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Did you have a job as a teenager?

Posted by chemocurl (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 28, 09 at 11:03

This question was recently asked at The Kitchen Table Forum, and I no one replied that they had not had a job in their teen years. I found the many responses quite interesting.

I wonder what percentage of teens today have some sort of income, even if it is just occasionally babysitting.

Thread at The Kitchen Table Forum

My reply there was Picked strawberries for 3 cents a quart.

Baby sat a little until age 15 when I started part time waitress work at a downtown restaurant....50 cents an hour plus tips.

At 18 I got on at The Phone Company as a telephone operator (boy was that fun!) and then held different positions with them in different towns over a span of 30 years before retiring at age 48 with 30 years worked.

I forgot to add that somewhere in there, about ages 13 thru 16 I cleaned house for an elderly couple for a couple of hours every other Sat AM.

From the age of 15 on, I don't remember ever having to ask for money for anything, as I paid for my clothes, entertainment, etc and even my first car. I paid the insurance and put gas in it.

Did I mind working for the things I wanted? No, I didn't.

Do some parents today think that their children deserve a lot more than what they were raised with? Are a lot of parents today maybe spoiling their children by giving them too much, and not giving the children enough responsibilities?


Sue


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I have thus far at age 46 never been without a job (or two at a time) since age 15. My parents assisted a lot. 1st car (and 2nd, the 1st then was a hand-me-down to the sister), gas and insurance for several years. I certainly did pay for other things. My dad did want to give us more than his parents did. Even so, we're not spoiled by any means.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I was 7 years old when I got my first paying job (probably violated all kinds of child labor laws). It was in the summer and I worked in a print shop sorting type. When I got paid, I was thrilled. I had so much money! My mother allowed me to blow it all and I learned that when you blow the money you have, you soon have nothing.

I started babysitting my cousins at the age of 12 for about 50 cents an hour. I was always a saver. Saved my babysitting earnings, gift money, etc. Continued babysitting until I was old enough to get hired (age 18) at Sears as a cashier during the Christmas season.

I've worked all my life. "Retired" at the age of 54 from the company I had worked at for 32 years. Got other jobs and worked full time for the next two years. I've worked part time ever since. I'm 64 and still have a part time job. I enjoy it and enjoy the fact that my part time earnings are mine to spend as I please. (Even though I manage the family finances, my own part time earnings are "off budget")


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I started babysitting when I was 14. When I was 15, I got a job at the local library, where I continued working throughout high school (and still did babysitting off and on). I also worked my way through college as well.

I don't think parents do their kids any favors by giving them everything and not allowing them to work (and I see it far too often with the younger generation). I see so many kids today that have no work ethic, and no understanding of what a dollar really is. They get out of college, and have no clue on how to be a real worker when they enter the work force. It's sad.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I got my first "real" job in my uncles store at 13 but had been babysitting for two years before. At 16 I worked two jobs in college 2-3 year round. Even now at 39 I have a full time job and do seasonal Christmas work at a call center (for the discount of course).

We have four kids and all have been paid either to babysit, dog walk, cat watch, or rake leaves. The oldest is planning on getting her workers permit and work at an art studio this summer. She makes so much money babysitting $40-$60 a night because there are only two other kids that we know of in our area who babysit. The other kids either have sports, no interest, not responsible, or their parents just pay their way.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I posted about my first jobs on the other thread.

It's hard as a parent to teach kids responsibility, hard work and saving money when you don't see other parents doing it. I still try.

My kids actually want a job to make money. They are too young at 5, 6, and 8 yo. Dd5 was trying to talk me into having a garage sale the other day so she could have a lemonade stand. It's a dream of hers. My boys were requesting Nintendos last fall. I told them they'd have to earn it if they wanted one because I wasn't about to buy it. Darned if they didn't both enter a photography contest and both boys won one. Santa brought another one at Christmas so now everyone has one. At least they took the incentive to learn the rules of the contest so they could do what they needed to compete. Dh and I bragged them up a lot and explained that if you're willing to work for something, you will evenually be rewarded for it.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I had several jobs as a teenager. In the summers I mowed lawns for $5.00 a lawn. In the 60's that was a lot of money, especially when I did 6 to 7 lawns a week. Then I worked in hamburger shops and a deli in a grocery store. I also worked for my uncle doing remodeling. I hated that one - really hard labor - but now that I'm a home owner, boy to I appreciate what I learned.

My sons worked during high school and college. That's how they eventually earned money to purchase their first cars. We didn't buy one for them. So they have learned, slowly in some cases, the value of working and earning something.

Today, some kids don't seem to have the drive to be financially independent. Others seem to be driven to make their mark on this world. But I can't put them all into the same category. 33 years in education has taught me that much.

Enjoy the journey.
eal51 in western CT


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Of course. I babysat, worked retail, and then one summer, got a great job as a flag girl on the road crews. Got a great tan, learned to love the smell of asphalt. And it paid better than anything else around $15 an hour in 1973. But that was in Montana. I live in LA now, and no one would hire a 17 year old for a good state job like that.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I had several paper routes from the age of 13 on through highschool and I also worked part-time for a woman taking care of her yard & perennial garden spring through fall for 4 years years also during that time period.

DH had many irons in the fire during highschool - sometimes up to three part-time jobs at once - helped out a dairy farmer in the morning, a dishwasher/cook during school year and an amusement park operator during summer hours. He maintained good grades as well.

Here's something really amazing - he mentioned in his neck of the woods, rural Iowa, many kids especially during and after the farm crisis in the 80's found it necessary to pool their paychecks along with their parents just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

In my working class neighborhood in Chicago that practice is still very common where teenage and young adults are still expected to contribute a portion of their paychecks toward family expenses.

We may be revisiting those times - perhaps not a bad thing since I think many kids (not all though) are brought up with too much of a "me" attitude. I know folks want better things for their kids, perhaps better then they had, but not having much of a work ethic isn't going to help them in the long run. I always encourage my older kids (ages 8 & 11) to tag along with me during the summer at clients to see what I do with the hope that this will give them a better appreciation.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I started baby sitting when I was 12. Worked at the town library starting at 14 through graduation. Modeled throughout middle school and high school. Worked my way through college with various jobs, including retail, fundraising, an armored car company. Was a little lost, not knowing how not to work, when DH and I decided that I should stay at home with DS. DS1 makes his own money now, to pay for his cell phone minutes by shoveling snow during the winter and random odd jobs for neighbors during the summer. He had the initiative to start shoveling driveways for $ when he was 9 and scored his first seasonal contract the next winter when he was 10 after distributing flyers that he had created.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I worked in the office at school - that is as much as my parents would allow.

My good friend's parents forbid her from working during the school year (only in the summer). They believed jobs take away from studying and going the extra mile in school.

Must have been true since she attended two very prestigious colleges.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Well, I was a child model back in the day when department stores used to run fashion shows in the store at the change of every season. At 14, I filed receipts for a bookstore. At 15 I worked at a clothing store. At 16 I worked at a fabric store,and at 17 I was a secretary for a driver's ed. business.

But my brother has us all beat. He was 6 when he had a paper route. YES - 6 YEARS OLD. He could not even tie his shoes properly yet. He'd wake himself up before dawn and get on his bike with a basket and deliver the papers. It's amazing nobody snatched him up. This was in a large suburban area. I guess it truly was a different country back then.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I baby sat from 13-16. I started my first "real" job on my 16th birthday & have been working since. Boy am I tired :)


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I started babysitting when I was 12. My family didn't have much money. I used my babysitting money($.50/hr)to buy things like clothes my folks couldn't afford. I learned I could get more for my money by buying the patterns & fabric and making my own clothes. Learning to sew well has made a tremendous difference in our life. I made my clothes and all the baby clothes/play clothes and school clothes for years for my kids. We all looked great.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I had a paper route when I was 12, then got a real job at a retail card and book store at 15 and have worked ever since. I paid to go to England with my Girl Scout troop in the 8th grade, went to the USSR with my school in 11th grade, bought my car (1979 Firebird Formula) at 20 and then I paid for my wedding except the veil (honeymoon and reception included). I got my own phone line when I was 14 because it's hard to get a date when your parents' line was down for nonpayment. I gave my mom some money twice (over $2000) before I was out of high school because my alcoholic arse of a father spent everything she made on booze. I also bought the groceries for my brother and sister when Mom was away getting trained for a better job because again, my father drank what she left for him to buy food. It was worth it because she got the better job and dumped his lazy butt.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Worked weekends at a gas station for 25 cents an hour when I was 12 (in the 60's). Also had a paper route at $2.00 a week. At 14, worked in a movie theater as an usher, learned how to run the projectors, sat in for the non-union projectionist so he could go on a vacation. Went to work as a stock boy later that year in a super market, worked at the gas station and when I was 16 and got my license, delivered prescriptions for a pharmacy..The Pharmacy, Super Market and gas station gave me 75 bucks a week!!! Not bad back then. No time to get in trouble either.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

The day I turned 16 I went to work as an usherette. The week before I got in for 12 or under. Later I worked at a dime store. Haven't worked much in my life, maybe 10 years total.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Of course I did. Who didn't? When I was 15, I was a summer camp counselor in training ($250 for the whole summer), then I worked at Dunkin Donuts my senior year, then waitressed through college.

My 16 year old has worked the last 2 summers at our local park working kiddie rides and she currently works 20 hours a week at CVS.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I started fixing radios in my dad's garage at age 13 and to get electronic components I shopped at the local electronics store. They soon hired me to work behind the counter weekends and after school. I was too young to put on the payroll so they credited my account with $2 per hour (how I got a credit account at that age, I have no idea!!). My Mom would drive me around town on service calls and wait outside for me. So, in short, I was heavily subsidized and encouraged to earn my own money and am forever grateful for those early lessons.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Okay, I'll admit it: I didn't -- at least, not before college. It never occurred to me. I don't remember wanting to buy anything in particular. I wasn't into nice clothes or having a lot of material things. I think my parents' view was that school and learning were more important. In any case, they didn't encourage (or discourage) working.

I started going to college just before I turned 17 (skipped 12th grade), and I did get a few jobs during summers, but they were short term and not particularly lucrative or memorable. Then I switched to being a music major and started earning money by playing (did lots of weddings!).

I'm not advocating what I did; I think it would have been MUCH better for me if I had had the experience of working earlier than I did. But I am certainly frugal and have managed my finances pretty well, considering.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

My first job was babysitting. When I was 13 I worked full-time (40+ hours a week) babysitting for the summer. My family was not financially well off (bankrupt at one point) and I knew if I wanted anything other than food and housing I would have to earn the money for it myself.

A soon as I turned 16 I got a "real" job in a pizza restaurant. When they gave me a 5 cent an hour raise and someone else got 10 cents I quit and moved up to working in a department store which was great because I got a good discount which helped me in buying clothes - all of which I had to buy myself. The summer before I went to college I worked full-time in an office as a receptionist.

When I went to college I didn't work during the school year because I didn't think I could meet the academic requirements of my chosen field and work. Loans/grants/scholarships and social security funded my college - father died when I was in high school. I worked full-time in the summers during college.

I do think having this life experience probably had a lot to do with my motivation to make a better life for myself which I now fortunately have. Unfortunately it probably does not leave me with much sympathy who people who have not worked equally hard/smart to make a better life for themselves who look to the government (me) to make it better for them.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

When I was 8 or 9 my Dad demolished the old brick stoop & rebuilt the front porch on our house, and built up a mountainous stack of used bricks in the backyard. My folks were the typical DIY struggling-for-dough muddle-classers, so my Dad figured all these bricks could be cleaned up (they were caked in decades-old masonry grout) and re-used for paths or porch extensions or some future project... so he made me a deal (given I was already ambitiously pestering the 'rents for dough so I could buy Boy's Life magazines from the Scouts, and/or other book-list susbscriptions, and instructions to build your own airplane, etc...)

My Dad's deal was this; Every brick I'd thoroughly clean of all masonry grout (using chisels, hammers, & a wire brush,) he'd pay me TWO CENTS! (Even in those times... late '60's early '70's... this was nothing to plan a retirement on ;~) He figured this was a great way to keep me out of mischief for at LEAST the whole summer... (You can see this unfolding already, no?)

Well... I got busy, and realized I could only get so much done at such speed... and at that rate I would *NEVER* get my airplane building instructions... so I ran across the street & got my buddy Mark to join me.. for 1 cent per brick! After a little while I got another buddy, Steve, to join in at the "fun," and after a while Richard joined my "crew" from time to time.

We were cranking out cleaning the bricks & stacking 'em up by several hundreds by the time my Dad got wise to me. He had no idea he had just initiated a case of chronic/terminal entrepreneurship.
====================================================================== =====================

Fast-forward to my 16th birthday... and the official waiting to be "legal enough" to legitimately make REAL money was done! I had been hanging out at the local family-owned pizza parlor, pestering them for a job... so, they hired me at minimum wage. I was given an apron, and trained how to convert massive blocks of American cheddar & "white cheddar" (faux swiss) cheese into massive mountains of blended shreddings... how to use the industrial mixers to make monsterous blobs of piza dough (and then carve them out into appropriately sized sub-blobs for small, medium & large pies.) I was taught how to construct a pie, with ZERO "play it by ear" and every last ingredient counted & measured (one extra slice of pepperoni to a pie would incur the WRATH of the owners ;~)

I dug it... but quickly discovered the dearth effect of UNionism (despite there being no such thing in this family-owned operation.) There was perpetually SOMETHING to do in the pizza shop... if not the cleaning up of the previous hours slop, then the preparation of cheese & dough & meat slicing & veggie slicing, etc. etc... then pre-making the basic cheese pies to hold in the massive refer for later adding of toppings-to-order... etc.

I had always been an athlete taught that your success on the field was relative to your HUSSLE "when nobody else is looking." So I brought this to my pizza gig. I was a madman... from the moment I tied-on the apron to the half-hour past quitting time "extra effort" I would put in, I'd be cleaning, slicing, dicing, mixing, measuring... you name it.

THEN... not once... not just twice... but THREE TIMES... I got summonsed to the back office where I was told "slow down... you don't have to accomplish EVERYTHING in your shift. You're driving your co-workers nuts, and leaving nothing to be done by the guys on the next shift... take it easy, huh?"

They may have as well been talking Greek to me... I had no comprehension of "stretching out & juicing the system." (And this was the SUPERVISORS who were telling me to cool my jets!!! The owner's own sons!)

I think I lasted about 6 months there before I got canned. One day the owner's daughter (this was a "men only" workplace... don't even get me started about workplace discrimination... I was an "extreme minority" as a protestant-family surfer-dude blond kid in a Mexican/Italian 'otherwise-100%-Catholic' shop... but it all meant nothing to me at the time) anyway... the owner's daughter comes into the shop... her big brother introduces us... and I (in my most chivalrous attempt) lift her hand up to kiss it & say "so nice to meet you."

I was employed for *MAYBE* an additional 3-5 minutes after that! LOL!!! And it only lasted that long because the owner took that long to calculate & scratch out my going-away check ;~)

====================================================================== =====================

Got my next job with a general contractor & tile-setter... and *FINALLY* got rewarded for busting my butt as hard & fast as I wanted to. Did that all the way up until I moved away to college (and did more construction work during summers off college... as well as working on the sport-fishing fleets as a cook & deckhand out of San Diego.)

BEST things that every happened to me!

Cheers,
Dave


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Didn't have to attend high school. I'd had a private teacher since 5th grade &, at thirteen tested out. My parents & the school decided it wasn't good for a thirteen year old to have so much free time figuring I'd just get into some kind of trouble. :) So, they concocted this plan where I'd attend high school from 8:30 a.m. until 11:35 a.m. (3 class periods). I choose whatever classes I wanted to take. (4 years French, 3 years German, 2 years Spanish plus a few literature classes).

So, what to do in the afternoons? The school got me a job in the Mayor's office down at City Hall. I was paid $2.40/hour (1965). I kept that job until I was seventeen & the school just gave me a diploma.

In addition, I worked 10-20 hours/week for my Dad (ran a large fleet of trucks). I'd been doing that since I was twelve. He paid me a salary & after turning sixteen I got free maintenance, insurance, & gas for my car...Dad just included my car on his fleet insurance & he had gas pumps at the yard. His mechanics would periodically tune my car, rotate the tires, & whatever other 'stuff' was needed. I learned a tremendous amount about business working with/for Dad. He was grooming me to take over the business. But, life interferred & my Mom was killed. After her death, Dad lost all interest in the business & sold out when I was twenty.

Plus, I played requests at a steak house on Friday & Saturday nights (good money because of the tips). Also gave music lessons a couple evenings/week when I was a teenager. I studied music from age four to when Mom was killed & my life sorta fell apart for a few years.

Been on my own since I was seventeen.

/tricia


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

triciae -- sounds like you could write a book. :)


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Yes, I could (and should)!

/tricia


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I got my first job when I was 14 working at Dairy Queen. My parents had a Dodge Coronet they bought new in 1968 when I was 2. When I was 10, they parked it next to the garage and there it sat for 4 years. I was on the swing set, looking at the car, thinking I would need a car pretty soon. This was in 1980. I strolled over to my dad who was working in the yard, and started peppering him with questions. Will it run? What needs to be fixed? How much will it cost? After he answered, I told him I was going to get a job, and then we could fix it. He laughed and said ok. I went and begged for a job. I got it and saved every dime I made. By the end of summer, I had 10 $100 bills. I took it to my dad and asked if we could start working on the car. We did. It was ready to go in a year. To this day, I have never been without a job, sometimes two. And, yes, we still have the Dodge and it is still beautiful.
And, yes, many kids today don't know the value of hard work or the value of money. Too many parents hand them whatever they want, whenever they want. Too many are spoiled and lazy. I made my daughters get their own jobs to pay for the things they wanted. Hard work never hurt anyone.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

My mother (80) worked as a carhop at A & W when a teen. I (60)worked at A & W as a teen. My DD(35) worked at A & W as a teen. Told DD her daughter (3), my DGD, must work at A & W when she is a teen. It's a family tradition now! 3 generations!
Also babysat, waitressed and worked as a "button girl" at a dry cleaners.
Kathy G in MI


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

After a few news carrier jobs in my early teens, I landed a summer job in a pineapple cannery in Hawaii. Operated a canning machine for $1 an hour. It was kind of fun -- just made sure the machine didn't run out of lids and double-checked to see that the incoming cans weren't "short" of pineapple slices. The following summer I was "promoted" to oiler. Made $1.09 an hour for less work -- got up off my duff a couple of times an hour to squirt some oil in those canning machines. I just couldn't believe that I was being paid more to do less. Guess this was my introduction to the corporate world as I sometimes wondered how much the top boss got paid for what he did.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Made $1.09 an hour for less work -- got up off my duff a couple of times an hour to squirt some oil in those canning machines. I just couldn't believe that I was being paid more to do less.
I would guess that your new position with more $$ was a much bigger responsibility. If a can or a few cans were 'short', it might not have been nearly as big of a problem as it would have been if you missed oiling the machines when they needed it. Failure to oil them as they needed to be could have resulted in serious and costly damage to them, and then a total disruption of the canning line.

They must have seen you as a conscientious and reliable worker that they could count on to do it right.

Sue


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

Sue: Your first paragraph is exactly what they told me when they made me an oiler, but to be totally honest, being a young teen, it didn't sink in as much as it should have. Luckily, I didn't cause any of those disruptions!

As a telephone veteran, you might relate to an experience I had in the 9th grade when I took a class called Office. It involved doing miscellaneous tasks in the school office. I recall one stint at the switchboard, the kind that had a zillion cords and a half-zillion sockets that made the connections between the various callers. One day, the whole thing was lit up and I was going crazy trying to deal with the monster. In the process, I managed to disconnect the principal, who proceeded to come roaring out of his office with fire in his eyes and unmentionable words spewing from his mouth. Lets just say that it was one of those Significant Emotional Events of my life.


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

My 5 year (approximately) stint as a telephone operator was sometime after the era of the cord boards, so I can't relate.

My board was only buttons and lights and one never knew how many calls there were waiting for an operator to answer. The 'chief operator' could tell from her panel just how many calls were backed up and waiting, and when need be, she too would sit down and plug in and take some calls to try and get things caught up.

Mother's Day was always a nightmare with never a break in calls in one's 8 hour day and all the boards were manned (with women). I'll never forget the tornado of 1974 either. It was such a sad and frightful day, when the tornadoes took lives and caused so much damage locally.

Google images of some cord boards

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: April 3rd 1974 tornadoes


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I'm not sure at what young age I really started working for money, growing up with Depression-raised parents ... very frugal ...

I know I mowed lawns, babysat, planted gardens, worked at my parents parties as "caterers" and then neighborhood parties ... started working at the family lumber company at 14. Have worked since.

And not only do I work a full time career at a bank, I run/own a small daylily nursery and make jewelry for sale.

People talk about being a couch potato, and I don't really know what that's like!


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

got my first job at 14. i went to work for my cousin as a roofer. no, i was not legally allowed to do it but i did.

when school started back i had to quit the roofing biz and went to work for a local grocery store. worked there until i was 18, then i went to work for the federal gov at a local agricultural research center as sumemr help. i had hoped to get on for full time, but our dept was eliminated when teh new budget came out that year.

i then went to work for another cousin installing home security systems. i worked for him for 6 months, then went full time with my parent's company, where i have been since 1991. i had worked here P/T pretty much since about 12, but been full time since late '91.

the longest i have gone without a job since 1987 is 3 months during 1994/95 when i decided i was gonna quit work and become a professional gambler. that worked out REAL good-NOT! soon as my credit cards were tapped out i realized it was not the life for me!


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RE: Did you have a job as a teenager?

I worked for Woolworth's from age 17 to age 19, while going to school (1972 - 1975). Worked part-time for an attorney/CPA for the last 6 months of 1975. Turned into a full-time job from 1976 - 1981. Have been in my present job in an accounting office since 1981.


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