What Was Your First Real Job?

Not talking about babysitting or lemonade stand. What was your first real job? How much did you earn?

Research assistant in grad school. $400 a month - which you could live on in 1973.

Construction labourer the summer I turned 16. Paid $2.13 an hour and bought a Honda 90 with it. Great summer.

ETA: If you mean first permanent job, it was sportswriter with a daily newspaper in Calgary. Don’t remember what that paid, but it wasn’t much.

I worked in the hay fields. I made $20 a day, plus lunch. I think I earned $600 a summer. I was 16 and when I started working, I had to buy my own clothes and school supplies.

US Air Force. I went into it right out of college. This was 1970. I can’t remember how much I earned, but when I got out, in 1978, I got a job that earned more, and that was $13,500.

I was 15, 1975. Working in the laundry at the Holiday Inn where my mother was a maid for minimum wage. Horrible, horrible job.

Aged 18, whilst still at school, I worked as a bar tender in a pub two evenings a week and Sunday lunchtimes. Earned about equivalent of $5 an hour (in 1988). May sound surprising to Americans who can’t drink before 21, but bar work is pretty standard for students in the UK as we can fit it around our studies.

Age 16,(1978) I worked at a small motel. Cleaning rooms, laundry, collecting rent and renting out the rooms (sometimes by the hour), keeping up the grounds. In return we got free rent on a small apartment. The job had been my mother’s boyfriend, until he was arrested on drug chargers.

First paying job was at 17 in a warehouse for a shoe manufacturing. My father took my & my brother paycheck for rent, food and to pay for his old car, even though I didn’t want the junk heap.

My first job was as a research assistant in an Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology lab that was a part of a Poultry Science department at the university. I don’t recall exactly but think it paid about $7/hr or so. It was a work study position.

Every Tuesday was fuck-a-chicken day (artificial inseminations as a controlled breeding measure for a genetics study).

What is worse than artificially inseminating chickens all afternoon one day a week?

Jack-off-a-rooster day on Monday. You have to actually have the stuff to do the inseminating with the next day.

I did computer work on a contract, per piece basis when I was 15. Data entry type stuff and a bit of transcription. First outside the home job was at a Wendy’s when I was 16. (I did both for a while)

Three days a week after school shelving books and stamping the cards in the local community library. Age 14, 1964, $1 per hour, and it was a real job because they took out taxes and social security. I hid in the stacks and read a lot, and ate all the sugar in the break room. It was also the time of my first experience with sexual harassment, in an era when it was assumed it was my fault. When I became a working college student, nurse’s aide in a Catholic hospital, earning $1.83/hr, and I could and did live on that, working 40 hour weeks and going to school full time.

Age 13, bus boy in a Mexican restaurant.

Burger flipper at Miner-Dunn Hamburgers in Highland, IN. I think they were paying $4.75 per hour.

Receptionist at a summer camp in NH, 1988.

Salary for ten weeks: $250, plus food and lodging.
Bonus for early arrival (getting there before the start of the camp, which involved getting there before my exams would normally have been over): $350.
Bonus for on the job achievements: another $350.

The gig included travel from London to the camp and from NY to London (you could also return from San Francisco or Los Angeles), so it amounted to “10-12 weeks in the US for the price of a bus ticket to London”.

In 1970 - I was 16 and I was hired to pick up, open, and sort the mail, then run the PBX switchboard (think Ernestine Tomlin from the Phone Company) on Saturday mornings at the company where my dad worked. Except on the very rare occasions when I was able to take the car, I had to ride the bus from the suburbs to downtown Baltimore, go to the main post office and get a big canvas bag full of envelopes, take it to the office, )which was between The Block and what is now Harborplace) open it all, sort it according to department, then man the switchboard till about 1 or so. I started at $2/hr, which was above minimum at the time.

When school was out of session, I’d go in with my dad and do whatever menial chores they had, mainly running the mimeograph to print out bills of lading and other documents. I also got to use the Flexowriter. (The one in our office was probably the size of a copier today, and very noisy.) Mostly I just ran the tapes and fed blank forms in to be typed.

The worst part was the summer when they decided to move a bunch of old files to warehouse storage. There were thousands of lime green or cream white file folders on shelves in the unairconditioned basement (which was conveniently located across the street from a fish market… in the summer… in the city… yeah, nepotism really paid off for me that year!) I had to go thru gazillions of the files, ensuring they were in numerical order before they were boxed up and the boxes labeled. It was hot and stinky and heaven forbid a female show up for work in pants or shorts!! :eek: Still, it beat working fast food…

First real full time job was when I joined the Navy. That was lots easier than that summer in the basement!

Dishwasher. $1.60 an hour. 1972, so a case of beer cost around 5 bucks or less, I was like rich.

Dishwasher, minimum wage which was $3.35 in 1982. In that small town you were damn luck to get that.

I found out the wait staff take out their frustrations by dumping things on dishwashers.

Really? Didn’t you have a sprayer?

Washing some dishes and mopping floors in a mom-andop Italian/Greek deli, beginning my sophomore year of high school. Two hours per day, six days per week. It got me $18.00 weekly, and was quite drudge-y. Funny thing is, it dropped in my lap. My older brother had completed an application there a couple of yeays earlier, an by the time they had the opening, he had graduated high school, and was working as a Directory Assistance operator. So when the boss called our home to offer him the job, my mom told him I was available and looking for work.

I kept in that job for two years, and it passed to at least two of my younger brothers after me (and I THINK, although I’m not certain, one of my sisters).

Does Real Job = first time you earned money? Or first time you earned a check with SS decuctions, etc?

Age 10 Paper Route
Age 12 Mowed lawns (Dad’s pushmower)
Age 16 Mowed lawn for a small resort (fulltime in summer)
Age 17 Busboy dishwasher (<-- first “real” paycheck earnings that shows in my SS)
Age 18 Bought truck at auction, started small pipeline repair biz w small janitor biz on side
Age 19 Drove schoolbus (part time during school)
Age 21 Drove a truck – First real-live, full time job w paycheck and bennies like a grownup (1977)