I got my first part-time job when I was 15 working at a car wash in the summertime. A friend of mine, Rob, worked there and got me the job. I think it paid $2.90 an hour, which I considered a fortune. There were no allowances in my family, so most of my brothers and sisters started working as soon as they could to get spending money. I hated working at the car wash, drying cars all day. After only about six weeks working there (though it seemed much longer), I up and quit one day. I felt badly about not giving a two-week notice, but I had it up to here with the job. Luckily, another friend of mine got me a job working at a nursing home, washing dishes in the kitchen. I started the day after my 16th birthday, qualifying me for a slightly higher minimum wage.
Life scrubbing pots and pans was no picnic, let me tell you. I lasted there for only three months, working after school and on weekends while trying to keep up with my homework in high school. My next job was much better: Making keys at a locksmith. The working conditions were much better, and I had flexible hours around my school schedule. I stayed at that job for nearly seven years, right through my college years at the University of Minnesota. To this day I still know the names of all the common key blanks, but it doesn't come in handy very often!
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