Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

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jlawrence01
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:00 pm

ThatGuy wrote:It also teaches empathy, and a common basis of experience with those who are less fortunate. I'm appalled at how some of my peers in high school treated maids, the homeless, and others who are perceived to be lower class. It's toned down in the work place, but you can still see echoes of it. Sometimes, it's not so subtle.


Well put.

I can immediately tell which managers had actually worked a grunt job and those whose experience was merely academic. The former showed more concern for their employees and were much more able to build strong teams that could address issues.

I ALWAYS made it a point to ask for the worst assignments that no one else wanted. That meant emptying trash cans and cleaning kitchen equipment well - and attracting the attention of the head chef which led to a lot of recommendations and positions after graduation.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by MattE » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:12 am

I lived in a rural area with very limited job opportunities for minors outside of the winter (ski resort region). I spent a summer working groundskeeping and maintenance at a summer camp 20 miles from home working minimum wage because it was pretty much the only thing available, and was more or less treated as slave labor for the duration. To this day I'm still convinced that all kinds of labor laws were broken in my time there and I'm sure OSHA would've had a field day - the woman that owned it was a ridiculous miser and had myself and the other maintenance guy doing stuff we were completely unequipped or unqualified for in order to save on hiring professionals. And by that, I mean things like felling 60' evergreens in the middle of cabin areas surrounded by power lines, trimming branches off trees by dangling off extension ladders with a Sawzall in one hand, cleaning the gutters of her Cape Cod with no harnesses or safety equipment, and bleach spraying decks with no facemasks or the like. Fell off of her roof doing the gutters once and got screamed at for potentially damaging her landscaping. And this is without getting into the weedwhacking of athletic fields in 100 degree weather for hours on end and other ilk.

I'm told that the place is nearing bankruptcy now after 70 years of being family-owned and operated it because that daughter that owns it now has continued to drive it into the ground. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by dvincent1166 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:37 am

Hot tar roofing.
It [(was horrible) --admin LadyGeek]

TRC
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by TRC » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:07 am

My first "real job" was a Dishwasher at age 15 for a nearby Country Club. My first shift was 12 hours for back to back weddings. I came home smelling like fish every night and I would have dreams of the dishes backing up. That being said, I still remember getting my first paycheck of $146 and I thought I was rich!

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Murdoch » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:46 am

I had many jobs from 14 years old until 21 years old when I graduated university.
- service station grunt
- dishwasher
- waiter
- glass collector at local pub
- labourer for council
- meat works grunt
- security
- public outdoors cleaner
- ski valet
- turf layer
- tradesman assistant
- football team strapper
- painter
- removalist

All these jobs taught valuable life lessons and I'm glad I did every one of them.
Also glad I don't have to do any of them anymore :happy

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Cosmo
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Cosmo » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:04 am

I had some tough jobs that where physically demanding. At the time, I thought they were just awful. I miss them now.

1) Small lawn mowing business in my neighborhood (8 lawns)
2) Paper Route for 5 years
3) Shoveled driveways in the wintertime.
4) Dishwasher at an old folks home.
5) Ski lift operator
6) Snow maker at ski resort

Allan
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Allan » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:10 am

In the 60's as a teenager I did the usual mowing yards-selling stuff door to door, but in the 8th grade I worked at a laundry mat where I was there every morning at 5:30 mopping floors and cleaning lint out of the dryers. Lasted about 9 months.

Allan

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by investingdad » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:10 am

mevertsen wrote:My "lousy" job was working at Burger King - for 5 years! I had a couple other jobs in between.

I worked for a catering company on wild fires for two summers. That was a fun gig, and I made a TON of money for a 17 year old. Paid cash for a nice car, and had a good time.

I also worked for a couple months at Big 5 Sporting Goods, and that SUCKED.

I always kept going back to Burger King. Not so much that I liked the job, but that I liked the boss. He was a good person, treated me fair, and taught me some good working lessons throughout the time I was there.

After my first kidney transplant in April 2004, I quit BK for the last time, worked a temp job through my dad's employer as part of their college program, and then became employed where I currently am. August will be 10 years!

I guess the biggest thing I learned while working there was to appreciate people who aren't lazy. I know this comes in every facet of employment, but WOW, I could not believe how much people would call off work, and genuinely did not care about anything. Now, where I work, I just see lazy people, and a high turnover rate, but I enjoy my boss, the people I work with and for, and the community. I guess I still get dumbfounded by how lazy people can be.
I worked at Burger King while I was still in high school, my very first paying job in fact. It wasn't too terrible and it was only about a 7 minute drive from my house. There was this one regional manager who didn't like that I requested weekend only hours during school. He actually told me that I would need to show him my report cards to justify my request...or some such nonsense. I don't know exactly what I responded with, buy I'm pretty sure what I would say today is different than whatever feeble reply I had as a 16 year old kid. :happy

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czeckers
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by czeckers » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:39 am

In high school I had one of the best jobs (I think) you can have as a teenage male: lifeguard.

However, when I got to college, though I continued to work as a lifeguard as well as campus security, our school was one of the last to finish at the beginning of the summer so all the lifeguard jobs were always already taken by the time I made it home. I grew up in a very rural area, thus my college summers consisted of an assortment of manual labor jobs. The few that stood out the most were one summer working as a roofer -- shlepping 60-100lb bundles of shingles up ladders in incredible heat. One summer I worked nights in a textile mill -- another sweatshop.

By far the worst was one summer working for a temp agency. Basically, companies hire you to do the jobs that none of their employees are willing to do. The worst job I ever had to do was clean out the burn chamber of a coal powered electric plant. Apparently when you get the ratio of oxygen and powdered coal wrong, the whole thing just turns to stone all along the inside of the burn chamber -- essentially a 12x12 room with no ceiling. They had shut it down 24hrs previous to our arrival. It was still 130 degrees inside and we had to crawl in wearing full hazmat suits and respirators. We worked in two shifts 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off swinging a sledge hammer to break up all the silica or whatever it was. There was no visibility and the heat was intolerable. Miserable miserable work. I also learned about the economics of how the temp agency operates. The job foreman told me they were paying the agency $32/hr for our work. I only got $9/hr.

As many people mentioned above, it certainly motivated me to apply myself in college to get good grades.

-K
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SquawkIdent
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by SquawkIdent » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:05 am

I had several "strange" jobs growing up but the weirdest I think is I was security guard at a casket factory. :sharebeer

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:33 am

SquawkIdent wrote:I had several "strange" jobs growing up but the weirdest I think is I was security guard at a casket factory. :sharebeer
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by ofcmetz » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:45 am

DVMResident wrote:Kennel staff at a vet clinic. Very stinky. Good share of aggressive animals. Also, hauling around a lot of heavy stuff.
Yard time with the dogs was fun and I learned a good chunk of a foreign language to communicate with the other staff. I liked the guys working there, people were respected for work ethic, and the day had a nice rhyme (clean kennels, let the dogs out, feed the dogs, lunch/nap, grooming bathes/shaving dogs, let the dogs out, stock the supplies, second feed, go home). Overall, I liked the job and have a lot of respect for the workers who do a good job.
^This was my first and worst job. I was 14 years old and got paid cash. The worst was having to hold animals down while the 85 year old vet put them down. He had me help him with surgeries as well. I had to clean the dropping in all the kennels each day, wash various animals, and even do the yard work. All for $3 an hour cash.

Most of my other part time jobs were in the grocery industry, but I did have a 6 month stint at Radio Shack. I was paid on commission and my manager was notorious for stealing commissions. If someone came in and wanted a PC or a satellite dish (1998) he would walk over and interrupt me mid conversation. He would then give me some stocking assignment or something to do. The slime bag would then pick right up with the customer and steal my sale and commission. After I quit he tried to delay giving me my last paycheck until I produced the payroll laws and threatened to report him.
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SquawkIdent
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by SquawkIdent » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:28 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
SquawkIdent wrote:I had several "strange" jobs growing up but the weirdest I think is I was security guard at a casket factory. :sharebeer
Did you have to discipline the walking dead?

Victoria
I wish it was that easy. The greatest danger was fire because the factory made wooden caskets. Also, believe or not, theft by an outside person was a huge concern. The factory was located in a not so nice neighborhood and the wood and metal parts used to make them were worth big bucks. Theft by employees was a concern off and on too. But, it was a "fun" job and I was lucky enough to have it in college. It taught me a great lesson, don't drop out. :sharebeer

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by birdy » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:50 pm

In high school I started baby sitting full time in the summer for parents who worked but needed their kids watched. It didn't pay much so I got a "better" job. I was a flower-bulb picker! Three kids on each side of a moving trailer with a conveyer belt between. I picked the bulbs out of the dirt on the belt before the dirt would fall off the back end of the trailer. I got min. wage and was in heaven! I would come home after work so covered in dust/dirt my mom would make me strip in the garage before I could come in the house. Believe me, standing on the side of a moving machine in the fields with no shade for 8 hrs a day really made me appreciate my "easy" baby sitting jobs!

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by dixdak » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:45 pm

I worked summers at a sheet metal fabrication factory that made agricultural products, primarily grain bins. I was in the shipping department, where we loaded the curved corrugated sheets of steel and roof panels. Our work week was six days a week, ten hours per evening- 5pm to 4am. We would load 4 trucks per shift, 40000 lb. per truck. I made $1.20 per hour, but had to purchase leather gloves twice a week at two bucks a pair from the company store. Sometimes a truck would come in after delivering a load of livestock to the local meat packing plant, barely hosed out. One time the double decker used for hogs would not raise, and we had to load the truck all bent over, with liquid poo dripping down from the stuck deck. All of the profits from the glove sales, as well as pop and candy were held until after the seasonal employees left and then split among the handful of full time employees. When we found that out, the honor system at the company store suffered a big setback. One night I smashed my foot when a ramp fell onto my foot. I got an X-ray and was sent home an hour before shift change. The foreman acted like he did me a big favor by punching me out at end of the shift instead of when I got hurt.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by cheesepep » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:27 pm

Working at a mom and pop style pizza parlor. Making the dough, cutting the cheese, making the sauce, and other stuff was a ton of work. Nothing was automated. Everything used muscle and lots of it. Tending the pizza oven on a hot summer day was torturous. Maintaining 10-12 large pizzas at one time in the oven took a lot of skill in order to not burn them.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:44 am

My high school teacher told a story like this, I believe it was true, but never know.

He had got into Purdue and done poorly during his first year. His father pulled him and out of school and made him work in the high school cafeteria for a year. He said it was boring, and more importantly, pretty embarrassing given the circumstance. He ended up graduating with Honors and getting a Master's in his field.
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Editron » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:28 am

Reading these responses has given me new perspective. Some of you had truly awful jobs. My three worst:

1. Helping my parents clean banks and restaurants at age 11-12. It was the mid-70s and Dad was out of work and took what he could get to keep food on the table. To this day, the smell of coffee grounds takes me right back. 2. Working off my tuition as a summer custodian at my Catholic high school at age 14. Scrubbed baseboards and walls, painted stairs, and helped refinish the basketball court with polyurethane. The fumes nearly killed us. 3. Landscape laborer the summer after my freshman year -- dirty, sweaty grunt work at $4 an hour. I called it my "college appreciation job."

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by madbrain » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:32 am

Nope. I have never had any job that didn't have to do with computers. My first job was a paid internship, writing audio device driver code in x86 assembler for a game company, at the ripe old age of 15 .

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LowER
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by LowER » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:06 am

Yes, I had many dirty jobs and they paid my way through high school expenses and through college. By the time I got to college, I was crazy motivated. All those experiences still keep me motivated 30 years later and help me relate to everyone in my large and eclectic staff. Many other professionals around me just don't get it and tend to treat underlings with a level of respect that leaves room for improvement - and it ultimately doesn't serve them well - and it's a gigantic blind spot for them. One of my colleagues was just let go 2 months ago for that type of behavior. I am extremely loyal to my staff, and it seems to become mutual 98% of the time.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by JohnF » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:10 am

Born in 1945, growing up in the Midwest I had many summer & part time jobs. Some of the more notable were detasseling corn, mixing mud for brick masons and shoveling sand in a steel foundry. Today many consider these lousy jobs not worth their time. But back then we were glad to have a job, any job. And for me they were stepping stones to a successful professional career.

Rich in Michigan
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Rich in Michigan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:42 am

I had a good summer/Christmastime job throughout college but the summer between graduation and the start of grad school I worked in a die cast foundry. Molten metals flowing around, machines spitting molten metal at people, a haze of oil in the air, very hot and LOUD. Everyone else was a member of the steelworkers union, the three college guys were not so we got paid pretty well but not great.

My recollection is this was before OSHA or if it wasn't, they were nowhere to be seen. We got safety glasses...whoodie darn doo...but no hearing protection or any other real safety protection or training. Injuries were common although thankfully I didn't incur any.

I would come home every night stone deaf although thankfully I didn't suffer any long term hearing damage.

The day they laid off all the summer help due to lack of incoming projects, another pre-grad school guy and I reclined on the hood of my car to cool off before heading home. It was 95 out but it felt like the arctic compared to what we had indoors at the foundry.

So it was a crappy job but at the same time it was one of those heavy manual labor types of things that built character and the confidence that you knew that there were things that you could always do to prevent starving if it ever came down to it.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by SamB » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:42 am

One summer I worked in the yard gang at an old soda ash plant that dated back to the 19th century. It was near the Rouge River in Detroit (if you threw a cigarette into the river it would start a fire). One of the weekly jobs was to clean out the lime kilns. These dome structures housed a giant rotating mortar and pestle used to crush the limestone. Every 24 hours the powdery lime had to be cleaned out from around the gears rotating the mortar bowl. The temperature was down to 120 degrees, and you went in with taped wrists, overalls, and a mask. It made little difference, once you started sweating the lime dust hydrolyzed and started to burn any skin that it touched, mainly your wrists. The burns on my wrist are still visible, 47 years later.

Some men had made a career out of working on this maintenance crew. If it was hard and dangerous, they did it. They learned how to avoid injury.

I also worked at a gear and axle one summer on an old-style assembly line. I used to start the screws for the cover plate on the rear differential of the Ford Maverick. I learned two things in this job: (1) I did not want to make it a career; and, (2) don't buy a car manufactured on Friday or Monday.

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HomerJ
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by HomerJ » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:09 pm

I think it's good that many of us have worked such hard and lousy jobs...

It's one thing to read in a book or a magazine about the plight of the "common man", but when you've lived it, even if only for a summer, it makes a real difference in your perspective

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wilpat
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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by wilpat » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:19 pm

I remember when my kids were teenagers (looong time ago) one had a job at Burger King and she would bring hamburgers home at closing time for free. Another had a job at KFC and the same thing bringing food home at closing time. When it became time for my son to get a job I said "Get a job at a bank!"

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by ThatGuy » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:31 pm

HomerJ wrote:It's one thing to read in a book or a magazine about the plight of the "common man", but when you've lived it, even if only for a summer, it makes a real difference in your perspective
Bingo. Seeing what people put up with in a workplace because they want to be able to feed their kids, really makes a difference.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:34 pm

My family didn't have much history of college education so I wasn't really aware of how critical it was. I moved out at 18 and though I tried going to college then the challenge of working full time and studying proved to be too tough, especially since no one bothered to explain to me that I would have qualified for student loans. (at the time I thought they were like other loans where you had to have decent income and credit to get them) So even though I'm a pretty smart guy I ended up doing my career the hard way:

Factory work building wiring harnesses, which is backbreaking work bending over a soldering bench all day sucking down resin fumes.
Fast food worker at Wendy's, spent a lot of time washing dishes and cleaning up since I was on the night shift.
Assembly line building computer monitors, really hard on your knees and back.
More factory work assembling circuit boards and test fixtures, at least you got to sit down.
Telemarketer, not very hard physically but I found it pretty emotionally draining.
Grocery store bagger & stock boy.
US Marines as an enlisted man, although it was harder physically than my previous jobs it at least felt like I was doing something useful.
Computer Controlled Industrial machinery repair, not bad except for the 80% travel which really starts to wear on you after a while.
Variety of IT jobs starting at help desk, then systems administration and finally Team Lead and IT Management positions.

So now it's twenty some years later and I'm back in school, finally got my Associates in 2012, should have my Bachelor's next year and then finally on to an MBA.

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Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Post by rbrown599 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:56 pm

I worked as a mechanic at a Ford dealership starting my senior year in highschool, rotating through the various departments of the shop for about 2 months, unpaid, and then was hired on full time that summer in the "Quik-Lane" doing your standard vehicle maintenance. It was some of the most physically demanding work I'd ever done and I couldn't possibly understand why anyone would choose to spend their entire life covered in oil while nursing cuts and burns on your hands. (I actually suffered pretty bad burns to my right forearm one time when I pulled a catalytic converter off of an old Crown Vic, lost my balance, and leaned on it.) The enjoyment that I got from working on my own cars just wasn't there when I did it for 9 hours a day. Of course, when my boss told me he had dropped out of school in 6th grade and that this was the only thing he had ever done in his life, it starts to put things into perspective.

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