My First Seven Jobs
By David Henderson
Various friends on Facebook have been posting about their first 7 jobs, but typically without comment. What I would find more interesting, and I encourage you to give your own, is a list of the jobs along with something about them: whether you liked the job, what you learned, etc.
Here are my 7, in chronological order.
1. Finding golf balls in the rough and selling them (age 8 to 11). Self-employment. I loved it, mainly because of the flexible hours and partly because of the excitement of the hunt. I could quit whenever I wanted. When I had enough money to buy an “Oh, Henry” candy bar and to listen to Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans” n times on the juke box, I would stop. A lot of the golfers were American. Why is that relevant? At the time, the Canadian dollar floated against the U.S. dollar. Some summers, the Canadian dollar was worth as much as 5 cents more. If the golfer asked me if I would accept U.S. money, I said yes, as long as he added 5 percent. Some times, the Canadian dollar was worth as much as 5 cents less. If the golfer asked me if I accepted U.S. dollars, I said yes.
I still can’t walk in the rough of a golf course without feeling with my feet and looking down.
2. Caddying at Minaki Lodge golf course (age 9 to 10). I learned early on that the money was steadier than hunting golf balls but the expected value was lower. So I didn’t do it much.
3. Newspaper delivery (age 11 or 12.) I lasted a month. Hated it more than any other job I ever had. One time when it had rained heavily on my route, which included a new block with no lawns, the yards I tracked through to get the newspaper to the doors were pure mud. It was so thick that both of my rubber boots came off.
4. Baby sitting (age 11 to 13). The main kids I baby sat were David and Bradley Henderson (no relation), living kitty corner. The 25 cents per hour was the easiest money I made because the kids were well-behaved and the parents liked to go out relatively late and stay out way late. So the kids were in bed within half an hour of their parents’ leaving. I read or watched TV.
5. Garbage pick up at Syl’s Drive in in Carman (age about 12 to 13). He paid me 50 cents per morning. I would get up at about 6:30 a.m. and ride my bike one minute to his drive in. I picked up trash in his lot and burned it, along with the trash in the trash cans. But before doing so, I would take my bike 3 blocks and pick up trash on both sides of the road that had come from his drive-in. This kept the neighbors, including my family, happy. Quentin Sylvester, the owner, taught me something early on about internalizing externalities. Also, occasionally I would find coins or, very rarely, a dollar bill on the ground.
6. Tutoring French and Math to a friend named Rick Verner (age 14). One dollar an hour. His father paid me to tutor him one summer at Minaki. Good money; some laughs since he and I were friends.
7. Snow shoveling and lawn mowing (ages 11 to about 14).
I see above that my first 7 jobs got me to age 14. In other words, this is a story about child labor. I learned something from each job. The only one I disliked was newspaper delivery, although caddying came close, and the one I liked most is a tie between hunting golf balls and garbage pick up.