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My First Job(s)

Yesterday was Labor Day, and my local newspaper ran excerpts from people talking about their first jobs.  Thought I’d share mine, and I invite you to write me about yours!

At age 11, the Bronx Butcher Shop that supplied our family with meat hired me, ostensibly to do deliveries.  Deliveries aren’t non-stop at a small local butcher, so in between, I kept the place clean.  I imagine that today (and perhaps even then), having an 11 year old cleaning bloody meat trays and scrubbing fat off of chopping blocks might be illegal, but I proudly earned 75 cents an hour plus tips (tips are good for toting 20 lb bags up several flights of stairs!), which was enough to keep me in cool clothes and shoes!

I learned a lot about customer service watching the butchers serve people, and a lot about business seeing what went on behind the counter.  But, it was too messy a job for me, and to celebrate my 12th birthday (literally), I showed up at the New York Post, and signed up to deliver newspapers.  I thrived in this job for 2 years, until my 14th birthday, which I celebrated by getting “working papers” – anyone remember those?  THEN, I hit the big time, and could work in retail – serving customers and delivering meds at the local pharmacy — where I also watched other teens get strung out on codeine-laced cough syrup and progress to narcotic pills; and watched the pharmacist / bookie take bets by phone while counting those pills!

Lots of life lessons in the Bronx for a kid, and I wouldn’t have traded any of it!

What’s your story?