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Old 04-26-2011, 07:29 AM   #21
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These sound like sh!tty jobs, not character forming.
Let's digress. I was a school janitor for a years during college and handled a high school pool for a while. One afternoon the obnoxious kids stuffed a remote toilet in the back of the locker room to the brim with their feces and toilet paper. The evening guy should have cleaned it but left it for me. I was so PO'd at him (and more so at the kids) that I too left it. This went on for several days until someone reported the problem to the school engineer who dumped the job on me

I guess that was one of those reverse character building experiences -- how to become a slacker.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:36 AM   #22
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Paper boy at ages 13 and 14. 60 customers, 6 days a week delivered on my bike over about 5 miles of gravel roads. Winter and summer, rain or shine. I learned that the customers were expecting me to deliver no matter what and if I missed someone, they would call me and give me heck. I also learned how to deal with dead beats and that I had to pay a weekly bill for the papers. I knew that until I covered the paper bill, my profit was zero.

I still have paper route responsibility dreams.
Same for me, only in a more suburban setting, think I did for ~3 years starting at 12 yo. Then worked as movie theater usher until going into the service - took tickets, worked the candy stand, and was also somewhat of a maintenance man as well (cleaned restrooms/floods, cleaned up vomit, replaced light bulbs in chandellier that was 30+ feet high, turned on HVAC blower, etc.)

As to character building, dunno, I did enjoy those jobs, and earned enough over the years to purchase my first car, a brand new 1967 396SS Chevelle.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:03 AM   #23
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In high school/college I worked in a gas station, back in the days when they had people to pump the gas, check the oil, etc. I also did light mechanical work such as oil changes, battery changes, generator/water pumps, tire mounting and the like.

As a kid who helped my father rebuild an engine at age 14 I knew my way around an engine enough to not do something like put antifreeze into the oil sump (one guy did that!) and the owners liked that part.

But it was also an introduction to retail sales, how unreasonable people can be, and how oblivious some are to "how mechanical things work" and how completely helpless they were if they turned the key and the car didn't start.

I'll never forget one guy. We could hear him coming a block away and he came into the station with the engine steaming and smoking, knocking like it was going to seize from overheating any second. He said the temperature gauge was reading high. Well, yeah, we could hear that.

Popping the hood, I noticed that a section of heater hose was missing. The ends were still attached to the nipples, but the hose was gone. When asked about that, he said the hose was leaking so he cut it off so it wouldn't leak anymore. I remember just standing there, trying to get my head wrapped around this logic.

I didn't say anything, just replaced the hose, refilled with coolant and sent him on his way.

The scary part is that these people are allowed to reproduce.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:15 AM   #24
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When asked about that, he said the hose was leaking so he cut it off so it wouldn't leak anymore.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:22 AM   #25
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When I was in grade school, I was a newspaper boy until one dark night, I fell into a manhole under construction.

Then became a shoe shine boy. I will go home with dyes and shoe polish all over my face. I did this through my HS days.

It has been a long time, I don't remember how much money I earned but this is how I learned that you have to work hard for the money.

Do cleaning the bathroom/toilet and going to the market place for grocery everyday to earn your weekly allowance count?
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:45 AM   #26
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Started out babysitting - every Friday night when in junior high school and one summer was a 'au pere' sort of babysitter - every day. Then worked at Royal Fork Buffet - started out bussing (that's a hard job!), then a floor girl/cashier, then salad girl. After that was a busser at a Mexican Restaurant - the manager was amazed at how well I bussed and gave me a raise the first night and the waitresses tipped me fairly well. I was also responsible for frying the tortilla chips in that job - lots of lard....Then I worked as a hostess at another Mexican restaurant - mainly weekends during college...was also a TA at the same time grading other student's papers/homework. The next job was at a theater - I jumped to cashier because I had computer experience and these new-fangled computers were not things that most people had been exposed to. Worked there for quite awhile and then the management changed and decided we would cross-train and I got to go back and sell refreshments which also entailed popping popcorn and lugging soft drink syrup canisters around - oh, and cleaning bathrooms, etc. Left that job for an internship with the Dept of Energy working on power lines - that was one of the more interesting jobs and helped me understand what I was studying---engineering. I learned to read bluprints, what the difference between the technicians and engineers were, what a union did - they were also going through a 'computerization' phase so I was responsible for replacing electromechanical relays and meters with electronic ones. I met some very smart engineers who looked like serious hippies and had been in the Navy during Vietnam. They were very kind to a young female engineer and we had a good time on some field trips all over Arizona working on substations. Still remember that experience to this day.

All were character building jobs and all made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to get an education and study to become what I wanted - and am today.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:08 AM   #27
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The ends were still attached to the nipples, but the hose was gone. When asked about that, he said the hose was leaking so he cut it off so it wouldn't leak anymore. I remember just standing there, trying to get my head wrapped around this logic.
I wonder what he will do if he has something aching on his body?
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:24 AM   #28
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I was a young registered nurse working in the emergency department of a large downtown Philadelphia hospital. Interesting work.....but the character building was always on the nights with a full moon. Don't ever let anyone tell you full moons don't effect people. They do....and anyone working in an emergency department will confirm that.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:26 AM   #29
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I worked as a bartender during my college years. It was the best job ever: hot women, free liqour after midnight, lots of tips (unreportable), etc. I learned how to be a good listener, sales skills, how to dance, etc.

It was hard work but I had fun, particularly flirting with cougars...... I would not trade those years for any other job. I regularly made $250 a week in tips plus $5.00 an hour because I was promoted to bar manager. This was the early to mid 80's, so that was real money back then.........
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:28 AM   #30
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When asked about that, he said the hose was leaking so he cut it off so it wouldn't leak anymore. I remember just standing there, trying to get my head wrapped around this logic.
That logic would make perfect sense to DW, which is why she is not allowed to touch the engine on her minivan...........
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:29 AM   #31
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and earned enough over the years to purchase my first car, a brand new 1967 396SS Chevelle.
I had a convertible one of those in HS, but it was NOT brand new..........
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #32
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Had a variety of small jobs as a kid and they all taught me the value of hard work and saving for the future. I had a paper route, mowed lawns, shoveled snow, shined shoes, unloaded boxcars and worked in a local factory during the summers. Worked sometimes on weekends, while going to college (coop education). I worked (cooped), lived and schooled away from home. The paycheck from the factory went to Mom who was the family bookeeper since that was her actual profession. Folks helped with my education where necessary. Out of my paycheck, Mom gave me $10 a week spending money. Mailed it to me weekly so I wouldn't "go nuts" as she put it. Until I graduated from college and started working, it was always SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Wonder if any kids still go through this process today?
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:56 AM   #33
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Had a series of summer jobs through high school and college that helped me realize that I'd rather use my brains than my back (slow learner). The light bulb really came on the summer I worked as a herring fisherman on the Hood Canal where I spent the nights setting and pulling in nets, the days trying to keep the boat afloat. Was perpetually exhausted and didn't leave the boat for three months. Earned enough that summer, though, to pay for 2 semesters of college.

The 2 most "character building" experiences came quite a bit later - the first was immediately after I transferred to Saudi Arabia, when Saddam came for his little visit to Kuwait. Never thought I'd be carrying around a gas mask and dodging Scuds for my job. (Learned to never, ever trust the State Department, however)

The second came years later, when I briefly worked for an independent oil company whose owner was proud that J.R. Ewing of "Dallas" was modeled on him. After a few months of working for Satan (no bad feelings remain, obviously!), I realized that I had to make a choice between a paycheck and ethics, and it had be made immediately. Had no job lined up, the industry was in a downturn, but remaining was not an option, so I quit. Having a decent nest egg helped smooth a scary proposition of being unemployed for the first time since I was 14. Miraculously, a job opportunity opened up for me that afternoon in a company with people I respected, which I immediately accepted - salary negotiations consisted of "I'll take the job. Pay me what you think is fair".
Learned one critical lesson - there are a few people out there who are just bad to the core, and reinforced that 1) there a really good people out there, 2) life is too short to put up with a bad situation and 3) having a good nest egg allows a lot more flexibility.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:04 PM   #34
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2 summer jobs while I was in college spring to mind, in terms of thank god I won that tuition scholarship and only have to do these jobs for 3 months each summer until I graduate. I had to get the highest paying jobs I could find to save up enough to cover my books and room/board at college. I had a definite financial goal to achieve in 3 short months.

The year is 1976...unwed mothers were shunned by society.

A neighborhood female friend got pregnant by her long term boyfriend, and he immediately disclaimed himself as the father. So she was stuck with supporting her child, and dealing with being kicked out of her childhood home by her very strict IC father. Her Mom gave her money to get into an apartment and babysat while she jobhunted. She got a job pumping gas at Sears and made very good money when they promoted her to station manager after 1 year.

The year is 1977...I came home from college with no job prospects. She spoke to the right people and got me hired as a mechanic in the small engine repair shop, with excellent pay and weekends off. It was good pay but not enough, so I answered a newspaper ad for a weekend attendant at another gas station.

The owner did not want a female w*rking by herself (an easy mark for robbery or worse) with all that money, so he hired another woman who had also applied for the job. She also was a single mother. We two covered the weekend hours, side by side.

So here I am, w*rking near and with 2 young women who had to support themselves and a child each, and all I had to do is save my money and return to college. It was a pretty stark contrast in life choices for me to see, up close and personal, at the tender age of 19.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:04 PM   #35
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These sound like sh!tty jobs, not character forming.
Then you probably don't understand.

The trials we go through form our future (at least it was, in my case).

The "worst times" drove me to the "best times" in my various "careers" along the way ....
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #36
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My first proper job was working full-time in a fishing tackle factory during my summer holidays from school. I earned £40/week (paid in cash in a small brown envelope, as wages often were back then) and in a few weeks made enough money to buy a brand new bicycle. A representative from the unofficial "union" visited me and asked me to slow down as I was working so fast, the long-time workers were worried that the job would be re-priced (we were paid by the piece). I was 16, didn't care too much, and just wanted to work as hard as possible so I could make money.

Then as an adult after I left radio and decided to get a "real" job, I worked as a motorcycle courier in Los Angeles. Delivered packages to the houses of Victoria Principal, Jack Palance, Nicholas Cage and Fabio, as well as people like Brian Grazer and others. Jack Palance came to the door wearing a smoking jacket and gave me a huge wink as a gesture of thanks. Nicholas Cage was in the shower and came to the door dripping wet with his towel around his middle. On getting home and telling my girlfriend, she swooned.

Also spent a lot of time in that job delivering voice-over tapes to and from various agencies and studios and feeling that something just wasn't right, as I wanted to be the person on the voice-over tape. I was desperate to move on and up, but didn't know how. A year or two later, I was recording and producing voice-overs and having couriers come to pick up the tapes with my voice on. Did that for years.

That's what I loved about LA - the feeling that you never quite knew when your break would come - the feeling that anything was possible. The city has that kind of magic about it.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:38 PM   #37
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Bank teller was I was 18 years old. This job taught me about money and debt at a very young age. This was a big factor in me becoming the frugal saver I've been all my working life. It also taught me how to deal with the public and office politics. I worked hard and was promoted to head teller when I was 19. This taught me how to supervise others and handle responsibility.

My first boss at the bank was a retired Army officer named Mr. Roberts. He whipped us into shape and insisted on the best from us. No slacking off with Mr. Roberts! He was also a complete professional and a gentleman. He set a standard I always wanted to live up to.

I ended up getting my degree in accounting and spending my entire career in accounting, banking and finance.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:19 PM   #38
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What kind of character are we talking here?
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:19 PM   #39
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It was the summer between the 2nd and 3rd years of law school. I was interning at a law firm and had to show up at 9 or so every morning, BS with the partners for part of the day, and then they would take me out for drinks, social events with local politicians and local celebs (small town firm). The pay wasn't great - only $35 an hour or so, and it was really hot when we would go out to picnics, baseball games, outdoor social events, etc.

That is when I figured out I didn't really want to be a real life lawyer (hence why this post is appropriate in a thread about jobs that built your character! ).
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:25 PM   #40
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Yowza. The Gekko school of character building.

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