This week in the Daily Dose, Dr. Laura asked, “What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?” We received numerous responses – some endearing, some insightful, and others just plain amusing. Here are just a few…
My kids definitely fit into the outline of today’s show about youth and their excuse-making about not being able to work for this reason or that. I was anxious to get a first job as soon as I was legally able (15). I worked at a grocery store, then a florist shop, then a restaurant, then a flower farm. Besides the money, I learned to keep a schedule, be dependable, be conscientious, be creative, be appreciate days off, be easy to work with, and most of all, I learned about all these different types of industries and the time and energy it took to be a successful business owner. I also learned that bosses don’t want to hear excuses. Also, I learned that you have to check your problems at the door and focus on the customers…it wasn’t about me the minute I clocked in. I have two teenagers, both working age. My son, 17, is convinced that he doesn’t have time for a job because of all his Advanced Placement classes. He and his teachers have convinced him that he’s actually helping me by not working because he could get a full ride scholarship somewhere. I don’t agree. I try to undo this logic everyday when he asks me for money for this or that by telling him he needs to get a job. I believe that having a part-time job while in high school should be required for graduation. Thanks for all you do Dr. Laura!
At the age of 82, I look back with pride that my first summer job at age 14 was delivering food trays to patients at our local hospital. My next summer job at age 15 was working at Woolworth’s. At age 16, I worked as an office file clerk after graduating from high school. There were only 11 grades, seven years in elementary and four years of high school. Marriage and raising kids when wives stayed home and husbands went off to work was a wonderful memory for me, unfortunately, I became a widow at age 36 with two children. From then on, working outside the home became a necessity. Needless to say, each of my two children also had a strong work ethic, worked hard through college, and today have wonderful jobs. I believe that the work ethic for any child should start at an early age.
I was just shy of 16 and went into an area grocery store to ask for an application. They said, “Come back in two weeks,” so I did. It was for a courtesy clerk position and although it was not a glamorous job, it paid better than any other start-out job. I had done my research! I learned a TON from working and being accountable to society and learned to budget money and paid for things like my first car and repairs and insurance. I learned that sometimes I would be missing social events because “I had to work.” I had to get uncomfortable at times and stand up for myself, and also ask for time off or cooperate with others and trade shifts. This is something you cannot just tell kids to be. You have to walk through it to get the character building life lessons. I have three children and they see friends get everything handed to them so it is becoming difficult to explain why that is not good for them in the long run but I hold my ground and expect them to earn things, and I am willing to “help out” but only when I see mutual participation in what they want and need in their lives.
My first job was at a donut shop. I was 15 and my mother had to sign a paper saying it was OK for me to go to work. We waited on customers of course, but we also had to learn to glaze, powder, fill etc. the donuts after the baker made them. I earned $1.65 an hour and there was a big sign on the wall that said “no tipping.” Pooling tips was unheard of back then.
We worked our backsides off! During our busy times, people were 3 deep (and cranky) at the counter. That was 40 years ago. I think hard work has an intrinsic value to the human spirit. It doesn’t matter so much what you are doing but that you work hard, do the best job you can, and be grateful that you have the ability (and opportunity) to do so. Yes, it really does build character!
My first summer job as a youth in Ohio was riding in back of a covered pickup truck with shorts, halter and lunch sack, and several other young teens with high aspirations of having summer spending money! There were about 2 dozen of us per truck and we were transported about 20-30 minutes away, depending upon facility to detassel hybrid corn by hand in the hot summer sun every weekday early in the morning – 7 am until about 3 pm in the afternoon! After a long day, hot and sweaty, tired and hungry, we headed home with the knowledge that working hard would bring us much-desired rewards in the end. I did this for two summers and will never forget the overall positive experiences I gained. We learned to deal with many kinds of people, including supervisors who kept us on schedule and feeling accomplished.