Thursday, July 29, 2010

Childhood Jobs

We didn't get any allowance when I was growing up.  If we wanted money we worked for it.  Sometimes Mom would have a job we could do or sometimes I would go door to door asking "Do you have anything I can do to earn money?"  I also placed cards at the grocery store.

Here's some of the jobs I did:
  • Babysitting - 50 cents an hour for up to five children and I cleaned the house.  Sometimes I even got a bonus!
  • Ironing - 10 cents a piece for little girls dresses.  I ironed by the basket load.
  • Weeding - 25 cents per hour for weed pulling and rhododendron dead heading.
  • Pet sitting - A dollar a day for watching pets, watering plants, and feeding the fish.
When I got into high school I added a couple more:
  • Housecleaning - That included kitchens, bathrooms, windows, and vacuuming.
  • Stuffed Animal Making - I made these ugly stuffed frogs that I sold in consignment stores.  I can't imagine why anyone would want to buy them but they sold well.
  • Hemming and Beading - This was a little later.  My mother-in-law was a seamstress and I would help with the hemming by hand and by machine.  I was 17 at the time so think I can still include it.
When my kids were growing up they added some things:
  • Babysitting - Still a hot item.
  • Bucking Bales - This is throwing 80 lb bales onto a truck or in a barn.
  • Pie Making and Banana Bread - We took them to the farmers market. 
  • Rabbit Business - More about that in In The Trenches
  • Blueberry Picking.
  • Digging - There are many things that require a hole to be dug.
  • Lawn Mowing - Another stand by.
  • Garage cleaning.
  • Kisses - One Auntie would pay my son a dollar for a kiss (he was two).  Does that count?
  • Any kind of farm work - The boys had many opportunities and learned many skills.  This was available to girls also but my daughter was able to keep busy with the babysitting.
I realize times have changed and some security precautions need to be taken but using due diligence there are still people who need things to be done by adults or children.  Sometimes they are a small one hour job but it all adds up.

It was good.  We felt grown up and important.  Sometimes the quarters and dollars brought more personal satisfaction than some of the paychecks I have received since then.  Was I deprived?  No, I was enriched.  As an adult it has never bothered me to walk around asking "Do you have anything I can do to earn some money?"

What did you do?  Would love to hear about it in the comments.  And, if you put the price we can try and guess your age. :)


LindaP said...

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I got my first job. The neighbors had children who were little, over a year and close to three-year-old. They obviously had seen me baby wrangling with my three younger siblings. They hired me to watch their children while they gardened. Their garden was at another location. It was very scary and liberating to leave my family and go off with what seemed like strangers. So, all afternoon for several days over the next few weeks I made sure the kids were happy and out of trouble. They gave me $3 and a huge brown grocery bag of vegetables, their surplus, I suppose. Then, I had to walk back to their house and take my brother along to carry the last two bags. I felt like I was a contributor to the family.Each day I worked, there were vegetables to take home but never as many vegetables as that first day.

Carol said...

Contributor. Good word. So much different than consumer and the feeling is entirely different. Thanks for sharing your story.