When I was 16, I wanted my own phone line–we were a family of six and my father had rules. My parents agreed that as long as I kept my grades up, I could get a job. This was in 1977 in South Florida and the mall was king. I actually got two jobs, both at Boca Mall, one as a sales clerk in the bra department at Burdines Department Store and one as a waitress at the Walgreen’s Grill.
The bra job was a lesson in being a peon. I was treated as though I might steal the store blind and was only allowed to bring a few things that would fit in a clear plastic pouch when I came to work. My supervisors looked at that bag every time I left–sure, I think, I’d try to steal some Clinique Black Honey lipstick. But at least at Burdines I could wear our my clothes and my bosses, at least in lingerie, were non-lecherous.
The same could not be said at the Walgreen’s Grill at Boca Mall. There my boss offered me one of two horrific mustard yellow uniforms–one large enough to hide several small children in and which was impractical to wear because it would catch on the closely packed tables and one several sizes too small. I got tipped in pennies and the customers were routinely as rude as they could be. In my lowest moment as Walgreen’s waitress, I slipped and spilled a large chocolate milkshake all over a woman in a white pantsuit. She was irate. Sadly, I didn’t not get fired.
I had a series of unfun jobs as a teenager and while in college. I am grateful for them all–they made me appreciate the jobs I’ve loved.
How about you? What was your first paying job? And do you have any great stories to share?