First Jobs: Part 1

Many people in my age group (60-75) have worked at jobs and paid taxes from our wages since we were about 16-years-old. Like many young people today, our first jobs weren’t glamorous nor did they pay well. We were just happy and proud to work and to contribute to the upkeep of our families.

If memory serves me right, my first full-time paid position was that of sheet folder in a laundry in my hometown. I worked either the 4:00 P.M. to 12:00 A.M. shift or the 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. shift (I don’t remember which).  Mrs.. Brown, a wife, mother, and a very godly woman who lived in my neighborhood worked at the laundry and told me about the job. I applied, and as is often said the rest is history.

I started off making $1.00 or less an hour. Some of the older women workers came to me and told me that I should consider doing piece work because I could make more money that way. They explained that I was young and could work hard and fast and that piece work would be to my advantage. I took the women’s advice. I remember being happy about making more money; but for the life of me I don’t recall how much more money I made. I just know that I was happy. I could buy things for my siblings and I could help my mother pay our bills. We didn’t have to rely on others for help.

Then someone told me that the laundry across town was paying $1.50 an hour and that I could get hired there. So, I went to work at the laundry that paid $1.50 an hour. Once again, older ladies in the company talked to me about the benefit of doing piece work. So, I started doing piece work and earning more money (I’m sure it was only a few pennies more than $1.50; but I was happy).

Praise God I didn’t work there too long. I got fired, probably for talking back or for being late. However, at the time I thought it was because some of the older women had gotten jealous and wanted me out-of-the-way. Whatever the reason for the firing, it embarrassed and   I had lost my $1.50 an hour job and my financial ability to help my immediate family. I didn’t want the money to buy things for myself. I desperately wanted to work and help keep my family out of poverty. Little did I know that firing was probably one of the best things that would ever happen to me! From it I began to understand the following life lessons:

  • When one door closes another opens
  • God always has a ram in the bush
  • When things go awry, grab on to something sturdy and hold on until it is safe to let go
  • Words of wisdom and encouragement  from my talented,smart, and beautiful mother, “Don’t let nobody or nothing get you down.

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