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Many lessons learned in our first real jobs

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Updated: October 28, 2013 2:40AM



So, here we are at the end of yet another summer that went by way too fast. Kids now begrudgingly are off to school in August, but there was a time when Labor Day signaled the goodbye to summer shorts and sandals and hello to uniforms and heavy shoes.

Other than recognizing it as our last three-day weekend for the year, we don’t give much thought to Labor Day, other than as an end to all we’ve enjoyed in the last three months. We generally don’t stop to give thought and thanks for the gift of work, especially at a time when so many struggle to find jobs of their own.

My first real job, outside of working for my father, was as an aide at a nursing home. Dad said I wouldn’t last for two weeks; just to be spiteful, I stayed for all of six weeks. What did it teach me? That I had no business thinking about a career in the medical field!

My first real, full-time job out of college was working for the Post-Tribune. I was at the bottom of the totem pole, but I loved it. My position was dummy clerk, which meant I started the layout of each paper by placing the ads on the pages.

It wasn’t very taxing; more like working a giant puzzle, but I was able to interact with not only the ad department, but also reporters, editors and the production staff. Heady stuff for someone just out of journalism school. I was able garner a great overview of the newspaper industry and what it takes to produce a daily paper.

Think back on your first job and what you earned.

Colin Kennedy, Dyer: I was a lifeguard at a local community pool. Thought it would be a good way to meet girls, but we had to pull someone out of the water my first week on the job. After that I realized people could be depending on me for their very lives. I learned a life lesson: how I do my job, any job, not only affects me but many others. I think I’ve gone into other work situations with a greater sense of responsibility.

George Boliker, Hammond: When I was a teen, my parents would send me to my aunt and uncle’s farm in Nebraska to work for the summer. My uncle expected me to work side-by-side with the regular farm workers and it was tough, hot, hard labor. I came away with a greater appreciation for what it takes to put food on the tables of this country.

Maryann Morando, Highland: I desperately wanted my own car when I turned 16 so my parents said they would match me, dollar for dollar, on what I could earn. I didn’t want to do fast food so I turned to babysitting…taking ever job I could get, even passing up dates. Over the course of a year, I earned $3,500 and, with the match, I was able to buy a really nice used car. I learned the pride of working for something I wanted.



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