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Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Janitor's assistant in a shopping centre.

shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

Posts: 18917 | From: "Central" is all they call it | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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1981 - Holiday job indexing phone books at the Post Office. In a window-free basement. With 9 other people who were there on job experience and thought it was a really good job.

After six weeks I was ready to commit homicide. I just couldn't decide who...

Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

Posts: 3702 | From: Aotearoa, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Kaplan Corday
# 16119

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At the age of eleven in 1960, in my last year of primary school, I sold evening papers up at the local tram junction.

As well as selling them to public transport commuters, we walked amongst the motorists pulled up at the lights and sold them through the car windows, fumbling with the change when the lights changed so that they would tell us to keep it.

My first week's pay was ten shillings, out of which I expansively bought my mother a box of chocolates and my brother and sister a Coke and an ice-cream.

I then graduated to a bike delivery round, which paid thirty shillings a week.

At Christmas we dropped off cards sold to us by the newsagent, with the doggerel "In the midst of Christmas joy/ Please don't forget your paper boy" the tips from which certainly repaid our investment.

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Ship's nude
# 208

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When I was thirteen I had a job delivering the local free newspaper. Got sacked after a few months because I made an executive decision that nobody actually wanted the paper so I just threw them all in the bin (pre recycling das). After that I dog walked for various people then got a job on a friend's farm which I loved.

'Edward was the kind of man who thought there was no such thing as a lesbian, just a woman who hadn't done one-to-one Bible study with him.' Catherine Fox, Love to the Lost

Posts: 3542 | From: the cupboard under the stairs | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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Excluding the time we dusted my fathers study

was as one of the temporary minions the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB) employed to process the exam papers. It was tedious, repetitive and they trusted computers to mark exam papers more than us! However, because computers some of the time was spent getting the papers ready for the computer to mark (i.e. checking the candidates intentions were clear).


"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ethne Alba
# 5804

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Making gear knob covers; we used to sit outside a friends back door, watching their Black Labrador and talking nonsense.
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# 16870

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I was a late starter. After my A-levels, I started work at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, which was a couple of miles up the road from where I grew up. Mum was supposed to give me a lift to the interview, but her car broke down so I had to do a brisk cross-country walk over Dunstable Downs in the rain. Afrer turning up rather drenched, I was sent to dry off in the Discovery Centre (reptile house).

The job was working in a café over the summer period. It was mostly cleaning tables, though I also enjoyed working on the washing up. The place was an odd mix as they not only took on students, but it was also a place where some ex-cons found some work after getting out of prison. We never asked what they did, but they had some good stories.

We had some great moments. For starters, not many people walk through the gates of their workplace to see a family of ring tailed lemurs soaking up the morning sun. The downside was when the elephants were being walked and they pooed near one of the outside tables, so I'd have to clean it up. I'll never forget one of my colleagues trying to annoy a tiger through the cage when the tiger turned away and raised its tail. Being a cat owner, I could see what was about to happen, but my colleague didn't and he was rather shocked at how far the spray went!

I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

Posts: 3791 | From: On the corporate ladder | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged
# 9657

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Newspaper delivery round, aged 13.

Talk about books -any books- on our rejuvenatedforum http://www.bookgrouponline.com/index.php?

Posts: 3060 | From: Sussex By The Sea | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
# 3882

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I was 15 in 1976. I worked on Saturdays in the model shop where I spent all my money anyway - 33p/hour. And in November I got to sell fireworks even though I was too young to buy them. I was so glad when I got a proper job in 1978 - £25/week working in a builders drawing office.

"The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do." Rowland Emett 1906-1990

Posts: 1172 | From: Montgomeryshire, Wales | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Working on a sod farm, where pieces of lawn are for sale to people who want instant green grass in their yards or garden. It was in the early 1970s, and innovative at the time. If I recall I got just less than $1 per hour, but I very clearly recall cigars, beer and chewing tobacco. Chewing tobacco is something older workers give to young ones so as to make them turn green and ill.

Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.

Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
# 9636

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1976, IIRC, when I was 17, working behind the bar in The Shirley Poppy. Quite an eye-opener, but a generally lovely clientele who all knew each other. Classic local pub.

Earned the money I needed to pay for a school Classics trip to Greece. It was a great job!

Posts: 3374 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Originally posted by North East Quine:
After my brief few Saturdays selling Scottish World Cup souvenirs, I got an excellent summer holiday job when I was 16.

The Council were opening a new branch library and were recalling books from other branch libraries to fill it. My job was to check each incoming book, replace the plastic cover-sleeve if necessary and replace the existing date-stamp label with a new one. I also collected the mail from the mail room and did the mid-morning bun run.

What made it interesting was that I was in the "special" library room in the Council buildings. At some time in the past, two people had left bequests to the Council library of their collections of, respectively, masonic books and pornography. These books were shelved in the "special room" and could only be accessed by written request, However, as the books themselves were not in the main catalogue, and the existence of the "special" books was not advertised, no-one ever requested them.

There were no photos in the pornographic ones (at least, not in the ones I flicked through in my lunch hours) but one of the masonic ones had photos of all the members of the Royal Family who were masons in full regalia, which I found quite fascinating.

I got paid £40 a week for this splendid job!

My first paid job was a Saturday job in a bakers - and I lasted a week! My next paid job was as a Saturday assistant in my local library. They also had a "special" collection in the stacks out the back. As well as bound copies of The Strand and various other Victorian magazines, there was a raft of porn of similar vintage in leather bindings, various controversial books (Anarchist's Cookbook etc) and a complete run of
Marie Corelli. Most of the material I could understand, but no one knew why the Corelli's were there!!!


"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

Posts: 12701 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
# 12829

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Another boring one who had a paper round here - not very many houses, but spread across several miles of rural backroads, so having to do two runs with the weekend papers was a PITA.

Other things I did in the name of having an income before settling down with a "proper" job... working at a tree nursery for a couple of years in the holidays - OK in Summer when it was hot, but bitterly cold in Winter and at Easter when you were mostly grading tree seedlings for bundling for sale. I've never forgotten the informal rota we had for drying and warming our gloves over the exhaust of the tractor, much needed!

I also gutted chickens in a poultry packing plant (can still do a mean chicken fillet), and a few other oddments - stuck labels on jars in a jam factory when I was between jobs for example - but I think the hairiest was bale sledding on a farm. Ever wondered how bales of straw got to be stacked so neatly? On this farm, there was a steel sheet with a slot down three quarters of the length of it towed behind the baler, just sliding along the ground. I stood on that, stacking the bales as they came off the baler (remember - this thing was moving all the time), and when I had a stack I had a big steel spear which I would stick in the ground through the short length of the slot that wasn't under the bales, lean hard against the stack, and the whole lot would stay where it was and slide off the sled! When you are 16, it's cracking fun, though incredibly hard work and very, very hot and dirty. Looking back, it scares me witless!


"It becomes soon pleasantly apparent that change-ringing is by no means merely an excuse for beer" Charles Dickens gets it wrong, 1869

Posts: 3574 | From: The wardrobe of my soul | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged
Celtic Knotweed
# 13008

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Been paid for ringing at weddings since I was 12 - exact same rate as the adults, since you're doing the same amount of heavy work! I was also a third of a paper-round syndicate with my siblings. We delivered the local free paper, nominally to slightly over 600 houses, but once all the people who didn't want a free paper were taken into account, it was only about 400... (and all under a mile from home).

At various points after exams I spent time doing shop work at £3/hr and then £3.50/hr. Learnt how to count up change (the till didn't tell you the amount), and to never open the till unless someone was paying for something. Also that tourists with £50 notes paying for a £1 item are very annoying, especially when 4 of them do that one after the other and you then have to do a change run before the bank shuts at lunch on a Saturday.

My little sister is riding 100k round London at night to raise money for cancer research donations here if you feel so inclined.

Posts: 664 | From: between keyboard and chair | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
# 4965

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Babysitting when I was around 14-15 or so. But then my first proper paid job was picking strawberries the summer I turned 16.

Backbreaking, but it was nice weather and I got a tan.

Arthur & Henry Ethical Shirts for Men
organic cotton, fair trade cotton, linen

Sometimes I wonder What's for Afters?

Posts: 2022 | From: the smallest town in England | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timothy the Obscure

Mostly Friendly
# 292

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Doing yard work (mowing, weeding, etc.) for a guy who I later learned was a very prominent political scientist, when I was 13. I did that for a summer, then got a paper route in the fall, which I quit after two months. The stress of collecting, and being tormented by the neighborhood kids made it unbearable.

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

Posts: 6114 | From: PDX | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
la vie en rouge
# 10688

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I had a student summer job in a school uniform shop (minimum wage, paid in cash – don’t remember exactly how much I earned).

I have heard that the competitor school uniform supplier, a much bigger outfit, was hell to work for, but the one where I worked was a small family business. They were nice people. OTOH I was astounded to see how many people would come in the day before term started to buy a whole uniform. I mean, I understand leaving it to the last minute to buy a few bits, but if my child was starting a new school and 24 hours before they had nothing to wear, I would be panic-stricken. These people would saunter in on the last day and then act shocked that we’d sold out of some of the sizes.

Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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Heavenly Anarchist
# 13313

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I babysat for my sister Friday and Saturday nights in the early 80s from when I was 13, she had 3 kids from toddler to age 7. I was supposed to give me a fiver for each evening (about 7 hours a night while she worked in a chip shop) but half the time she only paid me for one night.
My first proper job was in 1986 when I was nearly 17, it was on a Youth Training Scheme on an old people's home in Dunstable. I worked shifts all week doing exactly the same work as the care assistants who were on full pay and I got the pittance of £27 a week which was standard YTS pay. But it did give me good experience for nurse training.

'I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.' Douglas Adams
Dog Activity Monitor
My shop

Posts: 2831 | From: Trumpington | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

# 4360

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I suppose being given a quid or two for washing Dad's car doesn't count, so my first paying job would have been when I was about 14/15, stuffing envelopes with letters and brochures for my Mom to send out to her office's corporate contacts advertising some conference or other. £3 an hour for something I could do virtually automatically while watching TV or listening to music.

Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Robertus Liverpolitanae
# 12011

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My first paid employment was stacking shelves at a supermarket when I was 17 (in 1983).

What strikes me now is how much gender roles were part of the job: there were ‘boys’ jobs and ‘girls’ jobs. My task stacking washing powders and other detergents was a boys’ job, stacking biscuits and cakes was definitely a girls gig. You could legitimately refuse a task if you were the ‘wrong’ gender. You can’t imagine the shock I had the first time I saw a man on the check-out at my local super market – not done in my day!

Since the supermarket in question was the Co-op it was also a closed shop and I had to join the trade union USDAW (which coming from a good left wing household, I had no objection).

My family has a bit of a tradition that you may spend your first week’s wages on anything you like (presumably because each subsequent week’s wages went to mum/wife for housekeeping). The idea was to buy something luxurious but practical that would last. With my first wage packet I went to Liverpool’s premier music shop Rushworth and Drappers (where The Beatles bought their guitars) and purchased a very fancy metronome. Over the years I’ve acquired a pocket watch, a beautiful leather briefcase, a dandy umbrella with a carved dinosaur handle and some nice cuff-links.

I start a new job in September, and I’m already wondering what to buy this time

Once the Government approves something, it stops being immoral
Rev Tim Lovejoy

Posts: 558 | From: homeward bound | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged
Kaplan Corday
# 16119

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Originally posted by Robertus Liverpolitanae:
a dandy umbrella with a carved dinosaur handle

That's going to be hard to top.

What sort of dinosaur did it come from?

Not a rare one, I hope.

I'm surprised that the Palaeontologists' Union didn't have something to say about it.

Posts: 3355 | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged

Have candles, will pray
# 5557

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My first actual job was at a Little Caesar's pizza take-out shop. The chain is based in Detroit, but has franchises all across the US. That was a fun first job.

Prior to that, my mom, who was at the time the administrator of our church's school (preschool-8th grade), would use the school's petty cash account to pay my sisters and me to clean the church's carpets in the summer. I don't remember how much. We enjoyed doing it, for some reason.

ETA: Oh, I was probably 16 when I got my first job. I think that's the legal age in Michigan where you don't have to get special permission to work, or something like that.

[ 18. August 2014, 20:47: Message edited by: churchgeek ]

I reserve the right to change my mind.

My article on the Virgin of Vladimir

Posts: 7773 | From: Detroit | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
# 8689

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My piano teacher was also the local organist for the Anglican church. From the age of 14 I would cover playing for her for weddings/funerals if she wasn't available as I was home educated. At £25 for some minor music before and after a funeral plus Crimond and Abide With Me, it always seemed a slightly absurd way to earn that much money.
Posts: 238 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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Thirty five cents an hour. That's right, I win! Only because it was a waitress job in a nice restaurant and it was expected that I would get big tips. The trouble with that was the older waitresses gave me all the customers who tipped small or not at all. The miracle is that I gave my father my paychecks and at the end of the summer they totaled enough to pay for tuition, room and board for the first semester of college.

Originally posted by Moo:
I was paid a penny per bill. I usually ended up with about eighty cents. In those days you could buy sixteen candy bars with the money.


I laughed out loud at this! I thought my husband and I were the only kids who equated all their baby-sitting and paper route money to candy bars.

[ 19. August 2014, 17:06: Message edited by: Twilight ]

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Ship's Wake
# 8433

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I do recall that when I left school to become a Broadcasting Cadet (in about 1396) my annual salary was $3686.

I was rich! It was 1978.

shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

Posts: 18917 | From: "Central" is all they call it | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
# 13356

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Not my first job, but as a vacation job as an undergraduate I used to work on a fruit farm near Canterbury, and whatever I got- £2.02/hr in 1987, I think- was the minimum set by the Agricultural Wages Board. That's one of the reasons why I was pleased to see that although the Westminster government abolished the AWB, the Welsh Government has retained it here.
Posts: 6498 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
# 16710

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Paper boy at 12 followed by being a member of the Canadian Reserves at 16.
Posts: 972 | From: Saint John, N.B. | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged
vw man
# 13951

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1972 A postman for 2 weeks on the run up to Christmas all I can rember it was cold my fingers turned blue ,I have forgotten what I earned
Posts: 115 | From: Derbyshire | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged

Pincered Beastie
# 12057

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I worked as a waitress in a coffee shop aged 18, for two days. The manager was a bully who refused to tell me where anything was kept. I remember scalding myself on the coffee machine frother.

I then found work in a garden nursery, and worked there all holidays throughout uni. It was baking hot in the greenhouses in summer, and I remember getting a rash up my legs when moving the verbena plants around. It was freezing in winter - one job I had was potting hyacinth bulbs and not being allowed to wear gloves in case I fumbled the bulbs. It was in the middle of nowhere, and one morning I watched two stoats playing together by the greenhouses. But there were a few other young people working there, and that's where I met my first boyfriend.

[ 02. September 2014, 11:15: Message edited by: Earwig ]

Posts: 3120 | From: Yorkshire | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged

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