Yesterday was Labor Day, and my local newspaper ran excerpts from people talking about their first jobs.  Thought I’d share mine, and I invite you to write me about yours!

At age 11, the Bronx Butcher Shop that supplied our family with meat hired me, ostensibly to do deliveries.  Deliveries aren’t non-stop at a small local butcher, so in between, I kept the place clean.  I imagine that today (and perhaps even then), having an 11 year old cleaning bloody meat trays and scrubbing fat off of chopping blocks might be illegal, but I proudly earned 75 cents an hour plus tips (tips are good for toting 20 lb bags up several flights of stairs!), which was enough to keep me in cool clothes and shoes! 

I learned a lot about customer service watching the butchers serve people, and a lot about business seeing what went on behind the counter.  But, it was too messy a job for me, and to celebrate my 12th birthday (literally), I showed up at the New York Post, and signed up to deliver newspapers.  I thrived in this job for 2 years, until my 14th birthday, which I celebrated by getting “working papers” – anyone remember those?  THEN, I hit the big time, and could work in retail – serving customers and delivering meds at the local pharmacy -- where I also watched other teens get strung out on codeine-laced cough syrup and progress to narcotic pills; and watched the pharmacist / bookie take bets by phone while counting those pills! 

Lots of life lessons in the Bronx for a kid, and I wouldn’t have traded any of it!

What’s your story?

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Views: 202

Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 7, 2011 at 10:02am
Great post Mark! Thank you for sharing your story. When I was a kid I always wanted to deliver newspapers. Unfortunately I lived in a small town and the market was cornered, by my neighborhood friend around the block. MY first job was working for my Grandfather's general contracting company. It was not easy at all, but it was my summer job for two years growing up. The labor was of course was hard (asphalt in July?), but what made things a bit more difficult was my Grandfather himself. He was the bravest and strongest man I ever knew, but also a thick headed cowboy with a trucker's mouth. He worked on a backhoe till he was 87 to give you an idea. I share this because I received no special treatment from him. I was one of the workers on the crew and as a result he treated me as such. That meant getting yelled at and sweared at, but in looking back it was such a positive experience. How you might ask? Well because my first job presented me with my first difficult boss. My take was that if I can deal with my 'Pop' I can deal with anyone. So fast forward a couple years and I began working at this summer camp and all of my friends were scared to death of the manager. He did rule with an iron fist, but to me it was nothing. The same can be said for all of my bosses/managers that followed. All of them paled in comparison to my Grandfather. So a valuable lesson that I took from my first job indeed. Love to hear what other RBC members have to share on this topic.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 7, 2011 at 9:57pm
Bronx boy hating the Yankees? Dare I even ask? Can we get Tino to respond to this thread? I would love to hear from others.......
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 8, 2011 at 3:10pm
Tough I bet- so does this mean we can't hold next year's RecruitFest! on Arthur Avenue?
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 8, 2011 at 3:11pm
By the way - Mark are you seeing double? or happy trigger finger? Let me know if you want me to clean up the double blog post.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 8, 2011 at 3:26pm
There is either something new or something funny when you post.  that is how mine showed up as posted by "me" there is a test box and a reset button.  I didn't click the reset because i thought it might post twice.  Looks weird but then i react to anything that looks different.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 8, 2011 at 3:26pm
text not test.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 8, 2011 at 4:12pm
Yes- Paul brought this to my attention as well. I thought it was resolved, but will give it another crack. Thanks Sandra for bringing to my attention. I will be sending you a kitten as your reward.


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