Friday, April 2, 2021

Maybe the key to becoming rich is to start at $2/hour

True confession time: My eyes roll back in my head when I hear ditz-brains like Occasional-Cortex, I-llama or Tflab lecturing us on how HARD it is for people to work their way up and why they need a $15 or $20 per hour minimum wage.

I invite you to share how much you made per hour when you started working and what you did.

Me? My first "real job" paid $2.35/hour hanging guard rail in parking lots and cleaning carpets. My first job out of college paid the princely sum of $11/hour and I was on top of the world. And the Progressives claim I am rich.

If $10/hour is not enough to live on it is because stooges like Occasional-Cortex debased the dollar.

So, if you don't mind sharing...how much an hour did you make in your first "real" job?

62 comments:

  1. $3.50 on the lube rack at a Dodge dealer.

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    1. Year was 1970. Buick dealership lube rack. It was above minimum wage but I don't remember by how much. Later on I served as an intern at a machine shop; 60-hours a week at $1.00 an hour. Went from there to a magnet wire factory for $3.75 an hour; they started me at the top production wage because I could read a micrometer. Used to sleep in my car when working different shifts at two different jobs while squeezing in college classes when possible. Hardest jobs were on the farms; worse than construction labor. Farmers always served hearty meals and a few would let me hunt the property fringes during the fall. I was fired from my job at an apple orchard when I was 12-years-old for being lazy; it was the best lesson I ever learned.

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    2. Skip and Zack, Must of been the going rate for a New Car Dealer lube rack tech. In 1971 got 3.50 a flat rate hour in a Chevrolet dealer. Worked in GM dealers all my career, ending pay was 32.00 flat rate hour.Allan

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  2. $.50 @ hr. at an IGA store Bagging groceries and stocking shelves. Big raise when I got the next job at the local chicken farm, $1.00 @ hr. Nobody else wanted the job, so the old lady who owned the farm had to pay more. Scooping chicken manure. Mom made me undress and shower in the basement when I came home from that job. Even though I was still in high school, I was the only one of 7 in our family working that winter and I supported all of us for several months. That's a real job.

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  3. My first job where i was a full time employee was in the Navy in bootcamp in 1970. I made about $120 per month, but i got housing and meals. As a kid i hoed cotton in northern Texas in the panhandle for about $0.35 to $0.75 per hour, 5 days per week 10 hours per day.With my mom beside me to keep me going.

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  4. Pretty sure that I was making $2.30 an hour - working hard on a farm. I think that my next real paying job after I got done working for Uncle Sam paid around $8.00/hr.

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  5. $1.65 an hour flipping burgers at MacDonalds

    In 1973.

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  6. Had several jobs (mostly during summer) in high school. Farming community of Tulelake, CA circa 1969.

    Worked cattle (year round) in the feedlot my uncle managed.

    Set out and then moved (per watering cycle) sets of aluminum sprinkler pipe half a mile long. Pipe sections 3 inch diameter x 40 feet. Moved with the water running.

    Loaded 100 lbs. sacks of spuds in box cars. Two of us working, sacks arriving on a conveyor belt. Usually one box car a day. Stack from the ends to the middle, about eight feet high. If not full, you have to set braces to hold the stack ends in case the cars get moved around during the night.

    Going rate for all of the above, $2.00/hr.

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    1. My grandpa homesteaded in Tule in '39. Mom was a graduate of Tulelake High. I still have family there.

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    2. Aluminum pipe... good but how about setting tubes?

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    3. My uncle got a GI homestead after WWII. I lived with his family through high school. Tule High, class of '71.

      Nope, never set tubes, didn't want to. Some of my buddies on the football team did. Mostly linemen. Fortunately, most of my uncle's ground was irrigated pasture. I hired out when other folks were putting out solid sets of pipe. My aunt and uncle eventually sold out and retired to Klamath Falls.

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    4. One cousin was class of '70, his brother was class of '72. I suspect our paths crossed about 1/2 century ago.

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    5. Likely so. My uncle was Frank King. My oldest cousin Holly was class of '72. Copy and paste this into Google Earth to see where the ranch was--

      Latitude-- 41°49'58.03"N

      Longitude-- 121°19'37.99"W

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    6. Cool just across the highway from my uncle Don Porterfeild. The rest of the fam were Scotts, Mark, Steve, Lyle, Jerry etc.

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  7. 1979 6.55 after summers at 2.35, 2.65 then 2.95

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  8. $1.80/hr in the mid 70's artificially inseminating corn. As a side benefit, I got the best tan of my life.

    Opie Odd

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  9. #2.35 pushing abroom at a Danners variety store in the late 70's after school.

    Highest "unskilled" job was cleaning porta-potties in the mid 80's. $17 an hour. Wasn't worth it though.

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  10. 1969 summer job, busboy at the Horseshoe in Vegas. Believe it was around $2 an hour. Saved enough to by my first car. A 1965 ford Galaxy four door with a blown motor. Dad helped me rebuild it. Loved that tank!

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  11. 1969 summer job, busboy at the Horseshoe in Vegas. Believe it was around $2 an hour. Saved enough to by my first car. A 1965 ford Galaxy four door with a blown motor. Dad helped me rebuild it. Loved that tank!

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  12. Worked a summer job for the State of Pennsylvania at a state run mental institute.
    Farm labor and some dairy cow work as they grew a lot of their own food.
    1968 and $ 2.00 per hour.
    I was NOT an patient.
    The Consumer Price Indicator Calculator says that was equal to $ 15.07 of today's dollars.
    I walked to work from our home in Northeast Philadelphia.

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  13. Only 2 jobs I had 'off the farm', until I graduated from vet school...$1.65/hr at the putt-putt golf range, summer 1974.
    $1.85/hr as a work-study deiner in the Necropsy lab at the vet school, starting Spring 1977...was making a whopping $2.35 by the time class schedule would no longer allow me to work even q couple hours per week, end of summer 1983.
    First job as a graduate veterinarian, in 1985, paid $15,600/yr + $100/month housing allowance.

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    1. Late 1970s; $5.35/hr as a shift chemist. My own apartment cost $90/month. I was saving money like I couldn't believe. Regular gas went to $1.15 and boy I was pissed!

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  14. $1.35 per hour driving tractors for a neighbor farmer in the mid '60s. Drove them for my family at home. I still have a Allis Chalmers WD my Dad bought from another neighbor in 1964 when they quit milking. ---ken

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    1. Have my Dads WD45 that he bought new in 1951. Worked our farm all week for a full tank of tractor gas in my 57 Chevy on Friday night. First taxable job, bagging peat moss\cow manure\play sand for 3.25/hr in 1969.

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    2. That is great that you have your Dad's tractor. It is a special piece of a life. I would never part with mine except to a grandchild. ---ken

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  15. Working for tips sacking groceries on base at the commissary. Hauling hay for my neighbor who lost a foot flying helo's in Nam, he drove the flatbed hauling a trailer while his son and I threw and stacked bails on both. Stationed in Iwakuni, Japan tutored English classes off base making more than I was making in the Marines... Thank you for all the work you put into your blog...

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  16. $1.25 an hour building and painting picnic tables.
    Was a bit shocked to see how much was taken out of
    my first check.

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  17. $5.25 carrying golf bags in 1997. I got double that if I carried two.

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  18. I started sweeping up at a grain elevator for 50 cents an hour when I was 12. My first legal job at 16 was a busboy for minimum wage- $1.10 per hour. My last job 42 years later was at a factory for $13 per hour. A few jobs in between paid more than that. I survived AND thrived without a college education.

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  19. 4.00 hr Cleaning Hog Trailers, semi truck size double and triple deck. On hands and knees. With a scraper, then power wash. But worked on the farm( my dads and uncles place) for free.

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  20. High Tech RedneckApril 2, 2021 at 11:44 PM

    $1.10 an hour as a "Basket room attendant",lifeguard relief, and pool cleaner at a 1 million gallon fresh water swimming pool. It was drained every Monday night and we washed it down, got to keep what we found. I think the biggest haul we ever had was around $42.00. We also found rings, keys, some teeth, and a glass eye....

    P.S. Keep the stories coming, Thanks

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  21. 1966 I made $1.25 sweeping a print shop also bindery work in the shop. 1967 I made $1.35 washing dishes and bull cook at a restaurant. 1972 I made $125 a week plus the use of a house trailer milking cows, plus all the milk we could drink!

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  22. Not my first job...I started at $6/hr (which was low for the time) but there was opportunity toward the top. In 2 years I was earning $14/hr and running up to 4 guys. My boss said that in 27 yrs, I was the best employee he'd had.

    Self-discipline and not afraid to work.

    My first 'real' job, I started at $1.25 in the stockroom. Unloading and organizing and stocking shelves only - receiving was not my duty as it was above my pay grade. In 13 months I was offered 3rd manager (Ass't to the Ass't and closing duties). When I turned in my two week notice, I was told I would have my own store within the year if I stayed.

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  23. 1965 was getting $1.25 an hour busing tables and washing dishes. Worked 50 hours a week. Eight hours a day weekdays and ten hours of overtime!! on Saturday. Also had sticker shock when I saw the taxes on my first check. I was in the 8th grade and worked 3-11.

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  24. $1.75 and hour washing dishes at the local golf club. But remember, you were hot stuff in the community if you made $20,000 a year or better similar to in the 80's if you were in "six figures" or 2007 if you were in seven figures.
    I appreciate what you do to make this blog work. It is a daily read.

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  25. I pumped gas, a LOT of gas, when it was 19.9 cents per gallon and people lined up for blocks to save a penny per gallon. Island jockeys were paid $2.35 per hour at that time, in the early seventies.






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  26. My first real job paid $400/summer providing horses and supervising horseback riding at a YMCA day camp. A friend and I would ride two horses about 5 miles each morning over to the camp, give rides to the kids in their corral, and head back about mid-afternoon. I think we did this about 2-3 days a week. So very roughly, about $2 an hour. This was circa 1969.

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    1. Of course, that doesn't account for the cost of the horses, their tack, and their upkeep. Maybe they made more than I did?

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  27. $0.85 per hour pumping gas in 1957.

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  28. Early 1970's I worked a part-time job while attending college. I was a lineboy at the local airport for $2.00 an hour. My parents paid for my tuition, books, and rent. But as for food, gas and maintenance on my car, and spending money, that was up to me. On that $2.00/hr for 20-30 hours a week I paid for those things plus had money left over for flying lessons. Naturally I worked full-time in the summer, as any enterprising young college student did in those days.

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  29. I made $2.00 in 1973 working part time in a lamp factory carrying lamps and green ware up three flights of stairs.

    I made $8,000.00 a year in my first job out of college as a chemical technician in 1977.

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  30. 11$ hour engineer for martin marietta 1983. Final pay from them 2001 was 33$hr. About 20years, 3x the wages. I felt like I was over paid, and always wanted to make them proud of my work. It's not how much you get paid, it's how much you spend being the key to having extra money.

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  31. Whatever the minimum wage was in 64-65. I bagged groceries in a supermarket. Worked up to a-bit over$2 cashiering by the time I graduated HS in ‘67. Went to work for Fisher Body (general motors) for a year till I joined the AF in ‘68. Made $3.78 per hour at the factory then dropped to $120 a month in AF. It was a few years in AF before I got back up to my 1968 living standard. Whenever I talk about the Air Force, I like to point out the educational opportunities. Not only was I trained in welding and sheet metal, I went to college at night. When I got out after 12 years ( family problems) I had an associate degree in management, BA in Psychology and had started on a MA.

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  33. I bagged groceries at Safeway for $2.35 in 1973. The point I remember was that I took home $20/week (I was union) and my flying lesson on Sat. cost $21/hr. I found a lawn to cut weekly for $5 to make up the balance. By 1977 I had earned all my tickets and was hired to give flight instruction for $7/hr. (It now occurred to me that I was filthy rich). The flight school had a long stream of B-52 pilots entering the civilian world who were getting their FAA licenses on the GI bill. It still amazes me that I, a 19 y/o wet behind the ears instructor, was teaching Vietnam vet BUFF pilots to fly! I was making enough money @ 19 to buy a used 1969 427 Corvette... and yes, it was a chick magnet.
    College, Graduate school, marriage & children & a mortgage would follow but the summer of 1977 was my zenith in financial freedom. All at $7 an hour. I suppose there is a lesson in there somewhere but obviously I didn't find it.

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  34. $1.58 for laundry delivery in a hospital.

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  35. $1.25/hr working for a veterinarian. Went in the Navy and got the munificent amount of $138.30/month BEFORE taxes. Soooo, I went DOWN to $.86/hr assuming a 40 hour week, which it wasn't... sigh

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  36. At 13 I began car hopping for our local A&W. All of .35 cents per hour + tips and all the root beer I wanted. We got a break on food but it wasn't free. Got my first paycheck and had the owner explain what each deduction was and when he explained Social Security I objected strenuously as how would I ever be old enough to collect. Now I know.

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  37. 2.05 an hour as customer service at a store that was a precursor to Walmart. Bagged sporting goods and groceries and chased shopping carts in the parking lot. After two weeks, was offered a ten cent raise, but I had to join the union. Went bragging to Dad and he said you aren't joining no #$@ing union. Besides, were moving to Western North Carolina. This was the summer of 75. Heck of a culture shock between San Diego CA and Cullowhee NC.

    Next job before Uncle Sam was summer of 76 scooping ice cream and selling indian jewelry and trinkets at a store in the Cherokee Indian Reservation for 2.10 an hour.

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  38. 10 cents a bale hauling hay. $2.37/hr mechanics helper 1966, first hourly job, trying to work my way through college. $98.00 per month when I got drafted for not enough college hours, 1967.

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  39. .50 an hour babysitting. Once with my sister and one of the kids chased around the house with a knife! We told the parents and he got in trouble. Then years later when I got married he was the ring bearer in my wedding! Now at 64, I live in NV on 20 acres in a 3,000 square foot house with goats, dogs, chickens and cats. The animals have there own houses. :) Work hard and long and save, save, save. Had many blessing from the Lord and we ALWAYS tithe!!!

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  40. Should have proof read! *chased us around* *their own houses*

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  41. Unless you include the date, the amount earned doesn't mean much.

    My first real job - defined as the first job that taxes and SS were withheld from my pay - was in 1970 as a janitor at the high school I attended at the time. I made $1.25/hr., which was the minimum wage at that time. I made a lot more money fixing radio's and TV's on the side than I did at that job.

    I remember having a discussion with my dad once about minimum wage. He bragged that when he was my age he made only about a dollar a day. I then asked him: "Dad, how much did a pair of bluejeans cost back then?" We both laughed.

    The truth is, the minimum wage is always and everywhere the same - zero!

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  42. About $2/customer/month delivering newspapers. IIRC, I had about 60-70 houses on my route. Seven days/week, any and all weather. No vacations unless I got someone to take it, and the one time I did that it cost me nearly an entire month's pay.

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    1. This was 1972-73.

      Have just finished all the comments. It seems that we are all of an age and a generation that has almost nothing in common with the young of today. WTH happened to my country?

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  43. Don't remember the pay, but in high school in the mid 70's I worked evenings at a donut shop and days helping my pastor build a house for his in-laws. By the mid 80's I was supporting a family of 4 on $8.00/hr as a skilled cabinet maker. Never understood why "wood butchers" (construction guys) made so much more. In '89, by the grace of God, I was hired by the local fire department...at $12 hour. It was a literal answer to prayer. Had a heart attack while working a house fire 28 years later. If you're going to have a heart attack, that's literally the best place to have it happen, aside from the ER. Lots of medics and EMT's around to jump on you. Got to retire a couple years early. Wife and I moved out of state to a beautiful property and neighborhood. Brought my elderly parents with us. Get to travel when we want to see grandkids, etc. Working more now than when I had a paying job. God is good, and I can point to several instances in our lives where I can see his direct intervention on our behalf. Twice, at least, where I should have died. Maybe I need to pay closer attention.

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  44. Started at $1.05 per hour (minimum wage) as a HS junior in 1963. This was in a swimming pool chemical supply factory (chlorine, etc.) Not a pleasant experience, but it was the only job offering show in town.

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  45. I grew up on a farm where I picked tobacco for $20 a day and a county meal at lunch 2 days a week. It started started at 6:30 am with a 15 minute break about 9, a hour lunch break, afternoon, and off when the barn was loaded which was about 5pm. The other 4 days of the week I worked in town at the tobacco warehouse for minimum wage of $2.30 back in 1977.

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    1. Tsquared, I did some tobacco work myself back when I was a teenager. (1969-70) It was some of the hardest work I have ever done. Cutting and staking wasn't that bad. Hanging it in the barn nearly killed me.

      I forgot what it paid, but by the time the season was over, I said never again.

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  46. My first professional job after graduating from MIT in the 70's with a degree in Biology paid $19,200. Based on 2080 hours/year (40 hours/week * 52 weeks/year) = $9.23/hour. Which if I had been single would have been quite adequate. My wife was also working.

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  47. Babysitting while in junior high school paid 35 cents per hour.
    First real job, vet's assistant, after high-school and on Sat & Sun mornings paid 85 cent per hour. Working as a draftsman, drawing blueprints, paid $1.25, then the federal minimum wage (1966).

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