Other than bottles of Mountain Dew and a handful of cassette tapes, I’m not sure what I spent my first paychecks on. It was probably something both exciting and important, like a new sparkly banana clip.
Regardless of where the money went, I definitely remember how excited I was to start earning it. Those middle school days of babysitting and assisting a local photographer (and friend of my parents) introduced me to the world of making money. And even at that young age, I equated having my own money with freedom and independence.
That’s why, being the independent young woman I was, my top priority for my first summer after turning sixteen was to find a “real” fill-out-a-timesheet and get-an-actual-check job. I remember my mom’s rules for that first job hunt: no gas stations or video stores. (Looking back, that was pretty good advice.) She had no need to worry, though, because I found a job that fit me perfectly: working at the local library.
I’m pretty sure you won’t be shocked to learn that I was a nerd even back then. I’ve always loved to read, I treasure my spelling bees medals to this day, and by the time I graduated high school, I was captain of the academic team. I know.
Working as a library page was a great fit for me in so many ways. My main job was to put returned books back on the shelves, which meant I got to do two things I love: put things in order and snag the best books before they went back into circulation! Unfortunately, working in a library – especially for the bottom-of-the-rung pages – was not exactly conducive to my tendency to talk (a lot).
Eventually, my school schedule got too intense to maintain a part-time job (and I couldn’t handle getting in trouble for talking one more time), and I resigned from my job at the library.
But to this day, I love the library. Last week, I was there three times. I am a pro at finding and reserving books online and on days my library’s self checkout isn’t malfunctioning (so, you know, about half the time), I can be in and out of the library in mere minutes, leaving with a stack of books in hand and a nerdy smile on my face.
I’ve had a lot (a LOT) of jobs since then, but the library will always hold a special place in my heart. What was YOUR first job? Does it hold a special place in your heart – or were you glad to see the last of that place?
By the way, that photo up there is of the Kansas City Public Library’s downtown parking garage. Every time I’m downtown, I try to drive by it – even if I have to go several blocks out of my way – just because I think it’s so cool. And, yes, I realize that says something about my own level of coolness. But, look! Giant books!
Love the picture! My first job was middle school, summer work at my dad’s printing company. (Shhhh – child labor laws! ha!) I always wonder if it was my parent’s definition of childcare for me and my older brother. Everytime I pick up a pad of paper, I think back to those days and I remember making them. I should have put that skill on my last resume. Thanks for jogging my memory Mary!
Babysitting was first income, too, and then there was the summer that I worked for my father (I alphabetized and categorized his vast collection of books as a minister). But my first real printer paycheck was for a retail store at the mall, complete with employee discount! It was an eighties teenager dream to get paid to be at the mall, style outfits and organize accessories! I did it for six years straight through college!
I would totally go out of my way to drive past that building too. It is awesome!!
That’s a real picture? I truly thought it was a fake photoshop job. How cool! I want to drive by it now.
My first job was coaching soccer at the YMCA when I was fifteen. That was awesome because I went in to volunteer and they hired me. I loved the income, saved it for years, and probably used part of it as a down payment on my house. Now, that is a nerd for you!
what a way to spruce up a parking garage. we’re on the same coolness level cause I’d totally do a drive by, too!
what great memories. Other than babysitting and doing ironing and dogsitting, my first real job was doing respite care for a 6 year old autistic girl named Jaclyn. It was short lived – I was being paid by a state grant that did not get re-funded. But that job was amazing. My job was to play with and feed dinner to the little girl so that her other siblings could have a nice time with their parents and so mom could have some quiet time. I did it twice a week. When that job ended, the mom told me she learned a lot from me – how I interacted with her and required a level of independence from her that her mom had never even considered. She was so used to doing everything for her that it had never occurred to her to have Jaclyn carry her own bag for instance. That job gave me a confidence in myself I had not had before… I still think about Jaclyn –
I want that place to be my house! Those are GIANT books! So cool. This has nothing to do with your post, but have you seen the iPad/Macbook cover that looks like an old fashioned book. I really wanted it, but they say it’s not compatable with the white Macbook — the inside lining bleeds. :(
Anyways, my first real job (other than babysitting) was working as an aid for a daycare. I didn’t do so well. I burned the toast while trying to make snack…and there was this one time where a little boy dumped over a HUGE coffee can of glitter and I tied his legs to a chair while I tried to clean it up. What?! He kept getting up and playing in the glitter. Ok…so I didn’t stay there long. I now know not to tie children to chairs…and how to make toast. :)
My first job was as a desk clerk at our rec center in college – handing out basketballs, pool cues, board games, etc. It wasn’t a bad job for my first year of college, but I was glad to leave and do something more along the lines of what I ACTUALLY wanted to do with my life :) I do have fond memories of it, though, because I got to see all my friends all the time!
My first job was at an electronics plant. I sat at a machine that went in circles and plugged little metal pieces into it as it went around. The only redeeming part was that my best friend also worked there, so we would sit and talk and laugh about boys, daily high school drama, etc. Oh, and one day I wrote a poem about it–and also related to this friend–and it got published. So, I guess it wasn’t a total loss.
I babysat ALOT! I also helped out a little with a family from church who had a landscaping business (basic book-keeping) and then different retail jobs.
And the “sparkly” banana clip reference brought back a ton of memories!
Mary, I love this post and love that picture. I would totally drive by there to see it! I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to this post on my blog. I thought my readers would appreciate the coolness of the big giant books and your first job at a library. I wrote about libraries earlier this week because it is National Library Week.
My first real job, other than babysitting, was during Christmas break of my first year in college. I was the perfume girl at a department store. I made $500 and spent it all on my textbooks for the next semester.
That’s seriously what their parking garage looks like?! That is so cool! (so you’re not the only nerd;) I just figured it was some image on the computer, not real. Very cool, almost makes me want to live in KC. ;)