Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Teenager Gets a Job

Remember your first job? Not the first time you mowed a lawn or baby sat the neighbor’s kids; I mean the first time you showed up at a place of business wearing appropriate clothing, did whatever your boss told you to do and, a week or two later, came home with a paycheck. Your first real job. Or, at least the first job your parents called a real job.

My first real job was at a health insurer processing claims for two summers in a row. I like to think of it as preparation for my next medical mystery.

Ok, so it was deadly dull. But it sure felt good to start college with a few thousand dollars in my savings account.

The Teenager believes his future lies in the film industry. A noble thought. Since Steven Spielberg hasn’t offered him a position as executive producer, however, his car remains devoid of gas, his calendar devoid of dates, and his plans to go on a three-month road trip with his Teenager Buddies a pipe dream, at best.

Since The Teenager is, after all, an intelligent, capable and clever human being, he sought only jobs he believed worthy of his potential. He prepared a resume, developed a job hunting strategy and filled out applications at every computer or sporting goods store within a 10-mile radius -- all to no avail.

Why? Everyone wants those jobs. Three months into The-Great-Job-Hunt-of-2006, and the Teenager had not so much as flipped a burger for $5 an hour.

“I don’t understand it, Mom. How can J get a job so easily? He's lazy, and a space cadet besides!”

“Where does he work?”


“Why don’t you apply there?”

“Nah, I don’t want to scoop ice cream.”

“What about where that wild-haired buddy of yours works. Why don’t you apply at Barnes & Noble?”

“Nah, I don’t like books.”

“Maybe you should try cutting your hair?”

“Come on, Mom, this is serious.”

We knew he’d hit bottom when he called ten of his friends to find someone to join him for a movie, and all of them were busy. Why? They all had jobs.

Then, Dad-Who-Would-Be-Outlaw threatened to take away his (gasp) truck. The Teenager responded with renewed verve. He cut his hair, expanded his strategic sphere, and, miraculously, an interview appeared on his calendar.

Friday, the good news arrived.

The Teenager is now The Ace Hardware Man.


Mindy Tarquini said...


My first real job was receptionist at my dad's law office for a summer while the real receptionist was on maternity leave.

I learned what the word 'professional' meant really fast when letters came back to me from the various attornies for retyping, again and again. They were patient, but the kicker was when I realized that the only reason I hadn't been fired was because I was the boss' daughter.

A sobering thought at an age when one believes that a smile and sparkling personality will get one through.

Congrats to the new Ace Hardware Man. May all his lessons be easy.

anne frasier said...

my first job that had nothing to do with family was at SWEET GRANNY'S FRIED CHICKEN (heh) in Western Springs, a suburb of Chicago. I was 16 or had just turned 17. Within a month i was made assistant manager if that tells you anything about the quality of the place.

Allison Brennan said...


Other than babysitting, my first real job was at a bookstore. Crown Books in San Carlos, California. A discount story and we had books EVERYWHERE. I got an employee discount :)

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I got a job doing stage tech. Lights, sets, getting drunk after shows and waking up in strange places.

Not that your son is likely to ever do something like that. I'm sure he's a very intelligent, and wise young man. Going on an unsupervised roadtrip to Los Angeles.

Brett Battles said...

Congratulations to the Teenager. Good news indeed.

Me? I put in three years at Mickey D's flipping burgers and handing bags out the drive through window. Fun times, but it did put cash in the pocket and kept my parents happy.

Cheetarah1980 said...

My first real job was at McDonalds. I got fired less than five months later after a customer called to complain about me.

mai wen said...

My first "real" business attire job I'm still at! It'll be a year in August and I can't wait to get out and go back to school (though I vaguley remembering not being able to wait to graduate college and get my first "real" job... what happened to that feeling?) It's so boring, the business world is not for me, but it did pay off some of those student loans and is financing my month long Europe trip next year (which the hubs and I are going on right after we quit our horrid jobs before we move for my schooling)!!

Jessie said...

I don't want to work here, I don't want to work there....ah, your son sounds like me these days. ha! :)-

But Ace sounds like a great place to start. My first job was housekeeping. My second job was Target. Somedays I desire nothing less than the simplicity those jobs offered. Other days I think I would die from boredom.

Your son sounds like a character--and I bet I know who he gets it from! :)

Elizabeth Krecker said...

Allison's job sounds like a dream. And I agree, Jessie, the simplicity of making sandwiches or selling purses sounds pretty good on many days. It wasn't my first job, but my favorite all-time job was my college job: taking care of plants in offices all over Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Good for the lad. If he approaches this opportunity with an open mind and an open ear he will get a lot of useful experience and insight into people that can pay off in his preferred career. I assume he's already well aware of how Quentin Tarantino (video store) and Kevin Smith (convenience store) got their starts.

Who knows - perhaps one day your son's "signature" will be a cameo of someone in a red vest in each of his pictures.

Plantation said...

Cool, he got the job. I bagged groceries at age 15 for my first real job. Slave labor for sure.