Things I've Done for Money
When I got up to around 8 years old I started hiring out service for pay. At that age I couldn't do much except pick up trash, mow yards, pull weeds and stuff like that. I learned from my Mom (I had to earn the 75 cents a week allowance I got) that by working I could earn money for things I wanted.
By 9 I was pushing the old lawn mower up and down the neighborhood streets and stopping where the grass needed cutting and asking the residents if they wanted it done. Those days you didn't see many grass catchers, and they hadn't invented weed eaters yet so it was just a sorta brush hogging operation. Most of the time the grass was knee high. I got 5 dollars a yard (front and back). I am not sure but I do not think they had come out with a minimum wage yet but seeing it usually took an hour and a half it was pretty good money for a kid.
Took on a paper route at 13. Paid about 45 dollars a month. It was a morning route and I ran it on my bicycle. It was ok except the kid who had it before me kept a lot of receipts and collected my first months pay. So I lost out big time. I never really got caught back up. so after a few months I gave it up.
Odd jobs and mowing were the ticket till I got up around 16. Then I lied about my age (started putting I was 18 on all the applications I filled out) and managed a job washing dishes at a Bonanza Steak House. Before I got hired the manager and my mom talked and he found out I was only 16. He called me in a hollered at me a while then put me on with a schedule that wouldn't violate the child labor laws. I worked hard and they put me in the bakery doing the deserts and salads. I enjoyed the work, and loved al the people there. Kept the job around a year. I was paid minimum wage which was $1.65 an hour.
Service-Warehousing and Delivery
J.A. Owens Produce
I started working with my dad in a produce brokerage that supplied local restaurants and independent supermarkets with fresh produce next. While there I Unloaded trucks, made deliveries, pulled orders, stocked, bagged and sorted potatoes, and ate a lot of bananas. I forget what the pay was but it wasn't much more than a couple bucks an hour.
M-Systems Food Stores
Engineering, Technical, Skilled Trades
When I got to be 18 I started working in the oil patch. I got on as a derrick hand on a double pulling unit for a company called Pool Co. We serviced old wells and did new well completions.In servicing the old wells we would pull all the tubing, the pump rods, and replace the pump. Then we would put it all back together. The completions were where would go in and get a freshly drilled hole ready to produce. That entailed different things for different holes. Our duties were mainly putting tubing and all the plumbing, and the well head in place. I made minimum wage which was around $3.25 an hour if my memory serves me well. I was bringing a net of 600 dollars every two weeks. We averaged 100 hours a week. I did that a couple of years. I quit because one day I was up in the rod basket (right by the crown) and looked down and them boys were drinking beer. The operator kept running the blocks into the crown. It would knock me to my knees and that dang expanded steel kinda digs into the bone when you hit it hard. I pulled the hitch and climbed down off the derrick and cleaned up. I got a beer, and sat in the truck. Didn't talk much on the way home, and didn't go back.
I started doing seismic work (oil and gas exploration) for a company called Western Geophysical soon after words. It was a traveling job. Long hours and some harsh conditions. We laid cables and sensing equipment out across the wilderness. Then when the data was recorded we picked it all up and headed to the next town. It was a pretty wild life. Living in motels, traveling with a bunch of guys about the same age (18-25), working hard and playing hard. Pay was good. We got 8 checks a month. We got a regular hourly wage-usually around 9 hundred a month (came twice a month), we got a perdium check of $120.00 every two weeks, and a spike check of 77 dollars a week. During the 70's this was some sort of national objective so we always had plenty of this type of work. I did it at several different points during the 70's and even in the 80's I managed to work my way into a good position as a permit agent. I negotiated the temporary easement privileges for the crews. The "lines" we did went straight across whatever was there. In most cases it was private property. Also for each tract of land we crossed there were usually 4 concerns who's permission needed to be secured. The land owner, the land lessee, the mineral owner and the mineral lessee. It was very interesting, and I enjoyed this work very much. I was sorta the middle man. I worked in between management, the various crews doing the work, and the property owners-lessees, not to mention the community in which the crews were to be located. Often I was the first to arrive at a location and as a representative of the company, and would set up gas, lodging, and other accounts. I also was the last to leave as when the work was finished I had to pay off the tab. An explanation of seismic work can be found here.
Silver Springs, Mr
Martin Sprocket and Gear