My First Job: A Lost Profession

I’m excited to link up with Andrea over at Momfessionals for her Show and Tell Tuesday – the topic this time around is first jobs.

In the state of Washington, you have to be at least 16 years old to have a job. But then there are a few businesses who can/do hire younger than that. I don’t know what the loophole is, but both Jeremy and I were younger than 16 when we worked our first jobs. And with how much the times have changed these days, my first job seems like a lost profession…. the paper route. Do people still get the newspaper delivered to their front porch anymore? 

I was 13 when I delivered newspapers for the Tacoma News Tribune. My sister and I each had a route with roughly about 50 subscribers each, and those two routes covered our big neighborhood called Heritage Glen. I would say about 75% of the houses in Heritage Glen had a subscription. I touched a little bit about my paper route in this funny post because it was when I learned to drive a car! Holding a job and learning to drive at 13 years old! 🙂

My sister and I just combined our routes and worked together to get all the papers delivered. The newspapers were delivered to our front porch EARLY in the morning (probably 3am), flat and in bundled stacks. We then had to roll and rubber band them all before setting out on the route. We filled our bags and walked through the neighborhood, each delivering to one side of the street as we made our way around. We were not “Dennis the Menace”-style with throwing the newspapers from the street and not caring if they landed on the porch or in the yard or on the roof. No, we took our jobs very seriously and made sure the newspapers were within a foot or two of the front door. And that courtesy paid off at holiday time! We loved receiving holiday “bonuses” from our customers – some would leave cash in an envelope as a thank you for our hard work throughout the year, others would leave cookies or other treats. That was fun!

I think our deadline to get the newspapers delivered to each house was by 530am. That was early! Looking back on it now, I can’t believe how early we were getting up and getting to work. And then going to school afterwards! I also remember the Sunday papers were HUGE. Those ones required the bigger rubber bands, and sometimes we would sneak a peak at the Sunday funnies before delivering. Man, I’m really dating myself here, aren’t I?

The good old newspaper route. It really is a lost profession. It was such a great first job for someone younger than 16 to learn about responsibility, accountability, courtesy, customer service… I loved it. And it just may have been my kickstart into the journalism field. 🙂

My other first jobs included:

  • Fast food – When Arby’s first opened in our town, there were a bunch of us who applied, and those of us who were hired had a BLAST together. I always had fun working the drive-through – and I once accidentally drove home still wearing the headset! When I was assigned to the back, I always made a star or a smiley face with the condiments before closing and wrapping the sandwich, not that anyone ever saw my happy artwork. I hope our team picture is still hanging there – I will always be a part of the first crew hired at the Arby’s on Meridian.
  • Courtesy clerk at the grocery store – This one was fun too. I bagged those groceries like no one’s business, and to this day, I still eye the way the courtesy clerks bag my groceries and I cringe when they waste space or don’t fill a bag properly. There is a Tetris strategy to bagging groceries and I rocked at it!
  • Hollywood Video – I can honestly say I chose this job because of the stars on the carpet, haha! And I still remember when one of our store managers told me about this new device called a DVD, and I didn’t believe him that this new “DVD” phenomenon was going to take over VHS tapes. Haha!
  • Once I moved away to college, I took a job at the mall at the little girly jewelry and accessories store called Afterthoughts. I did NOT last long at this job. I trained and practiced and learned how… but when it came time to do it on a real person, I just could NOT bring myself to pierce someone’s ears. Nope, not for me!
  • Then I landed my dream job that I held throughout the rest of my college years – I was a dance instructor for the local kids at a fun dance studio. I had so much fun choreographing dances and teaching the kids – that was probably my most favorite job because it never felt like I was working. I was having way too much fun! With my own dance classes that I took, plus the ones that I taught, I was practically living in the dance studio during college.

So… I didn’t know him back then, but Jeremy’s first job was also before he was 16. He was living two hours north from where I lived, and he got a job at the only place in his town that hired people younger than 16 – Alfy’s Pizza. I asked him how he got to and from work, and he said he rode his bike or walked. He was determined to make money at age 15, even when his friends weren’t! What a guy. 🙂

And what a fun topic for this Show and Tell Tuesday! I’m excited to go read some other bloggers’ fun first job stories now. Happy Tuesday!

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