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Summer job stories

Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
I was just talking to a friend about summer jobs we've held as kids. She said she worked at the beach and one of her main responsibilities was managing complaints about seagulls. :o

I once worked for a marketing firm where I handed out deodorant samples near DC metro stations in August. I've done everything from lawn mowing to working at restaurants, stores, and summer camps. I also got to tag along with my dad sometimes, which was a lot of fun.

How about you? What are some summer jobs you had as a kid?
President
HeatingHelp.com
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Comments

  • CondomanCondoman Posts: 57Member
    The only summer job I can remember was long ago. It was harvesting broad leaf tobacco. Hot, sticky, burned your eyes, dirty, exhausting. So glad it was only one summer.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 3,077Member
    edited May 26
    Sometimes they weren't just for summer. One of the businesses my dad had was 2 water ice trucks (and soft pretzels).
    So scooping water ice after school & summer. Selling soft pretzels outside the gate at the Westinghouse factory when the workers came out.
    Cutting grass, paper routes (had to have 2, because "..any lazy kid could have just 1".
    Pumping gas.
    --And any other job when any Uncle requested free labor help-moving, painting, etc. Shingled my first roof (but unfortunately not my last) when I was 12.
    steve
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Wow, @Condoman, that sounds grueling.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @STEVEusaPA, it sounds like they kept you busy. How early were you up for those two paper routes?
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • ScottSecorScottSecor Posts: 260Member
    Cleaning oil boilers with Dad as a kid, unloading trucks and stocking shelves while in college at the local grocery store (where I met my wife of the last 28 years). While in high school I worked at an animal hospital where I did everything you can think of from cleaning the cages on a Sunday morning after staying up way too late on a Saturday night to assisting in surgery (that I thought was very cool).

    A few years after Dad started his heating business, a customer asked if he would consider painting the interior of her house, every room including closets. By the way, Dad hated to paint but needed to pay the bills and offered to hire my older brother and myself to help out (yes, we got paid). The woman recently became a widow after her WWII veteran husband (Al) passed away. Anyway, we were almost finished with the job and my brother and I were directed to paint the closet under the living room stairs. Apparently, the previous painter did a very sloppy job and my brother and I could not stop talking about the shoddy workmanship. We made comments about the painter's poor vision, bad habits, must have used a mop for a paintbrush, you get the idea. Meanwhile the widow was in tears just ten feet away sitting in Al's Lazy-Boy recliner. My father walked by the homeowner and heard the banter between my brother any myself and he asked the two of us to step outside (for the first time in our lives) and told us the deal. The now deceased husband (Al) was the last person to paint the house. My brother and I felt horrible and apologized profusely to the homeowner. One of the dumbest things I've ever done. I tell this story to every employee we've ever hired so they don't make the same mistake as me!
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Great point, @ScottSecor. Those early jobs sure had a way of teaching us, didn't they? Thanks for sharing.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,324Member
    Shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, mowing lawns. I became friends with a kid in 10th grade. His dad and uncle had a commercial G.C. company. Heat, A/C, plumbing, electric. The summer between sophomore and junior years I started working as a helper. Sweeping, hanging ductwork, stripping B/X wire, replacing air filters, replacing fire brick in giant boilers. "You want me to climb there and do WHAT?"
    My first job site was at the time was the new Meehnan building in Wantagh.
    At another building the supervisor pointed to a couple cases of 8x8x1 air filters and told me to replace them in all the offices. All offices had 2x2 ceiling tiles. 3 hours later when I returned, I said to my supervisor, "There's gotta be a better way. It's so hard to put the screws back in and line up the holes to sandwich the grills and hats back to the tiles." Well, I installed the air filters in the SUPPLY registers.
    Some co-workers and building maintenance guys were there when I explained my dilemma. They all looked at each other and died laughing. Good times.
    I'm still very good friends with that kid from high school and if it wasn't for his dad, me being the derelict I was, I'd probably be bagging groceries now. For a while he would actually come to my house and literally drag me out of bed to go to work. And he always brought me coffee and cigs. Super Terrific man he is.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,661Member
    Hired hand on a big dairy farm. One does everything (from what one might picture -- haying, milking, that sort of thing -- to caring for sick critters from cats to cows to rebuilding and repairing sick machinery of all sorts and ages) and learns a lot -- and works very hard. I loved it.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,918Member
    Shoveled snow, paper route,

    but the best job I ever had for about 3 years was being a dishwasher in a bar/banquet hall, washed dishes, set up and took down tables & chairs, swept, mopped, cut the grass, weeded the bushes etc. used to get up go in and sweep & mop the bar take out the trash before my 8 am class at college.

    Then between years at college I got a job in Stamford, Ct (2 hr drive) wiring control panels one summer 40 hrs a week then went home on weekends and worked in the bar. Didn't have any time off that summer but

    Saved enough that summer to buy a brand new Chevy Pick up. $3000.00 V8, AM radio, 3 speed on the collumn

    And the control panel job paid us $4.50 an hour (I think) which was real good back then. learned a lot on that job

    Started my first full time job in 73' for 2.35/hr
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Posts: 870Member
    My first summer job/real job, was bagging up bark dust chips into bags. Basically a truckload of bark and a shovel. They got rid of the other two guys after I was able to bag up an entire truckload and they were barely half through one. I also worked with my dad spraying down asphalt onto commercial roofs, and working with my uncle cleaning out dry kilns in lumber yards. That was a Mike Rowe kind of job. 90 foot long building totally covered on the inside in asphalt to keep the walls from rotting. We had to go in and scrape off all the flaky stuff and then re-spray it. And a lot of times, the kiln had only been shut down for a day before we got there, which they could easily be over 100 degrees inside. That was a nasty job.
    I guess picking strawberries, beans, and cukes was sort of my first job, now that I think about it, but I was still very young, so just sort of worked them.
    Rick
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 1,602Member
    Split(hydraulically) and stacked firewood, snow blowed driveways, (push) mowed lawns with a mower I bought and rebuilt, picked potatoes, and pumped gas in High School. I remember my first tax return, I spent the entire amount on a Briggs&Stratton gas powered pressure washer. I thought I could use it to make money cleaning decks etc.

    Come to think of it, I still have the engine from that pressure washer. The pump got scored with debris so I scrapped it and saved the engine.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,527Member
    Hi, My first real job was working at an apartment house, doing basically everything from yard and cleanup to very basic wiring and plumbing. I remember getting a lesson in electricity. It was parallel vs series wiring. That Christmas light got real bright for a split second on 120 volts! The manager was a guy named Hap Hardy, who was my first mentor. Before that, teachers in junior high school would ask me to fix stuff, like the hydronic room heater, or find a way to quiet the alarm bell. That was fun. I started taking things apart when I was around seven or eight. Didn't take too long before I could put them back together. Thanks @Erin Holohan Haskell for making me remember. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @HVACNUT , good one! And the next three hours spent fixing it?
    @Jamie Hall, that sounds like an interesting way to learn quickly.
    @EBEBRATT-Ed, glad your hard work paid off. Any old photos of the truck?
    @rick in Alaska, yikes. That does sound like a tough job.
    @Solid_Fuel_Man, that was a clever investment in the pressure washer. Is the tinkering with it what got you interested in mechanical systems?
    @Larry Weingarten, the “putting back together” is always the tricky part in the beginning. Thanks for being curious and sharing with us!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 271Member
    My summer jobs were just full-time versions of the part-time ones I held continuously during high school and college starting at age 16. Mostly retail, department store and camera shop. One exception was a summer for IBM installing/modifying its equipment in the field. I remember one particularly unpleasant long Memorial Day weekend in 1974 (not technically summer, but the semester had ended) under the floor in a large New York Telephone computer room pulling thick, heavy cables. The customer wanted its very large number of floor-standing tape drives arranged differently. While nothing like the crawl space stories Wallies tell, let's just say I learned why IBM had no luck getting a prototype infrared wireless interconnect system to work. It seems like I'm still removing dust from my ears and eyes 45 years later. :)

    Hired hand on a big dairy farm. One does everything (from what one might picture -- haying, milking, that sort of thing -- to caring for sick critters from cats to cows to rebuilding and repairing sick machinery of all sorts and ages) and learns a lot -- and works very hard. I loved it.

    In a long career with several large companies, ending at Boeing, the best engineering colleagues I met had inevitably grown up as farm kids.
  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 563Member
    edited May 27
    I started working on my grandparents' dairy farm shortly after I could walk. My dad would take me along with him every morning and night to milk cows, feed, scrape manure, etc along with field work spring and fall. When I started school at 6 I was finally able to get a break during the day. They sold the cows when I was 8 and my dad became a postal worker, but I still helped out with field work as they still farmed 360 acres but that same summer when I was 8, I scooped up a job mowing lawns in the closest town 10 miles away where my other grandparents lived. 3 days a week, my mom would drop me off at their house where I stored my mower and trimmer on her way to work in the morning and I had 13 accounts at $20 apiece. When I was 10, I bought a Honda Fourtrax 300 ATV with my proceeds and started riding it 2 miles to the neighbor's to split wood (he owned a tree service and sold firewood) every day after school while still doing lawns 3 days a week and splitting wood the other 2 days during the summer- this was the start of my fulltime work life. At 15, I was offered a job cleaning restaurant equipment in the aforementioned town where my grandparents lived which was fulltime in summer and after school otherwise, gave up on the wood splitting at this time but kept the lawn accounts for after work and bought a stump grinder and chainsaws at 16 to do tree/stump removal in my spare time. Right out of high school at 18 I took a summer job as a pipefitter helper in the Minneapolis metro 90 miles away and kept up the restaurant equipment gig on weekends but sold my lawn accounts and equipment to another kid in town. Sold the stump grinder when I turned 19 so I could afford to build a new 40x60 insulated shop at my house. Got into the apprenticeship around the same time at 19 and have been a 539 pipefitter for 11 years but did a whole lot of odd jobs during my apprenticeship to make ends meet, from landscaping to farm work to auto mechanics and mobile welding, hauled a LOT of scrap iron. Jack of all trades, master of none
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,781Member
    My 2 summers (early 1960's) on a depression era farmstead were quite educational. Every piece of machinery had at least 10 lengths of baling wire hanging on it and pliers were the required tool to fix anything with it. (this was before duct tape could fix everything).
    The owner built a lot of machinery from parts from the "trees" with his welder.
    The first summer was with the outhouse as the WC.
    The second summer had the flush toilet inside the house.

    This is how things were done by the owner, first automatic pressurized water into the house, next year might give you drains so the buckets under the sink was no longer needed.
    Then maybe a year or two the electric water heater came along for hot baths (with drain pipe).
    The next purchase a year later was the inside flush WC.

    These 2 summers gave me insight on how to do without (no TV, crank phone on the wall, and only one farm radio station) and improvise repairs.
    We had 16 cows to milk twice a day. But with the luxury of auto milkers...no pipeline but had to carry the milk to the cream separator, the skim milk to the pigs, hot water to clean the separator. (all of these bucket trips seemed to be uphill).

    All machinery was at least 20 years old, some 50.
    There was 1 or 2 models of everything parked in the "trees" for parts.....which we visited often.
    I worked about 70 hours a week for 6 dollars a day, room, laundry and plenty of very good homemade board.

    The best part was that I could still keep my part time town job.
    Sat and Sun nights I ran the movie projectors (remember film).
    Each showing paid me 3 dollars a night, this was year around all thru high school and I felt good with the 6 dollars to spurge all week....plus free movies! ….and I could take everything apart to see what was inside and usually got it put back together. ;)
    The projector job was handed down thru 3 brothers and that experience landed me a job as a temp union projectionist thru trade school. Then part time in the USAF.

    Then freshly out of high school, I worked for our utility/power plant. Today, could a 17 year old (by himself) be allowed to operate 900+ HP diesel generators, start and stop them, manually add cooling water as needed, bring on line as needed, synchronize rotations thru manual operated 2400 VAC switch board??

    I am proud to say that all 4 of our children know that work is part of life. All have been employed and most had a second job.
    Having boys in early twenties, they learned that delivering pizza at night earned them double wages as that time at the job cut down on bar and beer time.....and student loan requirements.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,781Member
    Not sure the above posting got installed?
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,781Member
    Bump up???
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,781Member
    ????
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,324Member
    @JUGHNE I can see your posts.
  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Posts: 2,465Member
    In the late 70’s, I worked as a cook on Amtrak during the summers. My routes were NYC, LA, and Seattle. Great experience. 16 hour days so it paid for much of my college. I met a lot of the old timers from Sante Fe and other passenger railways from back in the day. Most of their stories aren’t appropriate for this forum.
    Steve Minnich
    Tell me I can't, and I'll show you I can.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,672Member
    I would help out on the produce farms in my area. Helped harvest during the day and haul stuff to market in then evening.

    Driving from rural farm area where I grew up to market in downtown Buffalo during the riots was an experience. When we stopped at traffic signals folks would run out or drive up and grab produce off the flatbed. We ran a lot of red lights :).

    I also helped my dad in the plumbing & heating business.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @Sal Santamaura, I hope this Memorial Day weekend was much more pleasant!
    @GroundUp, I admire your drive from such a young age.
    @JUGHNE , I’m glad you’ve passed your work ethic on to your kids.
    @Steve Minnich , what a way to learn!

    Thanks for sharing all of these stories.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    I'll bet, @hot_rod!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    My grandparents have a condo at the beach (Ocean City, MD), and I was fortunate enough to be able to work there for 5 summers during my teen years. Work wasn't hard, but people on vacation have no brains.

    I dipped ice cream, short order cook, miniature golf attendant (which includes maintenance and cleaning), go karts, bumper boats, the only thing I couldn't do was life guard at the water slides.

    The last 2 summers I worked for Fisher's popcorn (anyone who knows OC MD knows this place) making caramel popcorn. Had a great boss, who also had high expectations. "If there's time to lean there's time to clean". I sucked up all the hours I could, worked open to close most days, paid 1.5 for OT so I usually cleared 4-5k in a summer which wasn't bad for high school in the early 90's.

    Oh and since I lived with my grandmother for free I also had to maintain the condo, wash her car, basically do anything she told me to "earn my way". I wouldn't trade it for the world, really miss that woman, one of the greats in my life.

    Not my job, but we have family friends that one was a doctor, with 2 brother in laws, one was a pastor, the other a mortician, seriously can't make this up. Anyway my mother used to do phone watch at the funeral parlor, so basically she answered the phone to hear about someone dying. One night she took the call about her boyfriend dying in a car accident. A couple years ago we realized my father (who wouldn't meet my mother for a couple years) was driving the tow truck that hauled his car away from the scene. Crazy world.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    KC_Jones said:

    "If there's time to lean there's time to clean".

    Haha! This is great.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom's tragic loss. What a coincidence about your dad driving the tow truck. Wow!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member

    KC_Jones said:

    "If there's time to lean there's time to clean".

    Haha! This is great.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom's tragic loss. What a coincidence about your dad driving the tow truck. Wow!
    They were married 40+ years before the story was put together.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Wow!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 560Member
    During high school summers, every now and then throughout summer, my father would send me to a building to clean a boiler that burned number 6 oil. I never knew when to bring an extra set of clothes. And, there was never an appropriate place for me to wash the soot off my hands and face.

    I learned quickly not to try to ride the subway home at 5pm. People were sooo rude and mean to me! Junkies laying across five seats were respected more than I was. That stuff wouldnt come off for days.
  • edited May 28
    Irrigation crew in Oregon. Sugar beets for seed grow tall and we'd have to walk on tip-toe with 20' lengths of 3" pipe over our heads. Fourteen hour days, 6 days a week; church on Sunday. By summer's end, I was strong and tanned. Praise the Lord!


    Often wrong, never in doubt.

    Click here to learn more about this contractor.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,324Member
    @KC_Jones
    Fishers, Thrashers (with vinegar), Candy Kitchen, Dumsers, Bull on the Beach, Mug & Mallet, Harrisons Harbor Watch, Mackys Bayside, Hoopers Crab House (one of my faves), The Green Turtle (before they were everywhere), on and on. It's gotten a little ratty over the years but always a good time. We still go every couple years.
    Oh, and there's more than just food and drinks but I schedule around the food.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    edited May 28
    @HVACNUT I used to go to Hooper's had a bad experience there years ago and stopped going. I am picky about my crabs and they were really bad one time so I was done. These days I just catch my own. The rest for sure, Candy Kitchen make your own Sundae!
    Another place for some good crabs is Crab Bag up on 130th bay side.

    I've been going there since I was less than 1, it's a staple in my family. We have family reunions down there, including the family from Kansas who fly out. I agree it's changed a lot over the years.

    Grandfather bought his condo in 1977 on 120th street, we have pictures of the field, yes field of nothing almost as far as you can see North. Used to walk across Coastal and go crabbing, it's now a housing development of high end homes....all built on filled in wetlands.

    I know it's not the best beach, but it has my heart and that won't ever change.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Mike_SheppardMike_Sheppard Posts: 551Member
    My first summer job was cleaning boilers. The rest is history.
    Never stop learning.
  • flat_twinflat_twin Posts: 207Member
    High school summers I worked as a grunt for an old general contractor who worked me hard but taught me a lot too. The entire summer was spent remodeling an old house. The hardest labor was digging the cellar deeper by hand which required throwing the dirt out the window then moving that dirt again by wheel barrow. I learned how to sweat copper, tamp oakum and pour lead joints in old soil pipes, run electric wiring.
    Old Joe was about the scroungiest looking man you ever saw but he was honest and he knew his stuff.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    flat_twin said:

    The hardest labor was digging the cellar deeper by hand which required throwing the dirt out the window then moving that dirt again by wheel barrow.

    My grandfather did this after he had exploratory surgery, turns out he had a hernia. This was his idea of "recovery". He had the wheel barrow hooked to the lawn tractor that my uncle drove. Pulled it up a ramp to get the dirt out. He is a tough man, turned 96 in February, Mechanical Engineer, degree from King's Point, started '42, graduated in '44, got out of war in '46, served the whole time. King's Point is the only academy that fly's the battle flag as the cadets serve in the war.

    It's funny reading this, I get the feeling we are all reflecting on what we have done in our life...and we smile just a little.

    Threads like this are what make this site special, IMHO.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 847Member
    For a month one summer I lifeguarded, took college classes and worked night shift as a temp a couple days a week stacking videocassette tapes manually onto pallets. (They have robots for this now... and DVDs)

    Other summers I worked at a grocery store, then interned during college at Pfizer and GE industrial systems.

    Worked student maintenance and as a dorm cafeteria cook while at school. Really liked working in the kitchen. The student maintenance was 1/2 janitorial. Not fun on Saturday mornings.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    KC_Jones said:



    It's funny reading this, I get the feeling we are all reflecting on what we have done in our life...and we smile just a little.

    Threads like this are what make this site special, IMHO.

    I love reading these stories too and learning more about your first jobs. Thanks for sharing!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Posts: 870Member
    <

    It's funny reading this, I get the feeling we are all reflecting on what we have done in our life...and we smile just a little.

    Threads like this are what make this site special, IMHO.

    How true!
    Rick
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Posts: 326Member
    I worked for my cousin the summer before college started doing some roofing and other random things.

    I worked with this guy Blue who was a big Jamaican guy, he had TWO lazy eyes that would switch up on you as you were talking to him LOL.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,918Member
    After reading these I think I had it easier than some!!!!LOL

    @SlamDunk
    Did a bunch of #6 the first 13 years. It's the same thing as roofing tar nothing would get that stuff off you or your clothes.

    Haven't touched it in a long time and don't miss it a bit. Gas is a great fuel!!!

    One thing about it you never forget. The smell!!!!!
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