Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What was your first job?

When I was fifteen, I started working for the first time. This is not counting babysitting or getting paid by my parents to do stuff around the house, because I did lots of that. I was ready to start working the summer after I turned 15, but you had to be 16 to get a paying job in Texas, or something like that. So, I signed up to be a volunteer at the Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas.

I loved it! I had to wear a white button down shirt and white pants with a pink checked apron. I helped nurses out with patients and re-stocked items and answered phones. I enjoyed the atmosphere (although it is hard seeing sick kids) and it felt good to go somewhere and do something important. It was my first real experience working. I learned to wash my hands a lot and to sing "Yankee Doodle Dandee" slowly to make sure I had washed them long enough. Amazingly I knew the words to that song because I had to learn it when I took piano lessons. Now I think they recommend you sing "Happy Birthday" twice, which is better because everyone knows the words to that song.

Now, fast forward about 12 years or so, and I found myself once again volunteering at the Children's Hospital. This time I was a married 27 yr old college student with two kids. I had decided to go pre-med, and I wanted to be around medicine and make sure that's what I wanted to do. I worked in the pediatric ICU, and was mainly put to work answering phones. I spent free time studying flashcards for my medical terminology class at the University of Texas and just soaked up the medical talk around me. It was a very rewarding experience, even though I wasn't getting paid and I could only work for four hours, one day a week.

Two times volunteering, two different times in my life, and I'd do it again if I had the time.

What was your first job?


Lynn said...

I worked the counter at a little hamburger stand next to my junior high school when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I think I might have lasted two weeks. Way too noisy and confused for me. I was good at counting back change, but that was about it!

Fast forward thirty years to when I was getting my AAS in Interpreting for the Deaf. I worked concessions at a movie theatre and loved it! What made the difference? Dealing with five noisy, demanding children for 20 years. Like the magnet on my fridge says, I can handle any crisis - I have kids!

Rhea said...

You are so right, Lynn. Having kids really changes everything. You have to a handle crises as a mom and put up with a lot of noise anc chaos at times. After that, a lot of things are easy!!

Thanks for sharing!!

KP said...

hey thanks for the comment!!! :)

my first job (besides babysitting and stuff) was I think... working as a swim coach. or maybe it was JC penney. or maybe it was at the bookstore (the college one). either way. they all sucked, in retrospect.

anyway, i'm so pumped you like lost!!! i love lost.

have a great night!!!

Rhea said...

Thanks for the comment, KP! I'm always excited to find fellow LOST fans. I love that show!

Anonymous said...

good question. I, too, did my turn as a "candystriper" and I have often looked forward to being able to volunteer again with my children...baby has to get a little older first.

My first paying job was helping out in my mom's friend's stationery store. I stocked, dusted and organized shelves. It was painfully boring but I was "learning the value of a dollar."

Rhea said...

I think those first jobs are always a learning experience, Uberburber. I know some parents who don't want their children to work until they have to, but I think working, especially in during summer vacations, is an incredibly wonderful life experience.

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

My first job when I was 12 was a paper route that I hated. My route took me up a busy highway with no sidewalks, and as we didn't have a car, I had to walk or bike. Keep in mind, this was upstate NY. Upstate NY gets A LOT of snow in the winter. Horrible, horrible job.

After that I worked at a hot dog place, and an eye glass place, and an ice cream place, and a toy store, and a grocery store. All those places were before the age of 21! I also worked in a group home. That was not a good job. I worked with profoundly developmentally disabled adults. My coworkers didn't work. They seemed to always be outside smoking. I was left alone to take care of all these people. One guy, who was more than 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds could not walk, could not talk...he was like a newborn but in a man's body. I had to give him a bath. By myself. The guy was in the shower and had to use the bathroom, so he went, right where he was. All over the place. Rubbed it in his hair. I quit that job the next day. I just couldn't deal with that. Poor guy.

My last job outside my home before getting pregnant was at a local science center. That was a GREAT job. Wonderful people. We're now members of that science center and go there often.

Lynn, you interpret for the deaf? My son is deaf. He doesn't know sign, though...he has a cochlear implant and has done amazingly with it. People are surprised to find out he's deaf! It'd be fun to learn sign, though. Maybe we'll take a class in it sometime.

Rhea said...

Wow, Kim, you've had a lot of jobs. I have to admit, the paper route and the disabled adult center sound the worst. God Bless people who do that kind of work. Whew.

CrystalChick said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience!
My first was an ice cream parlor. Summers were brutal there. But getting to have free goodies every day was sure nice. I used to love the half-popped kernels and the ones that got pretty burnt that fell onto the tray under the popcorn machine. LOL

Rhea said...

Crystalchick, I can't imagine how busy an ice cream parlor would be in the summer...especially around here with our sizzling Texas heat.

You like the half-popped and burnt kernals? eww!! I'll send you the bottom of my bag next time I microwave some. :o)

Andrea said...

Hey! Just stopped over. I volunteered as a candy striper at a hospital in Houston. It was fun, but I found out at an early age about "work politics". There were high schoolers who were in the game already :) I also worked during my years at UT at St. David's. I did registration, hospitality suite, QA, medical records and billing. I remember seeing the Children's hospital there.

I have also done temporary personnel, a graduate assistant, more hospital admin work in Dallas, and a day care worker (the summer after high school).

Maybe all of this has prepared me for my current job-motherhood.

Rhea said...

Nothing can completely prepare you for motherhood. lol

tearese said...

question: Did you find my blog by googling 'the numbers?' My first real job wasn't till I was 19 and a junior in college. I was on the facilities crew for one of the university's buildings, and cleaned windows for four hours a day. I didn't feel a need for more money than I got babysitting before that. I'd applied to a few jobs in summers past, but when no one called me, I didn't keep looking.
My later college jobs were my favorites: Correcting Art History Essays, and Darkroom assistant for the photography class.

Rhea said...

Tearese, I found your blog by searching through Blogger profiles under the word "Science" or "Lost" in Interests. I can't remember which word I used.

The darkroom job sounds like a lot of fun. I would love that.

Kori Ellien-Tyler said...

Surprisingly, my first "real" job didn't come my way until I was 18. Born and rasied in the boonies, I didn't have much opportunity to explore the realm of "on the books" work. Having missed out on those years of exploration, my first job became plural. (1) Photographer and (2) Present Wrapper (which, I turned out to be quite good at)... Both are forms of creative expression, so they suit my personality.

Rhea said...

Interesting job combination, Kori! I don't think I'm very good at wrapping...I get the job done, but I don't have the best presentation ever. lol