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What Was Your First Job?

01/29/2020 6:28 PM

What was your first wage earning job?

Feel free to elaborate.

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#1

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 6:46 PM

Back in the 70’s, I was 16 years old, and a neighbor stopped in while we were milking (cows). He asked if I could drive forklift during cherry season.

He paid top wages ($7.00/hour), more than any other orchard grower or processing plant. At the end of the season, had a nice bonus. And at morning break, his wife made summer sausage sandwiches.

yep, got up at 3:00am, did my chores, then started milking, left, picked up my lunch, my mom made for me, and be in his yard at 6:45 and working in the orchard by 7:00 and done by 4:00 and returned home to start evening chores. Job lasted 10-14 days.

always saved a few trees to shake on the last day, where he’d throw a nice party... loved it.

Had that job for 7 years, until his boys were old enough to take over.

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#2

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 7:52 PM

I grew up on a dairy farm about 1/2 mile from an unincorporated village of about 200 people so I had chores to do like feeding calves as early as I can remember but, that really can't be considered a paying job.

When I was in 4th or 5th grade (I don't remember exactly) My brother and I took up a paper route in town to make a little spending money. We would jump on our bikes and ride into town and pick up the papers every day around 4:30 am. (I think there were only about 25 or 30 subscribers). If we hurried we would be back home before 6 am. That gave us plenty of time to get our chores done and still get to school on time. We did that for about three years until the newspaper was bought out and the new owners quit the delivery service.

When I got older and could take on more responsibilities around the farm, dad started paying me a little so I had gas money and a little spending money through high school.

I suppose my first real job started the summer after my first year of college. When I left for school, dad took on a hired hand and didn't need me full time in the summer so I went to work for the local co-op making $3.35 per hour. I started in the fertilizer department applying anhydrous ammonia to fields. After the pre-plant season was over, I worked in the fertilizer plant itself for a few weeks unloading hopper bottom rail cars and bagging fertilizer. After the corn and beans were coming up I got moved to spraying pesticides, then back to side dressing anhydrous. When the spring rush slowed down, i got sent to help in the heating department. Some days I worked in the field installing furnaces and heaters in everything from farm houses to hog and dairy operations. Some days I worked in the shop making duct work and fittings on a four foot brake and an old Pittsburgh Lockformer. When harvest season started up in the fall I got moved over to the grain drying plant. There I worked mostly the overnight shift unloading trucks, pulling test weight samples, and monitoring the dryers.

When the school year started, I went to part time, but I kept working there all through college. I would work 70-80 hours per week in the summer and about 20-30 hours per week during the school year. During the years I was there, I also filled in occasionally at the feed mill, the mechanic shop, the hardware store, and the gas station. I was making almost $6.00 by the time I left.

The experience I received while working there was invaluable. I think I learned more about being successful from my experience working at that co-op than I did in all my school.

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#3

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 9:44 PM

Which: first engineering job, or simply first $-earning job?

First $ was bucking hay on farms on the "island" in the Colorado River between California and Arizona at Yuma, AZ.

First engineering was Civil Service, Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, AZ

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#4

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 10:25 PM

Simple stationary shop cleaner earning way less than minimum wage, but I saved up and this job put me through University to get my first Engineering qualification which allowed me to get my first jobs in Engineering.

Have a goal, make a plan, work at it, succeed, rinse and repeat.

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#5

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 10:31 PM

That I worked after school at a gas station is, I'm sure, of little interest to anyone, but maybe it will be of interest that it was there, back in '65, that my co-worker, Jerry, coined a phrase that has since become part of the English lexicon.

It was the busiest gas station in town, probably because of the enticing promotional items that were regularly given away with a gas purchase. I recall one Friday night, Jerry was leaning on a gas pump, surveying the long, bumper to bumper line up of cars stretching out on to the street, blocking traffic. No one was going anywhere - because on that night we were giving away a free bottle of Aqua-Velva after shave lotion with every fill-up. The Aqua-Velva always pulled them in. Jerry shook his head in disgust, and for the first time in history, uttered the immortal words, "What a bunch of turkeys!"

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#6

Re: Your first Job.

01/29/2020 10:59 PM

My first business venture was as a marble shooter....eventually I took all the marbles from the entire elementary school as I was a deadly shot...after a while my prowess as a shooter became well known and that was the end of that...I retired with hundreds of marbles...Next I worked as a fund raiser for the safety patrol, I was a Sargent on the force and we had to raise and lower the flag each day as well as protect children from getting mowed down by speeding motorists...We sold snow cones after school to raise funds for the big end of the year trip....we also had bake sales and other fund raising activities...I was 12 years old at this time....Raised rabbits at 13-14....My first real salaried job I guess came at 16, I was hired in a commercial laundry as an assistant manager, shortly after that the manager was fired, and I became the manager...In this role I was able to turn a money losing business into a profitable going concern, I worked 15 hrs a day 7 days a week, securing new customers, picking up and delivering laundry for motels in a beach resort area....unfortunately this was just a summer job and ended before I really hit my stride...After that I went to work as a high speed aerosol line mechanic for Fuller Brush...

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#7

Re: Your first Job.

01/30/2020 12:20 AM

As a high-schooler, started out earning $2.90/hr in 1979 working for a small firm (Semiconductor Processing Company, Inc.) in Hingham, Massachusetts polishing silicon wafers using a cupric-nitric chemical-mechanical process. Worked after school hours finishing up the polish at the end of the day, then cleaned the polish machines, replaced the corfam polish pads, and emptied the waste polish from the catch bins. Finished by mopping the floors.

A couple of years later, the operation moved to Southie. Worked after school and vacations/summers through the college years.

http://www.semproco.com/

http://www.semproco.com/history.html

Worked with concentrated nitric acid, ammonium fluoride, cupric-nitrate. Learned to handle hazardous chemicals in a lab/manufacturing environment. Also learned to handle and inspect wafers as thin as 2.5 mils.

This process produced very high quality polished wafers. Downside is the waste disposal aspect.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1449251

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#8

Re: Your first Job.

01/30/2020 2:10 AM

My first real post-graduate job was making/installing/servicing controlled-atmosphere specialty equipment used for fruit storage. This is where I learned refrigeration, along with some allied trades such as pressure vessel design, control panel manufacturing, and process safety analysis.

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#9

Re: Your first Job.

01/30/2020 5:07 AM

From a farming background there were lots of jobs at "piece rate" like fencing and mowing the local airstrips for the coalmines and power stations.

First "full time" job was as a lab technician for a University Medical Faculty where I worked in the Cardio department. That paid for my studies that I did concurrently. Job involved

  • Building pacemakers (using discrete components),
  • Building doppler flow transducers (3mm, 4mm and 5mm inside diameter with hand moulded shells and hand soldering the crystals to the leads) to measure blood flow in the coronary arteries of our research candidates,
  • Building electromagnetic flow transducers (12mm, 15mm and 18mm inside diameter) to measure blood flow in the aorta.
  • Once a week we had surgery days where I was the anaesthetist and operating theatre assistant while the instruments were being implanted.
  • The rest of the time was taken up with running the monitoring equipment and 8 track reel to reel Beckman recorder so we could re-create each and every experiment outcome.
  • I was also given the prototype "clip on" pulse and Oxygen monitoring device to verify proof of concept.
  • We played around for a few years with conductive tape to monitor instantaneous chest impedance to monitor blood flow from the heart, but other imaging technology advanced through that area.

I've really worked very few days in my qualified specialty. Rather I used it to move into high reliability manufacturing and management systems.

For a while was certified member of American Society for Quality Control, but no recertification points available in Aus.

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#10

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/30/2020 10:48 PM

I'll interpret "wage" to mean a bit more than having a paper route, mowing lawns, etc.

The first paid job I remember was "shocking" (or was that "shalking"?) wheat (using a pitchfork to stand the bundles of cut wheat upright so they wouldn't mold if it rained). I have no memory of what I was paid, at 13 years old (1953).

I moved from Colorado to northern California in 1954, as a freshman in high school, and assumed I'd continue doing the same kinds of things, but I had never experienced temperatures over 110°F! One summer of that was all I could take. The next summer I got a job washing dishes for a YMCA camp at an altitude of 6500 feet. I considered $10 a week plus room (tent) and board at that altitude way better than the $40 a week I could earn down in the hot valley. The next year, I was assistant camp maintenance at twice the wage, and the following year or two I was in charge of camp maintenance.

My first full-time job was teaching freshman physics at Cal Poly SLO, while also working on my master's degree. After two years, I got my master's degree, but the military draft told me I couldn't continue, so I went into the Peace Corps and taught electronics in Chile for a couple of years. Then returned to the US, and taught HS physics for 28 years, before accidentally becoming a de-facto engineer...

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#31
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/04/2020 10:28 AM

Paper routes aside then,,, paving crew, moving from town to town. Usually only a 1-2 week stay in each one. I worked mostly on the base crew, prepping the streets for the asphalt. Also on the actual "paving" crew as well at times.

A physical job when you often don't run any mechanized equipment, but it did pay my way through university.

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#11

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/30/2020 11:56 PM

I guess I was the proverbial "hamburger flipper"

Early high school I started at the A&W Root Beer Restaurant. (Oddly enough, my big sister was a carhop here 10 years earlier).

Mundane kitchen work, but I did it for all four years of my high school.

Glutton for punishment? Or proving commitment I can do a job? Perhaps the latter.

NOW while for working for a couple different companies - in the same medical equipment field - for over 40 years (12 with my current company). I'm either committed or quite crazy.

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#12

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 12:13 AM

Interesting how many of you started on farms. I suppose my first work experience was also helping out on the farm where my dad worked but I don't remember getting paid for it.

First paying job in the late 60's at the age of 15-16 was cleaning cars for a director of one of the main Jaguar car dealerships in London. He used to bring home some fantastic cars for me to wash and polish. The best was an XK120 and he gave me a ride home in it afterwards. I made a special tool from an old tooth brush for doing wire wheels and then had to make more so he could hand them out to his guys at work.

First full time job was in 1971 as a lab assistant at the Admiralty Engineering Laboratories near Heathrow Airport. I remember being very scared at having to do titrations using cyanide solution to analyse nickel content.

First mentally challenging position was on industrial placement at Trelleborg Gummifabriken. Six months working in an inside lab in winter in Sweden - I hardly saw daylight Monday to Friday. The work was mildly challenging but the social interaction was almost non-existent.

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#13

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 3:58 AM

1961, 14 years old, paper round, Evenings, Monday to Saturday 16 shillings (80p) Sunday Morning 16 shillings (80p)

John

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#14

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 4:59 AM

In 1954 at age 10 a friend and I built a "haunted house ride" in our basement. We made a push-cart seating two kids and a winding pathway through a maze of ghosts, noises, flying bats, cobwebs, etc.. Around every bend was another terror as we pushed the cart of screaming kids. It became very popular and at 25 cents a ride we did quite well.

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#15

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 6:54 AM

In early 80's I worked at bicycle shop for $3/hr earning a $480 bike plus miscellaneous merchandise. Owner was Junior High Industrial Arts teacher. To expand the shop he bought a brick 3-story building that was built in 1872 that had serious smoke and water damage from fire next door. So when I wasn't fixing bikes I was tearing out plaster or learning how to drywall. Pay was trivial compared to experience!

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#16

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 7:35 AM

I worked as a hired hand in the summers all through high school. That normally meant pulling a disc through the fields to prepare for planting. Started shortly after daybreak and stopped near sundown. Lunch was eaten on the tractor. Since I was young, I wasn't trusted to plant, but was deemed good enough to harvest after a few hours of training. I still shudder to think how much grain I left standing that first day. Oats were the worst for the dust they generate. As a kid, I didn't have a cab on the tractors or the combines, or if I did (one farmer), the air didn't work. The job also included cleaning out grain bins and one summer I cleaned pig pens between planting and harvest.

Back then you could get a license at 14 that included driving to and from work. Occasionally I drove a truck to the elevator to unload grain while the farmer kept cutting.

My last year as a hired hand, 1985, I was making $5.50 an hour. After a short stint in the Army and I started sweeping/cleaning in a custom machine shop for $5.00 an hour.

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#17

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 7:59 AM

Simple, a ranch hand. Back in the day when everything was still done on horseback. Sun up to sun set were the hours. Can't even calculate the $/Hr, probably closer to ¢/Hr. But room and board were included.

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#18

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 9:02 AM

Started my work career at 8yrs old. pumped gas and cleaned up around the Phillips 66 gas station while my great uncle (who was an old mafioso) played pinochle in the back with his cronies.

12hrs every Saturday and Sunday from age 8-14 (worked on cars regularly by the time I left). had a paper route during part of that time too.

then at 14 (lied about my age) started working at Cleveland Stadium, worked many 14-16hr days in a row (and sometimes more). I have two back to back paycheck stubs where I worked 123hrs. in one week, and 83hrs. the next week, that is 203hrs in a two week time period. These crazy hours would happen when the Cleveland Indians were in town. when out of town, we would work a relaxing 40hr week. I remember my record was a 134hr work week, but I can't prove that one. I would say one thing, towards the end of one of these marathon work weeks, one would start to see "spots", similar to seeing "stars" when you get dizzy.

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#19
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 9:09 AM

One forgets about paper routes. Who among us in this thread didn't have one?

Back then papers were supposed to be on the customers' door step (actually in the mail box or between the two front doors) by 7:30AM. I had a smaller route, 50 customers, delivery 6 days a week for the grand sum of $5.00 per week.

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#21
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 9:53 AM

I was offered the best route (the driver had) 6mts before I took my second job..

it was a 9 story elderly appt. bldg. 87 customers.. take the elevator to the top floor, drop paper in front of each door, take stairwell to the next lower floor, walk down the hall (dropping papers in front of customers door) to the opposite end, take stairwell to next floor down... no weather, barking dogs, crazy neighborhood bullies to deal with, was best paper route a kid could have.

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#23
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 11:40 AM

I had to deal with the weather every day(and since the route was in the middle of prairies there were some extremes). There was no Mom of Dad to take me to get the papers either, and unlike today, I had to walk a long way just to get them. This route was better than the very first one I had. First one was 150 customers in an area 5 times the size. That one paid $1.50 per week, but it was only a weekly paper.

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Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 2:25 PM

yea I grew up in the city. my first route was outside but just a street. Houses are next to each other. nothing like your experience. it was a mile away from my house, summer rode a bike, winter usually hopped a ride hanging on someone's bummer (bumper skiing or boot hopping). I lived on the east side of Cleveland, we would get what is called "lake effect snow". but again, nothing like the winds of the prairie. or the bone chilling weather. not many places to hide in that weather.

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#34
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/05/2020 7:34 AM

No paper route for me, I lived in the country. There were about 6 families in about a 2 mile radius. Plus it was about 4 miles to the nearest town of 600(?). And it was more money driving a tractor.

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#20

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 9:49 AM

I had every boys dream job at 15. I worked at ToyKing. our local toy store. I spent 6 hrs 4 days a week unpacking and stocking. Got a 25% discount. lots of free stuff from manufacturers who were big on sending samples in the 70's, then the Big Wheel hit and I spent 6 hours a day assembling them. Hundreds of them. It was insane. I swear every kid in town got one. LoL except me, I was too big.

Then I got my first Estes Rocket starter set.

Ah the joys of high velocity projectiles and teenage creativity.

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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/08/2020 12:43 AM

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My first job was newspaper delivery for 40 cents per 2 hour , somehow i preferred the strippers.

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#22

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 10:35 AM

Stock boy in a war-surplus store. No wages... store credits so I could buy surplus electronic parts and equipment. That got me started to my Ham radio license that led me to a BSEE from Cal, and a 30 plus year career in engineering and International high-tech business.

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#24

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 12:36 PM

Does washing dishes, in 1965 as a freshman in the college cafeteria for 1.15 $/hr, count?

(We all wanted the crewchiefs' job 'cuz he made 1.25 $/hr...)

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#25

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 12:57 PM

Morning paper round 6 days per week - before school in 1950 - 6s.6d a week. Provided my own shoes/raincoat/gloves/bike for 3 mile daily round trip.

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#27

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 2:49 PM

Late 40s sold newspapers on a street corner in Santa Monica, CA. Early to mid 50s mowed lawns and delivered newspapers. Early 60s plate maker in a print shop. Mid 60s to present service and install restaurant equipment, hot and cold, gas or elect. Slowing down a little now, just part time trying to train new kids to do it and do it safely. (Job title Service and safety trainer.)

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#28

Re: What Was Your First Job?

01/31/2020 3:54 PM

I had no jobs while school age due to living in foreign countries. First job age 16 part time in my first semester uni as technical assistant in film production at the education department, that was 1975. Don't recall the wage but it was on the job training for the most boring work ever. Padded studio with built in mics, sound levels standard, all they produced was talking heads stuff about education. Two men sitting in padded chrome legged chairs of the day, in the padded studio. The sound of muffle materials squelching every movement, the wall to wall carpet under your feet and heavy doors that closed ever so slowly without a click. Producer in and out of the booth always had a lot to say but none of it was interesting or had anything to do with my job. Turn a few switches on and off and collect your pay. It's surprising I even remember it.

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#29

Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/01/2020 7:43 PM

Hi my first wage earning job was as an apprentice electrician working for a generation and supply company way back in 1965. I don't remember how much I was paid but that at the first Christmas I was back paid for a year to the tune of 25 pounds which meant I had been underpaid by 10 shilling a week a magnificent sum to a lowly apprentice.

I learnt to repair transformers, switchgear, motors, generators and all in the first year as well as make oil filled CTs and pitch filled cable terminations on 11KV mains incomers. I only got to stir the pitch as it melted in the boiler, none of the lead wiping and cable taping, that was for higher grade tradesmen not lowly first year grunts.

From there the world was my oyster, good if you are not allergic to seafood and clam up!

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#30

Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/04/2020 10:01 AM

And what of the OP???

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#32
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/04/2020 7:47 PM

I was in college and my GF got a job for me at an electronics company servicing (hundreds of) solder stations in an assembly plant, in 1969.

Servicing meant changing sponge bottles with clean wet sponges and putting new flux cups in the iron holders. Then going back to my cubicle and washing the sponges in a washing machine, manually filling hundreds of flex cups, to get ready for the next day, er night.

Then, off to school.

I worked there for 25 years, not always servicing soldering stations.

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#33
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/04/2020 8:14 PM

What beyond the solder stations??

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#55
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

10/14/2020 10:06 PM

Is that AOC?

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#56
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

10/15/2020 1:15 AM

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#35

Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/05/2020 12:13 PM

Paper route at 9yo (a present from my parents and brother).

Working in restaurants at 15, full time doing dishwasher to broiler cook.

Warehouse worker at 18 while going to technical school.

Electronics and programming from 19-62 ( I'm retired now, and busier than ever!).

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#36
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/05/2020 2:57 PM

Your complete CV. Nice.

Wonder if any one else would care to share?

Mine - after university:

Farm equipment design and manufacture

Railroad maintenance equipment- design and manufacture

Structural steel - fabrication and installation along with plant engineering stuff

Automotive related - the stuff no one ever sees or probably doesn't know even exists.

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#37

Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/07/2020 9:45 AM

I stocked shelves in an Italian deli when I was 12 years old. Now we have child labor laws so that is less likely to occur but the experience was great.

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#38
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/07/2020 10:09 AM

Now we have child labor laws so that is less likely to occur but the experience was great

Yes, it still occurs on Family Dairy farms, every day of the week. But I’m not going to get into that. And yes, that experience was great too. (May not seem like it at the time though)

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#41
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/07/2020 12:54 PM

I had gone to the ice cream shop next door where my brother worked one day and saw the GRAND OPENING sign in the window so I stopped in. There was a guy running back and forth from the register to the deli counter to the shelves. He was killing himself so I just started putting stuff on the shelves and kept bothering him for prices. After a while things slowed down and he asked me who I was. He called my dad and told him what I had done for him and asked if he could give me a job. I enjoyed it and it kept me out of trouble. After school I walked the three + miles to the deli and worked until my mother called the place and told me to head home for dinner. It wasn't a family place, just a local shop.The rest is history.

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#39
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/07/2020 10:47 AM

Right! ...and the minimum wage laws tend to make it impractical to hire youngsters having little to no experience.

Of course I got a large chunk of my education at home, helping dad with remodeling, building, wiring, gardening, etc. and mom with cooking and sewing. That is missing in many families now.

So how does a youngster get experience these days?

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#40
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/07/2020 11:40 AM

They call Takl.

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#43

Re: What Was Your First Job?

02/19/2020 1:50 PM

I worked cleanup in a sign and paint shop. Nasty work but some good learnings.
They did neon, so I learned how to blow glass. Learned the then brand new vacuum forming process. 25 cents an hour.

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#44

Re: What Was Your First Job?

04/08/2020 5:38 PM

10/10/86 - 11/11/88

magic shop worker promoted to co assistant manager

duties included selling gag gifts, party supplies, balloons,clowning supplies, make up, costumes, adult gifts, tarot related merchandise, magic tricks (plus training), printing press operator (for fake headlines), chicken and gorilla balloon deliveries, costume rental, balloon decoration specialist washing windows, and shipping

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#45

Re: What Was Your First Job?

04/10/2020 12:30 AM

cashier assistant

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#46
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

04/10/2020 12:48 AM

Welcome to CR4!

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#47

Re: What Was Your First Job?

07/29/2020 8:03 AM

Worked for my fathrer's firm.

P.S. privilege

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#48
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

07/29/2020 8:55 AM

Doing what?

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#50
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

08/26/2020 10:01 AM

You know we can see up your nose when you do that?

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#51
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Re: What Was Your First Job?

08/26/2020 11:38 AM

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#49

Re: What Was Your First Job?

08/26/2020 9:20 AM

I was a courier at a pizzeria. It was my first job.

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#52

Re: What Was Your First Job?

08/31/2020 4:14 AM

I was a courier at a pizzeria. It was my first job. It was at the time when I was in college. I had to earn a living and study in parallel. It was difficult, but I coped.

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#53

Re: What Was Your First Job?

09/01/2020 10:18 AM

1955 - Paper delivery by bicycle.

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#54

Re: What Was Your First Job?

10/14/2020 7:02 PM

My first job was a life coach internee. I am a spiritual life coach now :)

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#57

Re: What Was Your First Job?

10/17/2020 4:47 AM

I joined as a Trainee Engineer (for a period of one year) after my graduation, on 4th October 1965, in a sugar factory managed by British Company in India. Then I was absorbed in the same company as a full fledged Engineer.

My salary was Rs. 300/- in Indian Currency (equivalent to 85 US Dollars in those days) with furnished accommodation. Along with 6 more graduates, we were the 1st set of graduates selected and appointed. Fully enjoyed JOB SATISFACTION even today.

DHAYANANDHAN.S

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#58

Re: What Was Your First Job?

09/06/2021 1:31 PM

My first job was, I was a quality check officer at nuvision health center

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