I couldn't wait to get a job. I babysat from fourth grade on. I was a babysitting machine. During the summer I even had multiple families ask me to babysit all their kids at once, a "mini-camp" of sorts that really improved my cash flow. So when I turned 16 and could actually get "a real job," I was thrilled. But the summer I was 16 I didn't get a job, I went to a summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design instead.
When I got home from Providence in August I was SO ready to earn a paycheck! I went through the paper and found a job at a restaurant near my house.
First "real" job: Bun girl/hostess. You all know what a hostess does, but what's a bun girl go? I walked around from table to table with a basket of bread and buns and served people. The thing was, once school started I didn't want to quit. My parents weren't too psyched by the idea of me working during the school week, but they let me as long as it didn't affect my grades. And it didn't. I worked Tuesday and Friday nights and Sunday brunch.
Second job: I've always loved the idea of going to work in an office (you writers out there probably think I'm crazy). So the next summer I got a job working for a company that took newspaper articles and converted them to microfiche for libraries and schools (totally dating myself here, remember microfiche?). A bunch of women would sit in a large room clipping articles from papers all over the country and I'd.... paste them onto a piece of paper and code them so they could be photographed. Not exactly thrilling but I got to read every single article that passed by my desk. Very interesting. I even offered to work overtime and brought home boxes of microfiche at the end of the day and organized them by date and code. Cha-ching!
Third job: The next summer I worked in a jewelry store (Cindy Lauper's husband bought her engagement ring there... god, I'm old). I love jewelry. A lot. So working there was a blast. The store did a lot of custom designs so it was fun to see a piece go from a drawing to an actual piece of jewelry. We had a whole workshop in back where really talented jewelers repaired and created pieces. I'll always remember one customer who had a 14 carat gold, diamond encrusted barrette made for his wife. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, it was also too heavy to stay in her hair and kept falling out. Lesson: an elastic band is cheaper and way more functional than a $5,000 custom made barette.
Fourth job: Then I entered my "yogurt years." The next summer I worked at the Fountain of Yogurt in Arizona. I lived there for the summer by myself in an apartment and every weekend my boyfriend, who was in CA, would visit. I scooped ice cream and pumped Fro Yo (I also took classes at ASU so my summer wasn't a complete wasteland of dumb work). I love ice cream. About as much as I love jewelry. So this was a great job (if not exactly a high paying one). I loved making milkshakes and ice cream sodas and I loved serving kids. And my on-the-job experience would come in handy years later when I found myself behind the counter once again.
Other jobs throughout college: Public Policy intern at Planned Parenthood; Marketing intern at Springfield Chamber of Commerce; Summer assistant at a large Boston law firm; marketing intern at a hospital. And I also babysat all throughout college. So, yes, I like a paycheck. And I like to work. Although sitting on a beach doing nothing is awfully nice, too.