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June 30, 2010

Summer Jobs

Summer Jobs

by Nancy MartinGo to fullsize image

When my aunt---the one who eventually became a psychoanalyst for many good reasons---went looking for her first summer job, she was hired by the local glass bottle factory to work in the packing department.  Her job was to pick up 6 bottles at once off a conveyor belt and nestle them gently into a cardboard box. Fast. Over and over. 8 hours a day, half an hour for lunch. The trick, she learned from co-workers, was to get her fingers into the open mouths of the bottles to lift them off the moving belt. Trouble was, her fingers were always a little plump, and speed was never her talent, and forget about dexterity.  She frequently ended her shift standing ankle-deep in broken glass.

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To me, her story always sounded like an episode of I Love Lucy, except no chocolate.

Well, over the weekend, my husband and I had lunch at a golf resort on Sunday afternoon, and our teenaged waitress was a complete ditz. Couldn't get anything right, and there was even broken glass involved. I'm betting it was her first job ever.

When we look back on our lives, we tend to think about the high profile life-changing events like weddings and births of children and whatnot, but my theory is that one of the biggest game-changers in anyone's life is your first employment.

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I'm not talking about your first career move out of college, but the summer you scooped ice cream or guarded children in a swimming pool or maybe you were one of the lucky ones who waited tables at a beach resort?  Did you strap on roller skates to deliver hamburgers to convertibles? Mow lawns with a crew of guys who didn't speak English? My first job was lifeguarding (at 14! Would you trust a 14-year-old nowadays?) and after that, I waitressed, spent a summer as a camp counselor and even sat behind my dad's secretary's desk to answer the phone when she went on vacation. One summer, after a hurricane blew through and ruined a lot of the state park where I was hired to lifeguard, I spent a month on the clean-up crew. We shoveled filth out of cabins, scrubbed toilets and I even learned how to drive a dump truck--with a clutch and something like 17 gears.

The summer job is the first time you must answer to an adult other than your own forgiving parents.  It's when you learn to be polite.  Learn to be respectful. You learn about customer service from the standpoint of the person who gets yelled at by dissatisfied jerks. There are lots more lessons to be learned, too.

When I waitressed at the Holiday Inn while on college break, I worked with a couple of women who needed their tips to pay for groceries for their kids.  Me, I was looking to make a little--uh, beer money because my parents still paid my tuition, my car insurance, my room and board--even the taxes on the house where I slept every night. (An expense that never occurred to me, but surely was a fact of life for my co-workers.) Working alongside those two ladies, I had my eyes opened to the real world. With as much subtlety as I could manage, I gave them the big tables, the big tippers. (They'd be pissed if they thought I was being charitable.) I took the guy who left a quarter under his coffee cup after a $10 dinner, because--hey, it didn't take long for me to figure out who really needed the job and who could be spared to take care of the pests. In return, they taught me how a woman handled a boss who had roving hands--how to handle him without getting fired, that is. An important life skill back then.

The summer job is also when you become part of a tight community that's not your family. There's camaraderie among co-workers that kids need to experience, I think, so we understand that work can be enjoyable as well as a means to a paycheck.  Your co-workers become your friends, right?  Your fellows in the foxhole.

But mostly, summer jobs are about growing up.

So we were patient with our ditzy waitress.  We left her a nice tip, even though there was broken glass under our table, and we never did get the extra napkin we requested.  She was learning. I wanted to suggest that she consider becoming a psychoanalyst, but figured that would be rude, and she was already plenty harried.

How about you?  Your most memorable summer job? 80c193ff64684626


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It was working in tobacco every summer till I was in college. My first non-farm job was working on an assembly line like your aunt. The night shift. A little gizmo came by on the belt and I had a flat-headed screwdriver and was supposed to tighten two screws. I'm still not sure what it was I was making. It may have been windshield wiper motors, but I couldn't swear to it. And yes, I remember the camaraderie of those older women very warmly. They were farm wives and mothers who wanted to be home with their kids during the day but still have a little jingle in their own pockets.

Believe it or not, I never had one. My parents were of the opinion that we needed to 'be kids' as long as possible (they had both gone to work at 15 to help support their families and missed those summers off from school work. They were already in the real world), and they expected excellence during the school year, so it was a tradeoff. However, when I went to college, my roomie and I got breakfast shift jobs at one of the dorm dishrooms. Got up at 5AM threw on grubbies and sneakers and walked from the basement entrance of one dorm cluster across campus to the basement entrance of another. Have you ever seen just how campus dining halls MAKE your favorite scrambled eggs and bacon? Or oatmeal? And if you know how hard it is to get congealed egg yolks off china, you'll understand when I tell you I couldn't eat an egg that wasn't cooked in front of me with the yolk rock solid for over three years! Of course, we didn't get to our dorm in time to change before our (every semester for some reason) 8AM classes, so I went to Sophomore American Lit and she went to Anatomy looking (but hopefully not smelling) like we'd just ridden the rails into Normal. The three semesters we scraped and rinsed and loaded into sterilizers all those breakfast plates for the grand sum of .50 an hour made me appreciate just what not to do to restaurant plates and cups (and flatware too). We did have fun though...come to think of it the reason we applied for the job to begin with was that my roomie was going out with the student who supervised the shift. :o)

My first job was as a telephone solicitor trying to sell lower income people credit cards they either couldn't qualify for or would be better off without. I feel dirty to this day. I learned that most telephone solicitors aren't bothering us because they want to but because sometimes it's the only work they can find.
The next summer I found a wonderful job at my favorite and much-missed department store, Wanamakers in downtown Philadelphia

My first 9-5 job was the summer after high school graduation. My grandma arranged it through someone for whom she babysat, so I could save some money for college. Two buses to get to downtown St. Louis -- a bit of an adventure for me. I wasn't bold enough to wander around once there (wise, really, considering my lack of sense of direction). Office work, filing, running addressing machines . . . learning to look busy even when not . . . valuable stuff.
I had babysat in high school and had part-time jobs while in college, some in offices, some at the food service, but the daily routine of a job was new for me.
Grandma -- great cook and employment counselor!

I babysat through highschool, didn't really like it but liked to have some money of my own.

My first interesting 'real' job was as a labourer in a pulp mill. 2200 men, 60 women. I was very happy that my dad worked at the mill and was well respected as a lot of the mill guys thought the girlies who worked at the mill were easy targets for all kinds of harassment. Because I was small I got all the icky, crawl inside this massive piece of machinery and clean it type jobs. I worked there 3 days a week for 2 and a half years only to get fired with I disobeyed a foreman who wanted me to climb inside a machine that I couldn't lock out. When a piece of equipment was being worked on a lock out bar was put on the on/off switch so it couldn't be turned back on until all the locks had been removed by each individual worker. There was no more room for my lock and even though he told me to not be such a fucking pussy, I still wouldn't work the job.

Really, did I want to work at a pulp mill my whole life? Not a chance.

I also worked as a clerk for the local unemployment office. That was a real eye-opener about desperation.

Summer of 1979, McDonalds on Union Street in Allentown. Open 24 hours, we had a rush at 3:00 for the factory lunch crowd, and at about 2:30 for the Rocky Horror crowd on Fridays and Saturdays.

It was the last summer before they installed a drive-through (and registers where you didn't need to know the prices or do the math by hand), and that drive through really changed the character of the place.

I still have some fun memories of that place.

Sort of like Maryann, mostly my summers were mine because my dad was sick and someone needed to be available. BUT, the summer before my freshman year, I went and visited my Nebraska relatives. There I had an experience that cemented my desire to go to college. I detassled corn for 6 weeks or so. Oh, my was that a nasty, hot, HARD job. After that, I knew going to school was a better option!

I was a Lifeguard for Cincinnati Parks and Recreation Dept. I actually had to take a civil service test. Because I was a guy -- most of the other guards were girls -- I got assigned to a fairly rough part of town.

It was interesting work when race riots broke out in the summer of 67. But, by then I was so well-known I never felt threatened. One of the big movies at the time was “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” The kids seemed to take great delight in doing Eli Wallach impressions and they all called me “Blondie”.

Amazing stuff, right? Tobacco farming, factory jobs, telephone work, kitchens, fast food (Josh, you clearly lived in an urban area compared to the rest of us!)and civil service exams. (I took that test, too, Rod! Wonder if I still qualify for something?)

Do you remember your co-workers the way Margaret and I do? I guess Gaylin had another perspective!

I life guarded through HS and college mostly at small hotels. Long boring hours, but I was by the pool so it was good. One summer it rained constantly, and the mgr said I could work with the maids to keep my hours up. One trip to a used hotel room was all I needed to learn to respect their positions. Those ladies work really hard at a disgusting job.
I also learned to stay in the laundry room folding sheets on rainy days, and to make sure my future hotel rooms were left as neat as I could manage.

I went to work in a Day Care during the summer between Junior and Senior. Stayed there for a few years. Made friends with the people who worked there. Actually turned out better than the friendships I had in School. Turns out IU had been hanging with the snobs. They pretty much ignored me once I became a working stiff. But those friends I made at work that summer I still know. They were actually more fun anyways. I also delivered pizza in the evenings once I started college. Man, was that an experience. Learned that Lawyers would try really hard to get that pizza free. I actually just left and brought it back to the shop. What a night. But it got me through college.

Before I was of working age, I worked with my Dad, who was a painting contractor. I was in charge of painting the trim and cleaning the brushes. I still hate cleaning brushes.

I did a lot of babysitting, since I was the youngest and my siblings had kids. I also was hired by my sister one summer to clean her house once a week.

One summer I was a candy striper at the hospital. I worked one day at the front desk, so got to deliver flowers and bring down the discharged patients (and babies) in wheelchairs. The other day I worked in the Pharmacy, delivering drugs to the nurse's stations.

My first "real" job was in a drug store, first running register, then on the pharmacy counter. I ended up working for that company for 13 years, and eventually met my current husband there.

Laura, I should have asked if anyone met a spouse at "summer" work!

Delivering flowers must be a considerably different experience from delivering pizza, right?

Holly, the banner is So Cute today!

My first jobs were babysitting, sometimes combined with light housework, for $0.50/hr. One summer, I was selected for a sister-city exchange program; to make money for our trip to Mexico, our local sister city hired us (a gang of about 10 teenagers) to hoe weeds on roadsides and in parks. We called ourselves "The Saturday Hoers" and worked so well that our city roadcrew supervisors kept telling us to slow down.

My first lesson in good employers was working at a brand new chain store that sold Levi's -- The Gap. Great training, good pay, great bosses, lots of overtime. The next summer was my first lesson in bad employers - working at the local McDonalds.

I also worked the breakfast cafeteria shift in college and loved the older women I worked with. Lillian used to hunt me down in the dishwasher room and wave fresh double-chocolate donuts under my nose. Elsie taught me how to sling eggs, and was impressed at how quickly I could set up the lunch rush's grilled cheese sandwiches.

I also worked at a lot of secretarial jobs here and there. All of my jobs taught me the value of a buck and to respect anyone who works hard regardless of what they do.

Oh, my, nancy, this post sure brings back memories! My first job, the summer I was 14, was at a fried chicken place--I ran the register and took phone orders, a couple other kids fried the food. The owner popped in occasionally. Who lets teenagers run a fast food place? Then, I moved up to being a checker at a Winn-Dixie. That's where I realized the value of a college education--like the women you waitressed with Nancy, many of my co-workers were supporting their families with their paychecks. Me? I wanted the money for beer and clothes from Casual Corner.

When my own kids started their summer jobs (pizza parlors and the pool groundskeeper), every time they'd grumble about it, I'd just smile and remind them that summer jobs were supposed to be kind of icky--that's why they were goign to college!

I did the babysitting and house cleaning thing through high school, with a brief stint as a waitress at a steak house where they made us put uneaten dinner rolls back in the bun warmer.

My first full-time job was between my freshman and sophomore years in college when I worked at a dude ranch. I bartended (even though I'd never made a drink before and I was under age--they never asked my age and I looked "mature"), sang on theme nights ("Danny Boy" or "Volare," anyone?) and danced the can-can. There's still a photo of me somewhere in fishnet hose, ruffled skirt, and saloon girl make-up.

Oh, I forgot about working at the NY State Fair during its 10-day stint several years in a row. My brother-in-laws's family ran a food stand on the midway, so I cooked burgers and salt potatoes (a wonderful, and terribly unhealthy, Central NY staple that I really miss here in PA), made sandwiches and poured drinks. I was underage, so wasn't supposed to pour the beer, but occasionally did anyway. I made pretty good money, but it was long, hot days, and I think I've mentioned before the Whack-A-Mole game right across from us, and having the game-runner's rhyming spiel in my head forever after.

Holly, you forgot the one-piece chin-to-knee bathing suit, with a skirt, for me. Very cute banner.

My first job was doing filing at an insurance company, and I loved doing it. Loved the neat, organized feel of slipping the right files into the right slots, loved watching the pile of to-file go down each day. Sometimes when I do volunteer work, I beg, "Let me file." I am a frighteningly simple person! Of course, I hate to file for myself. Hate it. So I don't do it. Margaret knows--I save nothing.

Later, waitressing one summer taught me how very hard it is and how very bad I am at it.

Nancy wrote: Do you remember your co-workers the way Margaret and I do?

It those days I was too busy trying to get into the Guinness of Records for crass debauchery. If it wasn’t a sub-twenty year old female, I wasn’t interested. My memories all revolve around the kids. Taking a poor Black kid and getting them past their fear of the deepend, made it all worthwhile. There were three brother named, I kid you not, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and Larry. I still smile when I think of them.

Ah,what memories. My first paid job was babysitting when I was 12. Earlier, I spent an unpaid summer when I was 8, along with my brother who was 7, helping my dad build a brick driveway at our house. We spent the summer hauling railroad ties and bricks for him in a wheelbarrow. How I wished I could stay inside and help with the dusting and vacuuming instead, like my older sister, lol. I recently drove past that house and the brick driveway is still there. I guess we did a good job, haha.

I delivered newspapers when I was 13 or 14 for a couple years, and then worked at a Dairy Queen when I was 15, and then a Wendy's for several years. Witnessed many things at the Wendy's including a robbery and the results of a car driving through the dining room window. I could probably write a book about my "Wendy's" experiences!

Josh, if you're still around? How did putting in the drive-in change the nature of that McDonald's where you worked?

I babysat for family and neighbors from age 11 on, and at 16 I took a 'real' job at the park district working at the summer camp. Week one, I was handed six six year olds and told to "watch them closely" for a full day at Brookfield Zoo. I learned fast that six kids go in a lot of directions! The next week we were at the beach and I was given the same six children. Other counselors had five apiece, but I was the (un)lucky one to get six. I am proud to report there were no casualties with my group that summer. What I didn't realize that summer was I was in training for adulthood, the day I would have six small children of my own.

I babysat all through high school. I had quite the client list. While on a summer break for college, I worked at the deli counter of a grocery store. I have the scars to prove it. I can still look at meat and tell you what kind it is. We had a dishonest manager and he got in big trouble when the guy I worked with, a pre-law student ratted him out to the store manager.

The following summer, I worked as a camp counselor. I taught kids how to ride horses. What memories! My favorite job, not counting writing. ;0)

I worked at my brother-in-law's tractor parts company, loading catalogues into giant mail bags. My first day on the job, my brother-in-law (yes, the one we ran into in the St. Louis airport, Nancy!) pointed out I'd packed several hundred catalogues into his white laundry bag instead of the mailbags. (but what was that laundry bag doing at the tractor parts company??) Then I got miserably lost driving to the post office and ended up at the Lincoln airport because I was a new driver and scared to make left-hand turns. Thank God for nepotism.

After that auspicious start, i left the world of manufacturing for waitressing, beginning with Sears Coffee shop. To this day I'm scared of deep fat fryers.

Wait -- Bridget, you have six children? I feel like such a slacker!

Harley, to this day I'm scared of short order cooks!

Harley, have you never met Bridget? Not only does she have 6 children, but most of them are the same age! You, the mother of mere twins, are a slacker!

Me, I never babysat as a teenager My younger sister did quite a bit. Which might explain why I had children of my own and she didn't!

Oh, Dairy Queen!

Unlike you, Maryann, my parents demanded we get jobs, as soon as we could. It was a character-building thing, I think--why should we get to spend our summers at the club pool when my step-father had to toil in his law office?

Anyway. Dairy Queen. Where I learned to make Dilly Bars in the back and make a perfect swirl-top cone dipped in chocolate.

I also got yelled at a few times, because we were told to wear these white uniforms and goofy white shoes. Which were--horrible, especially for a Beatle-crazed Mary Quant wanna-be like me. SO I came to work in a white oxford cloth shirt, a white hiphugger mini skirt with a wide white belt and white tennis shoes with little tennis socks.

NO no! Mrs. What's-her-name (the owner) said! You have to wear the white nylon nurse uniform!

I told her: You just said WHITE. This is WHITE!

I was never her favorite.

But I was a hard worker, and reliable, and after awhile, she just let me be.

Hank, I wore a polyester dirdle skirt with a bustier (long before they were remotely interesting) and a white blouse with poufy sleeves. The German restaurant theme only went as far as the waitress outfits, though. The food was mostly spaghetti.

Surely the ice cream stains washed out of the nylon nurse uniform better than the shit oxford shirt?

And how DO you make the curl on top??

Looks as though most of us had to work in the summer. It's good for kids to have something to do, and to teach them responsibility, along with making them earn money, rather than give it to them. I'm a fan.

My first full-time job was a summer job, cleaning the convent school I attended in my freshman year of high school. The next year the boys' school and the girls' school was merged into a brand spankin' new one, a couple miles away on the other side of the river, so the nuns wanted to get the rooms cleaned so they could be used for Head Start classes for the local kids in that seedy part of town.

Every day I would report in to Sister, who would give me and my lone co-worker our assignments for the day. We would sometimes work together, and sometimes work separately, but at noon Sister would collect us and take us into a room for our lunch. We each brought sandwiches, but Sister provided us each with an ice cold green glass bottle of Coke (the real thing, that's how long ago it was), and an apple.

My co-worker was my very first black friend, and our lunchtime conversations were my first-ever look into what her life was like, which was entirely different from my own. She was a LOT more grown-up than I was at the time, maybe even having sex already. From the standpoint of maturity now, I look back and think of things she said and now I understand way more than I did then. I was an innocent 14-year old, and she was 15 and very worldly, having an 18-year old boyfriend. They were "walking out". We didn't keep in touch past work, probably more because of her boyfriend than the fact that my mother would have died on the spot if she knew I had a black girlfriend in 1966.

The next school year and the summer after sophomore year I spent cleaning classrooms at the new high school, with a bigger crew. It was a totally different experience, especially since two of the crew were social misfits who gravitated to one another socially. And who had sex that summer, now that I think back. I should have paid better attention!

Laura, I was also a candy striper, which was so much fun. We had to take a Red Cross course, and were allowed to pretty much roam the hospital. When people say they hate hospitals I find I can't share their sentiment, even though my dad, both stepdads, grandparents, and so many other relatives died in one. One of my fellow CS'ers was a lovely girl from the public high school across town. She invited me to her beautiful home where I met her mother. What a shocker. Julie's mom had muscular distrophy, and was wheelchair bound, but her husband adored her, and had built a home to accommodate her disabilities, amazing for the 1960's. She had ramps, accessible doorways, low countertops, and a kneehole stove, just so Julie's mom could continue to live in their home and be a part of everyday life. Nowadays it's not so unusual, but I suspect their home was one of maybe a handful in the entire world with such modifications.

I'm still having difficulty figuring out what that last photo is Nancy. On first glance I thought it was a tort with white glaze icing dripping from the top.
Okay your Rod-ness...crass debauchery? AND what is the actual definition of a SUB 20 year old female?
Do they call you "White-y" now?
Just asking.
My first work for money was at Burdine's when I was 14. My dad was the manager for the Women's Budget Shoe Department and even though you couldn't work at Burdine's until you were 18, that department was subcontracted to Quality Craft (Baker's Shoes) so I could cashier. Now mind you I had been going to work with my father for years before that in downtown Miami so I knew all about the shoe business right down to dying the satin pumps for weddings so this wasn't a stretch. I was supposed to only ring up the sales but I would go fetch shoes for customers to try on when necessary. My love for shoes continues to this day.
I was on the Teen Board the next summer. A much more glamorous job as I got to model and write copy for fashion shows and work in the Junior's Department. We wore these cute Bobbie Brooks pleated skirts with matching vests.
And I have taught my share of children like I still am this summer in Homestead.
120 kids. Outside. We're doing "The Wiz" if I don't die of heat stroke.
Is that photo a glass factory Nancy? Cocktail glasses maybe?
Good name for a book by Rod..."Cocktales".

Xena, it's a photo of a beer bottle conveyor line, I think.

I am getting lots of flashbacks today--Burdine's, Casual Corner, Bobbie Brooks, Dairy Queen . . .

Ah Karen, I'm not saying we didn't have chores to do (dusting, mopping the floors, etc) because my parents both came from homes with great work ethic...ask my daughter :o) We were taught that 110% was the effort you gave, whether at work or elsewhere. My sister and I are still 'cursed' with that today in a world where some seem to think that you do minimum work for maximum pay (you should see some of the salary 'requests' we get on applications at B&N!). Passed the ethic on to Cath as well, who decided after her sophomore year that not only summer but after school jobs were the way to go for extra dollars for clothes and gas for the car. In fact, one of her high school jobs led to a 'second' job for me to help put her through college. Nothing like working 60 hours a week to build character :o)

I worked in a book bindery one summer. They ran double shifts during the summer because of the rush to get school textbooks repaired. I had the early shift, which started at what felt like the middle of the night. I stood for 8 hours at the machine, sewing books together. We had no breaks, not even a lunch break. (it was the 60s, I know that is illegal now, and may have been then). The manager told us to go to the bathroom a lot at first, as that was the only place we could sit down. It was hot and dusty.

I would go home from work, take a nap, go out for the evening with friends, fall in bed, and then start over. At the end of the summer they offered me a full time job, but that place made college look a lot better.

I think Elaine's dead end job series will have enough ideas for work to last fifteen more years after today.

My first job wasn't really a summer job, but was while I was in high school. A friend got me the job to help me get out of babysitting a child I cannot describe since he now has a significant title and is still a .

My first job was as an usher/candy seller/ticket seller at the Varsity Theater in the Delmar Loop. The original St. Louis home of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ladies, if you "dressed up" for Rocky Horror between 1979-82, I have probably seen you in your underwear. I learned cash handling that amazes people to this day. And while you are standing in line waiting for a computerized ticket machine to spit out tickets, I used to make 400 cash transactions between 10:30 and 11:45 pm every Friday and Saturday night.

I learned a lot at the theater. By the time I graduated high school, I had learned more than I needed to about transvestites, homosexuality, movie hype, respecting police officers, drunks, and work.

The Loop was a great place to grow up. There were a few drawbacks. One day a Domino's, we were talking about where you celebrated your 21st birthday and your neighborhood bar. When it came around to me, I said, "You do not want to know." They insisted. "Blueberry Hill." Sort of ended the conversation.

I still have a lasting effect from two years of "Rocky". I cannot seem to get "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" loud enough. Every weekend I would be standing between the screen and the crowd while it was playing. That also meant I was standing about three feet from the six foot tall speakers behind the screen.

The friend who got me that job? O got him on at Domino's when he was "right sized" about two years ago. One day, one of us will be a pall barer for the other.

Maryann, my girlfriend in college worked in the dining hall. For the last twenty or so years she has been married to the former head of the dining hall.

One day at Domino's a new phone girl asked at the end of her shift about dating other workers. The manager at the time was married to a driver. The assistant manager was married to a store manager. The supervisor was divorced from an phone girl. The other supervisor was divorced from a driver and remarried an assistant manager. Finally I said, "Ask your dad how he met your mom." Her dad owns the store (and about 30 others). Yep, he married a phone girl.

One more and I am done.

Pizza and Babies

I deliver pizza to Missouri Baptist Medical Center, a "baby factory" that delivers about 300 babies a month. Brand new grandfathers are GREAT tippers. The princesses were born at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. When Molly was pregnant with princess one, she asked what would I do if she paged me that it was "that time" while I was at MBMS? I said, "That's easy. I would stop at the desk, tell them to pull your file and that I would be back in an hour."

I was checking out after my last run when she called that it was "that time". My last run had been to the Labor and Delivery floor at MBMS. I went home, got her and the bags and headed to the hospital. Once there, I took the time to change out of my pizza shirt.

Alan made me think of a recent trip to McDonald's (where I rarely go) on our way back from vacation. I bought a latte and cinnamon bun thingie (yummy, but soooo bad) and my total came to something like $6.76. I handed the girl $7. After she punched it in, I said, "Oh, can I give you the penny?" She looked at me, glassy-eyed, and said, "That would totally screw me up." I was aghast. I said, "well, it just means you'd give me a quarter change." I'm still in awe.

So, when I was a cashier, we were required to put the paper money in the drawer all facing the same way. I still need to do that to my money. Does anyone else share this affliction left over from cashiering?

Xena asked: Okay your Rod-ness...crass debauchery? AND what is the actual definition of a SUB 20 year old female?
Do they call you "White-y" now?

Damn it. They call me the Bald Eagle -- I thought it was because I was patriotic.

Back in the day more than a few called we "White-y" since to many of them I was the first white person to have ever taken an interest in them. For a stoner hippie it was an awesome badge of honor.

Being under 18 at the time, everything was legal but when I turned 17 I decided to stay with ladies no more than three years older than me. While it was quite a learning process when I was with women in their 30s and 40s, when "The Graduate" came out in 1967 they all suddenly started to look like Anne Bancroft.

Since I grew up in a house with French Canadian frenzy and British stiff upper lip decorum babysitting aloud me to experience whole other worlds.
I might have termed my experience babysitting for a lovely young family..will work for sheet music.
As soon as they left the house for their evening jaunt I would dive into the piano bench place the music on the stand and discover whole new worlds of Broadway tunes. I would play unfamiliar songs and then burst into song. I like to think that I was singing the children to sleep.
Two weeks one summer this family invited me to their summer cabin as a nanny. It was laughable because I was having so much fun picking berries with the kids and rowing over to the other side of the lake to observe cute guys at the dock.
I would say it was nice work while I could get it.

Laura, I'm the same way about my bills. And far too many people rely on cash registers and calculators; I used to be able to multiply any quantity ending in .90 because of my job in charge of inventory control at a local chain of petites' stores. We did inventory once a year, and I tabulated all the totals using one of those enormous clunky calculators, the ka-chunk kind that spit out miles of tape. It was just easier to add up all the same items with the same first digits and enter that single figure than to enter each of dozens. I'd like to see the majority of clerks do that today.

One summer before my kids got summer jobs my older daughter took a classical piece of music and transposed it from the keyboard to the Atari computer.
It took most of one day to accomplish this but the results were spectacular. Fun times.
Other pursuits would be to pretend that she had shaved her sister's head to play Daddy Warbucks from Annie.
My heart almost went into cardiac arrest until I discovered that she had put a nylon stocking over her head and painted eyebrows.
Mothers, everywhere unite. Summer is here again.

I am not going to criticize the way any cashier handles money, since making change is still a weakness of mine!

Wait a minute...hold the phone...Rod you were dating women in their 30's and 40's when you were under 18?
Mrs. Robinson indeed!
And I recall seeing a photo of you here on the blog (when we could post photos with our comments) and you had a lovely Ceasar Romero look about you.
BTW men do do more than move furniture.
My perfect man is still over 60, still breathing with hair and teeth optional.

Having read all of these I realized why my parents never encouraged me to get more weekend or summer work - I had a younger brother and was responsible for him a lot so my parents could do what they wanted, free babysitting, free cooking, free laundry . .

I have had few jobs that involve making change but yes, all the heads have to face the same way on bills!

I did work the door at a nightclub one summer, in between 'real' jobs and it was hilarious carding underage kids and hearing their reasoning as to why I should let them in.

My most memorable summer job was the 6 weeks I spent bucking hay bales for my uncle, who not only had 1,000 acres of his own hay, but contracted out with other farmers to do their hay. As in 7,000 more acres.

The truck had a bigass flatbed trailer with a conveyer belt towed behind it. My uncle drove the truck. My two older cousins stacked the hay on the trailer. My other cousin and I (both 15 years old) walked along on either side of the conveyor, grabbing bales with hat hooks and tossing them on to it. 75-80 pound bales. Starting at 4:00 am, going until the outside temp hit about 100, then stopping for a couple of hours to eat lunch and rest before starting again and going another 6 hours or so. By then, the temperature would often be over 100.

For 6 weeks I pretty much worked and slept. I got paid minimum wage, which was about $1.25 an hour. I spent the first few days in pretty much constant aching pain. After that, I was just your average sweaty meat robot.

I did earn a good chunk of money, which allowed me to buy my first car a few months later and still have plenty for other needs. I also learned that I would never do physical labor that hard ever again in my life.

Gaylin, did you ever notice how many of us looked alike? When my friends and I were in line for some event or other, we'd pass the same ID down the line to each other. ;-)

First summer job: baby sitting a church member's 3 girls while she and her husband worked. I made only $1.50 an hour. She worked at the local social security office at the time and insisted I get social security number. She took taxes and social security out of my paycheck every week, but I still don't know if she actually paid them to the government.

Hank, I also worked at Dairy Queen during the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. I can still make a DQ curl. Our DQ also served tacos and I learned to make tacos also. My uniform tops were so stained. They were thrown away at the end of the summer.

Between my sophomore and junior years I worked at the local golf course restaurant and lounge as a cook. I was only supposed to work a couple of days a week on the slow days, but two days after I started one cook quit and one got sick. It was a baptism by fire. Deep fried haddock, New York Strip steak, spaghetti and meatballs or veal parm on spags were the staples of the menu. I learned to be fearless in the kitchen while working there. I'm glad I never really had to cook the breakfast menu for all the golfers.

Xena: Yup. It was great. I provided the stamina, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn; they provided the training. One of the funniest lines from that era came from me to a woman 2x my age. “Let go of my ears, I know my job.”

It was no big deal. it was the 60s! I had moved out of my house when I was 16, had my own car and my own apartment and managed to get myself through high school and a couple of years of college without a nickel from my parents.

Besides babysitting and lawn mowing....
worked the lunch counter at Flotken's
waitressed at Big Boy (uh, before sexual harassment laws, but I kneed the mgr before I walked out)
the counter & steam table at Steak n Shake
car hopped at Chuck-a-Burger
Ran the old Address-o-graph machine & sorted junk mail
(to send)
Only did the phone sales one night. mgr was an old creep!
Yep, all dead end jobs!

Peach,that's so funny! We can compare dip cone swirl notes. But, Nancy, we cannot reveal how we do it!

My most memorable summer job was up at my chuch denominations bible camp. Started out as a waitress for a couple years, then housecleaning, and ultimately counselor.

Each year was totally memorable for it's own reasons. As a waitress, we had more free time and would goof around when off (playing pranks on the boys). As a counselor, it was working with the kids to learn and grow and sometimes to not fear the shower. Although that was also my last year as my parents weren't keen on the prank pulled on me....tossing me into the pool...and missing. Ended up in the ER and then on crutches. Ouch.

A small town girl too, I babysat from 6th grade through high school. The doctors paid well, others average. I also worked for the grand sum of 1 silver dollar cleaning the house of my former first grade teacher when I was 14.
My first big summer job was working in the basket room of the swimming pool. Sure did like my job the next summer as a certified life guard better than the basket room. That was in the days we still rented swimming suits!
I spent my 3 of my college summers working as a waitress. The first summer was at my home town restaurant right off interstate. The next two were working the night shift at a truck stop in my college town. We got all the drunks who came in after being in the clubs until closing time at 2:00 a.m. You can believe I always tip well. I remember the days of making only 89 cents an hour because it was a tipped position.

Doc, I baled hay one summer, too---for about an hour. (I was the one on the wagon, stacking bales.) I can't imagine work any harder. Back-breaking.

My kids and husband are quite sick of hearing this story so I am happy for the chance to tell it again. I was 14 and got a job at the local Fuddruckers hamburger chain. They didn't have a cashier position available so I naively accepted the responsibility for the fixin bar. I worked in the sweltering hot kitchen cutting vegetables alongside a mentally disturbed dishwasher who spent the day reciting the alphabet (A is for apple, B is for baby, C is for car...). Whenever I had to go into the walk-in cooler to retrieve more vegetables, he would run up behind me and lock me in. He would go back to washing and reciting, and I had to bang on the door until someone freed me. Even though we kept telling him that A stood for Automatic Dishwasher, he won the war and I quit after one month!

My first job was working for Littlewoods - a low-end British department store. I was posted in the Men's underwear department. Yes. I know. Typical of my luck. Have you any idea how mortifying it was for a sweet sixteen-never-been-kissed girl staring at those boxed packages? Being asked to measure inside legs even though the trouser department was on the next floor?
I still feel traumatized by all those er ... bulges ... and can't walk past a Calvin Klein package of boxer shorts without blushing.

I worked in my Mom's firm every summer. I was kind of Jack of all trades: receiving clients, taking orders, vaccuming, working in the dish-room,loading and unloading trucks. But I could never save money I earned, the following month I was blowing my paycheck. And every year it was the same...

Now then Hannah...that sounds like an episode from "Are You Being Served"!
You are a better man than I am Gunga Din Rod.
My late ex husband also used the "Ears" line.
Too cute!

I forgot to say I name all the Fan Dancers moves something so the ladies can remember them.
A single flourish with a dairy queen had a swirl on the top.

I worked in the local health food store at the sandwich and juice counter (I AM from California, after all). I got to clean out the carrot juicer every night.

My first job was working one Christmas season at Miller's Department store in Knoxville. Hated it! My second job was working in a friend's father's men's clothing store.(Did that make sense?) on weekends and some summers in high school.

Between my freshman and sophomore year of college, a friend and I were going to get a job at Disney World. She backed out at the last minute, but my mom drove with me to Clearwater where my aunt and uncle lived. They weren't hiring at Disney World, so I worked at the Howard Johnson's on the Clearwater FL causeway. Big families would come in, have big dinners and then big desserts, which I had to make, and leave a quarter tip. Though only minimally related, I learned to drink coffee and made enough money to rent an apartment with a pier on the causeway.

Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I worked as an intern for my congressman in DC. A definite eye-opener and lots of fun. For the first three weeks, I stayed in a dorm at Georgetown U. Then I lived with three other girls subletting a townhouse in Georgetown. I would ride the bus to and from work (this is while they were building the Metro). Coming home, I would get off in front of a wine and cheese shop, and they would give me free samples every day.

I took constituents on tours of the Capitol and found out it's definitely who you know that matters in DC. That was also the year of the 1973 Watergate hearings, so I got to sit in on those every once in a while.

The summer after my junior year of college, I worked at an archaeological site in Kingston, TN, about 40 minutes from Knoxville. We were excavating a sister fort to West Point called Fort Southwest Point. We got up every morning at 6:30 am so we could start work at 7:00 am before it got too hot. Then we worked until 1:00 or 2:00 depending on the day. I remember eating peanut butter sandwiches on white bread with dirty hands. We didn't care because we were really hungry and there wasn't any place to wash up. We found a lot of cool artifacts, even a piece of paper from a book or phamplet. I remember going home one day to get my TV so we could all watch the night Nixon resigned as President.

My second summer job, gained through my Junior Achievement contacts and my daddy . . .
Watching Avatar on DVD from the library -- I would have enjoyed the pretty parts on a big screen, but I am better able to deal with the war and destruction on a small screen. "It is a sad thing" . . . highlighted by the BP oil destroying the oceans on this not-dead-yet planet. The aerial bombing visuals took me back to the summer of 1967 when I was working in the training department of . . . and they showed a film of bombs dropping in a jungle, with the shock waves rippling out through the trees. Until that day I hadn't really thought about the purpose of the planes being built right outside our department. I had also just read an article in a woman's magazine about a charity that was bringing Vietnamese children to the U.S. for surgical repair of napalm burns. Even at my level of non-involvement in the politics of the world, I could figure out that it would be better not to have dropped the napalm on the children. When I went back to school in the fall, I became an active organizer of anti-war demonstrations.

and off-topic . . . a bit
New "just say no" idea. I was talking with Mara about my old "Fish without a Bicycle" tshirt which seemed to attract men who liked independent women. A friend once told me that I had most likely never encountered an abusive relationship because abusers would look elsewhere the first time a woman stands up to them. . . so we decided women should say no to some ideas early on, just to weed out the dangerous guys.

So far, I think the coolest job might be Becky's stint at the archaeological site! The rest of us were pretty much working stiffs, right?

Becky, I also watching Nixon's resignation at my summer job. In my waitress outfit, standing in the bar with all the patrons, and nobody said a word. Eerie.

I worked as a waitress in a diner after school and on weekends in my senior year in high school. Next to motherhood, that was the toughest, dirtiest job I ever did, and I also tip well now because of that experience.

The worst part of all was the custard pie, a bit of which inevitably fell on my white tennis shoes every single time I cut a piece of pie. For years I could barely eat eggs because of smelling that nasty stuff on the shoes next to my bed. Blech. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's until I could eat them again. Good thing, because omelets are one of my very favorites to make for lunch.

It WAS eerie, Nancy. In fact the whole Watergate fallout was really strange. At the time I didn't really understand all the details and how the event could still affect us today. But I did think Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford were pretty cute as Bernstein and Woodward in All the President's Men.

My 1st summer job was babysitting. I would babysit 2 toddlers, clean the house, do laundry, and make lunch and dinner all for the grand total of 50 cents an hour. Man, when I look back, the woman who hired me got a heck of a deal. When I had kids and hired a babysitter to watch them it was $3.00 an hour and they totally trashed my house.

A few years back, I was at Pizza Hut and a elderly lady came up to me and asked me if I remember her. I belong to Eastern Star so I know a lot of elderly ladies. I couldn't place her and she told me that I used to babysit her kids when you were 12. In fact the kids were with her and it was hard to believe that I used to be their babysitter. I felt so old that day.

The following summer I got a job cleaning the junior high. Washing walls, mopping floors, and getting gum off the desks. I made enough money to buy my first car. It was a pretty cool job. I actually did it for a couple of summers.

Becky, I was in Washington then, too! And I went to the Watergate hearings...bet we saw each other. Weird!

I babysat for my siblings and cousins from when I was seven or eight years old, but I don't remember if or when I was paid to do so. I did sit for someone outside the family once, I think, but not often.

When I was 15 or so, I started as a candy striper at the new hospital in near-north Dallas. I think it was supposed to be a way to keep me busy so that I wasn't bored at home, but I took it very seriously, and ended up not just volunteering an afternoon or two a week--I worked 39 hours a week for the whole last half of the summer. A charge nurse in physical therapy told me that they wouldn't let me work that 40th hour, because if they did, they'd have to pay me! I loved working in all the various departments, and wonder now if I loved it so much because of a certain gorgeous hunk of an orderly who knew how to cook, and I knew the nurses all had crushes on him.

My first paying summer job was at the regional office of Kentucky Fried Chicken--the main task I recall there was writing letters for one of the regional managers, and typing the recipes on 3x5 cards to be sent out to new franchises. I think I've mentioned here before that the cards were brought out from and returned to a safe, under the watchful eye of the secretary (who I think was having an affair with the married manager), and I wasn't allowed to have any extra paper, cards, pens or pencils at my desk when the cards were out of the safe.

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