Although I never worked during the school year, both my sister Lindy and I had summer jobs. My first summer job was working for my dad. He was a bankruptcy trustee and he would take over bankrupt businesses and attempt to sell their inventory. This was in the days when businesses that went bankrupt did have inventory. It’s a very different thing today.
Anyway, Dad was in possession of a drugstore and it was summertime and I needed a job. Dad hired me at a dollar an hour to work from nine to nine Monday through Friday. Looking back that seems a bit extreme–honestly, who works 12 hours a day? But I was young and enjoyed the responsibility of running a drugstore with an old-fashioned soda fountain.
We had lots of coke syrup and lots of flavoring, but we didn’t have any milk. My dad made the executive decision that we would offer “Low-cal milk shakes” made with sparkling water instead of milk. Most of our customers didn’t go for it with one of them telling me, “I’m not on a diet!”
The following summer I was going to look for a job, but my dad had a card shop in bankruptcy and I got to run that. Cards were not as enjoyable as the soda fountain, but I did an adequate job and made some money that summer.
The next summer, I had just graduated from high school. My dad didn’t have any bankrupt businesses that summer, but he did have a plan. “You are going to work at the Chevrolet company this summer,” he announced mentioning one of his biggest clients.
“No, I am not,” I replied. I really hated contradicting my dad, but there was no way I was going to let him find my summer job for me. After all, I was now a high school graduate and I was on my way to college that fall. It was time for me to find my own position.
My dad was not that encouraging. “You’ll never find anything that pays as much as the job I have for you,” he said. Of course, he was right.
I found a job working in a one-person office of an exterminating company. That’s right. They sprayed for roaches and other pests and the entire office smelled like insect repellent. I answered the phone, kept the books, made appointments with people, and sent out reminders. My dad kept asking me, “What do you know about keeping books?” The actual answer was “nothing, but since I didn’t want to admit I was in over my head, I just said, “Oh I’ve got one column for income and another for bills. That will pretty much take care of it.” My dad started mentioning the IRS, but since I knew I was quitting in September, I just plodded on.
I didn’t make a lot of money that summer, and I certainly had to sniff a lot more exterminating fumes than I should have. However, I got a job! It was a job I got all by myself and it had nothing to do with my dad. I was proud of myself, and I think my dad was too.