The First by Valerie J. Patterson

My very first job was with a florist when I was 14 years old.  I loved it.  I kept that job through college.  I started out cleaning the corporate offices and worked my way up to sales during their holiday open houses and summer sales.  I learned a lot during my time there.  I grew up a lot during my time there, too.  In my living room is a Pothos I’ve had since 1983.  My boss gave it to me.  My family and friends affectionately call it Killer because it has grown so large that its vines have at times been 10-13 feet long.  We have pictures of our cat hiding amongst the vines, and she’s barely visible!  My first job was a good fit and I remember my time there fondly.

My youngest niece began her very first job on Wednesday.  She’s working as a sales associate for a clothing store, and she’s very excited about her new job, about her new responsibilities, and about her newly acquired “earning power”.  I can’t wait to hear about receiving her first paycheck.  Granted, going to school and working part time does not allow you to earn a fat paycheck, but that never seems to matter with a first job.  It’s more about the fact you’re now earning your own money and gaining more independence than you’ve ever had before.  It also goes a long way in proving you’re growing up.

It’s that last point that makes me a little sad.  My nieces and I have always had good relationships, and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and mature and become their own persons.  However, a job means crossing the threshold from childhood to adulthood, and that means changes that become permanent.

I’m not really ready to let go of the giggles, the daydreams, and the silly girl talk.  While at the same time, I’m excited for her to be at the beginning of such a fantastic journey to figuring out who she is and what she wants to be.  Plus, I figure no matter how old she gets, I’ll always see the little girl who loved to play in the snow with her aunt until her fingers and toes were blue!

What about you?  Remember your first job?

Until next time…may the sunshine of spring warm you and bring a smile to your lips.


14 responses to “The First by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. I was born into a family business and always worked even as a child. I got a SS card as a child and was paid a monthly salary. I went onto to a carer, but I loved my family business job.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I think that would be a very good experience to work in a family business. Both my dad and his sister had that experience as my grandparents owned their own grocery store. I used to go to work with my grandma when I was little, but the store was closed before I had the opportunity to really work there. 😛

  2. I think we all remember our first jobs, don’t we? I started off volunteering in a hospital physical therapy department when I was 14 and got hired on when I was 16. I loved that job. Worked every weekend and a lot of summers, then stuck with it for a few years after high school.
    More importantly, I remember the first thing I bought when I got my first paycheck. A black mini-skirt. I kept that thing for way more years than it fit, just for sentimental reasons. 🙂
    Thanks for the wonderful walk down memory lane.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Wow! What a great first job! I’ll bet you learned a lot while there. Hey, my first purchase was a black skirt, too! I kept it for a long time as well. Incidentally, I still have a checkbook from my first checking account and the passbook from my first savings account. Both accounts have long been closed, but those are tucked away in a little lockbox I have. 😛

  3. I worked at a Ben Franklin store where I stocked everything but the fabric department,(those gals kept a tight fist on ‘their’ corner of the store). I sometimes ran a register and personally sold everything from children’s clothing, Timex watches,( the real ones:”Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”), to lampshades, lamp halos and large picture frames.The last two developed a sight-estimate for inches in me that I have never lost.I needed to know how tall a lamp halo,(the prongs around a lamp that hold the shade), was in order to adjust for the height of the shade a customer liked.The picture frames were large,wooden ones which hung high against two walls.I had to take them down gently with a very tall 2X4 that had a felted “V” at the top.It was a balancing act.We sold to a lot of artists and if it wasn’t tight,I’d have to maneuver it back up, so I learned to eyeball the size.
    Working with artists,it also gave me an appreciation for the subtleties of color. Sometimes there are more colors within wood than immediately meet the eye.
    And nieces! Valerie, my nieces lived with my family and then my own sons, it is hard to watch them grow and change, but so necessary. Now, my grandkids are getting too big and independent too quickly…sigh…

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Sounds like you had a lot to do with your first job…and learned a lot. I think I would like to work with artists. That would be interesting. My niece, Dawnae, is so excited about her new job. I hope that excitement sticks around for her. It’s a good learning experience to have a first job, but it should also be a bit of a fun experience with meeting new people, making new friends you otherwise wouldn’t have met, and of course, making those first purchases with your own money! 😛

  4. My first job was at a movie theater and I worked my way up to the candy/popcorn counter. I wasn’t quite sixteen so lied about my age. So many memories and so many years ago.

    I only have one brother and wasn’t that close to my nieces but my granddaughter has more than made up for that. Watching her grow and become the incredible lady she is has been an indescribable joy.

    Another happy post to start my day with. Thank you.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      You’re very welcome, Lavada!! Thank you, too!! 😛

      Working at a theater would have been a great job! Hopefully you got to see a lot of free movies.

      What a blessing for you all who have grandchildren! Precious gifts indeed!

  5. My first job was at a local mill that made paper bags. I also met a lot of really nice people including my husband. I knew that that was not my lifelong dream so after staying home a few years I went to work as a secretary at a local school. That job was the beginning of several super great jobs. Both of my college freshman granddaughters have started new jobs and they are so excied to be making their very own money. It’s been fun watching them grow up but I really miss those days when I could pack them up and go camping.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Had it not been for your first job, you might not have met the love of your life! Great story! 😛 I’ll bet your granddaughters also miss those days, Nancy.

  6. I was a Woolies girl and absolutely loved it. Such a sense of independence and excitement. Just thinking about it brings back very fond memories,

    Try not to be sad about your niece slipping into the next stage of her life, Valerie, I don’t have nieces but am close to my cousin, Margaret. When we were young she would share my bedroom when she came to stay and we’d talk and giggle into the night, while scaring ourselves witless with spooky tales, Even now, we have a lot of laughs together. So don’t for a moment think that you have to let go of the giggles, the daydreams, and the silly girl talk…it’ll still be there for you no matter how old she gets. 🙂

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Thank you so much, Tricia! I needed to hear that. I’m glad you and your cousin have such a great relationship. I’m hoping that the older she gets, she’ll still come to me for advice and just to share what’s going on in her life. She’s probably the closest I ever came to having a daughter! 😛

  7. Wow, what a fabulous first job. Would have loved to work as florist as I love flowers and plants. My first job was a Woolies girl and totally enjoyed it although it was just a Saturday job. My first real full-time work was working along side my mother for British Airways at Heathrow Airport. She was head of finance and it gave me a good grounding for accounts. Sadly it didn’t last too long as people were afraid of giving me too much to do in case Mum disapproved and I couldn’t be me as I was always under Mum’s eagle eyes, but enjoyed every minute. Seems such a long time ago now.

    I am sure you will still have lots of fun and silly things with your niece, the relationship you have will always be there. Enjoy every precious moment. 🙂

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Wow! Kit, you worked with your mom at an airlines? That’s so cool. But I understand that it would have been a little odd being her daughter and employed there. Still, what a great experience for you both. Thanks Kit, I’m hoping my niece and I continue to remain close. Our relationship reminds me of the one I have with my dad’s sister, my Aunt Sis. 😛

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