Fun Friday: First Seven Jobs

William suggested this to me last night and I was dismissive, but like many things, a good night’s sleep changed my mind.

There’s been a meme going around Twitter called #firstsevenjobs, in which you list your first seven jobs.

These are mine:

  1. Test taker. Yes, I got paid $5 to take a standardized test on sat afternoons in fourth grade. Practice makes perfect. I’m a fantastic test taker.
  2. Hot dog vendor at Michie Stadium, the home of Army Football. You had to buy them and then sell them. You could end up “eating” that last one if you weren’t careful.
  3. Caddie. Usually for the women golfers. But I did get to caddie for the club pro in the NYS Open once. That was great.
  4. Hot dog vendor at Palisades State Park. I know hot dogs.
  5. Product quality analyst for Gillette Cricket Lighters. They sold the business a couple years later. Quality, it turns out, was a big issue.
  6. Lab Assistant, MIT Water Tunnel. This is where I learned to maintain, and then write, software.
  7. C0-manager, Lobby 7 Coffee/Donut shop. I made so much money doing this. And had a free breakfast every day too.

What were your first seven jobs?

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Construction laborerGardeners’s laborerBus boy International House of PancakesHardware store schlepperDelivery driver–pizza, dry cleaning, films to drive in in South JerseyCensus takerTalk radio host

    1. fredwilson

      ooooh, that last one is a good one. you could come back as a podcast host!!!

      1. awaldstein

        I did pirate radio for years on the side Fred as soon as I could convince anyone to give me a mic.Actually ran the Wash State Library for the Blind radio network for a bit, sending sightless people out into Seattle to stores and coming back to talk about it on air.Biggest problem was that every week their seeing eye dogs would chew the cables and shut us down!Thinking hard of my next act and podcasts are an obsession of mine.

  2. LIAD

    “show me the jobs someone has done and I’ll show you the man”—Have spent the past few days in Israel. Always strikes me when I’m here how if you take an 18yr old, conscript them into an army for 3 years, give them a uniform and tell them to man a post, repair an engine, run a mess hall, drive a truck etc, you build tenacious people who aren’t afraid of hard work, accepting of authority and understand responsibility.Not a political comment, a social anthropological one. So let’s not go there. Eh.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree 100%. and I would add that hiring military vets has always gone well for our portfolio companies.

    2. awaldstein

      I agree.My dad used to make the three kids head out on Saturday morning when it was junk days and strip old radios, TVs toasters, inventory the parts then each of us had to build something out of the junk. A great teacher by nature and by trade.Discipline and responsibility were values and they were great ones.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Met a couple of guys doing a start up in Texas. Both ex-military. Both served and fought for the US, but one had served and fought for Israel too. Great guys and they taught me to shoot straight.

        1. BillMcNeely

          Ok I will bit. Which startup?

      2. LE

        Wow I grew up in the same “take things apart” type environment.And I definitely remember Saturdays at the junk shop where my Dad roamed for things that he needed or found interesting.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Yes, in grade school, I spent a lot of time taking things apart. My parents told me that before age 3 I’d conquered door knobs!Later, interested in cars and engines, I took the engine off an old lawn mower, took it apart, and put it back together. Amazingly it still ran. I took a lot of scrap items in the garage, two sprockets and a chain I got at an industrial supply house, a piece of angle iron I had welded up for me, etc., and built a go kart. It worked. It went fast enough considering it had no brakes!So, I saw in full details the valves, piston, piston rings, connecting rod, crankshaft, carburetor, etc. That was a good start for more in cars. Fortunately later I got away from cars and didn’t try to make a career of such things. Cars — IMHO, even with Tesla, self-driving, new materials, etc. — are now actually not a very good direction in engineering; computing is MUCH better.

        2. PhilipSugar

          You know I went to an all day kindergarten at the same school Brad Feld went: Spring Creek Elementary.One of the best things they did was twice a week we had the “fix it” shop. They would bring in a repair man, and actually what we would do is take stuff apart.You would bring in something broken from home and he would show you how it worked while we deconstructed it.This is what some of the “standardized curriculum” and requiring teaching degrees has killed. We had a teacher and she supervised, but we actually worked with a repair man, that had no degree probably, and wasn’t “qualified” to teach.

          1. LE

            It’s like art. Really. I’ve always liked mechanical things (loved it in printing..)And the skills that you learn doing things like that are very helpful later in life … that is in real life. As opposed to so much of the other stuff they shovel at you that has zero relevance and never will. Also teaches you about what makes other types of people tick.

          2. ShanaC

            That sounds awesome. And I’m sorry no one does that anymore

          3. PhilipSugar

            It is too bad. I can remember my kindergartener teacher’s name from 1971: Mrs. Flemming.He would sit on the floor with us and we would work tearing stuff up with his supervision.Again by today’s standards was he qualified to “teach”? No.But that is the shame.

    3. LE

      For some reason I thought that you either lived in Israel or were Israeli.

    4. ShanaC

      It’s always interesting watching them from the start of that period vs the end (thinking about an ex here)People change a lot

    5. JLM

      .It is much more than just a job for the Israelis. It is patriotism and the realization they cannot lose the first battle of the next war. It is skin in the game of their country and it is inspiring to know.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. Joe Lazarus

    1) Construction Laborer2) Senate Page3) Dishwasher4) Chef5) Lifeguard6) Waiter7) Research Assistant

  4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    1. Newspaper delivery round2. Cleaning flux off printed circuit boards (after solder baths)3. Making Analogue Modems (One made it into the first UK weather satelite)4. Assistant Patent Examiner (FIRED)5. Coding BBC micro to embed data in soundtrack of VHS tapes at variable speed to allow parameter based auto-production of Estate Agent / Reality inventories for buyers6. MRP project implementation7. European ops manager for Consumer Electronics co. (FIRED)Bonus – Elephant Consultant (ops for int animal welfare co.) – review life – do startup !Edited [ Chronology – obviously dont know where I’ve been ! ]

  5. Anne Libby

    BabysitterMall retail (cheese store!)Restaurant hostess-waitressFaculty club waitress (work study)Lab assistant (work study)WaitressResident Assistant

    1. pointsnfigures

      Let me guess, Cracker Barrel and the mall.

      1. Anne Libby

        No, Hickory Farms! Randhurst Mall. Cheese balls FTW.I keep remembering other things that I did — between Babysitter and the Cheese Store (my first “real” job) I was the worst private cello teacher in the world…

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Worst private cello teacher — ha! I played violin for a few years in middle school and the cellists and viola players (violists?) fascinated me. How does someone have the imagination to play viola at age 11? Or have the guts to play cello?Speaking of worst jobs, I tried to become a house cleaner during freshman year of college — a friend of my grandmother’s. Took me ALL day for a tiny one bedroom house. That was my shortest lived job (one day) so it didn’t make the list.

          1. Anne Libby

            Nice to “see” you Donna!

        2. Kirsten Lambertsen

          OK, this is getting fun now ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Anne Libby

            Hah. We both have waitress, waitress, waitress, in our CVs.And I just remembered another job, notions stock clerk in a fabric store. I wasn’t 18, so I wasn’t allowed to cut fabric in the store — but one great thing we could choose to do was make samples. The manager would give us the fabric and pattern, and we’d sew something that they’d display in the store. Later on, we could keep it. (I haven’t thought of that in years.)

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Love this story, Anne.BTW, I always wanted to be a waitress. Although was a cocktail waitress for one night only with my two teenage sisters — I think I was 20 at most. A friend of my mother’s was hosting a large event and some of the wait staff didn’t show. We got the call from my mom an hour before the guests arrived. She was helping out as “bartender” and keeping very close watch. We made a game of it, called my mom “Charlene” and ourselves Sabrina, Jill and Kelly. None of the guests caught on that they were being served by “Charlie’s Angels.” A very fun night with huge tips. We were requested for another gig but my mom said no. Emphatically.

          3. Anne Libby

            That sounds like a fun memory. Funny what comes up from this seven jobs exercise, right? I hadn’t thought about some of my jobs in years and years.

  6. John Pepper

    Taxi Boat driver (Georgian Bay, Ontario)Keg delivery guy (Stinson’s, Hanover, NH)Cutco Knife Salesman (Cincinnati, OH)Dubois Chemical Telephone Sales (Intern – Cincinnati, OH)5/3 Bank – Delinquent Loan chaser (Cincinnati, OH)Ethicon Endo-Surgery, J&J (Youngstown, OH/San Francisco, CA)Smith Barney (NY)How that all added up to starting Boloco can hawking burritos for the last 20 years is as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone else.

  7. Seth Godin

    1. Lawnmowing specialist, first class2. Delivering the Shopping News for 2 cents a copy3. Import and resale of ice cream sandwiches because the school’s cafeteria wasn’t finished4. Scraping the dough off the mixer at the bagel factory5. Cleaning the grease off the hot dog wheel at Carousel Snack Bar (Fred was front of the house, selling the dogs, I was the guy who cleaned up after him, apparently).6. Canoeing instructor (I made $37.50 a month, plus room and board)7. Brand manager, Spinnaker SoftwareAnd that’s not just my first seven jobs, that might be all the jobs I ever had, if you don’t count Yahoo.

    1. Kim Lindquist

      Seth, who introduced you to the *first* of your #FirstSevenJobs?

      1. Seth Godin

        My dad. My dad had me making an income from the time I was ten. Rarely for minimum wage, often not working for him, even. I was taught to hustle for a living from a very early age.Worth noting that we had a really sucky lawnmower. I think that if we had a riding mower, my life would have been significantly worse.

        1. LE

          I remember the day my Dad bought a brand new green lawn boy. Boy did I love the look of that brand new mower. One of my friends had a riding mower. I would do his lawn just so I could ride the mower. Back in that day driving and things like mini-bikes were the most important thing in the world (after naked women) to a young guy.

  8. Todd Dashefsky

    1. Flea market stand attendant2. Domino’s pizza preparer3. Sneaker salesman at mall sports store4. Beach club lifeguard/trash collector5. College bar ID checker/bouncer6. Tobacco think tank industry analyst7. Wall Street investment banking intern

  9. Ian Smith

    Babysitter Electronics designer of add-in memory cards for BBC Microcomputer (aged 16)Electronics designer for industrial measurement & control instrumentationDittoElectronics designer for wireless local loop systemElectronics designer for powerline modem ICsElectronics applications engineer for audio ICsI get paid to do my hobby of 40 years!

  10. JimHirshfield

    I had to re-read the headline three times. My brain kept reading “…Steven Jobs”

    1. jason wright

      who is the second Steven Jobs?

      1. pointsnfigures

        She’s taking computer science classes right now.

        1. jason wright

          She’s reading your reply and chuckling.

      2. JohnExley

        Evan Spiegal

    2. Kurt Stangl

      My brain still does it ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Vendita Auto

    Paper boyGrass cutterConstruction Part time stud & happy to stay on.

  12. William Mougayar

    We’re all getting outed with this. Moments of truth.1. Server at a lunch cafeteria on Guy street in Montreal. They fired me after 3 days while handing me a check for $86. I think it paid around $3.25/hour.2. Selling Coke at a Montrรฉal Olympics stand. You carry a tray around your neck with 20 cups. You buy the tray for $15 and sell it for $20. They sold like hot cakes to tourists, because it was hot every day. I spent all I earned to buy extra Olympics tickets.3. McDonald’s on Cotes des Neiges in Montreal. I quit after 2 weeks, I didn’t like it & school was starting.4. Electrical Engineering Teaching Assistant at the U. Of Washington in Seattle. I also maintained the PDP-11 in the “computer room”. I liked that job.5. Staff Sales engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Vancouver, BC. On the first interview, they gave me a sales guide for an ECG machine, and I had to sell one and handle objections for the 2nd interview. January 1982. I was offered that job a week later for $24K/year and stayed there for 14 years.6. Medical Products Systems Engineer. It was a promotion, but I had to move to Edmonton, which I hated. Average winter daily temperature is -10C/13F. But I got lots of skiing in Banff, Lake Louise, Sunshine and Jasper. Luckily that lasted less than 2 years.7. National Marketing Program Manager in Toronto in 1986. I left HP in 1995, and still in Toronto 30 years later, but I miss Vancouver which I will return to.

    1. falicon

      Toured that stadium in Montreal last year…depressing to see how little it’s used now.Feel for you on the soda vendor thing though…in my baseball vendor days it was a group of 4 of us…I was one of the smallest so I got to do popcorn and peanuts along with one of my other friends…the other two had to do sodas and would complain every day about how heavy it was to carry the trays around (meanwhile I would sing, dance, and put on a real show for the people in the crowd because I was having so much fun selling and being out with the people and my light box of snacks…and yes, yes I will go get the beer man for you. No problem.).

      1. William Mougayar

        Cool. Part of that stadium didn’t get finished on time actually, but they had to open it. And the project was plagued with delays and costs overruns.

  13. MogulAzam

    1 NIH research assistant2 ER/Radiology Hospital3 Movie Theater Usher 4 Pathology Lab Ran Diagnostic Tests5 Amgen Immunology Researcher Cytokines 6 Equity Research Biotech/Pharma/Medical Devices7 AI Machine Learning Lab Machine Vision

  14. Guy Lepage

    1) Parking lot cleaner (4-5 yrs old) for my grandfather’s Subaru dealership. Highlight: Stapled my finger to some paper.2) Entrepreneur (8) wove friendship bracelets and sold them on the counter of my uncles gas stations throughout the city I grew up in. Highlight: had 3 friends who were better and faster weavers than I, create the bracelets for me and I’d pay them.3) Regina Sun paper route (12) delivering a short route every Sunday. Highlight: I was legally allowed to work for the first time. Received my Canadian SSN. Still have that card4) Leader Post paper route (13-15) while still keeping my Sunday route I got the opportunity to deliver the daily in my city as well. It was a large route. Highlight: made $250 every two. Saved and bought a used pool table and thousands of hockey cards. The basement was now mine.5) 2nd Leader Post paper route (13-15) finally could let go of my $16 per week Sunday route as I took on a second smaller daily route. Highlight: was making $300-350 bi-weekly. Was saving like a madman6) Parking lot attendant (15-17) at the large stadium where WHL hockey stars were born. Regina Pats junior hockey. Highlight: worked outside in -60ยฐC weather. Coldest day I’ve witnessed.7) Salmon bloodline (16-18 summers) worked the bloodline making $20/hr 5 days per week 11hr days cleaning salmon. Highlight: standing beside a bucket of guts all day had its downsides..

  15. DJL

    1. Corn Husker, MI State Fair (we got paid 1 cent/ear and all the corn you could eat)2. Stock Boy (er, “person”) Grape Vine Wine Shop, Warren MI3. Deli Manager, Grape Vine (my stocking skills were recognized early and I was heading up)4. Research Assistant, MIT/Harvard Einstein X-Ray Observatory (5:00 – 7:00 AM shift before classes started. I loaded reel-to-reel tapes.)5. Steel Cleaner – Spent the entire summer scraping the rust off of (and then oiling) steel that had been sitting in a warehouse.6. Research Assistant, MIT Sedimentation Lab (“The Flume” supported many Betas during summer break)7. Teaching Assistant, MIT EAPS – Worked for Prof. Marcia McNutt (the hottest MIT professor ever. Class participation was 100%.)(# 8 was the first real “job”. Is that how all of this started?.

  16. Mac

    So Fred, you were the ‘Top Dog’ early on.

  17. Grace Schroeder

    1. Library worker2. Grape/strawberry picking in Germany3. Paper route4. Typing land contracts for a man I’m pretty sure was a swindler5. Sears portrait photographer6. Bus girl7. Sales assistant at brokerage firm

  18. johndodds

    This meme has confirmed something I’ve commented on The Gotham Gal’s blog in the past, Namely, that in the UK having jobs in your teens and at college is quite rare. With the introduction of tuition fees in recent times that may have changed, but I maintain that the tradition is a significant factor in the level of entrepreneurialism in our respective countries.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Oooooo. That’s interesting.

  19. Mike Zamansky

    1. Delivery boy for the Video Room2. Programmer, Arcus Simplex Brown (I think they still use the same ticket printing program today).3. Student Computer lab consultant (NYU, Stern)4. Computer facilities manager / coordinator (NYU, Stern)5. Software engineer (Goldman)6. Software engineer (other)7. teacher

  20. Rob Underwood

    1. Dishwasher. I washed dishes. Breakwater Restaurant, Kennebunkport, Maine2. Salad guy. I made salads. Breakwater Restaurant, Kennebunkport, Maine3. Computer analyst. Real Estate Analytical Services, Kennebunk, Maine. Mostly helped do mail merges 4. Bus Boy. I cleared dishes. Breakwater Restaurant, Kennebunkport, Maine5. Waiter. I took orders and brought food to regular folks and the President from time to time. Breakwater Restaurant, Kennebunkport, Maine6. Laborer. I moved railroad ties and 2 x 4″s from one side of the yard to the other. Deering Lumber Company Kennebunk Maine7. High School English Teacher. Totsukawa High School. Totsukawa-mura, Nara Prefecture, JapanLater in my career I did things like 1) being a “body man”/guard for Mikhail Gorbachev and 2) being an extra in a Kung Fu movie in China, but while early in my career did not make the first 7. But notable humblebrags. And does being in bass player in a Dead cover band count since I got paid?I’m taking an option to correct these as I feel like I am leaving something out. But this sounds mostly right.

    1. Anne Libby

      Yes! Reading everyone’s lists — first on Twitter and then here — makes me remember jobs I haven’t thought about in years. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, too.Also, thinking about unpaid things I did ask a kid, like selling Girl Scout cookies (back in the day we went door to door in the neighborhood, probably to pre-approved houses) and being a “kindergarten helper,” also formative. (Also an early disappointment: in grade school, I had wanted to be a “patrol,” a kid who helped little kids cross the bigger streets near school. I was not tall enough: rejected!)

    2. Salt Shaker

      I’m sure you’ve seen this. Love people’s creativity when riffing on pop culture, news, etc.

  21. Mac

    1. A lightbulb turner (I had assistants).2. A manila folder (poor career choice but a free trip to the Philippines).3. A spreadsheet operator (hotel housekeeping job in college).4. A standalone sign holder (they knew talent when they saw it).5. An international icon (Chick-fil-a cow).6. A scapegoat (my wife is a whole lot smarter than me)7. An ARPM (a rented pack mule. Again, my wife is a whole lot smarter than me).

  22. Eric Satz

    1. Soccer referee and linesman. Cash money. Crazy parents, even way back in the late 70s and early 80s.2. Snowman Frozen Lemonade. Sold from an unairconditioned van in Miami. 100% commission. Make your own route. First experience with the required checks and balances for both the owner and the employee of a cash business. Did this my junior and senior years of high school.3. Surgical Orderly. Take surgical patients (and their families) from their rooms to the OR and then clean and sanitize the operating rooms after surgery. High stress situations that required a light touch and an ability to read body language. First experience with payroll deductions and greater appreciation for being an employee of cash pay businesses.4. Paper route. Sold NYT and Boston Globe on Amherst College campus. First business I ever “sold” — the person who ran the route 50% of the time for me my senior year, most importantly on weekends, paid with time served.5. Camp counselor in Maine. Don’t be fooled, camp is for the counselors, even when you get paid what amounts to less than minimum wage.6. Bellhop. Loews Hotel, NYC. Great stories.7. Investment banking corporate finance analyst at DLJ.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      would love to hear those bellhop stories!

  23. Michael Elling

    1) Housecleaning/chores2) Soccer referee3) UPS shipping depot4) Accounting clerk5) Security desk monitor6) Computer programmer7) Equity research assistant

  24. Richard

    Age 7 – Made and Sold Chocolate Chip Cookies (venture was unprofitable)Age 11 – daily news paper boy (purchased the route from a schoolmate and resold it a year later (great tips and small capital gain, downside clothes were always dirty – holidays sucked – had to steal a shopping cart from local grocery) age 13- little league Baseball Umpire (double dipped after playing my games) (what a cool job!)Age 14 – McDonald’s (lied about my age) liked to cook, but didn’t like to mop (fired for failing to mop)age 15 – sold illegal fireworks (very profitable, but my dad found the goods and flooded the shed, took me months to repay the “dealer” and suffered many a threat (Real Life Sopranos)Age 16 – first job in NYC (arranged by highschool in novel work study program) Lane Bryant Corporate Office (fired in one week for pursauding coworker to do my job while I met my favorite uncle for coffee) Age 17 – Errand Boy at NYC’s last paper mill (high school work study (asked an older man to run the last errand and he introduced himself to me, he was founder and president of company (he ran the errand for me!, his sons were pissed, fired a week later)Age 17 – Order matcher at the options trading desk of DLJ (highschool work study) Great Job but if you can’t handle a rough office space (shaving cream on phone, stinky sports coats at company Christmas party (I didn’t wear a jacket to work) you are fucked.

    1. johnmccarthy

      Chocolate Chip Cookie inventory management can be quite problematic

      1. Richard

        Ha! Exactly.Number 8 was earlier to control losses, chopped liver venture while in college.

  25. Tom Labus

    1. apple orchard, picking. 2. crane guy. I ran out and place a huge hook on a pipe3. Ironbound section of Newark, grinder in a steel place. 4. Snow shoveling. Not as bad as it sounds5. Construction. Mostly pounding a brick wall with sledge hammer.6. Ballantine Brewery in Newark. Lot of drinking going on in there.7. Escape. Lifeguard at lake.

  26. falicon

    1. Cleaned my dads bar on sunday mornings (5-8th grade)2. Popcorn & peanuts vendor for minor leauge team in Erie, Pa (around 7th & 8th grade)3. Dishwasher (high school)4. Beer dist muscle/grunt (carry beer and kegs to cars – high school)5. Lifeguard for sumer camp pool and local water park (11th/12th grade summers)6. 3rd shift plastic factory machine operator (summer 11th and 12th grade)7. Pizza delivery driver (college)…these don’t include the random candy sales (usually locker room sales before/after practices each day), odd jobs, and other schemes I always had going on as opps presented themselves…

    1. LE

      My brother in laws brother years ago sold his business and bought a bar. He actually thought he could run it absentee. Not only did he get his ass kicked in that business but he found out that his childhood best friend (the person who had also owned a bar out west) was stealing from him (security camera footage). Was your Dad always onsite at the bar pretty much?

      1. falicon

        My dad’s bar was a local dive bar in Fairview, PA. He basically bought it so he could have a place to hang out that he couldn’t/wouldn’t get kicked out of (I never actually lived with my dad growing up, but clearly he was around and I knew him but I wouldn’t say we were overly close).He had a full time job in a local factory (where my grandfather had also worked his whole life) but when he wasn’t there, he was usually at the Sundown (the name of the bar)…or off at another party/bar. If nothing else, he was always the “cool” guy.I honestly don’t know how well the bar did, though my best guess is that it was a mostly break-even kind of thing. He did have good, trustworthy, people working for him most of the time (I believe this is an advantage you can get with a local business in your small hometown where everyone knows everyone for life).He eventually sold the liquor lic. to some other business (prob. the thing of most value in it all), and the property which is now a bank…so it wasn’t such a success that he was able to keep it going through the years (we actually just had to clean out his house as he passed away this past year — most everything in his house was actually from that bar…including his curtains, his tables, his chairs, and even his ceiling fans…was surreal for sure).The truth is that I owe a ton of my entrepreneurial spirit to my dad though – because it would drive me absolutely NUTS to see how he ran and did things…I could/would come up with a million ideas and thoughts on what I would do different, how I would run things, etc. etc. etc. and so it always had me thinking about what I believed to be the right and wrong way to do things. Not so much by example, but rather by exposure and observation…

        1. Anne Libby

          Kevin, I’m sorry about your dad.

          1. LE

            What are you sorry about Anne?

          2. Anne Libby

            Kevin’s dad passed away.

          3. LE

            Oh sorry I missed that.

          4. falicon

            Not a big deal. We were not really that close (though I am sad when anyone passes) – and it wasn’t a key point to the story I was sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. falicon

            @annelibby:disqus thanks – it’s unfort. a part of life.

        2. LE

          Well he thought they were trustworthy perhaps they just never got caught (ask any small business owner and you often find that the most trusted people can end up embezzling.)Super key point:The truth is that I owe a ton of my entrepreneurial spirit to my dad though – because it would drive me absolutely NUTS to see how he ran and did things…I could/would come up with a million ideas and thoughts on what I would do different, how I would run things, etc. etc. etc. and so it always had me thinking about what I believed to be the right and wrong way to do things. Not so much by example, but rather by exposure and observation…This is a good example of when I say that sometimes a bad situation is a good situation. So for example kids that grow up with bad parents who are constantly wrong (or stupid) then don’t follow the examples of their parents and as such they try new things and go new places and have better careers. Kids that have it good and have parents that generally are smart have a harder time breaking out of going the route of their parents since they generally are right about things. Bottom line: Sometimes fucked up parents actually have a benefit.

          1. falicon

            He def. had his fair share of petty theft to deal with…and had to get rid of more than one person or another (though sometimes it was just because they had a fight about something stupid) ;-)When money is involved, there are always going to be trust issues to pay attention to and work through…btw – this goes for relationships too!

          2. falicon

            Yes – I def. parent my kids based on ideals I developed as a kid myself…but I’m also aware that I’m happy with how I turned out because of it all, and so I try to have a happy balance of “I’m doing it different” and “you have to learn to survive on your own”…I won’t know what I really messed up for at least a few more years…and by then I’m sure I’ll have convinced myself that those things are because of their mother’s influence! ๐Ÿ˜€

        3. Salt Shaker

          Your story reminded me a bit of a great read, “The Tender Bar,” a memoir by J.R. Moehringer (who also wrote Andre Agassi’s well written bio).

          1. falicon

            I’ll have to check it out – thanks!

        4. ShanaC

          I have a very similar relationship with my father if it helps. And he is in it…

  27. Matt Zagaja

    1. Self-Employed IT Consultant: I worked for small law firms and other businesses in a plaza in an adjacent suburb. The work was irregular but my hourly rate was good. I have been trying to get my hourly rate back to where it was here ever since.2. IT Student Worker at my College: When the work study office finds out you have IT skills they do not assign you to the gym desk or library. I took a massive pay cut from self-employment but had flexibility. Though unlike many other student workers I did “real” work during my job. The upside is the budget office always managed to find money to keep me once I used up my federal grant.3. Canvasser for the now Governor of Connecticut: I knocked doors in cities across the state. They later promoted me to help run the canvassing operation after I started coming in early to do that. I lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of friends. This was in 2006, we lost the primary.4. Data Entry for Startup: One of my roommates got a job working for a startup called SourcingOwl doing data entry, and then suddenly we all did. Since I could work remotely I did this to fund an unpaid internship in Washington DC. This was my first exposure to start-ups. The founder is a WPI alum and he explained fundraising to me the first time.5. Campaign Manager: I managed a State Representative race in Connecticut. I learned a lot (considering I initially turned down the position since I felt under qualified, they wanted me). The candidate now is a member of the United States House of Representatives.6. Data Muncher: I worked for the exploratory committee of the now current governor writing lots of scripts to transform data to fit into their database. They gave me an army of interns to vacuum up the edge cases. I drove 2 hours to Stamford every day.7. IT Worker: After spending all of undergrad doing IT work for my work study my law school thought it would be a good idea to keep doing that.

  28. Brandon G. Donnelly

    you beat me to it! i had this topic in my blogging queue ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Kent Karlsen

    1. Errand boy (80s, for a local bank office).2. Construction laborer (late 80s, summer job, invested in an Amiga computer).3. Reseller for a record company (early 90s, music and ehm.. software).4. BBS eCommerce consulting (for those of you that remember modems and Bulletin Board Systems)5. Navigator Missile Torpedoboat (for sqadron second in command, military services).6. IT consultant (90s pre dotcom, best sales result, burn-out and I change business sector).7. Business Consultant for an audit company (restructuring small businesses, board work, balanced scorecard, great learning and coaching from the successful partner of that company).

  30. Sierra Choi

    1. Babysitter2. Cashier at a bakery at the local mall3. Volunteer at hospital (only lasted 2 weeks in this position)4. Assistant chef at my mom’s deli, restaurant and catering business (summer job)5. Suicide prevention volunteer at call center (had to go through 3 months of training every weekend in high school)6. High school and college tutor (I helped frat guys on sports scholarship write essays) 7. Award winning TV director/ producer at my university TV station

  31. jason wright

    my first experience of ‘earning’ money was cub scout’s ‘bob-a-job’ week, going around the neighbourhood asking people if they needed any odd jobs doing (cleaning bicycles, mowing lawns et.c.). it was a fund raising exercise. i didn’t get to keep the money for myself. it came to an end after concerns about the vulnerability of young boys (paedophiles). it was a different age.n.b. ‘bob’ was slang for an old shilling, a legal tender coin of the realm (Britain) before decimalisation came in.

    1. falicon

      Ah the good old days…I came across this book in an used bookstore back in my 20s and just *had* to grab a copy of it…of course the advice for a time long gone…but the general hustle, attitude, and approach encouraged throughout still applies.

      1. falicon

        btw – this book is from 1936 (and yes, now I have to spend some time reading it again today — so many funny, but somewhat offensive when you think about, tidbits throughout it too).

        1. Quantella Owens

          Sir, you are very lucky. I love old books-and they have the best, most useful advice-because all you have to do is put a small spin on some of the things in there and you can introduce it today because “everything old is new again.” Another book like that is Discovered! 505 Odd Enterprises by George W. Haylings. If you find for less than $150 (HC) you should snag it as well. And maybe find out who currently owns the copyright and put out an edition for girls.

      2. LE

        What’s interesting is how you are still a kid at heart (Hulk and also you do coaching I know). I was practically never a kid, even when I was a kid it was the way I was raised which was based on my parents experiences.

        1. falicon

          If I only had a $1.00 for every time my wife has complained that I’m still just a big kid…I def. wouldn’t need this “how to make money” book anymore!Probably the best thing ever about having two sons has been getting to stay a “boy”, do “boy” stuff, and play with “boy toys” so much over the years. Gotta smile through life one way or another…and staying a kid at heart has always helped me do that.BTW – I collect Hulk vs. Thing stuff (because it’s more challenging than just collecting one random character — the internet kinda killed that back in the day)…but it’s actually the “Thing” character that is my favorite. Hulk is OK I guess…but the Thing is where it’s at! ๐Ÿ˜€

          1. LE

            Probably the best thing ever about having two sons has been getting to stay a “boy”, do “boy” stuff, and play with “boy toys” so much over the years. Gotta smile through life one way or another…and staying a kid at heart has always helped me do that.That’s so funny. It’s the exact opposite with me. I was blessed with having two girls so I didn’t have to do any of that!!! And when I got divorced I actually felt I had dodged another bullet since the expectations were so different having daughters.Although I have to admit that with my step son I’m a bit peeved that he has no interest at all in the cool cars that I buy. Back when I was growing up we all obsessed over whose Dad had the nicest car.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Of course:The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.For men, life is a race for toys, and at the end the man with the best toys wins!

  32. mfeinstein

    Mine:Paperboy – inherited the route from my brother at age 10Grocery stock boy – I also did time in the produce departmentWrote software for a satellite – at GE Space Division in King of Prussia, PA one summerWrote Atari 2600 video games – my first of many start-ups, General Computer Corp.Sold computer gear – hard drives and laser printers for the original Macintosh. Also at General Computer Corp. after what I learned later was a pivot.Sold networking gear – Macintosh to TCP./IP gateways at Cayman Systemssold networking gear – Remote access products at Shiva. Get your email over a modem!Fred, I remember the Lobby 7 coffee shop. Did you inherit that from the late Marc Breton? Sadly, I think entrepreneurial things like that don’t exist as much any more at MIT.

    1. DJL

      General Computer: “If you own a tie, you are not welcome” (or something like that!) Many years ahead of their time in high-tech dress code.

  33. Robert Heiblim

    OK, I’m up for this.1. Retail store assistant (sweeper and cleaner)2. Public park worker (garbage and landscape duty)3. Landscaper (for cemetaries)4. Restaurant work (at the famous Rutt’s Hut)5. Hi-Fi Sales ( at Sam Goody’s)6. Record store buyer and gofer ( at Leopold’s)7. Retail sales ( at Pacific Stereo)then it got more interesting

  34. mikenolan99

    1. Magician/Clown – See flyer below.2. Lawn Mowing – $5 – $10 a lawn, Evanston IL.3. Overnight announcer at my dad’s radio station in Minnesota4. Sound World – Stock Boy, but promoted to sales person on my 16th birthday5. Camera Sales – White Drug Store. I was fired.6. Computer Lab attendant – University of Wisconsin, 19827. Computer programer – again, for my dad’s station.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Upvote for great memorabilia

    2. JLM

      .Haha, magician/clown — what great prep for real life, no?In some ways, I think my current occupation is magician/clown?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I was just thinking the same thing. Yesterday, a best friend called to catch up, he has been offline because his wife has been in treatment. When I finished my update he said: “Well, why don’t you apply for cirque du soleil”. He left me thinking.Now, making the list, I am thinking again about it. How many times we have to do things that we don’t want but have to, and how many times some of those things amaze us or change our lives.Maybe it is just the perfect timing to open the circus and start the new season’s show. Damned banks.

        1. JLM

          .Not my circus, not my monkeys. I always liked the circus.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Clown on contingency fee! Hahaha!

  35. pointsnfigures

    Fred, you will have to come to Chicago to experience the best hot dog. Gene and Jude’s in River Grove. http://www.huffingtonpost.c…First seven:CaddyBabysitterShoe SalesmanPumped GasConstruction Lackey Bank Teller Landscaper (thanks Anne Libby I was at the Cubs game late last night)

    1. Anne Libby

      Lol, that’s only 6.

  36. LaVonne Reimer

    1. Crop picker (strawberries, cherries, and beans) 2. Baby sitter 3. Pianist (dinner music and group singing) for Dallas, Oregon rotary club (when it was all male) 4. File clerk, Mutual of Omaha 5. Check encoder, US Bank 6. Piano teacher 7. Operations manager, San Jose Symphony and thus the one who handed checks to guest composers and artists which is how I met Aaron Copland, John Cage, Sarah Vaughn and more

  37. andyswan

    PaperboyDocument shredderBball camp coachFounderFounderThinkorswimFounder

  38. laurie kalmanson

    1. High school, after school: Bakery counter, putting bread through the slicer, weighing out cookies and pulling the red and white string from the dispenser overhead and tying up the white box2. College, summers: Galley mate, charter fishing boat: First boat to grounds daily; eggs and homefries for breakfast, before we sailed; burgers and knishes for lunch; loading soda and beer in and out of the hold. Inevitably, the men who were rude about a girl on a boat were the ones who, in the local vernacular, were “paging Sergeant O’Rourke” shortly after we were aweigh.3. College, school year: Layout and paste-up, school paper, X-acto knives and wax4. Grad school, Internship: City Hall, Mayor’s Office; helping with display of space program parades through lower Manhattan5. Wire service reporter: Fires, murders, politics5. NYC Office of Management and Budget: Spreadsheets6. Features writer, various newspapers; The pattern of a newspaperman’s life is like the plot of ‘Black Beauty.’ Sometimes he finds a kind master who gives him a dry stall and an occasional bran mash in the form of a Christmas bonus, sometimes he falls into the hands of a mean owner who drives him in spite of spavins and expects him to live on potato peelings. A. J. Liebling7. Producer, Yoyodyne: Inventing and learning online marketing, at the very beginning of everything that came after

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I remember those manual layouts and paste-ups. Fondly.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        the warm wax; the sweet smell.

  39. Kurt Stangl

    Started working when I was 14 to buy my first computer way back in 1981.1) Page, Clearfield Library (I put books in order for 4 years!)2) Laborer, Dolomite Construction3) Toys R Us, Warehouse dock worker (time to unload the trucks)4) K-Mart Security (Hey put that back!)5) Wal Mart, Warehouse dock worker (transferable skills finally!)6) Westshore Glass, Curtail wall fabricator moved into sales7) Bouncer, Tampa Flo, 1989. Crazy times. Did I tell you about that time when…#firstsevenjobs

  40. sigmaalgebra

    (1) Yard work — grass mowing, hedge trimming, flower bed weeding. Those three were all based on what Dad had taught me so that I could help in the family yard. There was a market for much more, but I didn’t have the skills for more of the work or the marketing; Dad didn’t volunteer to help me; and I didn’t yet know how to get such information on my own. Dad didn’t appreciate that we had a good opportunity for a good introduction to entrepreneurship. Dad’s view wasGood education –> Good job as a professional employee –> good life.For reality, that view is too simplistic.(2) Caddy. There was an okay golf course less than a mile from my house. It was a good neighborhood — e.g., on one side was the home of the founder, etc. of Holiday Inns (right, Kemmons Wilson).I was awful at being a caddy:(A) Somehow my feet were too soft (tender) and hurt something awful before the end of the first 9. When I was about 26, a coworker told me: “Your feet hurt. I can tell because each time you stop walking, you look for a place to sit down.”. He was correct. When I was about 28, somehow my feet did toughen up, say, to something normal; okay since then; why feet were soft but toughened up, I never understood.(B) Also, to be good as a caddy, need to know quite a lot about golf. Dad did and tried to get me interested, but I could never get interested in golf — just didn’t see the utility, and I cared about utility.(C) Also being good as a caddy involves some fairly serious social and political skills of which I had next to none at the time — age 12. Mom had fantastic social and political skills, especially for her high, cherished objectives of social climbing, but she never taught me and, instead, kept what she knew as basically some secrets.Really, not so good to count being a caddy as a job since in total I likely worked fewer than a dozen rounds of golf. Did I mention, I was awful at it? Dad never understood why I was having trouble as a caddy, tried to understand, or tried to help.(3) Electronics Engineer. One summer while in college, after I’d had the physics course in E&M, in the lab of a famous bio-physicist, designed and built a power supply for some old, IBM donated tape drives he wanted to use for bio-physics lab instrumentation. In the end, my power supply worked well, but I floundered terribly: I knew I didn’t know enough and asked lots of people for help, but no one told me the secret: Get and use the data sheets for the power transistors. So, after the big transformer (get the input voltage only a little over what need so that don’t generate too much heat throwing away energy in the voltage regulator), the bridge rectifier, the parallel, big electrolytic capacitor, and the series, big choke, for the power transistors for the voltage regulator pick an operating range of currents and voltages for the collector, emitter, and base, and for the rest, e.g., a resistor in series with the base, just apply Ohms law. That is, even though the transistor data sheets have curves, at each point can still apply just Ohm’s law and get what need. That’s what the data sheet with the operating curves is to be used for! The bio-physicist I was working for kept insisting that I not get off into a lot of theory but just be practical. Okay, but using the data sheets for the transistors is not off into a lot of theory but just what the heck the data sheets are for, really important, and mostly just ways to use Ohm’s law.(4) Teaching Associate. Taught college courses in trigonometry, college algebra, new mathematics (for elementary education majors — nearly all girls, some of them pretty, nearly all of them very nervous), and calculus.The calculus and trigonometry worked out well, but I could do much better now — e.g., make both of the courses introductions to time-invariant linear systems, Fourier theory, and Hilbert space, heavily via examples and pictures, e.g., from music, all without the students knowing they were well into the mathematics of Hilbert space, quantum mechanics, and signals in electronic engineering. The college algebra was okay, but the students in that course were not very good, and I failed to see, explain, and emphasize the high importance of particular parts of the course.The new math came out not good: The girls were total nervous wrecks, and, to teach them well, I needed to understand and soothe the outrageous emotions of a class, i.e., a self-reinforcing herd, of wildly neurotic, adolescent females. Instead, I just taught the material, knew nothing about girls being neurotic and forming herds, and ignored such things. But in another section of the course, the TA was a girl and, thus, of course, did much better at least in her student evaluations.I didn’t understand until after the class that somehow, and all for no good reason, the girls in my class got afraid, then more afraid, then talked each other into getting more afraid, then talked to their mothers who got afraid, who talked to my department Chair. All for no good reason: My teaching was fine, and I was always very nice to the girls, never mean, graded very easily, etc. I didn’t believe that the material was very important for the girls and, thus, was very relaxed, taught a lot of the material just intuitively, and graded very easily.The other courses also had plenty of girls, but the girls in elementary education were special and focused; they knew just what they were and wanted: They were vulnerable and wanted their teaching certificate and Mrs. degree and to be a traditional wife and mother who teaches K-6 to help the family finances. Period.In contrast, the girls in trigonometry and calculus were less focused, less afraid, and more open to using the math for physical science, engineering, social science, medical science, or whatever.It took me a while to see why they were so nervous — Mother Nature, Darwin, and reproductive advantage. Right: Now those reasons are regarded as sexist and wildly in conflict with the high, cherished, coveted, politically correct norms of feminism, gender equality, modern women, etc. Those reasons were also the truth, right on the center of the target, rock solidly correct.So, the girls were insecure, nervous, afraid, low on self-esteem, felt vulnerable and helpless in the face of “the hostile forces of nature and society”, were, in two words, anxiety ridden, formed a herd to get more security, desperately wanted the security of their objective of a teaching certificate and Mrs. degree, and were awash in anxiety.Moreover as Mother Nature and Darwin wanted for reproductive advantage, their anxiety was so severe it was significantly incapacitating and, thus, made them eager to seek the security of their goals, especially their Mrs. degree. Did I mention reproductive advantage via incapacitation from anxiety? It took me a long time to understand all of that about those young women. But that understanding was all just crucial to doing well teaching those girls a little of the foundations of arithmetic and mathematics.Maybe in a sense without knowing it I did those girls a favor: Push them into paying effective attention to the math, the reality, and setting aside their irrational, incapacitating neuroses.(5) Physicist, Mathematician, US National Bureau of Standards and Technology. Very accurate laser wavelength measurement, numerical analysis, computing. E.g., got into Gauss-Seidel and the M. Newman number theory approach to numerically exact matrix inversion; saw the practical concern about over-fitting for which later found a surprisingly good solution apparently still missed by everyone else or nearly so. On that job, I suspected that there was something wrong with the usual concerns about over-fitting — my suspicions were correct.(6) Mathematician, US Naval Ship Research and Development Center, the applied math of fluid flow, i.e., the Navier-Stokes equations, computer algebra for local, series solutions of the equations.(7) Mathematician, GE Information Services National HQ, software in statistics, medical statistics, numerical analysis, the fast Fourier transform, digital filtering, optimization, curve fitting, applied math for physics, engineering. Drank from a fire hose of nearly everything important and/or popular in the applied math important in computing.

  41. Brian Crain

    1. Tennis coach. Taught kids one night a week for a few years.2. In High School we were to ‘work’ in a company for two weeks. I went to Vienna to work for Ameropa. Don’t think I did much except once I was to told to call this guy in Albania and order 500kg of chloroform. I found that very terrifying.3. Banker. Worked as an intern at HSBC in debt capital markets in NYC before my final year of college.4. Back in Switzerland after college. Worked for Ameropa again, a commodities trading company, for 8 months. Doing paperwork around trade execution and being very bored.5. Failed internet entrepreneur. Then after first master moved to Ecuador, then Colombia and tried the 4-Hour-Lifestyle creating some non-sense, no-work business online. Didn’t work.6. Signed up to be intern at Humboldt Innovation for there three months. Organization is supposed to help startup founders at universities. Nobody did anything and I read techcrunch. After a month, realized there was no reason to be there and left.7. Founded a tech startup with muddled vision and poor team. I wasn’t ready for that and neither was my co-founder. Quit after a year, but should have quite after three weeks.

  42. Jess Bachman

    1. Help my mom in her job of organizing (cleaning) other peoples lives.2. Baby sitter.3. Yard work.4. Sell bagels.5. Front desk at a JCC.6. Various duties at a left-wing think tank.7. DJ (parties).

  43. kirklove

    1) Bus Boy at the Waikiki Oceanfront Inn in Wildwood2) Change “boy” at Mariner’s pier arcade3) Mic man (barker) at the Mariner’s pier cigarette stand (awesome gig)4) Jet Ski instructor (greatest. job. ever.)5) Big rig “packer” for RPS trucking6) Bartender at the Court House cafe7) Snowboard instructor at Doe Mountain

  44. johnmccarthy

    1. Newpaper Route2. Lawn cutter3. Burger King4. IHOP5. Dishwasher/Busboy/Waiter/Bartender6. House Painter7. Music Library attendantAnd then I graduated from college

  45. William Mougayar

    ok, maybe it was Pepsi then. i don’t remember ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. JLM

      .Real criminals have to be quick on the uptake as it is a very quickly changing profession. Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. William Mougayar

        It takes one to know one, no?

  46. Chris O'Donnell

    1. Lawn mowing entrepreneur2. Cashier at convenience store3. Dorm Kitchen4. Electronics tech intern (summer)5. Convenience store clerk again (got a lot of college classwork done on the late shifts)6. Home improvement contract work (summer)7. College bookstore

  47. Ryan Frew

    1. Buying and selling GPS modules for Palm Treos on eBay. My dad bought them in bulk and then had me do the work, and he took 75% of the profit. Told me that the Golden Rule was “He who has the gold, has the power”. I was 12 lol2. Started my own commercial and residential pressure washing business. I was 14, which forced me to overcome a lot, especially on the commercial side.3. Waiter. Everyone should work in the service industry at least once, right?4. Started another business. Learned to build websites. Got to talk to Christina Caccioppo, which was way cool.5. College internships. A lot of self-learning and positioning myself. 6. Consulting for a software firm. Launched my career. 7. Microsoft! This is where I work now. The job is great. The learning is painful.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      LOVE #1!

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >3. Waiter. Everyone should work in the service industry at least once, right?Agreed.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        >1. Buying and selling GPS modules for Palm Treos on eBay. My dad bought them in bulk and then had me do the work, and he took 75% of the profit. Told me that the Golden Rule was “He who has the gold, has the power”. I was 12 lolHe did you a favor – enlightened you early.

  48. LE

    In no particular order.1. Car waxing and detailing (cold called door to door and then got referrals). Every imperfection and carpet crumb was taken care of. Where I learned a great deal about pricing. Best customer was a young guy with an expensive car “people drive through my neighborhood and wonder why I live here and they don’t”.2. Photography (for lawyers and also catalog work and a porn ‘job’) I had a darkroom, lights and several SLR’s. Also learned pricing and how people don’t pay invoices when extended credit.3. Snow shoveling (learned also about pricing and cold calling).4. Lawn mowing5. A zillion jobs at my Dad’s wholesale company. More valuable in a sense than Wharton. First recognized the value of using computers to automate things in a business (no computers then they had just come out for small business). Big job was working in the office and typing invoices. (IBM Selectric, loved the sound of that machine).6. Cataloging and estimating the size of every industrial and office building in Bucks County PA for a new office for Coldwell Banker which had just opened up on the East Coast. Learned many things including that CFO’s or accountants were the most relaxed people to get info from over the phone. Got an offer for a full time job after college that I turned down.7. Worked at accounting firm, learned that it was the last and most boring thing that I ever wanted to do. Ironically I do a great deal of numbers and accounting now and am very good at it and manipulation. But I would hang myself if I had to do it full time.And many more things.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I love your reflections on what you learned.

  49. Salt Shaker

    1) Folded newspaper’s for neighbor’s paper route (10 yrs. old)–My first lesson in negotiation and economics. Tried to negotiate a 25 cent raise and was told the kid up the block would do it at current pricing.2) Got my very own paper route—Newsday carrier, Ursula Drive. Big front end metal basket on my Schwinn bike (jet black w/ chrome fenders…sweet!)3) Worked the pet dept @ 5 and 10 store–The parrots were nasty. Had to wear a heavy glove when putting hand in cage. Resorted to whispering in parents ear birds may be diseased to avoid at all costs. Wasn’t ethical, but come on, safety first.4) Busboy at a catering hall–Worked weekends in high school. Worked til 2a, partied til 5a.5) Short order cook at a country club snack bar–hot and sweaty, very pretty girls.6) Drove an ice cream truck–Had to plug in at night at my parents home overnight so ice cream wouldn’t melt. Let’s just say when the electric bill came there was a quick realization the truck wasn’t energy efficient.7) Sold shirts and ties at Bloomingdale’s.

    1. LE

      #1 – You also learned (potentially) how others bluff or how you could bluff.(Great list by the way).

  50. LE

    I was dismissive, but like many things, a good nightโ€™s sleep changed my mind.It involved Twitter and a good nights sleep made you come to your senses.

  51. Donna Brewington White

    I do wonder what best determines what we will become, those early jobs or what we choose to play, or what we volunteer to do without pay.Anyway, my first 6 jobs were during high school and my 7th during college. Realizing that was a bit of a revelation.1) Babysitter2) Nursery School Aide (summer)3) Receptionist (summer)4) Telephone solicitor (for Kirby Vaccum distributor)5) Hospital foodservice (hated it)6) Department Store sales clerk (loved it)7) HR Assistant (during college)(Plus a few little entrepreneurial ventures such as selling homemade French fries to neighbor kids and bake sales during middle school)

    1. Anne Libby

      Someone else made a similar remark on timing — mine, too, were all before I graduated from college…

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      I was thinking the same thing. When I wrote my list, I decided to reflect on it and how it enabled me to evolve and move forward.

    3. Mac

      Sorry, Donna, but you’re way too normal for this group.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Normal? Don’t think I’ve ever been called that. Ever. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  52. JaredMermey

    The most enlightening thing is to see how many people who have done well worked character building jobs.

  53. ErikSchwartz

    1) Babysitter2) MIT dining service (Lobdell and 20 Chimneys)3) EMT4) Briggs & Briggs (sheet music store)5) MIT Sailing Pavilion (Best job ever)6) Tower Records Boston (Buyer)7) Founder (Digital Review)I had some UROPs at MIT but I did them for credit not cash)

  54. LE

    William suggestedThanks William (I am spending way to much time on this thread today…)

  55. Kirsten Lambertsen

    1. Restaurant hostess2. Motel desk clerk3. Waitress4. Retail clothing sales5. Video Editor6. Direct phone sales (restaurant training video) – life changer7. Grunt at Troma (first NYC job) – you know, The Toxic AvengerLots of waiting tables in between those, but I thought that would be boring. I waited tables a lot – great fallback and good exercise.Oh, and I delivered the Denver Post for a couple of months while I was working #6.

    1. ShanaC

      You worked at troma? That’s awesome

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I look at it as a badge of honor ๐Ÿ˜‰

  56. Matt McClain

    1) Like Seth, I started as a lawnmowing specialist. I listened to my walkman, and later my discman, and made cash every week in the summer. It was great!2) I worked just about every job at my Dad’s company, McClain Tool & Technology, a machine tool sales and service company. I cleaned the office every week, I answered phones, I built the service database, I was a service tech assistant, I painted the showroom, organized the parts department and storage room, I learned a ton of great stuff. 3) Lifeguard – never had to save a life though. 4) Dave and Buster’s game tech – mostly required filling up the candy machines and game tickets. But, I had a card that never ran out of credits so i made friends easily.5) Installed home security systems for a summer in multifamily residential. I went in and ran the wires before the drywall went up, then hooked up the systems when the homes were finished. 6) National touring musician – I lived the dream for three years playing music all over the country as the lead guitarist for Three Degrees of Freedom.7) Mortgage refinance and collateralized loan sales associate – I was definitely part of the problem a couple years before the real estate market tanked.

  57. Cam MacRae

    1. Paperboy (in esteemed company it seems…)2. Bicycle mechanic (and assembler…)3. Hay baler and gherkin picker (hard yakka…)4. Lifeguard (life is literally a beach…)5. Librarian (actually met a lot of girls… go figure…)6. Soldier (hard yakka / boredom / hard yakka / boredom / hard…)7. Facilities management gofer (100% boredom…)

  58. Frank Traylor

    Lawnmowing (Mrs. Groke, toughest boss I’ve ever had)Paper routeHandymanFloor sales at hardware storeShop maintenance at open pit uranium mineField engineer, EuropeSoftware biz dev S. America

    1. Vasudev Ram

      What’s a handyman? Misc. repairs and maintenance?

      1. Frank Traylor

        Yes, that’s it. For me it was everything from framing a house to tiling a supermarket to plumbing.

  59. Susan Rubinsky

    Hahhahaa. I bought a high-end scanner and a CD burner (1993-ish) and charged $25 a scan to businesses in CT and the tri-state area. The CD I gave to them for “Free.” Made lots of money

  60. JLM

    .Haha, what a great insight and fun.1. Mowed lawns (12). Had a regular route of contiguous houses numbering fifteen. $5/mow and you had to have it done every week. Some of my customers used to pay me at church on Sunday. I would stand outside with my book. I bought the mower used.Before the days of air conditioning and the guys used to be outside in their undershirts (wife beaters) and would talk to me. I met a lot of interesting guys including a couple of “made men”. They all were pretty good tippers.2. Striped bass entrepreneur (13-17) Used to go fishing on the Jersey coast at 3-4 am and catch stripers. Big stripers using a open reel surf casting rig with Hopkins silver or red/white plugs. Used to cast from the jetties. Once the sun came up, game over. Sold the catch to fishermen who got skunked or who would buy them and then go somewhere else. Got $5-20 depending on size. Used to always catch at least 5 fish and displayed them in wet burlap at the parking area. A guy stole one of my fish one time and I ice picked all four of his tires. Saw him in church and smiled at him. It was great fun.3. Golf caddy at two different Deal (14-18) NJ country clubs. Caddied for Sonny Werblin (NY Jets owner and a huge tipper), Bess Myerson (Miss America, first Jewish Miss America), Joe Namath — foulest mouthed man I ever met. I could carry two bags at a time and sometimes “looped” twice in the same day. The caddy master used to give me the best loops because I used to kick back to him. Got $20 for two bags. Only on Saturdays and Sundays after church. Father Horan got me this job. In those days, the rector was like an employment agent.4. Restaurant (for a long time). Junior’s at the foot of the pier in Long Branch. I was a pearl diver, short order cook, opener, and manager. I would get there at 5 and clean the restaurant, scrub down the duckboards, set up the waitress stations (best looking sexy Italian girls you ever say — they paid me $2 to set up their station and one wanted to pay me in a more intimate manner but I was too much of a dope to take her up on it — one of the worst decisions of my life — sorry, Theresa).The place was a bookmaker for the Ciccalese family. Patsy (cover of Newsweek mag) used to come in early, early and I’d make him scrambled eggs, bacon, French fries, OJ and coffee. We used to talk. My mother went a little nuts when I told her who he was. Biggest tipper on the planet. In the 1960s, he used to throw me a twenty — 5-6 days a week. Said he had a job for me when I got out of the Army. Father Horan, rector and basketball coach, got me this job. He would come by and bless me when I was working.5. Construction — union/non-union double breasted company. Worked until I graduated college. I started at minimum wage $1.25/hour and soon was running a troweling machine, working mad OT and graduated to the nine blade, triple troweling machine for which I received an additional $0.50-1.00/hour. Spent a whole summer raising manhole covers and another building sidewalks.Favorite assignment was putting in and taking out the salt water pool feeds at the Jersey Shore beach clubs which entailed my diving down and connecting big iron pipes. I got paid $5/hr when I did this because nobody else could swim like I could. In retrospect, this was insanity — receiving a huge pipe suspended by a crane underwater and bolting it together.Met a black man who’d just gotten out of jail in Florida for murder who, to this day, remains one of my greatest inspirations. I gave him some frozen yogurt and he gave me wisdom. This was the hardest work I ever did and it made me want to study engineering. Father Horan got me this job.6. Lifeguard — relief life guard for West End Avenue beach in Long Branch where all the Guidos who could not swim used to come. Had to take a rowing dory out to a buoy every day and launch/recover through the surf. Best job ever for meeting girls. Father Horan got me this job.7. Fluid mechanics lab overseer — got paid to oversee the fluid mechanics lab and to tutor cadets on calculus. Three of my cadets became 3-star generals. I used to force them to arrive before 6:00 pm, no PX breaks, stay out until midnight, no TV. Five nights per week and sometimes on Sunday nights. I was a bloody tyrant and the lowest grade anyone ever got was a B. Got paid $7.50/hr. The tutoring used to be done by the civil engineering profs so they liked that I did it and they didn’t have to do it. I think they gave me better grades because of it. Col Jamison, head of the CE dept, was my second father. Best advice ever.This was fun. Thank you, Fred.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…Almost forgot. I used to be a beer distributor when I was 17-18. I would go to the post Class VI (alcohol) store and stock up my father the Sgt Major’s station wagon with Schlitz by the case. I paid less than $2/case. I would sell it to a regular route of kids from a Catholic school I was temporarily attending. Two runs per Saturday. I charged $10 for the first case and $20 for the second case. My customers had to be parked along the fence at the school and as I passed by they would take a case or two. Paid me on the Friday before. All was well until my “stash” of cash was discovered inside a Kodak camera by my mother who said the Holy Ghost guided her to it. There is nothing that vexes an Irish Catholic woman like stumbling onto a few thousand dollars in a Kodak camera. It was confiscated though I continued to run my deal. The privates at the Class VI used to see my father’s sticker and i would say, “You don’t have to load the beer but the Sgt Major is going to be pissed off with you.”It was a very simple time and it was a very simple crime.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Love this!!! Want to hear more about father Horan & the mob!

      1. JLM

        .That parish was all poor Italians, Irish, and Germans. Fathers Horan and O’Connor and the nuns were like prison wardens. They had a school which was just sold at auction.Father O’Connor was my personal guardian. When my Dad was overseas, he’d call me in every Friday and give me a swat for “all the stuff you did I didn’t find out about.”He was a hard, redheaded priest who used to tell me — “Do a little sinning so I have something juicy for Confession. It’s boring.”These were real men and the nuns were tough, tough, tough. They had no problems with corporal punishment.The mob was the real deal with the Ciccalese family running everything. They were the best tippers. The mob used to keep things organized and they used to get along with the police. Some chalice got stolen from the church and Patsy announced it had been found — meaning it would be found. A day later if showed up in the church.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Great stories! I know you’ve done some writing, but have you written about this?

          1. JLM

            .I’ve written more than 300 short stories. It takes about 5 years to find one’s voice. You have to stay at it because it’s a fleeting skill like flying an airplane. Malcolm Gladwell is right as to what it costs to achieve mastery. You never really do.My latest one was published in Passager (Univ of Baltimore Press) in Q1 2016. I have 25 copies of the journal so if you want one……….send me a snail mail address.Submitting stories is a pain. You get 30 rejections and one acceptance. That one acceptance makes up for all the rejections. I love when they tell you how good your story is but they’re not going to publish it.It is about a 23 year old lieutenant getting ready to take out a 50-man raid to destroy a NVA corps HQ and to capture some new and advanced Russian radios. All the emotions one goes through when they get ready to launch a raid they may not come back from.It’s called: “The Moment Before the Moment”.Sometimes I can’t believe the shit I did when I was that age.I just finished a story about my experiences as a striper entrepreneur.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Susan Rubinsky

            Yes, I know about what a pain submission are. I’ve been writing poetry for over 30 years. But things are a bit better now, simultaneous submission are accepted now and you can submit digitally.

          3. JLM

            .Most everyone these days is using Submittable and I use Writer’s Relief. I stumbled on at Tech Stars Austin but they don’t quite have it together.The first story is the hardest.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. sigmaalgebra

            Ah, want to publish? Okay, then, just do some original math, write it up, and send it in. I’ve never been much interested in publishing and, thus, have published only a few papers, but I never had any trouble getting my papers accepted, always to the first place I submitted them and never with significant revisions! One case of a revision was an argument about indenting the first line of the first paragraph after a section heading! Silly argument! I responded with material from The Chicago Manual of Style and examples from several texts from some of the best math publishers and won the argument. At another point, a reviewer wanted a little more explanation, and I gave him the definition of the Lebesgue integral in one line! Another time a reviewer didn’t like my statement of the Kuhn-Tucker conditions. He knew only the original version, and I gave a more general version! To be easy on him, I rolled back to the less general, original version!

          5. Quantella Owens

            Please consider self-publishing. I can send you all the info I have if you like. It isn’t hard at all and you get to keep a greater percentage of the proceeds. Big publishers today mainly act as distribution…nothing else. They expect the authors to do all their own marketing and in your case you are well-known enough, with a big enough network, so you shouldn’t do their jobs for them and pay them for the privilege.

          6. JLM

            .I can use all the help I can. I have four collections of stories which have been professionally edited and are awaiting “interior design”. I can use all the help I can get.I am trying to sort out Amazon right now. It’s changing every day.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Quantella Owens


          8. Lawrence Brass

            I want to buy a copy of your experiences as a stripper. Been in bed with the flu, so bored.Your writer facet is a surprise!+ Not really, considering all the stories and top quality content you write here and at BRC. If your upvotes were your sales, you are the best selling author.

          9. Girish Mehta

            “The Moment Before the Moment” :-). Remember it !

      1. JLM

        .Deal to this day continues to be the best collection of shingle beach homes in captivity. I love driving through in the summer and looking at the homes and the hydrangeas — blue.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. ShanaC

        Yup. I knew people from Deal. Very Syrian and Yemenite

    2. Salt Shaker

      Didn’t realize you were jersey bred. Thought you were lone star through and through.Once was on a flight w/ Namath (JFK/Miami) after he did a broadcast of an NFL game. This was pre Suzy Kolber where he made an ass of himself on national TV. He showed up stinking drunk (literally had to be held up by an aide) and was nursing a double scotch in 1st class by the time I loaded in steerage.Glad Joe cleaned himself up, though. I’m sure the pain in his knees had something to do with it.Jets 17, Jacksonville 13.

      1. LE

        Didn’t realize you were jersey bred.I did. He finally came out of the closet. My intel file on JLM already showed Jersey roots I am glad that I now have confirmation.

      2. JLM

        .I was an Army brat and got to Texas as fast as I could.We lived in Long Branch whenever my Dad was overseas. I went to HS in NJ. CBA in Lincroft, RBC in Red Bank and Long Branch HS. I got in trouble a few times.I liked schools with initials — CBA, RBC, VMI.I am, technically, not a high school graduate as I ended up at Long Branch HS after the last semester started. Nonetheless, I got a full ride to VMI which was presented at a school assembly. Nobody ever heard of the place.The Jersey Shore was a great place and it has fabulous pizza which is way overlooked.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Welp, you just blew my mind. I live right smack in the middle of where you grew up in NJ.

          1. JLM

            .It has changed and it hasn’t change.Long Branch’s boardwalk has become quite gentrified. I used to fight the Italian grandmas at low tide for the mussels growing on the rocks. I used to harvest 25-50 lbs at low tide using a pry bar and goggles.I used to sell them for $0.50/lbs and made good money.The Church of the Presidents was being renovated when I lived there in the 1960s and still is.Here’s morsel you’ll like:…JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Loved that! Can’t wait to share it with Mr. Kirsten ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve spent a lot of time at Seven Pres. Beach, of course.When “Boardwalk Empire” started airing, I got interested in the bootlegging history of the area. Fascinating stuff. I’m not a big one for glamorizing crime, but I do wish more of the history of that was still around to see now – like the tunnels.

          3. JLM

            .Bootlegging brought us the Kennedys via Atlantic Highlands and Vito Genovese. They used to run it up the Navesink River, in wooden speedboats, up to where the Molly Pitcher Hotel is in Red Bank.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I picked up a great book about it a couple years ago. Bootleggers were (aside from a bunch of awful things) innovators by necessity. One thing they excelled at was code-breaking (to pick up when the coast guard was onto them). They eventually had bullet proof boats (for real!). They had an elaborate underground tunnel system from one guy’s mansion in Atlantic Highlands. Bond-villain-style stuff – crazy!

          5. sigmaalgebra

            For grad school, I got accepted to the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown, and when I visited they told me about some of the smuggling tunnels that ended at the beach! They didn’t claim to be working on any associated math problems! Didn’t accept the Brown offer and went somewhere else.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Hard to think of bootlegging as a crime.

          7. ShanaC

            I’m named after a bootlegger and dress maker…

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Same person, both?

        2. Erin

          Nothing wrong with NJ.

  61. Susan Rubinsky

    1) Office assistant at a visiting nurses agency (summers, age 13-15; 1980-82)The first year I was there, I reorganized their whole filing system which was a big room full of file cabinets with paper files. I had to research each patient to see if he/she had died. Then, if the person had died, I had to move those files into a separate filing system in another room. Over three summers I saved about $4K and used that to buy my first car, a two-year-old Toyota Corolla. That car enabled me to live, work and go to college. I drove it to over 200,000 miles and near the end had to park it on hills to jump start it.2) Bradlees (this chain no longer exists, it was like K-mart) (age 16-18; 1983-85)I was the person who roamed around fixing all the clothes and shelves after people messed them all up; they switched me to this role after a few weeks as cashier when they sent me out into the linen department and I folded up a set of sheets and put them back in the wrapping in a way that looked like they had never been opened before. The store manager said, “why didn’t you tell us you could do this sooner?” as if I had any idea this was a desirable skill, lol. This was my first and only union job; I realized quickly that it didnโ€™t matter how good you were at your job, you were rewarded by seniority, not performance. I asked repeatedly to opt out of the union but all employees were required to join.3) Friendly’s Ice Cream shop (age 18; summer of 1985)I quit after two weeks when the manager grabbed my ass and told me I was required to hem my skirt shorter.4) Ice cream shop (age 18; summer of 1985)Immediately landed a job at an independent ice cream shop after the Friendly’s fiasco. This was my first full time job โ€“ I didnโ€™t go to college after high school because my Mom believed all children should be set off on their own at age 18 (that means I was basically told to leave home at age 18, in the middle of my senior year of high school) I learned to run the store and make ice cream. Fun but fattening!5) Peter’s Bridge Market, Westport, CT (age 18-21)Started as cashier, then learned deli, then learned basic butcher shop skills, then became weekend manager and also manager of a smaller store they owned about a mile away. This was a small family-owned independent grocery/deli/butcher shop. The weekend manager job that I eventually landed enabled me to start working my way through college. I worked Friday โ€“ Sunday, 12-14 hour days which gave me just enough money to live on and pay for college at state university.6) Edge of the Woods (Co-operative/Organic grocery store), New Haven, CT (age 21-22)Bakery counter, baker & weekend bakery manager*** Not a Job per se, but was editor of the college literary magazine. I switched the publication from old fashioned manual paste-up to a computer-based layout. I made a deal with the school newspaper to use their computers (I had learned to code in high school, starting in 1983 and also had always found a way to get access to computers and learn new things — mostly self-taught)***7) Company Name Withheld – book and video distributor in the emergency healthcare field (Age 22-23)Sales & inventory manager; catalog designer; ghostwriter for emergency medical training materials (The doctor I wrote for was named “Dr. Bledsoe” and I always wondered who would want a doctor called “Bled So.”)I quit the seventh job because the owner was a tyrant and used to become enraged and scream at all the employees. After he threw a temper tantrum one day, I called in sick the next day (a Friday), spent the weekend talking with some people I knew and planned a startup business. I went into work on Monday and gave my two-week notice, then started my first tech business with two partners. We installed computer networks at SMBs in CT and the tri-state area. We then rode the Y2K wave into the next century. Great fun! Great money!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Great list, Susan. Saw a theme starting at the beginning… fixing. Do you still find yourself fixing things?Your mention of the college literary mag reminded me of my very favorite job which was unpaid so didn’t make the list. I was Features Editor of my high school paper during Senior year and we did manual layouts and paste-ups at the print shop. Those Thursday nights at the print shop were the most fun ever with all the other editors and assistant editors. My version of team sports in school. Nerd.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Interesting insight! Yes, I am still fixing things. Mechanic’s daughter. Guess it was imprinted in me young. (I even created my own parenting philosophy called “solutions-based thinking.” It goes like this: if you screw up, own it and come to me with possible solutions. Apologies are not accepted, only actions.)I also worked the high school newspaper doing paste-up as well as the high school literary magazine. Since we still had “shop” classes back then, everything was printed at school in our print shop. I was/am a nerd too. I prefer the term geek, though.I think 3-d printing and robotics in schools today is akin to the hands-on learning we did back in the day. I also think it’s really beneficial for kids to take art class for two reasons: you learn how difficult it is to do things by hand (and sometimes you learn you are really good at it or that you want to do more of it) AND having art critique teaches you how to give and receive feedback. It doesn’t hurt to be able to sketch a concept in pencil either.

  62. Dave Mullan

    1) push mowing the back acre and sweeping the family auto-body shop on Saturdays (kid-teen)2) car detailing at family auto body shop (teen)3) bus boy at local restaurant (teen/college)4) pizza delivery (college)5) duping 5 ยผโ€™ floppies > put in 3 ring binder > fulfill $300+mm PC OEM contract (2nd yr college summer job @ Microsoft)6) Skunk works multi-media/early web/ecommerce projects for RR Donnelley & Sons (global ink on paper company with foresight to explore re-invention of itself)7) Founder & CEO, Vitessa – dotcom 1.0 companyLearned more from great leaders/mentors at #5 & 6 then I could ever imagine learning in college. Took a few of those from #6 with me to #7.

  63. rickfield

    1. Camp counselor (the “camp” was formed by my family so I could essentially babysit all the cousins)2. Farmhand. Baled hay and painted barns red.3. Construction Laborer. Specialty was demolition.4. Volunteer, chateau restoration project in Brittany, France. Secret plan to lose my virginity while across the pond remained unrealized.4. Waiter, Joyce Chen Restaurant in Boston. Took pride in being the only Caucasian waiter.5. Sports video intern, CBS affiliate in Boston. Got to watch Red Sox games from press box and eat pregame meals with sportswriters on Red Sox china. Best. Job. Ever.6. Dishwasher, Yale Dining Hall. First union job.7. Sound assistant/boom operator for movies and commericials. Second union job. This one was supposed to launch me towards a writer/director career that mixed Nike campaigns and Sundance prizewinners. Instead, I had to listen to my brother the wiseacre opine: “Rick, I think it’s great that you and all your friends are doing so much to combat our nation’s screenplay shortage”.

    1. JLM

      .There is no harder work than baling hay.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  64. Lucas Dailey

    1. Bus boy, Ice cream Jerk, Carousel operator – High school2. Handyman, mover, ditch-digger (with a pickaxe!) – College summer3. Prep cook (at a fancy restaurant) – College summer4. Resident Assistent – College5. Intern architect – College6. Assistant Designer – In Vienna+NYC for gap year 7. Associate Lecturer (digitial composition grad class) – Grad school

  65. sigmaalgebra

    > Caddie. Usually for the women golfers.Can’t not be reminded of the movie Caddyshack and the scenes with the Bill Murray character and the women golfers! Then have to be reminded of the scene where Murray thought, due to some Scottish accent, he was being to told to “kill all the golfers” instead of “kill all the gophers”. That, of course leads to IMHO the funniest scene in all of movies and life — the reaction of the 60 year old or some such highly proper, woman country club member at the end of the effort to drain and clean the pool — I’ll avoid the spoiler for anyone who hasn’t yet seen that movie!Generally a very, very funny movie and, IMHO, a really appropriate and justified take down, excoriation of the whole golf and country club thing-y!

  66. creative group

    Contributors:Tribute to Simone & SimoneUncommon identical names and bothChampions. The determination.The best Gymnast period!Simone Biles…———–Simone Manual sets two records and tied for Gold.

  67. Erin

    1. Paper deliverer2. Babysitter3. McDonald’s (Dad packed me in the car, drove me to McDonald’s and wouldn’t let me go home till I filled out an application) 4. Lifeguard at a retreat center in Quebec5. Water seller at a kiosk in the mall6. Lifeguard (you’d think I’d have learnt to just stick with this gig, but no) 7. Dishwasher/cook at a summer music campThis has been an enlightening exercise… Specifically- why didn’t I just stick with lifeguarding? It was the best paying and I liked it the best, but maybe I just liked exploring new places? I did get to do quite a bit of travelleling around that time.

    1. JLM

      .I was a lifeguard at the ocean which meant there were real saves to be made.I saved a guy trying to commit suicide by jumping off the end of a jetty and swimming out to sea. I followed him and swam him down and gave him a big punch in the face which seemed to help.That technique was not the approved solution but for a while it was quite celebrated. As a cadet, we took a lot of boxing and I really smacked the crap out the guy.I had to cross chest swim him more than a half mile. He stopped squirming and helped me by kicking. There were huge waves and I had to get him through the surf which was a real chore.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Erin

        Worst. Possible. Way. To commit. Suicide… Ever. Wow. Drowning? But is there a pain-free way to do it? Don’t answer that. Rhetorical question. Good for you tho. I hope he sends you periodic updates on his happy life. I once saved an entire pool full of people by having them evacuate when a kid puked in the shallow end. Other than that, it’s a lot of “No running! No running!”

        1. JLM

          .In all, I had 50+ saves from picking up kids who were underwater, knocked off their feet — to people getting sucked out to sea in a deadly cross rip.I did a lot of old fashioned arms behind the back CPR. I never lost anyone but I had some close calls. I had a couple of shark bites. You never saw so much blood. There was no beach EMS in those days, so they all went to the hospital after I bandaged them up.It was the 1960s, so Gidget was at the beach in those days. It was a lot of fun and it was the greatest ice breaker in the world. All those fast Yankee girls on vacay.The beaches were wide and the guys used to play football. One day, Joe Theisman — rhymes with Heisman — (Notre Dame QB, South River, NJ boy) showed up and was playing. He could throw the rock.Long time ago.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Erin

            Wow. Which is why I’ll never mess with the ocean. Too strong. I had a panicky episode out in Cape cod a couple years ago. Needed help getting in and my boyfriend who’s built like an ox was barely making headway against the current. Not cool. It was actually at the Jersey Shore a few years ago that I saw real ocean lifeguards for the first time. Like elites who trained professionally and were super fit. It’s a whole different mentality than an indoor pool lifeguard landlocked in the middle of the country.

          2. JLM

            .The whole thing with the ocean is you have to get to the victim fast. If they get water inside them, the calculus changes quickly. You have to be vigilant and get off the stand quick.I used to drag the stand to the edge of the water which meant I had to drag it a long way at the end of the day. I used to build a little mountain of soft sand I could jump down onto to get a running start.We used to have to haul a “torpoedo” but we also had big surfboards. I was always a swimmer. Never took a surfboard but whoever came second had to bring the surfboard.The days I dreaded were when the waves were big and it was low tide. The people would walk out, get knocked down and bounce around the surf zone. It was hard to find them and they were always full of water. It is amazing how much water you can swallow and still be alive. More than half of the time the solution was to just stand up. The water wasn’t that deep.We used to have to run a couple of miles in a certain time and other standards. It was actually harder to get in than Airborne School but when you’re 18 none of that is hard.During the morning, we had to row a dory out to a buoy through the surf. That was hard. A lot of guys blew it off but I sort of liked it.I dumped the dory a few times. That’s a big pain in the ass. Had to winch it out of the surf because it was full of water. If you dumped the dory, your assistants always called the Supervisor (a really, really, really good looking woman) who would drive up and make you feel like an idiot. I used to think she was ancient but she was probably 28 years old.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Erin

            I wonder if the calculus is similar if the person is full of stories instead of water.I kid. I love your stories JLM. I hope there are grandchildren to hear them.

          4. JLM

            .Full of stories, you float.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Erin

            Now that’s a different kind of science altogether.

          6. Girish Mehta

            A life full of stories. What more could you ask for ?

      2. Lawrence Brass

        If you saved his life you are an hero.

  68. creative group

    Contributors:The constant theme of a few contributor’s is they worked for their dad or their dad was instrumental in their applying or seeking the job. Amazing how having a father in one’s life can shape your view of life dramatically. But it doesn’t prevent those just raised with a loving single parent from achieving lifetime goals and success.Made it Ma, on top of the world.

  69. Clint Schaff…Rock pickerPaperboyNews sports clerkRed Lobster fry cookTelephone ad salesmanStudent paper publisherMarketing intern#firstsevenjobs

    1. Quantella Owens

      *Stupid Question* So don’t answer if you don’t want…but what exactly is a rock picker and how does one get paid?

      1. Quantella Owens

        Ok, just to be clear-I was not trying to be funny. I’ve never heard of anyone getting paid to do this which is why I asked. I was NOT trying to be funny, sarcastic or trolling.

  70. Lawrence Brass

    This is the list of my 7th first paid jobs in chronological order.1. Shirt shop attendant during xmas, job was paid in shirts. Finest and fanciest shirts i ever had. Was 14 then.2. Industrial junior salesman. Suit, tie and briefcase, moving around selling sprayable grease lubricant to shops around the city. Gave away samples, and recited a pitch I didn’t believe in, both a lot.3. Market research company slave. Had to convince ladies to give me their deodorants in exchange for a new sample, then come back a week or so and run a questionnaire. Oh yes, I exchanged more deodorants than I sold grease cans. I can’t believe I did that.4. Math coach for aptitude test exams. Teach people smarter than me how to look smart.5. Macintosh instructor, assisted college staff using their Macintoshes, Excel, Word. It was 1985-86, it was magic.6. Research assistant. The task somewhat frustrating but pay was good. Prof handed me a tape, he had just returned from a phD in Edinburgh, wanted to port a ps-algol compiler to the Mac. I tinkered the full semester. On my last report he patted my shoulder and said, “don’t worry, I just wanted to know if it was possible.” I swear I could do it now. He is one the finest persons I have met.7. PC computer specialist and programmer at an inspections and quality testing company. This is my first “real job” in my mind. Best time I ever had. Ended up leading the engineering dept. I learned a lot there, knew awesome people and had such a good time being together, we were all so young. In a defining moment in my life, I stood up at the top of a methanol tank we were calibrating in the Magellan Strait for Kellog Engineering. It was March 1987 been away from my kids and wife for almost two weeks. The sunset looked awesome up from that tank, the cold wind on my face, we were exhausted. I decided at that that moment that I would stick to software and I would not go out for field jobs anymore, understanding that that would hurt my career at the company.I would like to add a job my brother, sister and I did regularly at home when we were kids. I don’t remember why and how we started doing it, probably my father tricked us into it but we were the official first floor house painters for many years. We did only walls. I think the most we loved about it was when visitors came home and they commented to mom and dad how nice the house looked. Then they will point towards us, as we stood in front of our perfect work, feeling proud and loved. They did it, really? We were damned good wall painters or that is what mom and dad made us believe.Wow. That was therapeutic! Thanks Fred.

    1. Anne Libby

      Goodness, as I see people’s jobs here, I remember jobs that I had completely forgotten about. I spent several teenaged weeks as a market “researcher” — walking up to people in a mall and trying to convince/prequalify them to come to our offices in the mall’s basement for things like the deodorant test you mention.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Since then, every time I can I help people answering their questions. Can’t remember how many times people slammed the door in my face. It is so important to help young people on their first jobs.

  71. Amar

    As an aside, I think it is interesting how normal it is for Americans to have had 4+ jobs before they even enter college. This is yet another indication of how uniquely entrepreneurship driven we are here (boo yah!). I was born and raised in South India (lower middle class) and (maybe it is different now) most families saw their kids working as a indication that the parents could not provide. My first job was an internship during my freshman year of college. I wish I had started sooner.I live with my family in Austin, TX and you bet my girls will have 4+ jobs before they start college ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. awaldstein

      This has nothing to do with entrepreneurship in my opinion.It has to do with income pure and simple.If you wanted to wear clothes that weren’t hand me downs from your older brother you mowed lawns.Go through this thread. If people are working at the job today that is on their list, they were fortunate enough to come from means.Neither better or worse, just life.

      1. Amar

        Fair reset of my observation. I think there is a cultural nuance, I failed to communicate.”If you wanted to wear clothes that weren’t hand me downs from your older brother you mowed lawns.”You might have the same motivation and need in India (back then) but most parents would rather you wear hand me downs than go do “manual” labor for another family down the street. Kids working was a negative social signal on the family as a whole back then. I might be botching the message with my words ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. awaldstein

          Very well said. Culture is the fabric we live in.For me–lower middle class baby boomer, family, work, education were the gospel.Being a plumber would have been just fine for me if I showed no other ambition or had the aptitude as long as I was happy.

  72. Rob Larson

    1. Cowboy (every summer, age ~10 through college). Dug fence posts, fixed barbed wire fences, built corrals, picked up rocks, baled hay, gathered cattle, shoed horses. Didn’t get any paychecks, but was well-paid in experience.2. Mistletoe salesman (high school) – cut mistletoe down from trees out in the Arizona desert, sold little bags with clippings around valentine’s day door to door. Decent $, short selling season.3. Housing construction site helper (high school) – did miscellaneous work at big tract home subdivisions. Fixed cabinetry/trim mistakes, calking mistakes, cleaned up a lot of construction waste.4. Volunteer mission service in Brazil 2 years. (unpaid). Learned about the real life struggles of the people I got to know there, learned about effective & ineffective leadership among volunteers.5. Physics TA – helped physics undergrads puzzle out their homework assignments and understand concepts from that day’s lectures. The beginning of a great love for teaching.6. Physics research assistant – worked on lasers in my university’s underground physics lab, paid out of my professor’s research grant. Built a high power tunable dye laser that we used to ionize calcium atoms that we had laser-cooled (10^-6 K) and trapped (lots of lasers).7. Foreign Exchange derivatives intern, Goldman Sachs. A friend who heard I was interested in business told me, “you should talk to investment banks – they love physicists.” This was my first exposure to the “real” business world. Enjoyed exploring the intersection of advanced math and finance. Discovered my true passion, which is strategy & new markets / startups.

  73. Jay Janney

    Age 8 Ground crew for my father. He specialized in live high voltage work, and rather than climb down, we had a pulley, and I was ran tools up and down. One of my side duties was to identify who to call in case he made a mistake and got electrocuted (never happened)Age 11. Selling lightbulbs to college students (there was a major apartment complex near my house)Age 11 Mowing lawns for neighborsAge 13 Shoveling the sidewalk between my mom’s beauty shop and six of her customers. I got tipped for walking old ladies to and from the beauty shop after shoveling.Age 16 LifeguardAge 16 Grocery clerk for a supermarketAge 17. House photographer for two insurance firms. I’d take pictures of homes for their homeowner insurance policies.Of the above list, only two were “formal jobs”; the others were just hustlin’ work.

  74. Aashay Mody

    1. Voice-over actor for children’s games2. Professional dance group member3. Library admin4. Equity research intern5. Wealth management intern6. Investment management intern7. Implementation consultantNotice how these get increasingly less interesting as you go down the list. Thankfully, I realized this some time ago and am on my way to doing something I am passionate about and truly enjoy doing!

  75. Dan Conway

    Washington Post – Delivery BoyRoth Theatres – Popcorn GuyBarnes and Noble – CashierCamp Carolina – Counselor/PioneeringThe Hecht Company – Towel ExpertRockville Mall – Pizza ChefHanson, O’Brien, Birney and Butler – Law ClerkDo kids have the opportunity to have those types of experiences by the time they’re sixteen today? I don’t see it.

  76. Ole Jakob Thorsen

    1, Taking up potatoes during fall break, if we were really fast we could make 1 $ per hour. God how wet and cold it was.2. Packaging board games and run them through a shrink wrapping machine at my dads factory.3. Cleaning a bar early in the mornings – horrible smells.4. Selling newspaper subscriptions by phone. We were only told what not to do, and learning to sell the hard way – very useful for later use.5. Collecting bad debts for a factoring company – ranging from heartbreaking to very illustrative how not to run your business.6. Teaching evening bridge classes – getting insights to how married couples are not always nice to each other, and learning that teaching was not for me.7. Running the night shift at my dads factory and sometimes also the dayshift – hard work and motivating to complete university fast.

  77. Sahil Patel

    Late to the game…1. Kitchen boy at Skyline Chili in Montgomery OH. Got pretty good at dicing onions.2. Wendy’s.3. Telemarketing for Gannett (owner of USA Today).4. Movie theater. Popped popcorn. Tore tickets. Sold concessions. 5. Rec services. Painted lines on the field / reffed soccer games.6. Sold Cracker Jack, ice cold Coca-Cola, and cotton candy at Braves games and Music Midtown (working for Aramark). 7.Teaching assistant at Emory U. for Steve Walton, intro to decision science 351 (“d-sci”)

  78. Adam Sher

    I didn’t have a job until nearly the end of high school. Almost all of my non-academic time was spent practicing piano and traveling to piano competitions. There were some sports and household chores sprinkled in. Now I spent a significant amount of my non-career or family time traveling for tennis.1. cold call sales at IT repair company (high school)2. research assistant neuroscience lab (summer university)3. camp counselor / tennis instructor (nike tennis camp)4. tennis racket stringer (university) – my teammates were lazier than I5. tech desk support staff and manager (university) – loved this job6. teacher – economics for continuing education students at university (i.e. the students were middle-aged adults)7. assistant tennis coach (b-school)

  79. Dean Laffan

    1. Storeman and packer (warehouse work) as a 14 year old my next door neighbour who ran the warehouse got me a job on school holidays. Picking and packing orders from clipboards … obviously pre-OH+S because he ‘taught’ me how to drive a gas powered full size forklift and off I went ! Notable because at the end of the week I got my white envelope with cash pay in it. Opened it, gasped and went to him and stammered “Roy I have the wrong pay, this is $250 dollars !” he said “you did a man’s week of work you get a man’s pay” This is 1976 so that is the equivalent of paying a kid today $1,500 per week. (God bless unions) Sadly it really messed me up for later life. My first job as an 18yr old I only earned $120/week ! ;-)2. Metal working labourer. School holidays, 0600 – 1600 5 days/week. Had to cycle 10kms each way. Nasty, hard dangerous work under tin roof in sweltering conditions. Cutting up glass fibre insulation and fixing it not air conditioning ducting. Not even a mask. At the end of the day you grab an air gun, strip off your overalls down to you underwear and get your workmate to blow all the fiberglass micro particles off you, Ride the 10kms home, eat dinner fall asleep. Rinse repeat. How I never got some lung disease I’ll never know. Pay, $80/week.3. Storeman and packer (again) first adult job. Lasted 6 months. Pay, $120/week4. Counter jockey in a hardware store. Great place to work, one of the first ‘big box’ hardware stores in Melbourne. Founded by a Jewish family who prised up the floorboards of their train carriage in the way to Auschwitz and eventually escaped to Australia. Became millionaires through hard work and treated every one of their 100 or so employees like their on children. Wonderful experience. Started on $140/week can’t remember what I left on but I think I finally got past my $250/week record from 10 years earlier!5. Sales Rep for TECO a manufacturing firm who made metal connectors for timber used in home construction like joists straps and gang nails. Mil run stuff calling on hardware stores.6. Photocopier salesman. Have you seen the movie Tin Men ? Then that’s all you need to know.7. Account (sales) manager for a computer graphic slide bureau. Back in 1992 if you wanted a ‘top shelf presentation’ you had to use 35mm slide in a projector. The graphics on the slides were created in a bureau by graphic artists. So this is right before the appearance of Powerpoint, laptops and digital projectors. What a cash cow this business was … for the owners ! Back in 1992 we charged $180/hr to create what today weed be considered crap powerpoint. Blue background, white text ($5 extra per slide if you anted the background GRADUATED from dark blue to slightly lighter ! ;-)We quoted 3 day turnaround. Want it within 48 hrs, no problem, 50% loaded. Ned it with 24 hrs ? No problem, 100% loaded. A lot of jobs were rush. So $360/hr back then would be $650/hr now. We paid the artists $10/hr. But the Genigraphics workstations they worked on cost $100K each, the film recorder that etched the image into slide film cost $200K, incidentally all the graphics were vector image (SCODL files) and jobs were backed up onto giant 7″ 360KB floppies, later upgraded to 5″ 720KB floppies.The first graphics programs were actually Lotus Freelance, Corel Draw, Harvard Graphics whilst on the (new) Mac platform there was Aldus Persuasion. Microsoft (as usual) were late to the party buying a mac program called Presenter and rejigging it to Windows as Powerpoint. Although originally ‘last’ once it got bundled into Office, it took over for slide creation. Later came laptops and digital projectors and the slide market died. I moved into events and ‘multimedia’ … the basis of what Real World still does today with corporate events and helping companies craft their investor presentations.

  80. Andrew J Scott

    1. Waiting teas @ The old fire engine house gallery restaurant, outside Cambridge (age 10?)2. Paper round (age 10/11?)3. Local Computer Shop assistant (age 12?)4. Started a Postal User Group ST-PUG for Atari ST Owners (age 13)5. Started doing independent IT consultancy – my school was first client, a project with $120k budget and bought a huge room full of networked PCs and not Macs; this was after all, when Steve WASN’T in charge of Apple ;p it was 386/486 DX2 days (age 14)6. Dixons Electronics shop – holiday work (age 16)7. Chillies Bar & Restaurant – part time (age 17)

  81. Paul Sanwald

    we were talking about it last night, and my mom reminded me that my first job was actually as a magician. I did table magic walking around to tables at our local TGI Fridays, and also did shows for birthday parties. apparently I was pretty good for a 10 year old.1) Magician2) Busboy3) Dishwasher4) Line Cook5) House Painter6) Touring musician (guitarist)7) Sysadmin/programmer

  82. Susan Rubinsky

    Wall of shame sounds interesting!

  83. Susan Rubinsky

    I have a neighbor who used to work at a photo processing center in the 1970’s. He tells the funniest stories about the photos that sometimes got sent in.