Do you remember your first job?
I do. I was in high school between my junior and senior years. I was a sampler for Coca-Cola. On Fridays and Saturdays I would give out samples of Coke and coupons for the products. It was a good job – I learned lots about working on that job – dealing with grocery store managers, my boss at Coke, and my dad. You see, my dad had been employed at Coke and he’s the one who suggested I apply for the job. I’m sure it helped that the boss knew him for me to get the job, but it was up to me to keep the job. I had to show up, do the work, turn in a report, and keep everyone satisfied.
I thought it was wonderful – I worked two days a week and could go to school Monday through Thursday. I had learned earlier that school year that our local community college would allow you to take a couple of classes if you applied and got a letter of recommendation from the principal. So, I took two classes and worked two days a week. I made a whopping $4 an hour when minimum wage was just under $3 an hour. They even gave me money for lunch.
I won’t say it wasn’t hard – loading up product, and standing all day and being nice and friendly. But there were harder jobs and I knew I was fortunate. But, it was a job, I was inside, and in some ways, it was fun. It enabled me to save money for expenses and also for college. It wasn’t glamorous or exciting, but it was a stepping stone to future plans.
I did go to college. I worked in college to help pay my expenses. My folks were the working poor. Hard scrabble might be the term for it. Neither of my parents finished high school. My dad left school to work to help provide for his mom, stepdad, and brother. But, my parents were smart. My dad would talk to me about working and he said if an employer ever offers to give you training for anything, take it…you might be able to use it to either help yourself or in another job. My mom talked about how she went to a local business “college” to learn some office stuff to help her work. They kept telling me the more education I can get, the better off I will be.
So, that’s what I did. I took a class on office machines which was basically a class on using different types of adding machines and calculators. I can tell you with the world of technology, being able to use the number pad has helped me a lot. I took two years of typing in high school. This was before computers were around and using a manual typewriter was certainly a workout!
I’ve worked a few different jobs. Some were great and some were, well not so much. No job is perfect. I think we’ve all been there. My first job out of college, I made $1000 more than my dad who had worked at Coke for over 22 years. It wasn’t a fancy job and it wasn’t really for what I went to college. It was a job, I was employed, and I wasn’t a shame to my family.
I was looking at the SA forums and someone had an article from the NY Times where a college graduate turned down an entry level position that started out at $40,000 because he wanted a higher management job. He’s living at home and thinks because he has a college education he should get better than an entry level position. His parents are upset because they think he should view the job as an opportunity. That and the fact his parents are basically his meal ticket. It has been interesting to read what some of the other SA folks are saying. Most think this kid, in the world of so many people not having jobs, is pretty ridiculous. I would have to agree.
So, are you still working at your first job? Was it a job or an opportunity?
First Job Memories
Do you remember your first job?