Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:
What was your first job?

Doug Hagin: First job? A friends dad hired me to work at his welding shop. I swept, A LOT!, I ran errands, I went to get lunch, which the boss paid for, up to $5, and when we had jobs on the road I did whatever was needed. Never really learned to weld too well, but it was good experience. Oh, and I got paid a whopping, $3.60 an hour to boot.

Patrick O’Hannigan: My first job was spending one summer helping my high school library convert from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress annotation. It was basic data entry for poor pay, but my friend John had the same assignment, and we made those Hawaiian mornings on old computers fun by taking turns writing an adventure story when we got bored. The only rule we had was that we could only write one paragraph apiece before handing off to the other kid. By the end of the summer, we had a short, cheerfully nonsensical story with an odd assortment of characters who had their hands full dealing with random implausible mayhem.

Laura Rambeau Lee: One evening my dad sat me down at the kitchen table with a cash drawer and taught me how to count back change. I caught on easily and at the age of 12 I went to work in the family drug store/soda fountain (which later became a luncheonette) in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I was incredibly shy and really was not excited about having to speak to people but knew I would be expected to work once I was old enough. My older sister had already been working a couple of years since she is two years older than me. I started at the soda fountain making sodas, shakes, malteds, scooping out ice cream and making sundaes, cones, and banana splits. Within a year I was also working on the drug store side, where we carried Hallmark Cards, 45 rpm records, toys and other sundries. We were also the Trailways bus stop and ticket station.

I learned a lot about owning and running a business and gained a lot of confidence in my abilities at an early age, which has served me well throughout my business career. It was very rewarding making money and being able to buy things I wanted without having to ask anyone. My starting wage was $.50 per hour. After we sold the business and moved to Florida (I was almost 15), when I turned 16 I got a job at a big chain drug store and worked there the balance of my high school and college years. One thing for certain, I decided early on I did not want to work in retail as my life’s career. I never wanted to work nights and weekends if I did not have to. I started in banking and have worked in the title insurance business ever since. Many years later I came to understand the importance of parents knowing the abilities of their children and encouraging them and setting expectations for them. Every little accomplishment increases self confidence and builds self esteem. A valuable life lesson indeed.

Well, there it is!

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