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What was your first real job?
Old 10-09-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
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What was your first real job?

We did this as an ice-breaker at a recent meeting with about 40 high-powered execs, made everyone answer the first question below. It was hilarious to hear what the first jobs were for all of them, some were quite humble compared to where they are now. One Pres/CEO of a half-billion/year company started as a busboy in a cafeteria for $1/hr.

I will pose it as two questions?

1) What was your first real paying job (not paid by a family member)?
Mine was as a Greenskeeper (helper) on a golf course, I think I got $3/hr and I had a blast doing it.

2) What was your salary/pay (and year) for the first job you held that supported you independently?
For me it was $1,275/month or $15,300/yr in 1977 as a Process Engineer. I distinctly remember thinking how am I going to spend all this money --- after surviving just fine on about $300/month during most of my college years. That first year I bought new clothes, new tennis racket, new golf clubs and a better used car - WHEEEEEEEEE. Haven't had that much money since I got married...
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:46 PM   #2
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1 -- drug store floor clerk, mostly part time through college, starting at $3.75 per hour (in 1983).

2 -- When I moved out on my own I had recently got a full-time gig as a mainframe programmer for an aerospace company. I was still in school so they got away with paying me less until I got that silly piece of paper -- this was in 1988 and I think it was around $25,000 a year (with a Silicon Valley cost of living). I didn't have much of a life so I was able to support myself with this in my little one-bedroom apartment.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 10-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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1. Paper boy. I basically worked for tips, which in 1983 (?) amounted to roughly $1 per customer. I might have made $40 per month.

2. $400 per week as a sweatshop programmer at a small startup. Very tough to live in LA on $400 per week (gross), even back in 1993. Ironically, I'd be better able to to manage it now, since I've got at least SOME personal finance knowledge now.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #4
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1 - worked summers at a marina on one of the TVA lakes (east TN), mainly boat rental, boat storage, pumping fuel; too long ago to remember pay rate but less than $3 an hour.

2 - started with feds (as a forester) making $15,200 in 1980.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #5
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1) Paperboy for 9 years. Maxed out around $170/month including subbing for others, saved almost all of it, graduated high school with about $11k, became accustomed to riding my bicycle a lot in all weather.

2) Programmer in 1979 for Hughes Aircraft, $18k salary. Lived in 200sq ft apartment 50' from sand in Manhattan Beach for $220/month.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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1. Catering truck sandwich maker, and later a delivery driver for the same company.

2. $16.5k/year electrical engineer with a masters degree in 1977. Crashed my old VW bug and had to buy a new Porsche 924 with loan help from my dad. That started my "75% of annual salary" rule for buying new cars! Luckily I kept them all for a long time. Didn't do much saving.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyclingInvestor View Post
1) Paperboy for 9 years. Maxed out around $170/month including subbing for others, saved almost all of it, graduated high school with about $11k, became accustomed to riding my bicycle a lot in all weather.
Wow, you even had the FIRE mindset as a wee lad....
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:41 PM   #8
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Lifeguard/swimming lesson instructor - summers 1984-87 - $7/hr (I had NO idea how great the pay was!)

US Navy - 1988 (whatever little E2's made back then less $1200 for the GI Bill)
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #9
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1. I was 10 years old -- mid 1950's. I don't remember how much I made but it was more than I could handle responsibly. I started (in a small 7,000 pop town) with a 60 customer route and built it up to 120 customers. I then split it in half and gave one half to my younger brother. I, then, built my half back up to over a hundred before I became too old for that foolishness. This was in Western South Dakota so you know what fun I had during the 11 months of winter.

2. I am unsure how to answer this. It could be the Laborer job working on the Titan/Minuteman missle silos in the late 50's during my high school summers. Or it could be the Contract Gold Mining I did right out of high school. Both paid pretty well. ( on second thought, I wonder if I was ever "independent.")
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:36 PM   #10
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This was in Western South Dakota so you know what fun I had during the 11 months of winter.
LOL. Reminds me of the old Vermont/Maine joke re: their weather - 9 months of winter and 3 months of damn, poor sledding.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:42 PM   #11
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My first real job was as a paperboy, too. Even now when I have "responsibility" dreams, I dream that I have forgotten to do my paper route for like a week and that my customers are really pi$$ed.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:47 PM   #12
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My first real paying job was dishing out ice cream on the boardwalk of Seaside Heights ,NJ . Pay was $1.00 an hour 1964. First real job Operating Room RN 1967 $3.00 an hour .Luckily it quickly escalated !
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:50 PM   #13
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My first real paying job was dishing out ice cream on the boardwalk of Seaside Heights ,NJ . Pay was $1.00 an hour 1964. First real job Operating Room RN 1967 $3.00 an hour .Luckily it quickly escalated !
Wow, OR RN works out to about $20K/yr in today's dollars according to my estimate. Glad to hear it escalated quickly...
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:53 PM   #14
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Wow, OR RN works out to about $20K/yr in today's dollars according to my estimate. Glad to hear it escalated quickly...
Two words:

Supply. Demand.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:54 PM   #15
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1. My first job was as a stocker in a grocery store. I was 16 years old and made $5.25/hr in 1996-1997.

2. My first full-time job living on my own was where i'm working now. I started as a material handler at $9/hr. in 2000. $9.40 with the 2nd shift premium, for a total of ~$20,000/yr. Luckily my pay has gone up about 225% over the last 9 years with the company. Unfortunetly it'll probably go up <25% over the next 9 years.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:02 PM   #16
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First job was probably as a paperboy in Dayton, Ohio in the late 1960's. First real job, getting paid by the hour, was washing dishes in a restaurant at $1.60/ hr in about 1971.

First career-track position was when I go out of college in 1980, as a project manager/estimator for a large steel fabricating company - at a starting salary of $18K... (this was after working my way through 4-1/2 years of college at $300/month-they bumped me to $21K after 6 months- it took me a few years to adjust to my new-found wealth and live responsibly...)
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:05 PM   #17
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1. Summer camp instructor, age 16, somewhere around $600-$800 a month in 1990...

2. Teaching assistant, stipend right around $1,300 a month in 1997...
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:21 PM   #18
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1. My first job was as a dog-walker at a veterinary clinic in 1991. I was 16 and made $4.75/hr. I eventually worked my way up to veterinary technician, thanks to 2 people quitting and some vets willing to do a lot of on-the-job training. Scary to think of some uncertified 17 yo kid taking X-rays of Fido! Yikes.

2. My first grownup job in 1997 was with one of the bigtime consulting firms...I couldn't believe they would hire a poli sci major to do IT consulting. Salary was 29K/yr. After four years substisting on ramen and keystone light that seemed like a fortune at the time! Luckily I bought a sensible car and started contributing to the 401K right away.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:24 PM   #19
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First job was probably as a paperboy in Dayton, Ohio in the late 1960's. First real job, getting paid by the hour, was washing dishes
Along the same lines, I did a lot of babysitting but that wasn't a *real* job, I suppose.

My first real job was in the gift wrap department at a large bookstore in Honolulu. It paid minimum wage, which I believe was $1.40/hr if my memory is correct.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:47 PM   #20
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First real job...worked at an insurance agency when I was 16 years old (1974), a junior in high school. I made around $2 an hour.

I still had that job in 1977 when I got married, but had to leave as DH worked for the same company. I left my job because he made about $1 an hour more than I did. Yep, ladies and germs, I married for money...

I worked other jobs along the way. During my last few years at Megacorp, I finally made enough money that I could do just fine on my own. At the end...1998...I was making $50k a year with benefits. Not too bad considering I have no formal education.
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