Listen To The Story

Lately we've been asking our listeners to send us their stories about their very first jobs.

Author Jess Walter has been on the show a couple of times for his books The Financial Lives of Poets and The Beautiful Ruins, among others. He actually started working on his family's cattle ranch when he was six.

But it was a very different job that he says really put him into the working world.

"When I was 15 I got a job as a dishwasher in an Italian restaurant. One of those classic restaurants with checkered tablecloths and the Chianti bottles with was melting down the sides of them."

The experience gave him inspiration for his later career as a writer, including a particular old chef named Giuseppe with a penchant for old steak bones.

"When I was writing Beautiful Ruins, which is partly set in Italy, I kept trying to find a place to have a chef who coveted half eaten steak bones for his soup and it never found a place."

Click the audio player above to hear Walter's full commentary.