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Contest - $50.00 gift card to the winner!


Tell us about that first job you had where you got a real paycheck. What did you do? How old were you? What did you learn? What surprised you about the job? Feel free to share whatever you like. What was your boss like? How much did you make per hour?

We will let this run a bit and then random.org will select the winner. This is CONUS only please.
Not in (😉) but thought you all would enjoy what The Captain did for his first paycheck. First job was roguing beans in the summertime when I was about thirteen. A crew of us was dropped off in a bean field and we walked the entire field cutting down weeds. We worked ten hour days at $1.25/hour and I could not believe my good fortune to be making $12.50 a day.

The work was hot and sweaty, dirt clod fights broke out, and I had to learn to stand up for myself. Looking back on it now that summer was not about the money, it was me learning something more valuable - self reliance.

I already knew what that first paycheck was going to be made out for, or did I? "Hey Dad, what are these things taken out of my check - state tax, social security???"
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Well , this is one I will enter, primarily because I think work, any kind of work, is valuable. My first 'real job' was working in the meat /deli section of a local grocery store. I learned about customer service, hard work, arriving on time and being respectful to those over me. These lessons proved very valuable over the years.


Second real job, by the way, was learning how to put a motar round down a tube without blowing my face off. Great lessons there too.
Paper route aside, first job with a pay check (typed on a company account) was a carwash when I was in 7th grade. On the weekends, four-hour shifts (there were three of us, each with a shift on Saturday and on Sunday). The place had four indoor wash-it-yourself bays, one outdoor wash-it-yourself bay and one automated drive-in wash.

Basically, make sure the soap tubs and wax tubs that fed everything were never empty; clean up the bays; chase people out who hold up the lines (when there were lines) to dry their cars; if someone used the automated wash, pre-spray their whitewalls with an nasty acid-based cleaner and the front surfaces with a de-bugging solution.

It was mostly boring. But old people (seemed so old then, not so much now) really appreciated if you took the time to talk with them and listen. They were just looking to connect with someone, even for a moment. And - cleaning up the place - some people have no issue making a huge mess if they know it is someone else's job to clean after them. I have dealt with people like that in every job since in one form or another, sometimes the customer, sometimes the manager, sometimes a co-worker.
My first paid job was when I was 16 and I started working as a bag boy. Stayed with the company until I ended up being a store manager 10 years later.

I left the company to become a stay at home dad. I learned that somethings were more important than money.

My bosses were the laziest people ever. They always passed the work off to the part timers while they sat having coffee breaks and cigarette breaks. As I worked my way up I made sure I wasn’t like them at all.
My first paid job was detasseling corn when I was 14. Long days in the heat and mud (was a wet summer). I learned that there is great satisfaction in a job well done, regardless of the job. Sad that there are so few of those opportunities are available for young people today.


Here I am, 1st again.
My first job was putting tomatoes in a basket. I wasn’t in the field; I was inside. It was Van de Nanen’s farm. I was 13 years old. My friend, Pete Wilhelm, worked with me. He did better at that job, but I hated it. I learned that life is hard work.
Thanks for the contest Captain! I'm in.

My first job where I got a paycheck was at a grilling restaurant. The customers would grill their own meat and the oil would splatter everywhere and fill up the place. Gosh, my clothes stank like grease and sweat. I was 18 and I learned that earning money is tough. It's so easy to spend money but so hard to save. My boss was aight because he never talked to me. My manager was a bit grumpy but she still helped me out many times. I earned minimum wage at that time so I think $10 an hour? I had pretty good tips though.
I'm out (Philippines).

My first job was at 12yo cleaning a shop after school. Pay was $0.10 per hour. With my first pay ($1.20 after deductions) was spent on buying a toy cannon that fired matchsticks.

I stayed with that boss for another 6 years as his business grew. At 18yo I was managing his shop with 14 staff while he went away on holidays with his family.

What surprised me was that, until I was managing his shop, I didn't realise how much he had taught me over those 6 years. That knowledge stayed with me throughout my life and helped me latter built up a successful professional engineering practise employing up to 15 engineers plus ancillary staff.

Success in business is not so much about making big profits but rather helping people (staff) and getting/keeping repeat clients.
16 years old. Night porter at the local Holiday Inn. 0.50 an hour. Sorted dirty laundry, picked up room service trays left outside rooms, toted luggage, took people to and from the airport, policed up the pool area...and just about any crappy job that needed to be done. Did get to meet Billy Graham though.
Boss was a Waikiki beach boy wanna-be. Got fired. His replacement...not my kind of guy. I quit shortly after he arrived.


Imagining solutions for imaginary problems
My first job was playing Christmas Carols in a bank in downtown San Antonio. I was 12 years old, started taking organ lessons at 10. The guy who taught me used to play the organ at Fenway for the Red Sox and at the Garden for the Bruins. Dad was in the USAF and we moved from Bedford MA to San Antonio -- my new organ teacher knew a bank that wanted an organist to play Christmas music and recommended me. I made $5 an hour -- played for 6 hours a day for a full week before Christmas. There are only so many Christmas songs you can play every day for 6 hours, so I was lucky that they would let me play some non-Christmas stuff. Favorites of mine were The Entertainer (from the movie The Sting), Theme to Star Wars (which had come out that summer), theme song to Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days and MASH (that is a dark song, but no one really thinks about the lyrics). I also played hits of the time: Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life. I remember having to take two different buses to get to work everyday, but I loved it. People really seem to get a kick out of a kid playing music in a bank.

I don't play anymore, stopped a few years after marriage....carrying around a large organ is difficult when you move a lot, and we did; but I can still walk up to a keyboard and tap out the theme song to MASH, The Entertainer and even You Light Up My Life. :biggrin1:

By the way, it's okay if you giggled while reading this. I always wished I had taken up the Piano, but I wanted to be the next Lenny Dee. Anyway, I remember telling my boss and some co-workers this story at lunch, and they were just rolling on the floor....something about playing the organ...yeah, yeah, I get it.
I’m in please.

I was 14 when I got my first job. My stepdad started a mobile tire service and I worked with my older stepbrother. We went from contract to contract fleet yard gauging tire pressure and airing up tires on trailers and big rigs. We also did tire repairs and replacements. The tire and wheels weighed as much as me. Broke down tires with 2 long tire bars and a sledge. The impact wrench was 3’ long. Had to hold it up to lug nuts with both arms and one knee. When you pulled the trigger on that thing, hold on.

I learned the value of hard work and earning money. Came home filthy and tired every shift, but had money in my pocket.
Not in;

Waited tables every summer for tips at the age of 8 until 15.
Lawn work on the weekend from the age of 10 to 19.
Cashier at Winn Dixie at 16.
BBQ pit after a six months at Winn Dixie from 16 to 18.
18 joined the Army, was actually stationed close to home for AIT for about a year, thus still mowed lawns on the weekend.

Probably the only person that joined the Army and made less money than they did in High School. However, I did get more sleep in the Army than I did when I was in High School.
What did you do?

Professional sandwich artist at Subway

How old were you?

17. Had done other odd jobs manual labor before this.

What did you learn?

Taxes are expensive and minimum wage isn't a lot of money.

What surprised you about the job?

Looking back, I'm surprised by the amount of Subway I ate while I worked there. It was a lot of Subway.

Feel free to share whatever you like. What was your boss like?

My boss was a stoner dude that was easily ticked off by customers that wanted extra olives.

How much did you make per hour?

I think it was $5.15 an hour gas was around $2
My first job was a bagger at the local grocery store. I learned proper technique in how to properly fill a bag with groceries and it pains me to watch others try and do it when I go to the store these days, sometimes I have to jump in and fix things before something gets bruised or battered.
My first was shearing Christmas trees. There were 20 to 25 of us who worked for a tree farm. We would take a bus to the various farms and trim trees to shape. Cutting, shortening branches gave the trees better shape and made them more dense. It was work done on the trees every summer for a number of years, though I only did the one summer. I think the pay was $1.65 an hour. It was hot work. We all had gallon Thermos jugs of water. Tree sap is really hard to get off your arms. I can remember scrubbing with Ajax and trying gasoline to get it off
I'm in.

My first real job was when I was 16. I worked as a dishwasher in the cafeteria of a pineapple cannery in Hawaii making $1.50 an hour. In those days there were two shifts of about 500 workers each coming up for lunch and so there were a lot of dishes to wash. Work was very hard and fast for about two hours, but the rest of the time was spent getting things in order and cleaning up. I considered myself lucky because I didn't have to work on the processing lines and because I got a free lunch.
NOT in, but wanna play anyway.

I was farming with my dad from the time I was old enough to remember. I could help clean grain for seed pretty young, not sure what age. When I got old enough that I could stand on the clutch of the old international farmall's and get it to release, I was working ground all the time it seemed. Me, dad, and grandpa, one spraying, one working it in, and one planting. 3 generations in 1 field. Then when it got dark, head for the box car and clean more seed for the next day. THOSE WERE THE DAYS! I had "my own" field that I got the profits from for pay. Then when I turned 18, I got a job as a machinist ($7.25/hr) and have been here ever since. I still help dad on the farm with cows and what not evenings and weekends. Dirt farming went by the way side. Too much $$$ in chemicals and fertilizers and big gov. farming these days. Great thread...and congrats to the winner and thanks to the Captain for putting it out there again.
I am most sure IN.
My 1st job was a paper boy. Yes on my bike every morning!! I would go door to door and collect money and will never forget Christmas time when I collected. WOW I had so much extra money that I got from tips it was the most amazing feeling.
Thanks so much.
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