What Was Your First - Or Worst - Job?

From a newspaper route to a camp counselor to bussing tables at the diner, we all had a first job. Was yours great, or just awful?

Jobs are on people's minds these days. Although the Labor Department just reported that employers added 120,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, it was still fewer jobs than they had hoped. Jobs, especially good jobs, can be very hard to find.

Remember when you were young, and you couldn't wait to get your first job? What was it? Did you love it or hate it?

I remember mine clearly. Of course, I started out babysitting in my hometown of Traer, Iowa (pop. 1,250). I think my going rate was 50 cents an hour. For FOUR kids. But I digress.

My first real job - with what I considered a big paycheck - was awful. Just awful.

I detasseled corn. If you grew up in the Midwest near a farming community, you might know what I'm talking about. It sounded great. I'd get paid about $600 for two to three weeks during July. I'd spend all day outside in the sun, working with other teens (boys) and improve my tan. Or so I thought.

In reality, it was slave labor. We started at 6 a.m., climbed into a machine where we stood in a bucket for nine hours, as the machine drove back and forth through the fields of corn. Our whole job was to pull the tassels out of the corn stalks. Something about cross-pollination. I didn't know then and still don't know now why it was important. All I knew is that it was tedious, boring, exhausting work.

And the sun tan? Not so much. The first day I wore a cute little halter top and cutoff shorts to get maximum sun. Instead, I got a rash from the wet corn leaves slapping against my skin, wet with morning dew. Then when the sun came out, my itchy skin got red and sunburned.

After about six minutes, the tedium of the job set in. Then the shift went on, row after row, acre after acre, hour after muddy hour. 

It. Was. Awful.

What was your first job like? Share in the Coments section below.

Gloria Casas (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I got my first job three months after I turned 16 at the Walgreens in Spring Hill mall. It was the perfect job and everyone was fun. One of my best jobs: working at the check out counter at the Dundee Township Public library.
Quincy Hodges April 12, 2012 at 02:35 PM
My first was job was working at a grocery store. I got a chance to work with my cousin and earn some money, it was a fun experience. I was 13 years old, good times.
Joy Taylor April 12, 2012 at 02:51 PM
One of the best jobs I've had was working room service at the Omni Hotel in Indianapolis, IN. That is where all of the entertainers stayed when they would perform at Verizon Music Center. I got to meet The Grateful Dead, Color Me Badd, the Nelson Twins, Led Zeppelin, etc. That was pretty cool.
Korrina Grom (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
My first job was at Great America. I was a ticket taker at the front gate. I ended up working there for seven seasons and eventually became a supervisor. Those were some really awesome years and I'm still friends with many people I worked with there!
Michael Bivona April 12, 2012 at 04:43 PM
My first job was delivering the Advertiser every Wednesday up and down our subdivision. I was 12 years old and the Advertisers were so thick at that time that I could only carry 20 at a time on my bike—so it took me five trips, up and down the hill, to deliver all 102 of them. I was paid 3 cents a paper, giving me a whopping $3.06 a week.
Jose April 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
My first job, bagging groceries at Dominick's ......$ 2.50 ---3.50 an hour 30 years go. My worst job ? Bailor operator at stone container in north Chicago, a dusty dirty job...a machine that crush boxes...when it gets clogged up ? i had to climbed on top of the roof to unclog it...fun job....most fun job ? delivering the mail for 33 years .
Jim Powers April 12, 2012 at 06:35 PM
My first real job (I also delivered the Chicago Daily News in 7th grade) was as an usher at the Wilmette Theatre. I was paid $1 an hour. BUT, if I cleaned the popcorn maker, I earned $1.50 an hour. I also remember getting paid in cash in little manila envelopes. Hmmm. But it was the 70s.
Morgan Delack April 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I was a floor hockey referee for 5-year-olds! It was very fun.
Amy Cassman April 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Since I grew up here, in BG, my first job was here, too! What a lot of folks don't know...is that the first bagel store in BG was in the space now occupied by Grande Jakes, and it was called Bagels To Go. My friend's family owned the store. I was 15 and rode my bike to and from work that whole summer! :)
Marcia Watts Sagendorph (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Jose, I feel your pain! Thanks for sharing.
Nancy Wysocki April 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Babysitting at 12, scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins at 13, cashier at Walgreens at 16, then graduating beauty school at 18 to work at Haircrafters. No complaints, made friends along the way and honed my hard working ethic.
Phillip Szydelko April 13, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Great memories. Started out washing dishes, at Farmen's Hotel in the late 70,s moved up to Busboy. then Carver, for the Fri & Sat, Buffet/Brunch. never figured out what people found so appealing about the Frog Legs though. Nice thing was, that Bud Farmen, would always find a job for a High school teen, who wanted to work. weather it was doing Lawn work, or Walking his Mothers dog.
Brad Faxton April 14, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Sorry everyone.... I win. Many years ago, I worked as a Kelly Temp and was placed at Kraft Foods. My job was to unwrap cheese slices and grade them on how the cheese adhered (or not) to the plastic. I unwrapped about 25 cases of cheese/day and worked at this job for nearly a week. Yes, whole week. My hourly rate was $4.25.... Oh my.
Michael Bivona April 14, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Did you get to eat the cheese? Would they allow Ritz crackers on the floor?
Kevin Raether April 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I was 12 years old and working in a funeral home. From moving bodies to vacuuming parlor floors, it was actually a great job.
Brad Faxton April 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Eat the cheese? Oh yea! But I tell ya, after you eat 3 bricks of cheese in the first hour, you get tired of it very quickly.
Jim Powers April 14, 2012 at 06:01 PM
They let you work in a funeral home at age 12? Something about that seems wrong. So the upside was?
Marcia Watts Sagendorph (Editor) April 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Now that sounds like a fun job! Thanks for sharing.


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