Way back in the day, little did I know that an adventure was just beginning.
My first job of any kind took place back in high school, back in the late 80’s. Just typing that makes me feel a bit ancient, though I’m young at heart:) Anyway, I was reaching an age where people started to take on part-time jobs in high school, or at least summer jobs. Frankly, I hadn’t given much thought to working, as my mind was elsewhere at the time. Of course once I started to see others work and how they were actually making money, it got me interested in making some for myself.
I had applied for a few jobs, and didn’t hear back. These were at the “glamorous” locales at the time, which meant interesting restaurants and other service establishments. Keep in mind the immediate town in which I grew up was solid, but the surrounding areas were all declining rust belt type of places without too many great opportunities. Anyway, one place did call back, and asked me if I’d be interested in a “porter” job. It was a donut shop of all places. The guy told me that the most important part of the job would be regularly cleaning the bathrooms. That certainly didn’t sound too glamorous and I didn’t pursue that any further!
Then, a friend told me about an opportunity….
The buddy of mine had told me that he worked occasional weekends at a banquet hall. Why occasional weekends? Well, he apparently didn’t have a car of his own, so he had to get a ride there from parents or others. That meant he couldn’t commit to a regular schedule.
Enter The Squirreler.
My friend told me he could get me a job at this banquet hall for work every weekend, and asked if I could drive him there. I thought about it, and decided “why not?”. The kicker for me was the pay: $5 per hour. Yes, the boss man at this place paid me $5 per hour but I thought I was pulling in some decent money for a high school job. In reality, I actually was making decent money. Most of the people I know who held these part-time jobs were making under $4 per hour, so I thought I was lucky! Plus, we got to eat a “free” meal during a break, which was usually decent food.
In case you’re wondering what I did there, it wasn’t too exciting: I washed dishes. However, I have to say, it wasn’t quite that bad. It was pretty routine, getting plates put in front of you as you then washed them and sent them through a washing machine. All these years later, I can still practically feel the steam coming from that machine, it seems like just yesterday.
It wasn’t just my buddy and I, but his younger sister was there as well sometimes. I recall another kid there too, and he seemed pretty cool. We worked hard, and were ready to go home at the end of the night! However, we did joke around and make the best of it.
The Lessons Learned
Well, upfront I can tell you that my biggest lesson learned was that I needed to get an education! It actually wasn’t a bad job at the time, but I didn’t want to be washing dishes my whole life. Even though it was barely physical labor, I realized that my future needed to be based on other type of work that required some kind of thinking or analytical ability. Even at that age, I somehow thought that I wouldn’t want to be old and have to do that!
I also learned that sometimes it’s who you know that can get you something. That job, while seemingly no big deal to many readers I’m sure, was actually higher paying than anybody else’s job at the time from what I remember. I was almost embarrassed to admit that I made $5 per hour believe it or not. What happened to that good fortune since then, tell me? Anyway, I wouldn’t have gotten this job if it wasn’t for my friend, whose family seemed to know the boss man over there at the banquet hall.
Also learned that your enjoyment on the job can often be strongly enhanced from working with people you like. I liked hanging out with my buddy, and his sister was pretty cool too as I remember it. Had there been some jerks working with instead, I probably wouldn’t be looking back at this so favorably.
Finally, I learned how hard people sometimes have to work in order to make money. I didn’t make big money there, as my work hours were pretty modest: something like 10 hours per week, which amounted to $50. Even though I was a kid and not responsible for bills around the house, even I realized that just utility bills alone wouldn’t be paid by such income.
This was a long time ago, back in the day…..but I still remember!
My Questions For You:
What was your first job like?
What lessons did you learn from it?