I applied for my first job when I was fifteen and had an interview in The Red Grill which was the restaurant that was part of Woolco, a department store that doesn't exist anymore. I got the job and was all excited, and then they found out how old I was and said I couldn't apply until I was sixteen. At the time, there was no spot for your age on the application. I had applied to work in the Woolco menswear department. It's not that I had a deep desire to fold men's sweaters, I just knew a couple of other girls from my high school who also worked there and it seemed like as good a job as any.
|This was not my Woolco, but it could have been.|
So, when I turned sixteen, I re-applied and got the job. I also got my driver's license so I could drive my parents' giant boat of an Oldsmobile to get back and forth to work. I lived out in the country and Woolco was part of a relatively small mall on the outskirts of the closest town, about 15 to 20 minutes away. I worked on the weekends and sometimes on week nights after school. There was a lot of folding, pricing, and low key selling of clothes to young men and older men looking for inexpensive pants, dress shirts, sweaters, and the like. It was usually fun because I got to work with one other girl, a similar age to me. We had a "manager", which was a pretty fancy title for a man who sat in the back room and occasionally came out and asked us how much we thought we had sold. There was no cash register just for our department. Like any other department store (think Walmart), all purchases, regardless of what part of the store they came from, were made at the main cash registers at the front of the store. So we really had no idea how much we sold.
Woolco had something once a month called "Dollar Forty-Four Day" where a bunch of items were specially marked at $1.44. One of my jobs was using a sticker pricing gun and pricing boxes, it felt like hundreds, of men's briefs and stacking them in a display cube sort of thing. As well, I got to use the intercom and make announcements about the amazing deals which could be found in our menswear department for $1.44, and at the base of which pillar they could be found! The beginning of my "public speaking" career!
I have a terrible memory for dates and years and numbers, but I do remember thinking it was a big stinking deal when I started to earn $4.11 an hour! That was above minimum wage and I could watch my bank account grow by leaps and bounds when I updated my little bank book at the local credit union. Yup, the latest Supertramp album was mine!
We were expected to dress nicely for our illustrious job in Woolco menswear and I remember wearing skirts or dresses or dress pants, even heels. I don't even dress up that much for my job now! But hey, that was the eighties, and dressing up and poofing your hair was the norm.
I had that job for about two years and it did me no harm. I think it builds a great deal of character to have a job that you are responsible for. I also think everyone should have a horrible job when they are young so that they can appreciate a good job when they get older. That wasn't my only job growing up, but it was my first job. I have others I could write about, which I think were probably worse than that one. Do share, what was your first job?