#FirstSevenJobs: What Were Yours?

firstsevenjobsThere’s a meme going around about your #firstsevenjobs — so I thought it might be a fun thing to discuss. (A lot of celebrities and business leaders have answered, including Sheryl Sandberg, Buzz Aldrin, Stephen Colbert, and more.)  My own answers kind of highlight my upper middle class youth, I guess — there aren’t many paid jobs in there! Still, it’s nice to look back on them and remember…

Ladies, what were your first seven jobs? What can you learn by looking back at them? (I included “unpaid internships where I had a boss” in my list — these days a similar position would have to be paid!)

1. (Paid) Lifeguard / Swimming Instructor, age 15-19

I loved swimming when I was a kid, and took pretty much any swimming class they had to offer.  Synchronized swimming, lifeguarding, sure! Right after I finished my lifeguarding class they were opening a new pool in my hometown and had signs up everywhere to apply to be a lifeguard — so I applied.  I did the interview in my JV tennis uniform (an early WTH moment in interview attire, I’m sure) and started work a month or two before I turned 16.  My memory may be a bit wonky here, but — in my memory we had problems getting the chlorine mix quite right, and from time to time would have to clear the pool and open the pool deck doors to let fresh air in.  Because it was winter, the cold, crisp Ohio air would mix with the warm, humid air of the natatorium, and create an instant fog — some of my best memories from that time period are climbing up on a lifeguard stand and feeling like I was sitting on top of clouds.

Like all the other lifeguards, I taught swimming lessons — and I turned down opportunities to do private lessons, probably missing out on some great money.  I made minimum wage (just around $6, if memory serves), and kind of viewed lifeguarding as an extracurricular activity. I’ve always looked back on it fondly as one of my best jobs, and I’ve always felt like I got a slightly broader view of my high school community beyond my sheltered little honors classes/nerdy activities like mock trial and the school newspaper. I went away to school for college, but kept lifeguarding during summers and even a few holiday breaks until I started interning in NYC in my summers.

I also did a wee little bit of babysitting in this time period, but at the time the going rate for babysitters was $2/hour (!!!) and it seemed like a lot more work than lifeguarding, so I didn’t pursue babysitting too much.

2. Unpaid Intern: Very Local Newspapers, Sun News, Cleveland suburbs, age 19

As a journalism major at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, it was obvious that I should go get an internship — at the time the school encouraged us to offer ourselves as unpaid interns to newspapers and magazines.  (They had some whizz-bang template for a cover letter that included some gag-inducing phrase like, “I can offer you all this, AND MORE, because I’m free!”) I worked for the local newspaper for the summer — they published a separate edition for each suburb, so my time was spent mostly visiting various local suburban police stations to round up news for the week by reviewing incident books, reported on a few local town meetings and Fourth of July parades. One of my headlines for the police blotter was something like “Dog Follows Adage, Bites Postal Worker.”

3. Unpaid Editor (as far as I remember): INSider Magazine, Skokie, IL, ages 19-20

As far as I remember, this was also unpaid — I was “co-fashion editor” for a local for-profit college magazine based in Skokie, IL, along with another NU student. (It had no affiliation with NU, though.) Our “spreads” were laughable, but we put together a few stories.  I mostly remember taking a city bus to get to Skokie from Evanston and hanging out at some pretty questionable bus stops along the route, all the while listening to radio like The Spice Girls (zig a zig ah).

4. BARELY Paid Intern: Sportswear International, NYC, age 20

I forget how I heard about Sportswear International — I think it was through INsider magazine, but it could have been from one of those big Writer’s Market books.  I knew ahead of time that they featured a ton of club clothes (again, think Spice Girls), and I totally panicked because I was a size 12 Midwestern college kid.  (I went to Nordstrom’s teenage department — then Brass Plum, now .bp — and stocked up on the weirdest stuff, like lime green crop tops, cheap palazzo pants, and fake Doc Martens.) I realized only after I got there what a B2B magazine it was, with the target audience being people already working in the fashion industry.

This was my first time ever living in NYC, and I nearly didn’t take the internship because of that. I chickened out after my phone interview went well and they offered me an unpaid internship — I kind of went radio silent for a few weeks, if memory serves. The editor called me and said, “So are you taking this or not?” and I squeaked out something about “um, yes!” and how I was just trying to find a place to live in NYC for the summer.  I had visited one of my best friends from school in NJ over the summer and we’d ventured into NYC to do touristy things like see Letterman, but I truly had no idea about the city.  My editor responded, “Oh I’ve got a great place for you — my girlfriend used to rent a room in this woman’s apartment but now we’re living together so she doesn’t need it. It’s $500 a month, on 86th and Broadway.”  “Is that Harlem?” I asked.

My parents gasped when they found out the price — $500! for a room! — and swore they’d give me no other assistance that summer other than helping me with my rent.  I lost 15 pounds because I’d frequently have only a street pretzel for lunch ($1) or, for a Friday night, buy a $4.95 Chinese food special in a big styrofoam box — fried rice, sweet n’ sour pork, egg roll — and then spread that out over the next three days.  (I also usually walked to work because the woman who rented the room had told me to take two buses that took 60 minutes to get to work, whereas just walking took about 35 minutes. I took the subway a few times, but in general it seemed expensive, hot, and scary.) I had zero idea how to cook beyond scrambled eggs and Chef Boyardee ravioli — and I knew zero people living in the city other than my fellow interns (who I’m still friendly with today).

The big project I worked on that summer was the “Encyclopedia & CD-ROM of Denim” — we looked at denim from every conceivable angle. Historical: Cloth de Nimes was originally used as a sail cloth in the 1500s… Trivia: There used to be an extra rivet at the base of the zipper until Levi Strauss himself stood too close to the campfire one night… Sociological: It was the first item of clothing both men and women wore (in solidarity with soldiers home on leave).  We did brand profiles, and talked about trends. In my memory I wrote about 80% of the Encyclopedia… and they spelled my name wrong in the credits. Ah well.

fashion-closet-haulOne of the big “perks” of the job was the Fashion Closet — brands would send a ton of stuff for use in editorial spreads, and the fashion editors cleaned the closet regularly, letting the lowly editorial staff have first pick.  I got a pair of absurd blue patent leather platform boots (pictured) that, once I got back to college, I used as a vase for fake flowers.

I say I was “barely” paid because it was intended as an unpaid internship.  I was working late one night and it was just the publisher/owner of the magazine left and some of the other guys playing pool (they had a big pool table in the middle of the loft). The publisher basically asked, “Who are you and why are you here?” and when I said I was his unpaid intern he started giving me $100 a week in cash — which was hugely appreciated!

5. ASME Intern, Family Circle, NYC, Age 21

My first real paying gig, other than lifeguarding! I heard about a fairly prestigious journalism internship through the American Society for Magazine Editors — they hooked you up with good magazines, helped you find affordable summer housing with the other interns offered a lecture series and other networking — and it promised $300 a week for 10 weeks! WHOA! The competition was so tight that each school could only submit two entries, so the real challenge was getting picked at Northwestern.  When I got accepted to the program I got a little sheet with a brief description of about 40 magazines and what kind of internship they were offering — some of the “sexier” titles like People Magazine were only offering fact-checking and copy-editing, but I really wanted to write.  Family Circle magazine was far from sexy, but they offered the chance to write stories. So I listed that as my first choice, and got it.

6. Editorial Assistant/Assistant Editor, Family Circle, NYC, Ages 21-23

I continued freelancing for FC when I went back to school — I had enough AP and other credits that I only needed to finish one quarter at NU for my senior year, so I was thrilled in December when my editor at FC told me her editorial assistant had just quit. Did I want the job? I did zero negotiation on pay — I don’t think I even knew my new salary until I got the official offer letter, home in Ohio after finals: $24,000 a year.  “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THAT MONEY?!?” I screamed as I ran around the house giddily.  (My parents, meanwhile, were facepalming hard.)

I assisted two editors during my time there — one who focused on travel (which meant I got to go to a thousand press events for travel-related things) and books (which meant I got to go to a thousand book-related lunches), and one who focused on “Women Who Make a Difference,” a monthly column profiling women who’d set up charities and other endeavors, and other newsier stories.  My work with the books editor gave me a window into the NYC world of publishing houses — we got galleys to read in advance to see if we wanted to bid for subsidiary rights for an excerpt; part of my job was filing the catalogs every publishing house and imprint sent, and I got to be privy to a few fun lengthy excerpts/edits (Stephen King was memorable).  The books editor was also in charge of a stand-alone co-branded magazine called Mary Higgins Clark’s Mystery Magazine, and we spent a ton of time choosing and editing stories to go in the magazine from well-known mystery authors (I remember being really excited to work with Leonard Elmore).  I even got to go to at least one Edgars award ceremony and sit at Mary’s table.

7. Legal Research & Writing Teaching assistant, Georgetown University Law Center, DC, Age 24-25

There are a lot of reasons I went back to law school — the door was open because I’d taken and done well on the LSAT my final quarter in school; I was really excited by some of the legal developments happening around them (my final school project at NU had been on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), and I got kind of jaded with journalism and the publishing world.  I got into Georgetown and, like all 1Ls, had to take Legal Research & Writing.  Because of my journalism background LR&W was a fun and interesting class for me, but I particularly loved our small group section of about 15 students because my teaching assistant was another former journalist trying to figure out how she’d marry a journalism degree and a law degree: Savannah Guthrie (yes, that Savannah Guthrie). She was (is, I imagine) really cool, whip smart, and I looked up to her tremendously — so much that I decided to apply to be a teaching assistant during my 2L year.  I was accepted to the program and, as a bonus, got paid — I think it was something like $3000 a semester, so not a ton, but it all helped.

(If we’re only counting paid jobs I guess my #firstsevenjobs would look like: lifeguard, ASME intern, editorial assistant, teaching assistant, legal intern (MLRC), summer associate/litigation associate (CGR), staff attorney (MLRC) — and my eighth would be publisher of this blog!)

Ladies, what were your first seven jobs? Looking back on them, what are your thoughts?

#FirstSevenJobs: What Were Yours


  1. High School:
    Summer camp counselor – small weekly stipend/free lunch
    Grocery store cashier – $6.25/hr

    Tutor -$8/hr
    Research internship – $4500 stipend for the summer
    Extra hire for tax season at a tax accounting office – $11/hr

    After graduation:
    Salaried jobs

  2. Ice cream scooper
    Movie Theater Attendant (anything from tickets to concessions to popping the popcorn)
    Beach Parking Attendant
    Hostess/Bus girl

    Athletic Marketing Department Intern
    Security Dispatcher

    Legal Intern

  3. Diana Barry :

    If we’re counting the unpaid ones:

    – theatre apprentice, ages 14-15

    – temp bank teller ($6/hr?)
    – choir singer (probably below minimum wage, it was per 4 weeks)
    – unpaid intern, TV station
    – temp phone operator, doctor’s office

    Law school
    – summer associate
    – summer associate

    Then my first real job.

  4. High School:
    (1) Associate at The Icing ($5.15/hr)

    (2)Waitress at a sports bar (tips)
    (3) Bartender at a sports bar ($5/hr. + tips)
    (4)Waitress at a sports bar (tips)
    (5) Waitress at a sports bar (tips)
    (6) Unpaid intern for my state’s AG
    (7) Bank teller ($7/hr.)

    My takeaway is that I will absolutely never look down on or be rude to waitstaff or sales people. And I tip well.

  5. Mary Ann Singleton :

    First seven jobs (starting age 16):
    1. Waitress
    2. Cotton candy vendor (the worst – sugar everywhere meant wasps everywhere)
    3. Ice cream vendor
    4. Burger flipper
    5. Horse riding instructor
    6. Bartender
    7. Breakfast cook at large oil refinery

    I think all of these helped instill in me work ethic and grit. Now I’m a Biglaw lawyer and I sometimes dream of having a non-desk job. But I appreciate not having to be on my feet all day anymore.

  6. I’ll play.

    Middle school and high school:
    1. Sunday school aide (unpaid)
    2. Figure skating instructor (in exchange for “free” ice time)
    3. Babysitter ($5/hr per kid)
    4. Retail at a local shop ($5.15/hr)
    5. Retail in small art gallery ($6.25/hr)
    6. Commissioned art (varied)

    7. Library (work study)
    8. Insurance sales ($8/hr + commission)

  7. Anonymous :

    I grew up in a small town and could only walk to jobs until I was in my 20s. I felt like I was really behind the curve when it came time to apply to colleges and jobs. But I had hustle!

    Cashier in small grocery store where we had to memorize produce codes (no scanners)
    Greenhouse plant waterer
    Resident assistant in college in exchange for room
    Camp counselor @ sleep-away camp that I’m sure did not follow wage/hour rules
    Typing in want ads
    Answering maintenance phone in nursing home / continuing care facility

  8. I’ll play. My list demonstrates both the fact that I grew up low-income and had to earn all of my spending money and the fact that I get bored easily.

    Lawn work, babysitting, pet-sitting, and other similar jobs for neighbors – ages 10-14
    Dairy Queen – ages 14-16
    Coffee Shop – ages 15-16
    Hostess/waitress at family restaurant – ages 16-18
    Weekend newspaper delivery for a large daily – ages 16-19
    Retail at a clothing store – ages 17-20
    Retail on college campus – ages 18-21
    Front desk attendant at my college dorm – ages 19-20

    • Ohh, and I only counted jobs were I got paid. I didn’t include any of my volunteer work, such as volunteering with my state’s largest zoo and volunteer activities with my church.

      • Anonymous :

        I grew up in an immigrant-heavy area (although my parents weren’t immigrants, just poor). The concept of working not for money was completely foreign. You helped out (church, school, family) or you got a job. There was no helping out people who should have been paying you. It was seen as a complete waste of time.

        [I still have this mindset, but have relaxed a little: volunteer when you can’t get paying work and are otherwise not starving or in addition to something like waiting tables or working retail.]

    • Swap out Dairy Queen for our local Pizza Hut, and swap out newspaper delivery for bank teller at our local non-affiliated bank, but this is basically my list.

      Hooray for the multiple-at-one-time and absolutely no unpaid ever. I still have a visceral reaction to hearing about things like unpaid internships. The only unpaid work I ever did was for my church and volunteering at the local nursing home.

      • I agree about unpaid internships. I refused to do them in college (and couldn’t afford them).

        I did volunteer for the zoo, but that was only because I loved animals and the zoo – it was fun, not a job.

  9. 1) I had my first job as a CIT in a summer camp, where I was in charge of a bunk of 9 year old girl’s.
    2) My next job was workeing for my dad when he worked at the CIA
    3) my next job was in college, when I worked as a model for Macy’s fashion junior’s department
    4) when I gradueated, I got a job workeing for my dad’s freind, who is a lawyer on LI
    5) in law school, I worked as a TA for 3 profesors – Contract’s, Conflict’s of Law’s and Civil Practise
    6) when I gradueated, I worked serveing supeenies
    7) I now work for the manageing partner, who made me a partner last year. YAY!!!

  10. Senior Attorney :

    Starting at about age 12 and continuing through high school:
    1. Babysitter ($.75 per hour and when I first started I split it with a friend)

    High school summer:
    2. Summer school teacher’s aid ($2.75/hour)

    Starting the summer after high school:
    3.”Kelly Girl” (temporary clerical) — did this on and off for years but I’m going to count it as just one job (started at maybe $3-4/hour, went up to maybe $6-7/hour over the years)

    4. Typist at word processing company (pre-everybody-having computers, people and businesses would bring in their docs and we would enter them in our computer, and make changes as necessary) (maybe $3-4/hour)
    5. Typesetter for campus newspaper (around $3/hour)
    6. Receptionist at acting school (around $3-4/hour)
    7. Admin at large aerospace company (started at maybe $7/hour, went up to maybe $10/hour over the five years I was there pre-law school)

    One of the best-compensated jobs I ever had was number 8, which was legal writing teaching assistant at my law school. I got full tuition plus a small monthly stipend. I thought I’d really hit the jackpot (and I had!).

  11. Grandmama :

    Babysitter – 50 cents an hour
    Work-study student – $1.60/hr (minimum wage at the time) for making sandwiches, then as a secretary
    Sears catalog sales – don’t remember; slightly more than minimum wage?
    Elementary school teacher – first job (1975) paid just over $8,000
    Graduate assistant – $400/month stipend (tuition was covered)
    Instructional designer – $28,000/yr
    University director (student services) – $35,000

  12. Anne Shirley :

    High School:
    Waiting tables

    more waiting tables
    Campus tour guide
    Multiple paid & unpaid internships throughout college (supported myself during the unpaid internships with the waiting tables gig or SAT tutoring)

    After graduation:

    up next? I’ll see where the world takes me

  13. 1. Busser – I think I made $4.25 and hour, or whatever minimum wage was in my state at the time. I was 15.
    2. Office attendant for a local college (minimum wage, again)
    3. Trail construction in the National Parks (unpaid but they fed and housed me…I was 16)
    4. Victoria’s Secret shopgirl (minimum wage)
    5. Kaplan tutor (this was like $15/hour…felt like huge money)
    6. English/ESL tutor ($10/hour)
    7. Temp personal assistant for a super weird freelance writer ($18/hour, until he ran out of money, then $10/hour until he couldn’t pay me anymore)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Trail construction sounds like a cool job for a teenager! Did you like it?

      • I loved it and I subsequently did tons more trail work, and ultimately started my career as an energy/environmental lawyer as a result. I volunteered through the Student Conservation Association, which is a fantastic nonprofit that places teens in this kind of work.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Solidarity for your Limted Brands, Inc. experience.

  14. HA! This is fun.

    High School:
    (1) dry cleaners, mostly running the cash register vs. anything with the clothes other than sorting, bagging, and tagging;
    (2) life guard (not a great neighborhood – sex in the pool, another guard’s gf threatening to come after me because she thought I was hitting on her gf, ice cream money stolen every night);
    (3) sporting goods store; and
    (4) summer camp counselor.

    (5) unpaid athletic department work, internship-y;
    (6) game day operations for a minor league hockey team;
    (7) retail and server.

    I’m very glad I worked both in retail and in restaurants. It’s amazing how people will treat someone in those types of positions.

  15. 1. Kitchen assistant at a nursing home
    2. Dishwasher at a (different) nursing home
    3. Ride operator at Hersheypark (my regular job in summers during college)
    4. Library assistant (in grad school)

    The rest all relate to either singing or iterations of my current career.

  16. Anonymous :

    High school
    1) Pool and club house cleaner, illegally working without “working papers” under the table at age 14-15 for $4.50/hr
    2) Babysitting, between $5-7/hr 14-17

    3) Nonprofit internships each summer (community center, museum, drug/alcohol outpatient rehab), $10/hr
    4) Homework assistant to a physically disabled student, $10.50/hr
    5) Minority recruitment program office assistant, $11/hr

    6) Domestic violence shelter, $25K/yr for 1 year before grad school

    Grad school
    7) PhD research fellowship ($30K/yr untaxed)

  17. 1. Office jack of all trades for my family’s transportation company: data entry, billing, dispatching, client relations, etc… (14-21)
    2. Admissions assistant at my university – processed the 25k+ applications, not the fun tours! (19-20)
    3. Cafeteria crew at my university (late shift: 8pm-3am) – it paid $2/hr more than admissions (20-21)
    4. NellieMae student loan processing – where I saw how important it is to never screw up your credit (21)
    5. Assistant at an investment consulting firm (22-24)
    6. Portfolio assistant at an asset management firm (24-27)
    7. Investment analyst at an asset management firm (27-30/now)

  18. Middle/high school:
    (1) babysitting
    (2) filing for the office manager at my apartment building
    (3) retail

    (4) shelver at college library
    (5) worked at daycare center at a church
    (6) research assistant for a professor who was writing a book
    (7) administrative assistant at a law firm (lasted through summer before law school)

  19. This is only fun when you see where you end currently in your career!

    Fry gal at Mcdonald’s
    Sales girl at Esprit ( I was fired)
    Bussing tables at a local diner
    Ice cream scooper
    TA at the university’s Foundation
    Temp admin assistant
    intern catalog photographer
    now.. Legal Counsel at a large Financial Org.

  20. 1. Ad hoc babysitting, starting around age 14
    2. Afterschool care (two years, M-F, 3-6) for a neighbor family, ages 16 – 18
    3. Summer daycare (one summer, M-F, 8-4) for a neighbor family, age 18
    4. Sales associate/cashier, JCPenney
    5. Dorm security desk attendant
    6. Telephone surveyer
    7. After graduation: into the workforce full time! Management trainee at JCPenney.

  21. Gail the Goldfish :

    1) pet sitting
    2) stablehand (sometimes min. wage, sometimes just in exchange for ride time)
    3) retail-local clothing/gift shop
    4) bakery (I loved this one)
    5) lab assistant-botany lab
    6) lab assistant-genetics lab
    7) clerk (?) at law firm-not sure what my title was, it was while I was still in college.

  22. Sydney Bristow :

    1. Babysitting ($3/hour was the best I ever made)
    2. Sandwich shop
    3. Drive through coffee hut
    4. Different sandwich shop
    5. 1 terrifying day as a housekeeper at a super cheap hotel. The woman who trained me told me about a time she found a guest tied up in the morning after being robbed the night before. After I left that day, I saw on the news that they found a dead body in the swimming pool that day. I quit immediately but definitely went to get that paycheck. That was the hardest money I ever earned.
    6. Cashier at a department store
    7. Shipping/receiving at a warehouse

  23. Really have to think about this! :

    Middle school
    – Mother’s helper
    – Community day camp “counselor” (AKA glorified babysitter)
    High school
    – Babysitter
    – Haagen Dasz
    – Bakery
    – Health food store
    -Waterslide attendant!

  24. Anonymous :

    1. Babysitting. $1 per hour per child
    2. Secretary at a family run printing shop. Paid minimum wage at the time–which was like 4.25 or something an hour. Worked summers and after school during first part of high school.
    3. Hostess at a restaurant. Paid a little over min wage. I stayed at this job for a couple of years through the end of high school and first couple years of college.
    4. Waitress at same restaurant (tips plus small hourly rate)
    5. Front-house shift manager at same restaurant. Paid around $8/hr
    6. Child care worker at my college campus day care. Paid something like $6 or $7 an hour with some tuition reimbursement. Loved this job so much.
    7. Law clerk at a state governmental agency. Paid $13/hr. Did this two summers in law school.

    Now I have been at the same lawyer job for almost 10 years and don’t plan on going anywhere.

  25. High School
    1. General farm labor (grew up on a farm and sometimes got paid, sometimes didn’t)
    2. Babysitting
    3. Political phone bank – asking for donations ($12/hr which seemed huge in HS)

    4. Campus Tour guide (during the year it was volunteer, in the summers it was paid)
    5. HR help desk phone center (employed by temp agency)
    6. Unpaid internship – US Department of State – Embassy, Dublin. Best summer ever.
    7. Wells Fargo – Mortgage processor (employed by temp agency)

  26. Amelia Earhart :

    1) Barn hand which was everything from mucking stalls to helping collect s*men from studs – unpaid, but traded work for riding lessons (11-14)
    2) Barn hand, round 2, different bar – $10/hr (15-17)
    3) Amusement Park airbrush tattooist (16-17)
    4) Hotel Reservationist (17-19)
    5) Work study (as a then education major) running an after school care program (17-18)
    6) Hotel Front Desk (19-20)
    7) Intern in the European Parliament for an Irish MEP (20-21) – a real upgrade from what I had been doung

  27. Middle school (8th grade)- babysitting, $5/hr
    High school:
    Babysitting ($8-$10/hr)
    Sophomore summer- ice cream store $6/hr
    Junior year thru summer before college- drug store clerk ($7.50/hr)
    College jobs- various on campus things during the school year ($7/hr), summer and winter jobs @ the gap and babysitting. Paid internship in mental health research clinic,
    1st job out of undergrad- research assistant for high profile national research project (3 years, started at $27k ending salary a whopping $31k)
    Analyst for healthcare IT company (2.5 years)- $55-69k

  28. barista
    afterschool program coordinator at the library
    telephone fundraiser
    receptionist at law firm
    development intern

  29. 1. Babysitting (Middle school- college) – $6/hr
    2. Retail employee at amusement (15-20 yrs old): $6-10/hr
    3. Call center CSR (18 yrs old) $8/hr
    4. Chikfila team member (21 yrs old) $12.25/hr
    5. Apartment leasing agent (22-24 yrs old)- $8/hr
    6. Law firm summer associate (23 yrs old) $3500/mo
    7. Law firm associate (24-28 yrs old) 76k-100k

    Now in house with a Fortune 50 company (29, 120k base)

  30. 1. “Babysitting” family friends’ kids (the kids were dropped off at our house, where my mom and dad were home too, but the parents “paid” me)
    2. Professor’s Assistant (my dad would pay me to wash lab equipment or go to the library to copy articles out of journals, when his actual assistants would fail to “include all of the page, make sure the edges don’t get cut off”–this was actually useful for both Orgo lab and throughout college and law school; especially for journal in law school).
    3. local Japanese bakery (minimum wage); learned to use the bread slicer and how to entertain myself when bored.
    4. blockbuster (“what should I watch?” “I don’t know, what do YOU feel like watching?”)(also, totally dating myself with this one)
    4. Cutco!
    5. Work study – Cultural Center
    6. Work study – Hillary Clinton’s old job at the Yale law school library. :D
    7. NYC public school teacher

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I know the Cutco sales model is awful, but my stepmom bought 1 steak knife from a family friend’s kid because she felt bad and all of us still try to get to use that 1 knife over all the others. It is still the best one my parents own, even now about 10 years later.

      • Same. Bought from a family friend’s child and still the best knives in the house 20 years later.

  31. Anonymous :

    1. Misc help (cleaning, packing boxes, etc) at a family friend’s printing company. I started at 13 y.o. making minimum wage.
    2. McDonald’s cashier/ drive thru girl. Minimum wage+75 cents, because I could close the store. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would!
    3. Lifeguard and counselor at a sleep-away camp. I worked there for 2 summers for room and board and a small wage. favorite job ever.
    4. Dry cleaner. No thank you.
    5. Kitchen help at my college dining hall as a work-study to offset tuition. My classmates (private liberal arts college) were awful snobs about it, and I hated them for that.
    6. Enlisted active duty military. Life-changing.
    7. Government contractor, my first “real” job, starting at $75k. Realized that the world is not a meritocracy, and that 75k, which had sounded like a ton of money to me, doesn’t go as far as you’d think in DC… I was doing better on my military salary+allowances because of the tax advantages. I also subsequently realized I had lowballed myself.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh yeah and babysitting. I traded 2 days of babysitting while she taught for lessons from my violin teacher.

  32. 1. Camp counselor
    2. Birthday party host
    3. Rite Aid cashier
    4. Museum tour guide
    5. Marketing intern at a regional transit planning agency
    6. Classroom evaluator (basically optional mid-semester teaching evaluations/focus groups for professors)
    7. Business writing tutor

    And these were all high school/college. Now a recent law grad working as a judicial clerk!

  33. Cashier at local drugstore – high school
    Cashier at Wendy’s – high school
    Bank teller – summers while in college
    Typed library catelogue cards – college
    Taught gymnastics – college
    Gourmet food shop – law school
    Clerked for small law firm – law school

  34. Lesley C. :

    Totally random, but I was watching a movie on Netflix this weekend and there were some basic similarities between your first few jobs and Kristen Bell’s character, namely lifeguarding and journalism. I thought it might amuse you to read the movie summary.

  35. This will totally out me to anyone who knows me, but here you go:
    1. Clerk in boutique clothing store in my hometown (my grandmother got me that job). High school.
    2. Waitress in a bar. College.
    3. Waitress in a bar and also working at a bridal shop. And also taking 21 hours of upper division history. That was fun. College.
    4. Maintaining periodicals in a university medical library. Post college.
    5. Bank customer service person during the day and baking in a restaurant at night. Post college.
    6. Managing that same restaurant.
    7. Law clerk, back in the dark ages when that was always a paid position.
    During law school.

  36. Junior High
    (1) Babysitting
    (2) Violin teacher ($1 per lesson)

    High School
    (3) Violinist (weddings, parties etc…)
    (4) Telemarketing (selling subscriptions to 5 magazines, for 5 years….)
    (5) Data entry (kill me now….)

    College and beyond…
    (6) lab biomedical research tech
    (7) physician scientist

  37. This is super interesting!
    1. exercise rider/general labor on horse farm (ages 13-17)
    2. video store (18, I decided I didn’t care what I did as long as it was in the AC)
    3. ice cream scooper (19, never found the limit of ice cream could eat like my coworkers did)
    4. catering for college athletic events (19, wacky people but amazing tips)
    5. barista in college library’s coffee shop (19-22, best college job possible: awesome coworkers, flexible scheduling, free coffee whenever, super social, still miss it sometimes)
    6. camp counselor at horsey summer camp (20, the worst boss I’ve ever had; she called my counselor group cockroaches)
    7. summer research intern at historical institute (21, unpaid, learned that the path to professional happiness for me is not sitting along staring a computer all day in deafening silence)

  38. Elementary School
    1. Formatting floppy disks for my dad’s accounting office, .25 per disk.
    Jr. High
    2. Janitor at a drug store with a soda fountain. I was paid less than minimum wage and under the table – but I could have as much free soda as I could drink during a shift. It’s all bout the perks.
    High School
    3. Care attendant / companion to same-aged peer with physical and cognitive disabilities. ~$5 / hour, I think.
    4. Cashier in cafeteria, work study, $10/hour
    5. Concessions attendant at children’s theater, work study, $10/hour. Could take home leftover cookies – perk.
    6. Admin assist for school program, work study, $12 / hour
    7. Research analyst for state foster care program, ~ 25,000 / year.

    So grateful to have had exposure to different types of jobs before I eventually found my way into law school. I am a much more empathetic and informed advocate than I otherwise would have been if I hadn’t worked from an early age. Ended up in employment law – it’s much easier to understand both sides of an issue if you’ve actually been a employee, and especially a non-professional (blue collar) one. I do interviewing and hiring now for entry level lawyer jobs, and I award extra points to candidates who have real world work experience.

  39. My list goes from late elementary school to college:

    1) Babysitter
    2) Ballet teacher/office assistant/telemarketer for regional ballet company (also dancer, but that was unpaid)
    3) Housekeeper for a maid service
    4) Busser in busy restaurant and waiter for catering company
    5) Dance teacher at summer camp
    6) Office assistant for artist
    7) Dancer

  40. Many jobs in college :

    Totally outing myself.
    First seven jobs
    1) Camp counselor
    2) bus girl
    3) worked in government documents at the __ College Library
    4) Junior Advisor at college
    5) monitor at the Multi-Cultural Center
    6) Computer Science Teaching Assistant
    7) Computer Skills teacher at a summer program

  41. Killer Kitten Heels :

    I paid my own way through college and law school (and was on my own for spending money – even for things like AP test fees and prom tickets and stuff – as soon as I got my driver’s license) so I’ve had a LOT of jobs, but if memory serves me correctly, my first seven were:

    1) Soccer referee ($10/game) (I think I started at age 13ish?)
    2) Weekend receptionist at a local arts non-profit (whatever minimum wage was, I think, and I was probably 14 or 15 at the time)
    3) Library assistant (maybe $10/hour? age 16)
    4) Supermarket cashier (probably minimum wage, age 17)
    5) Legislative intern for local county government person (unpaid, age 17)
    6) Telephone fundraiser for my college (I cannot remember I was paid, but I remember the bonuses were pretty sweet, age 18)
    7) Painter (minimum wage but the gig came with free housing, age 19)

    Since then, I’ve been a personal assistant, a barista, a research assistant, a concierge, a public relations intern, an ice cream scooper, a kids’ birthday party hostess, a cocktail waitress, a legal intern of various types, a (paid) student advisor of various types, and a test prep instructor on my way to getting to my “grown-up career.” (I feel like I need to note that a lot of these jobs were concurrent and/or intentionally short-term – Young KKH was not a compulsive job hopper, she just picked up lots of short-term gigs on top of continuing long-term gigs to make ends meet!)

  42. Anonymous :

    1. Avid babysitter, from age 11 (not sure what the kids’ parents were thinking, in retrospect)
    2. Softball umpire (ages 16-18)
    3. Assistant dance instructor (ages 16-18, unpaid)
    4. SAT essay grader for SAT prep company (ages 18-22)
    5. Parking lot cashier at local stadium (ages 19-20, summers only)
    6. Intern at local nonprofit (age 19, summer only)
    7. Research assistant at university (ages 20-22)

    • 1. Helped older brother deliver newspapers
      2. Babysitting
      3. Stocked shelves in grocery store
      4. Sales clerk in deptartment store hosiery dept.
      5. Waitress
      6. Summer job in mail room of finance company
      7. C*cktail waitress
      8. University bookstore
      8. Worked in university library
      9. Teaching assistant
      10. ESL teacher

  43. Midwest Mom :

    1) Page @ the local public library. Fancy way to say I shelved books for $3.12 an hour, below minimum but I was only 15.
    2) Grocery Store Bagger- The union required they hire one token female. I soaked it and let the boys do carts and heavy lifting
    3) Scooped Ice Cream
    4) University Library – cleaned & checked out movies, not dvds, not vhs, actually reel to reel movies.
    5) Server – waited tables all four years of college. My father always said you don’t learn the true art of BS until your money depends on it. Great job, great money at the time. Developed the ability to talk to anyone about anything.
    6) Telephone order taker for major hunting/fishing superstore – lasted 2 months… I knew nothing about hunting and fishing.
    7) Admission rep for a major university, determined admission status. I had a degree in history and couldn’t find a teaching job because I couldn’t coach football.

    This is fun.

  44. Anonymous :

    Ooh this is fun!
    1. Algebra tutor
    2. “Custard Queen” at Culver’s (yes, for real)
    3. Calculus tutor (there’s a trend)
    4. University custodian
    5. Electronics tester
    6. University AVL technician
    7. Wind turbine blade manufacturing process engineering intern

  45. Good times. I’m not counting all the paid babysitting, tutoring, and “working” for my mom in her classroom that I did — just “real” jobs where I got a W2.

    1. “page” at the library where I shelved books and worked with the summer reading program for little kids (14-15)
    2. retail (16)
    3. amusement park admissions and guest relations (17-18)
    4. radiology clinic at local hospital (very limited hours for a really good hourly wage!)
    5. mailroom for an insurance company (18)
    6. data entry for a financial broker (19)
    7. computer lab at college (19-22)

  46. I grew up in the country, so some of these may be a bit odd:

    Junior High:
    1. Babysitting – Would not do babies or kids still in diapers.
    2. Walk beans – I refused to detassle corn.

    High School:
    3. Seat people at grandstand at county fair – Got $5 per show and whatever tips I could get.
    4. Dairy Queen – I think I can still make the cone curl.
    5. Deli employee – Local deli, not subway.

    6. Restaurant (dishwasher, kitchen help, hostess) – never waitressed, but did about everything else at in a kitchen.
    7. Info desk at my residence hall – Working the midnight shifts on the weekend was interesting.

  47. Late to the game, but I want to play too!

    #1 Retail (California, California TJ Maxx!) — $4.85/hr, which was awesome b/c it was more than minimum wage.
    #2 Tennis Pro Shop reservationist — $7/hr, a YUGE increase in pay. I answered phones, made reservations, and checked to make sure no one was in the saunas before I turned off the lights at night.
    #3 Typist — $??/hr. When job #2 laid me off, I worked for a word processing firm. (Yes, that was what it was like in the early 90s….)
    #4 Tennis reservationist (again!!!) — $7.50/hr ish. This was the best job ever. Watch people play tennis, study for class. It was for City of Beverly Hills, 1993-97. If you recognize me, comment!
    #5 English Comp TA/English Comp instructor — $2500-$3500 per semester. Many schools, many cities. #FreewayFlyer
    #6 Lawyer — first at a firm, then as staff counsel.

    Am looking forward to what #7 is……

  48. Anonymous :

    Wow! Reading all these comments made me realize how insulated my upbringing was. For context – I grew up in India in upper middle class family. And there is no concept of children/young adults working, either paid or voluntary, then or now. As a kid you have only one job – study. My first job was internship after I completed the medical school. As an intern, you are not paid a salary, but a ‘stipend’. But I remember how proud I was to get that first pay. I have had only one job my entire life – doctor.

  49. In-House Europe :

    Like many others, I had to work so that I had spending money…
    High School:
    1. Hamburger shop
    2. GAP (lol)
    3. RA
    4. Burrito shop
    5. Waitress
    6. Hostess at fine dining restaurant
    Post-College, Pre-Law
    7. temp work (secretary)

  50. inhousejen :

    I worked full time through college and law school:
    1. Banana Republic (high school)
    2. Tour guide at a dairy farm (college – summers)
    3. Substitute teacher (college)
    4. Proofreader/editor (for essays, term papers, etc.) (college)
    5. Cashier at HEB (grocery store) (college)
    6. Apartment complex leasing agent (law school)
    7. Contract typist/formatter (law school)

  51. 1. Cashier at McDonald’s
    2. Cashier at IGA grocery store
    3. Biology tutor in college (paid)
    4. Research intern at college I attended (paid)
    5. Research intern for US Department of Energy at Argonne National Lab (paid during college/summer)
    6. Research intern for US Department of Energy (paid/1 semester in college and following summer)
    7. Waitress during senior year of college

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