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First job(43 posts)

First jobmohair_chair
May 15, 2003 8:07 AM
I'm desperately trying to think of non-political topics to wake up this board, so here comes another.

What was your first real job and how old were you when you got it?

My first job that paid serious money (ha!) was building electronic equipment when I was 15. A guy I knew bought a bunch of Dynaco kits and paid me to assemble them. Amplifiers, FM Tuners, etc. I loved to build stuff, so it was a great gig. Made a couple of hundred dollars, which was equivalent to about $1 million at that age, adjusting for CPI.

My first "punch a timecard" job was working at Sav-on drugstore, right out of high school at 18. I worked the ice cream counter. It was mostly a lot of fun, because I worked with a bunch of crazy people aged 18-30 who all hung out together after work and had wild parties. I got fired from that job when they accused me of stealing. I didn't do it, and I'm still pissed off at them today, 20 years later. (I covered this in the union thread a week or so ago.)
how about all jobs?DougSloan
May 15, 2003 8:21 AM
First, I was a helper in a cabinet making shop, mostly swept floors and moved lumber. I was 15.

After that, if I can ever remember them all, and these are close but not necessarily in order:

*telephone pollster
*carpenter helper (same guy who owned cabinet shop)
*fry cook at a Captain D's restaurant
*server at drive up bbq restaurant
*data entry operator at large hospital
*paper route (2 at once, actually)
*route auditor for private garbage collection company
*McDonalds cook and cashier
*auditor, for six months, for Federal Emergency Management Agency at local office for flood relief
*intern with Congressman Bill Emerson in Missouri
*delivered custom vans from Indiana to Missouri
*distributed real estate magazines to retail outlets
*painted numbers on garbage bins (same company as above)
*forklift driver at fruit packing plant
*flatbed truck driver
*school bus driver, 2 years
*delivery van driver for florist (same time as bus driver)
*logic tutor
*chain gang at football games
*research assistant to law school professor ("Ms. Section 1983")
*volunter clerk for United States District Judge
*law clerk at big firm
*lawyer in several cities
*manager of general contractor and developer (my brother)
*lawyer again

Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it.

forgot oneDougSloan
May 15, 2003 8:30 AM
*sacker at grocery store -- same time as data entry operator

That's gotta be the biggest leap I've ever seenKristin
May 15, 2003 8:30 AM
McDonald's cashier to FEMA Auditor???
not a big dealDougSloan
May 15, 2003 8:37 AM
Not sure if that was the correct sequence. At FEMA, I basically reviewed aid applications, qualifications, available funds, etc., then prepared reports for headquarters.

I could tell you horror stories about the total waste of money there, too, like starting with FEMA renting 50 cars for local employees to use (ostensibly to visit homes flooded out), but there were only about 20 employees. We had a parking lot of rental cars sitting there at maybe $30 a day, each, with no one to drive most of them. After a while I made a stink about it, here at age 21 or so, and they did something about it. I had a Thunderbird to use for 6 months, but I didn't even work in the field, only the local temporary office. Only a tiny tip of the iceberg of evidence of government waste. This goes on everywhere, people, but nothing gets done about it. That's why I'm constantly harping about lower taxes and government waste -- I've experienced it first hand.

May 15, 2003 8:37 AM

  • ice cream counter at drugstore
  • musician for a church choir
  • salesman/framer at a poster shop
  • assistant manager at Pizza Hut
  • technical support rep at a Santa Monica-based disk utilities company
  • software engineer at the same company
  • (moved to SF Bay area) software engineer at another company (Email)
  • software engineer at a private company (Database Reporting)
  • software engineer at another company (Never really sure what I was doing--quit after six weeks)
  • software engineer at another private company (Healthcare)
Ugh! All jobs? I got fired like 20 times when I was 16.Kristin
May 15, 2003 9:01 AM
Here goes:

*Fin & Feather Pet Shop
*Another petshop down the street
*Stable hand
*Vetrinary Assistant
*Scooby's Chicken & Seafood (4 weeks)
*Dunkin Doughnuts (held for 20 minutes)
*I waitressed at 3 places & got fired quickly from each. (I was a terrible waitress)
*Movie Theatre (Best gig ever! Free movies/popcorn. Got fired after a the screen was destroyed during a showing of Rocky Horror. I was at the show, but I only ever threw TP, I swear!!)
*Burger King

(Got sick of earning $4/hour. Went to trade school.)

*Kelly Temp office/clerical 3 years. Most memorable assignment was with the manager who wanted to play strip poker until his wife showed up. I was just 18. And NO, I didn't play.
*Secretary for the evil insurance empire
*Computer lab technician & IT Teaching assitant @ college
*Farm labor - various duties - 1 year (Another memoralbe gig)
*kinko's: PC specialist
*Big Six IT: (Helpdesk, Tech Trainer & Network Admin)
*Notes/Messaging Specialist: Current Gig
20 minutes?DougSloan
May 15, 2003 9:14 AM
What happened, eat all the doughnuts? :-)
Gross. I've seen how those doughnuts are made.Kristin
May 15, 2003 9:38 AM
I wouldn't eat them if I were you. Sugar and lard...

I arrived at the store, was given a smock and I spent a few minutes learning how to remove the donoughts from the hot lard and stuff them full of frosting. (Is this breakfast or desert?) Then the owner called me onto the floor to help with a customer rush. I was nervous and dropped a doughnut on the floor. When I reached down to pick it up--in order to put it in the trash--the owner called out loudly, "Hey! Don't put that in the box." Well, I set the box down on the counter, walked out the front door, and drove home.

If that were to happen to me today--thankfully, I'm past minimum wage--I'd stick it out. Though I'd share some words with the owner privately. At the time, I was 16 and obnoxious.
This will be a challengePdxMark
May 15, 2003 9:08 AM
Very first job was picking berries for a summer on grandmother's farm.

Then with father's business - cleaning typewriters at high school typing classrooms during school vacations.

First "year-round" job was a busboy and a fancy/nice restaurant (by 1970s mall-town California standards)... after that...

-Attendant at city multipurpose/meeting facility
-City pool lifeguard/swim instructor
-Pizza delivery driver
-Lots more lifeguarding/swim instructing
-Taught programming to grade school kids
-Engineering intern working on ink jets
-Graduate research assistant (semiconductor devices, electron optics)
-Solicited for nonprofit
-Counting inventory
-Patent agent
-Patent lawyer (big general practice firm, big specialized patent firm, then started own small firm - where I am now)
-Adjunct professor at two law schools

May 15, 2003 9:15 AM
What firm are you with? I have a big securities plaintiffs' case in Portland right now, and I'm up there about once a month. Maybe I'll give you a buzz.

May 15, 2003 1:57 PM
That would be cool. The firm name is ipsolon. We thought that a four surname name for four guys would be silly. So we made up a word. And I'm just this moment back from getting a Bianchi Pista. I'm looking forward to getting it out on the road.
"logic tutor "?Live Steam
May 15, 2003 6:48 PM
Please explain. It sounds so illogical :O)
May 16, 2003 6:24 AM
I was a philosophy major and got perfect scores in my logic classes. Dumbass football players couldn't "get it," so I tried to help. The school paid me for it. That's it.

That sounds like a logical explaination ;0)Live Steam
May 16, 2003 8:21 AM
I would think football is somewhat of an illogical sport to participate in anyway. Who in their right mind would want a few tons of human flesh crashing down on them? :O)
Oh Jeez ...OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 9:32 AM
Paper boy five years
Gas jockey
Feed store warehouseman
Chrome plater operator
Hospital orderly
Sewerage line installer
Combat photographer/public affairs officer, U.S. Army
Tobacco warehouseman
Unemployment Insurance examiner
Grad. Teaching Assistant, English, University of Kentucky
Assistant Professor of English, Spalding University, Louisville
Newspaper reporter
Magazine columnist
Newspaper editor
Technical writer
Press secretary
Communications director, various state and Congressional campaigns
Political director, ditto

I'm sure there are some I've forgotten because too painful.
I think I understand nowDougSloan
May 15, 2003 9:59 AM
Doesn't chrome plating involve a lot of chemicals that cause brain damage? ;-)

Yeah. You'd be amazed.OldEdScott
May 15, 2003 10:04 AM
I was one smart SOB before I took that job. <<:-o

By the way, that was when I joined the International Brotherhood of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and got my union card. A watershed moment.
May 15, 2003 10:02 AM
paper route

trash pick-up at jr. high (poker with a bag)

drug store stocker

basketball announcer

garbage man (3 summers / college) (this is where I learned to hate rice)


building manager for student union

clerk in all-night C store

mgr trainee at Big Boy restaurant(I hated this)

substitute teacher

laborer in a lumber mill

lineman for Burlington Northern RR

cable tv technician

insulation applicator in construction

substitute teacher (again)

farm laborer (cash only!)

bar tender (again)


construction truck driver - semis, end dumps, concrete mixers (to supplement teacher income)

stock broker (quit: branch manager was a crook, he went to jail)

stock broker (failed - went REALLY broke!)

construction truck driver (again)

pizza delivery

financial planning, where I have stayed since then, which has been a long time. This one I own.

Next? maybe politics, cuz the money business has pretty well worn me out.

As I look back at this list, I see that I have tried and failed at several things. I have been really broke, and I have made lots of money. My annual teaching salary was not as much as my current monthly income. I went from wearing blue pin-striped suits one day to a Domino's hat the next. I gave up my Chamber of Commerce membership for construction boots when my first foray into finance ended in disaster. Whatever it took to take care of my family. At one time, we were so broke that we went to the county offices and got food stamps. We never used them as we made do with what we had. Then we tried to give them back to the county. Talk about confused people! "You're giving them back? I don't think you can do that."

"I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better." Amen.

Great post topic!js5280
May 15, 2003 10:26 AM
Let's see, it's a fairly short list. I'm only about to turn 32 though, but started working at 15 once I got my temporary driving permit.

*Busboy & Grounds Keeper at a small country club (Cottonwood) in Salt Lake City
*Busboy/Room Service Holiday Inn, Virgina Beach, VA
*Banquet Captain/AM Waiter Holiday Inn, Boulder, CO
*Dominoes Pizza Delivery Driver, Louisville, CO
*Quality Systems Analyst, Micro Motion
*Systems Implementation Consultant, Spectrum Human Resource Systems
*Systems Integration Engineer, MessageMedia (laid off with entire work group after 4 months)
*Systems Analyst, Wagers and Assoc. (Laid off)
*Amateur Cyclist, World Traveler, Annoying RBR/MTBR Poster, Masters Student, and Professional Job Seeker (2002-03)

And currently (finish week 2 tomorrow). . .
*Systems Analyst, BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting, i.e. Big Five)

Can't really complain, especially for a Poli Sci major turned IT geek. As long as I don't have to code all the time and I get to work with people more on the project side, I really like what I do and have a knack for it. I've wanted to work for one of the Big Five since Spectrum and here I am. Surprising thing is they found me first. My experience at MessageMedia is what they were after and everything else just fit right in to their current project. A former MessageMedia co-worker is also on the project but works for a different firm. Just lucky I guess, but you often times make your own luck. Certainly a little of both in my case. Good luck to your others and some good news, I have 2 friends hired for career positions (IT, Project Mgmt) this past week so it does happen in this rotten economy.
re: First jobAlpedhuez55
May 15, 2003 10:35 AM
-Dish Washer
-Grocery Bagger / Meat Room Clerk
-IRS Help Line Rep
-State Rept of Revenue Tax Examiner
-International Tax Specialist
-Mortgage Processing & Collections
-New Investment Account Rep
(Went back to school tied fishing flies for beer money)
-Office work for Hospital
-Dental Insurance Provider Service Specialist
-Part-time Retail sales in clothing & Electronics
-Part-time travel Customer Service for
-Customer Service for an Internet Small Business Service Company
-Health Insurance Customer Service Specialist

Mike Y.
Hawking the Real Paper in Harvard Square128
May 15, 2003 10:36 AM
(that paper bought by and now called the Phoenix) Harvard Square, Summers,1974-76 -a total blast.
I would buy maybe 100 for .10 a piece, pile them in a shopping cart and wheel them a half mile into the Square to sell for .35

Bus boy
Hardware store
Vegetable store
Fruit store
CETA labor crew
Handing out leaflets (ads) at subway stations
Deli counter (everyone should be required to have this job. It teaches empathy for the service industry.)
Sandwich maker in financial district bistro
Lab assistant -college- quit after I saw how the animals were treated and how crazy the psych prof was. Dude could guillotine 30 guinee pigs without flitching. "Someday you'll be doing this" Goodbye.
Corporate catering
cook, chef assistant
Carpenter (historical renovation. Cambridge. Awesome gig)
Architectural Millwork (high-end hardwood furniture- tables)
law library
immigration paralegal
consumer investigator
Insurance contract examiner/Attorney
contract analyst
(websurfer- gratis)
-wow. kinda weird when you look back on it isn't it....

"I see people going to school for 20 years to be doctors and lawyers. I see people waking up early each morning to go down town and sell flair pens. But the most amazing thing to me is: I get paid for doin' this." -Steve Martin
I wanted to work for the Real Paper! nmOldEdScott
May 15, 2003 10:52 AM
re: First jobPMC
May 15, 2003 10:49 AM
Pumpkin Picker at "Cal's Market". Cal is a farmer who owns a retail outlet that sells fresh grown fruit & veggies along with lots of plants and yard stuff. I was 14 years old and lasted all of 3 days. I was so sore from actual work I couldn't bring myself to go back.

I also spent around 3 weeks as a burger flipper at White Castle while in high school. If you know what a White Castle is, you're feeling sorry for me right about now...
re: jobsJS Haiku Shop
May 15, 2003 11:03 AM
in order of appearance, from the beginning:

* busboy at steak house
* whipping boy at hardware store
* mcdonald's drive through
* tourist trap photographer
* krystal's drive through (11p-7a) [krystal=white castle]
* bouncer
* telemarketer for M.A.D.D.
* vagabond (gypsy? tramp? theif? visionary?)
* bouncer
* subway, night shift
* subway, night manager
* construction (laying pipe, duration: one day)
* professional miscreant and widely admired n'er-do-well
* carpet & upholstery cleaning
* foreman, carpet & upholstery cleaning
* bouncer
* waiter in mexican restaurant
* asst mgr in mexican restaurant
* traveling musician
* waiter in russian restaurant
* service manager in russian restaurant
* traveling musician (again!)
* mail room clerk (full time student), insurance brokerage
* IT dept admin assistant (full time student), same ins place
* bbq restaurant line cook and dish washer (same time)
* technical help desk analyst (full time student), same ins place
* [ recipient of technical degree ]
* e-mail administrator (part time student), same ins place
* network administrator and technologist, big 5 firm
* lotus notes developer, same big 5 firm
* data security & monitoring genius, financial firm
* technology diety, same place

I also do some web stuff on the side.

Working stinks, but i like to eat.
First and other jobs94Nole
May 15, 2003 11:08 AM
No one knows me but here goes anyway

mowed lawns
paper deliverer (aka paper boy)
clerk at community grocery store
1 semester off as I thought college was next - it wasn't
asst. manager at same grocery
bag handler at a bag plant
press helper at same bag plant
laborer-chip tender at a paper mill
held an insurance license
avionics tech in USAF/USAFRES
held a real estate license
This is where I realized that an education was a must
CPA in a then Big 6 firm
financial planner w/ large bank
self-employed tax prep firm
controller of engineering firm
mowing lawns (nm)ColnagoFE
May 15, 2003 12:58 PM
re: First jobThe Walrus
May 15, 2003 1:00 PM
My first get-paid-by-someone-other-than-my-parents job was drummer in a band, playing at bar mitzvahs, partys and a nudie bar (sadly long defunct...)

"Graduated" to making deliveries for a liquor store on Sunset Blvd. (Found it interesting that the nouveau riche, Beverly Hills types were the worst tippers, while the old-money, Hancock Park crowd could be most gracious). Fun driving through the studios' backlots to drop off hooch to some third assistant junior executive producer.

Stock clerk in a family-run department store, which inspired me to return to college.

Woodworking at a display manufacturing company (until I sawed off the tips of some fingers). "Promoted" to lead man; further inspired to continue my schooling and get
i any
other job.

Photographer's assistant (part-time) for a pornographer.

Computer operator, working graveyards and swingshift for several years while, you guessed it, going to school.

Programmer...Programmer/Analyst...Senior Programmer/Analyst

Let's discuss #5, shall we?sn69
May 15, 2003 1:08 PM
How desensitizing was it?!
Let's discuss #5, shall we?The Walrus
May 15, 2003 1:28 PM
To be honest, it
i was
pretty boring. This wasn't hardcore stuff; the guy shot for various girlie magazines (of the Hustler/Gallery ilk). I schlepped and set up equipment, took light readings, kept the cameras loaded, changed lenses, etc. We usually borrowed apartments for the shoots, leaving the drapes open to get natural light; every now and then someone across the street would notice us and nearly fall off his balcony trying to get a better look...the models would, uhhh, moon the guys as a reward.
May 15, 2003 1:36 PM
In spite of every strait guy's admitted fantasy, I think most of us would actually wet ourselves in outright fear if "thrust" into a situation like that. really is good to be married.
There was a shoot location like that across from my officeKristin
May 16, 2003 6:29 AM
When I worked downtown, the guys in the "cage" always kept a pair of binoculars by the window.
Jobs, jobs, jobs...Dale Brigham
May 15, 2003 1:38 PM
restaurant busboy
restaurant waiter
graduate teaching assistant (biology)
prep cook/sous chef
construction worker
clothing production worker
high school science teacher
graduate research/teaching assistant (nutrition)
nutritionist (hospital-owned fitness/rehab center)
graduate research/teaching assistant
beer taster (yep, got paid to sample beers)
bike mechanic
post-doctoral bio-med researcher
assistant professor (nutrition)
cycling coach
public health educator

beer taster/nutrionist, now that's a contrast nmDougSloan
May 15, 2003 4:24 PM
Beer is good; red wine is better; fine bourbon is blissDale Brigham
May 15, 2003 7:42 PM
I'm an expert, dammit! Take my word on it.

Dale B., Ph.D.
cool; official stamp of approval for beer :-) nmDougSloan
May 16, 2003 6:25 AM
Beer, like wine, in moderation, is good for ya'Dale Brigham
May 16, 2003 7:51 AM
Lots of antioxidants (them little yeasties gettin' busy in the fermantation vats), that good-old ethanol that increases HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind), and likely plenty of other nice molecules that do good things for us.

People who drink moderately (1-2 per day for gals; 1-3 for guys) outlive both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Not to say risks of some diseases (slight increase in breast and esophageal cancer risk, among others) and other causes of death (car crashes, bar fights, etc.) don't increase with alcohol consumption. But, the risk of tha' Big Killa', cardiovasular disease, decreases significantly with moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Okay, enough of my public health blather. As Dizzy Dean used to say, "Wouldn't a cold Falstaff taste good right now?"

(This message brought to you by Anheuser-Busch, of which the Missouri Legislature is a wholly-owned subsidiary)

All of them.KG 361
May 15, 2003 6:17 PM
-Newspaper carrier (I was 11 or 12?)
-machinist/janitor in a run-down tool and die factory(paid about $2/hr!)
-phlebotomist at a plasma center (while I was a student @ Med Tech school)
-Med tech @ small local hospital
-Med tech/lead tech/charge tech at larger local hospital(now)
re: First jobpurplepaul
May 15, 2003 7:12 PM
Alarm Company Peon (every time a business opened or closed for the day, a code would flash on a computer screen. I'd punch their time card in or out). God, time went slow. $4.25/hour.

Student Technician in Photo Lab. This was a lot of fun. I was going to NYU for photography, so it made sense to work in the labs. Problem was, I worked the night shift (until midnight), then had a 1 1/2 hour commute back home to Staten Island, then had an 8:30 class the next morning (after another 1 1/2 commute). I was pretty tired.

Photographer's Assistant. I can still remember the first time I ordered dinner when someone else was paying (should I order the duck or the steak? The photographer said, "Order both.") Heck, he's not paying for it. Got to travel a bunch and carry unbelievably heavy equipment up and down the steps of the Parthenon. Fell in love with our Greek translater and didn't get over her for months after going home.

Architectural Photographer. Boring. Somehow, having other people pay for my dinner lost its thrill.

Self Employed Futures Trader. Wouldn't do anything else.
I don't claim to be a genius...mohair_chair
May 16, 2003 6:09 AM
If the computer could detect when the business opened and closed, wouldn't it make more sense for the computer to "punch" the timecard? That had to be a government job, right?

This reminds me of those Star Trek episodes where Kirk says "Fire" to his weapons officer, the weapons officer buzzes the weapons room on his intercom and says "Fire," the weapons room officer turns to the gunner and says "Fire," the gunner finally fires the phasers. Meanwhile, whatever they were firing at has moved. All that technology in a starship and they can't put a firing button on the bridge?
sounds goodDougSloan
May 16, 2003 7:06 AM
Maybe President Bush should have a remote control to carry with him at all times that launches nuclear ICBMs? ;-)

Yes, but ENIAC could only process one calculation at a time. nmKristin
May 16, 2003 7:50 AM
Wasn't a government job, believe it or not.purplepaul
May 16, 2003 10:10 AM
I'm sure things are done differently now (that was back in the mid-80's). At least I hope so. I'd hate to think some poor suckers are still sitting on their little stools in a windowless room waiting for the next business to open or close.