Friday, March 27, 2009

My first big job

I could not sleep and was thinking about the tough economic times we are going through right now.

As I was growing up I began working away from home for money at the age of 14 years old. My first jobs were the normal ones for a young lady. I babysit for families in our town. Then I worked for the school system helping to grade achievement tests. Then at the age of 16 I worked at the local dairy dip.

When I graduated high school in 1972 I landed a job at the local 5 and dime. (as most of you know I have lived in a very small town all of my life.) I was so very excited. I would be making .75 an hour. Yes you saw that right. It blows my mind too as I think back on it.

I worked there for about 4 months. Then because of my previous experience in the restaurant industry I was hired as the manager of the Dairy Dip at the ripe old age of 18 for $1.35 an hour. Boy was I excited now. I was going to be rich!!! I worked here for almost two years and I never received a raise. To be honest I never asked for one. I was so happy to have a job and to be earning money. Granted I still lived at home, but I was taught (and it was expected) that I pay my share. For this I am very grateful. I learned at a very early age to work hard and to be so thankful for what you have.

I think this is the spirit that we as Americans have. We have what it takes to help us through these times. We know how to stretch our dollars and to make ends meet. We always rise to the occasion.

Living in a small town has taught me so many good lessons of life. I have never been materialist. I always try to be very thankful for what I have. It makes me so proud when I can accomplish much on a small income.

When I think back on that first job and how proud I was to have it , it makes me feel so glad for the things I learned from this experience.


Vee said...

Your experience sounds much like mine as far as incomes. I babysat for 50 cents an hour and my firt paying job at a hardware store earned me 1.15 an hour. And I was saving for college! Ha!!

I love the happy little song that plays here and the message that it shares. Sleep is something that I have lost from pondering as well. Still, I know Who is in control and I trust Him to help us through these rough times.

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

What an interesting post! I really enjoyed reading about your first jobs! My how things have changed, it is amazing!

Sand Flat Farm said...

Sounds alot like my young years - I babysat, too, then I started working at JCPenney when I turned 16, making $2 and something. My family didn't have much, but we always got by. It's been harder to teach this young generation all the things that we learned growing up. We tried to instill a good work ethic and good character into our kids and made them work and step up to the plate & be responsible for their actions.
I enjoyed your post - it brought back good memories!

PEA said...

I remember making .50 cents an hour babysitting for a few families that lived near us and I also remember when the babysitting rate went up to $1 an hour...I thought I was so rich! lol While in grades 10, 11 & 12, I was part of the CO-OP group, we would go to classes in the mornings and work in various offices in the afternoon to learn secretarial skills. I made $2.25 an hour then and was able to save up my money to buy my wedding dress when I was 18 years old. We can certainly be proud of those days:-) xoxo

Amy said...

I have fond memories of the 5 and Dime in my hometown and it still breaks me heart to think that it doesn't exist anymore. It was just the greatest place for a kid to explore.

My first job was a local kids consignment shop where I worked in exchange for clothing.

(crafting by candlelight)

a portland granny said...

Oh my! Your post today brings back memories! I, also, worked at the dime store in downtown Portland, Oregon when I was a senior in college in 1954!! I can't remember what I received an hour, but as a finishing college student, I know it sure helped out with expenses! I hope today's young people with all of their electric toys, will be willing to work as hard for what they need and want as they leave their education behind them.

Thought I would let you know, I've updated my main blog, after a seven week "leave".

justabeachkat said...

Hi Sweet Friend!

Times sure have changed. Kids today EXPECT the world. They have no idea what it was like to work hard for something we really wanted. It's sad really.

Gosh, I haven't been by in what seems like forever! Between my crazy/busy life and our 15 day vacation, I've had very little time to blog read. But...we're home now and I've sure had fun this afternoon catching up with you.


Denise said...

Yes girl, I agree..... I pray that the "spirit" in this country carry us through...... I am trying not to be fearful and I do not listen to the news very often...... but we as Christians need to pray as we have never prayed.......... We need God to bail us out........ Not the Federal Gov............

The French Bear said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog, I love that you and grand babies blog!! That's so sweet.
Take care,
Margaret B

Jackie said...

I can remember my first job as well. I worked at Mr. Donut serving coffee and donuts most evenings. Then the boss offered me a job working Fridays midnight until 8 in the morning. It meant I got .25 an hour more. So I was making $1.85 an hour that night.

God bless.


Hi Mary,

My first job, other than babysitting was at a bakery and I don't remember for how much...around a dollar I think and that is where I meet my first hubby!! I had to arrange my own way to work, ride my bike or take the buss as my Dad wasn't able to take me to work and thought I needed to get around wonder I am so independant!!!
Have a good weekend.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post for our time. I also babysat for 50 cents/hour. Holidays I worked wrapping packages at a local department store. My first REAL job was a waitress at a local restaurant. All of these jobs taught me some great lessons that were important in later life.

Deb said...

Oh yes times sure have changed. . We need to pray for our generations coming up, they need us. they need our prayers. God will take care of His children. Good post makes you think of sweet memories:)

Margaret Cloud said...

I enjoyed reading about your experiences, you are right we do learn from our accomplishments. I to was born when wages were very minimal, and my first office job only paid $37.50 a week and my rent was $9.00 a week. Hope you have a great weekend.

jojo-caramel said...

This is an interesting post :)
If this crisis could help to find the essential in life and not in money anymore...
I hope the above makes sense :) Hi hi hi :) Have a lovely weekend :) xo

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

I think the young people that have had everything handed to them are getting ready to have a rude awakening. It's going to be hard on them.

bluemuf said...

Mary, what a sweet trip down memory lane. I also remember my first job and I paid my parents rent. I think it really teaches us the value of money.

Hugs Karen

Back Through Time said...

Do think those were the "good ol' days"? I think the world was a much better place years ago. It is so different and more complicated now.
Thank you for sharing your memories.

Karen H. said...

Good Afternoon Mary,
I enjoyed reading of your jobs of days gone by. If only the kids these days had to lived like that, then they wouldnt' be so greedy adn want name brand things like most of them do. I vcan't buy our girls name brand things but my Sister does sometimes, but she isn't married and doesn't have kids of her own. I've always taught mine to be "THANKFUL" for waht they do have even it it isnt' fancy or expensive. All I can do is teach them and hope it instills in then till they are grown. Take care my friend and have a Blessed Sunday. May GOD BLess you and yours.
Karen H>

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I agree! We can use it up and wear it out too!
First jobs...haha...I had a newspaper route with a skateboard :)

Mary said...


When my father was hurt in a workplace accident, I quit school at 15 and went to work. I started at 65 cents an hour and when I got laid off, I went to the Unemployment Office and started a new job the next morning for 90 cents. I thought I was rich and then after three months...a raise to $1.10 and a year later, $1.19. Wow! Things were looking up.

I too was taught to earn my way and paid Mom and Dad $15 dollars a week board. My brother also worked and paid the same. We were essentially the bread winners, but my parents wouldn't take our entire paycheck, so we also bought things for the house that were needed. It gave us a sense of responsibility that many kids today don't have. Yes, we can...get through these tough economical times.