Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

First jobs of successful Americans


(Reuters) - Summer jobs: The very mention brings up memories of low pay, long hours and sweaty, clueless teenagers who don't really know what they're doing.

Memories like that are still vivid for some of the nation's greatest achievers. Since last August, Reuters has been gathering the first-job stories of successful Americans, including sports legends, business titans and media superstars.

This month, to coincide with the nation's monthly jobs report, we spoke to a few of them about those memorable summer jobs that got them started.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
gramos555 August 01 2014 at 9:16 PM

Hard work is just structure if you're paid fairly and treated with respect. I was one of 2-3 dish/pot washers and busboys in a very big and busy family restaurant serving from 200 to 300 covers a night. Minimum wage, but great food and sincerely supportive bosses. We felt like family members, and we worked right alongside the owner's kids. We were taught to clean a big kitchen top to bottom, to handle sizzling pots and pans, to move thousands of dishes from tables to shelves, sparkling like new, day after day late into the night, then back to school in the morning. We were taught to cook when there was time.

It was hard work, hot and sweaty, filthy at times, and a bit dangerous. We left each night exhausted and more than a little busted up. But we had a good experience. We got a pat on the back, a weekly check, and were treated like good hard workers.

I've never been afraid to roll up my sleeves since then. And I'm a decent cook and my kitchen is spotless to this day.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ctslair August 01 2014 at 7:01 PM

Picked raspberries, beans, cherries, apples when I was a kid...whatever the farms were harvesting. We got paid by the pound and I could make about 10 dollars in about six hours. And no, I'm not hispanic or black, the majority of the folks out there with me were white. Of course, if kids went out and did these jobs now, some busybody would probably call Child Protective Services and report it as abuse...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sutt202 August 01 2014 at 6:08 PM

We used to get 25 cents to mow a lawn. Front and back and trim. And it was a push mower. Of course the yards where not that big and a movie was only 20 cents. By one in the afternoon I could make a dollar. And I was only 8 or 9 years old. And I had to compete against other kids who wanted to do the job. I didn't have to do it. But it was the only way to make money. Our parents never had any extra. If we wanted to go to the movies, we paid our own way.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
CAMERON August 01 2014 at 6:21 PM

I sat for. 4 children at. Only 50 cents. An hr back. In 1972

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ohringen August 02 2014 at 8:42 AM

I can relate to that story, lol. At the age of twelve, my brother and I sold cow manure and veggies from my mother's commercial garden in Keiraville Australia. It taught us hard work and self respect. However, to be successful, you must also be motivated. Both my brother and I became very successful in life because of our drive to succeed. Nana Riggs, Author/ Translator.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rivera8787 August 01 2014 at 5:08 PM

WOW.. imagine that. Start at a minimum wage job, work hard, push yourself, get a better job that pays more and next thing you know your famous and can support yourself.....and they didn't start out making $15 dollars an hour.......(hint)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners