always asked if we were related!! We learned some Chinese (fod names), ate some interesting Chinese dishes and celebrated Chinese New Year. It was take out, I did my homework and in my the first summer there watched the whole OJ trial. We got to eat lots of Chinese food, drink as much soda and Chinese tea as we wanted. It was GREAT! Plus nobody else had a job like that!!

  21. Debb Haley on June 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

    First job was car hopping at a local restaurant. Unfortunately I live in a state that sees hard winters, that did not have any bearing on car hopping. I was carrying out a tray full of food one day and a patch of ice in the parking lot found me. I slipped on the ice and the whole tray of food went flying, what a mess! Back then if something happened to the food you were serving they took the cost of the food out of your paycheck. The car that I was supposed to be delivering the food to saw what happened and after I apologized and finally delivered them a new tray of food the man in the car gave me a $50 tip which more than covered the cost of the food that I dropped.

  22. Judi Ross on June 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

    1962…summer between freshman and sophomore/high school…my Mom’s hair dresser asked me to be a model in a hair show taking place in one month. I would be compensated with my fabulous new ‘hair-do’ and the experience….that was enough for me, shy, long blonde hair worn in a Peggy Lee ponytail. First up: strip my hair of all color, paper white; because of the harsh chemicals in those days, I had to wear it that way for 2 days before we could proceed; next up a cut that was so very short I cried for days; color was added so I became a platinum bottle blonde, day of show arrived 1 week before school commenced, hairdressers grandmother died-could not go to show. School started, I was petrified to attend as ‘good girls’ did not dye their hair nor pierce their ears ‘back in the day’ LOL. Proof: I was kicked off the cheerleading squad for bleaching my hair! Now that’s funny, BUT it took me another 10 years to truly get health back into my hair. The times have changed and that’s the good news! OH, and my parents: Well, their attitude was I made the committment. I could live with the results, and if I did not like it, then maybe I would learn to make better choices. I passed that test with flyin’ colors 🙂

  23. Margo on June 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I was to complete the paintings of sailboats in 1 month…what a challenge! ‘I only want them painted in black & white & please capture the essence of Clear Lake’…he was a dentist and also a sailor who saw my work displayed at my High School. They were to adorn his new office…my first commission! My parents worried I was getting little sleep but I couldn’t stop…mixing so many shades of grey from my black and white palatte. I was SO honored to have this job. He gave me an unveiling. I was 16 years old and I was on my way.

  24. Audrey Bonnell on June 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    My first job was when I was 16 and I was a car hop at a Big Boy in Toledo. I really liked the night manager (close to being a crush) but when I worked with him I always came up short in my till. Not much but I always felt so ashamed because of it. He was never mean about it just said be more careful. I still don’t understand why it only happened when he was there.

  25. Tisha Graves on June 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    My first job was in 1978 @ the Plainfield Public Library. I always loved the library. I would love to sit upstairs looking over the fountain and read my latest book. I reshelved all books that were returned back to their rightful place. It was interesting learning about other books besides fiction. Everyone was so nice there. I eventually moved on to work as a sales clerk at Bambergers downtown.

  26. Patti James on June 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Summer after high school worked on staff at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, Hendersonville, NC. Duties included working in the dishroom three times a day, cleaning the pool, lifeguarding, occasionally helping in the office, cleaning out the barracks-like facilities on Saturday morning in time for the next batch of kids arriving Saturday afternoon. Pay: $15 a week. Saved enough to buy a new pair of glasses at the end of the summer!

  27. Sher Laughlin on July 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    The result of shameless nepotism – my father got me the gig when I was 16 – I tourguided at a lumber mill, rushed to the lumbermill printshop and did the day’s binding, then hunkered in the company’s basement categorizing boxes of historical photos of our Northern California fishing village. Eventually I ran their brand new switchboard, then helped in the accounting department, promptly causing them overdrafts at the local bank. I did not know I should have been scared…and was happier for it. I’m still learning that you can always fix life’s overdrafts, not so much a lost opportunity.

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