Before you know it, summer will be fading as fast as our tans and we'll all be planning our Labor Day barbecues. Labor Day is one of those holidays whose meaning -- to celebrate the labor force -- has gotten lost on the way to the perfect burger. But just to bring it home, we asked Huff/Post50 readers to tell us about their first jobs. Here's what a few of them had to say about their entry into the work force:
For many, like Amy Brunson Brooks, our first jobs were babysitting in the neighborhood. Brooks said she worked for a family every day after school, five days a week, and was paid a whooping $3.75 a week. "It was definitely not worth it," she notes. But it may have been a better deal than the one Judy Ruggles had. She "killed flies, a penny for every 10." (You were joking. Right, Judy?)
Suzanne Fluhr notes that the babysitting rates (50 cents an hour; 75 cents after midnight) never changed during her entire "childcare" career from about 1968 to 1975. But at her first college work-study job in 1972 in the freshman cafeteria she got $1.45 for a 45-minute shift. "This paid for extras like stamps and ice cream -- and I met my husbands at that job -- both of them," she notes.
Babysitting's first cousin -- camp counselor -- was another job many of us started out with. Melanie Gertz Springer was a junior counselor at a crafts day camp when she was 14, earning $25 for the eight-week season. But as she notes, it was the mid-1960s, "so I could actually buy two outfits for school with that large amount of money -- LOL!"
Ana Jones' first job was at a drugstore where she worked the soda fountain for 50 cents an hour. (Remember soda fountains?) Dickie Rosser fared a bit better working for his local Parks and Recreation Department for 75 cents an hour. That was back in 1967.
In terms of original first jobs, the award goes to Boni Turner Hills; she was "The girl that changes in to a gorilla at Circus Circus Hotel in Las Vegas, NV." Her pay? $2.50 an hour.
Judy Mollen Walters was one of the workers at the original Bed, Bath and Beyond -- before it went huge. She earned $3.35 an hour and reported directly to the CEO at the time. (So Judy, whose idea was it to send us those 20 percent off coupons in the mail every week?)
Don W. Powers had everybody's favorite summer job. He scooped ice cream cones and made ice cream sundaes when he was 15 for 50-cents an hour.
Flipping burgers was the entry job for many, like Laura Forte who worked at Burger King in 1975 for what she recalls was about $1.75 an hour. Debbie Shepherd Mendonca got $1.35 per hour to work for Arby's Roast Beef in 1972. Elaine Mullen Glanert was at Taco Bell for $1.55 an hour.
First jobs don't always lead to career paths, of course. When June Brewer was 13, she learned to repair men's and women's shoes and boots at a repair shop. "I'm talking the good leather heels, soles, heel tips, etc.," she noted. She said she did that for "about a year back in the mid-60s, made about $30 a week after school."
Lori A Doyle was paid $1.90 an hour as a nursing assistant when she was 16. And Gayle Tauger's first job was at Manhattan Life Insurance Company where she made $36 a week. It was during her co-op year in high school. Marcie Carroll Morrow worked at Ray's Hallmark in Columbus, Ohio where she made $3.35 an hour and says of the experience, "It's still the most enjoyable job I ever had."
Kimberly O'Bryan Wood was a candy striper at the local hospital. "It paid nothing then and still doesn't," she noted. But it instilled the importance of volunteering, we hope.
Whatever our first jobs, they clearly hold a place in our hearts. Greg McCallister made $3.35 an hour as a grocery store clerk in 1981. And how does he know this? He still has his first paycheck stub.