January 18, 2009
Jobs I've Done...
Bus-boy at a Burger Joint
My very first job was at age 14. This was back in 1982. It was a mom/pop joint called Dave and Sons. Benny was my manager, nicest guy ever. My family had just moved from Mexico to the United States, Houston, Texas to be specific. In a family of seven children all under the age of 14 working wasn't only an unfair expectation, it was a necessity. I remember not understanding much of what people were telling me, but you didn't need to understand or 'speake-le-English' to clean tables, clear dishes, sweep, mop and take care of whatever people pointed at me to do. I still remember my first check, I was so proud of myself and I still have it somewhere. I eventually moved 'up the ranks' and within six months I had learned the skillful art of the Hungry Farmer (basically a Cheeseburger with Bacon and Hickory Sauce)--remember this was Texas!
I used to walk to work in the hot/humid Texas weather, sometimes I'd ride a bike and if I was lucky, someone would give me a ride to and from work. I did all the possible jobs there in next year and a half from counter, cooking, prepping to cashiering working evenings while in school and summer while off school. I made great friendships and learned lots and lots of things about hard work, but I also learned a lot about what teenagers did in the cooler while the manager wasn't there (smoke pot)-I was a good Mormon boy and the thought of joining them never crossed my mind, besides, they needed someone to watch the front! I certainly don't miss smelling like a cheeseburger and I made sure that I got home and took a shower every day.
Back to the helping family--I didn't get to do the teenager thing much--blow all my earnings at the mall---I wanted to, but it just wasn't possible. I remember once cashing my check and having my first ever $100 bill in my hand and my mom mentioning that we had no groceries in the house. We went to the Safeway down the street and got some stuff and remember handing the cashier my bill only to get about 28 cents back...damn, I'm not bitter about it though, it was an implied understanding that if you worked you contributed to the household. I'm glad for the lessons learned in my first job--they laid down a lot of good work habits and taught me the value of hard work and earnings. What was your first job?