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My first job: Census worker in New York

We've been collecting stories of first jobs this week -- the unusual and the everyday. On Monday we heard from "The Simpsons" writer Michael Price about working in a mall; yesterday truck driver Don Holzschuh recalled working at an amusement park in Minnesota.

Today's story takes us to New York, with writer and filmmaker dream hampton. Her first paid job was as a census taker in New York, making $10 an hour.

"Being a census taker, I thought I was doing a great service. Coming from the east side of Detroit, I knew what it meant to have funds diverted away from your community because you had not been counted," she said. "Now that I think of it, I learned a lot. That was good training because I never went to journalism school. So I think that taking the census as an 18-year-old was an excellent way to hone some pretty good interview skills and to get stories out of people who were absolutely unwilling to tell them."

What was your first job? What did you learn? Comment below, on our Facebook page or tweet us @MarketplaceAPM with #MyFirstJob.

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This topic inspired me to create a website where people can share their inspiring job stories, not just their first jobs but the ones which made a difference in their lives. In today's times where so many people are looking for jobs these stories, I feel, will help motivate these people as well as the ones who are making a career change. This site will help your story become a case study for everyone to get inspired or motivated.

Please do share your stories at www.yourjobstory.com. Thank you for visiting.

My first job was as a nurses' aide in a nursing home. My high school guidance couselor found the job for me. I stayed at the job part time through the rest of high school and through college but it was a wonder I stayed past my first day because on that first day an elderly woman died right in front of me. It shook me to the core. I went home after my shift and told my mother what happened and that I couldn't go back. I don't know how my mother convinced me not to give up the job too quickly.

Looking back at it, I realize I learned about many things at that first job:

From watching someone take her last breath, I learned about death.
From my co-workers, I learned about carmaraderie.
From experiencing hard work, I learned about the value of a dollar.
From my first paycheck, I learned about the joy of earning one's own money.
From observing co-workers, I learned about office politics.
From the people who visited the elderly, I learned about love of family.
From the elderly who never had visitors, I learned about lonliness and compassion.

I always tell people I learned so much more at my first job than how to be a nurses' aide, guess you could say I learned about life.

50 Years ago grocery stores (mom and pop) delivered(we were always looking forward to the grocery delivery as it always involved a bag of penny suckers. My first job was working for the Kelsey Brothers Grocery in Champaign-Urbana Il. I was ten and the grocery used to deliver to my mom - there were 8 children and she did not drive. When I was ten years old they hired me to work on Saturdays to stock the shelves and run the candy counter of their small grocery store. I was paid a whole 10 dollars per Saturday - which was a lot of money then. One of the Kelsey Brothers ran the meat counter and cooked fantastic lunches for us - the other Kelsey brother did the deliveries and the two wives ran the store. I felt like a working woman and spent my day lining up the cans of peas on their shelves and selling candy to the kids in the neighborhood, after sampling it myself (bringing my meager allowance to pay for my "samples". How sorry I was to see the MOM and POP Grocery businesses disappear!

50 Years ago mom and pop grocery stores delivered (we kids looked forward to the grocery delivery as it always involved a bag of penny suckers. My first job was working for the Kelsey Brothers Grocery in Champaign-Urbana Il. I was ten and the grocery used to deliver to my mom - there were 8 children and she did not drive. They hired me to work on Saturdays to stock the shelves and run the candy counter of their small grocery store. I was paid a whole 10 dollars per Saturday - which was a lot of money then (1962). One of the Kelsey Brothers ran the meat counter and cooked fantastic lunches for us - the other Kelsey brother did the deliveries and the two wives ran the store. I felt like a 'working woman' and spent my day lining up the canned goods on their shelves and selling candy to the kids in the neighborhood. (after sampling it myself -bringing my meager allowance to pay for my "samples"). How sorry I was to see the Mom and Pop Grocery businesses disappear!

My first real job was working on top of 4000 degree coke ovens, for US Steel in Clairton, PA. (yes, the city in the first scene from the film 'Deerhunter'.) My job was a 'Lidman', which involved pulling 4 manhole sized covers to allow the dumping of coal into these ovens. Then, and at times surrounded by green-yellow explosive smoke, secure the lids. 8 hours a day. My only tools were an 8 foot rod to pull the lids, a plastic face-shield (which often softened near the fires), and one inch wooden soles attached to my boots, protecting my boots from melting. Two summers of making good money for college, along with some of my classmates.
It was a rite of passage in my family, as my Dad (a Nuclear Physicist) and all his brothers (all professionals) did the same in their collegiate years.

This has me remembering my first job which also happened to be in New York.

I couldn’t convince anyone to hire me to do technology so I offered to work for free for my first job. I talked my way onto a sales trip to New York City where the goal was to set up and demonstrate a video editing computer for some company. Well, that company turned out to be Comedy Central and they purchased the system. I was asked back the following day to formally install it, which I did. Then they needed someone to train the editor so I was asked to give them another day. That ended up being several more days culminating with a Saturday of work. A new show was to go live on Comedy Central that Monday so they asked if I would be there Sunday while they edited the bumper show just in case the editor had any questions. When I arrived, the editor had quit so I ended up editing the bumper show and every show each night for the next two weeks by myself. I was 18.

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