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Old 09-03-2020, 08:50 AM   #1
Rmarsh
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First Job Search

Besides delivering newspapers and some summer jobs....
I remember my mother telling me that I could find a job by going to the unemployment office and putting my name on a list of people looking for work...no experience necessary. So I did...and being only 16 it was an opportunity. I was seated in a small waiting room with half a dozen other guys. Man comes in and says "Ok We have a guy looking for workers...just come here tommorow morning".
I had no transportation but decided I could walk there if I needed to.
Talking to the guy sitting next to me, to try to bum a ride, I said "Hey..great! You coming in?". "Hell no!" was his response.
To be continued....
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Old 09-05-2020, 05:53 AM   #2
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So I show up on time the next morning and see that none of the other guys have. Then a work van with a sign on the side that says "Jiffy Clean" pulls into the parking lot. The driver, a black man with a big smile, says "#^&#^&#^&#^& man....its just you?.....C'mon hop in". Joe introduces himself and seems like a real nice guy...says he has some cleaning jobs for "us" ...but first we're going for breakfast. We go to a little place in a Cape Verdean neighborhood not far from where I grew up, where he is obviously a regular. "That your new help, Joe" an older patron asks. He laughs and says. "That's right" as he pays the check for our meals. I'm starting to like Joe, he seems like good hearted guy and freindly...not a miserable prick like the boss at the sawmill job I worked last summer.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:09 AM   #3
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When I applied for a job at the sawmill the previous summer, I could tell right away, the owner was an #^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&. "Whats with the #^&#^&#^&#^&ing long hair?" he asked. "Thats the style now I said". "Well you better keep it covered when you show up for work here" he said.
It was 11 miles from home to the sawmill and hitchhiking and walking were my only options so I would be a little late some mornings. There was a guy working in the shop, separate from the sawmill, that lived near me.
He knew I worked there too, but would drive past me on his way in. I approached him one day and offered to pay for gas if he could give me a ride. "No" was all he said. I'm starting to realize no one is required to help me, and I have to find my own way. But with a forty hour week paycheck of $44 it was not going to be easy.
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Old 09-07-2020, 04:52 AM   #4
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Joe, my new boss at "Jiffy Clean" was driving us to a job he had lined up with a big company at the industrial park, explaining that he would get me started cleaning but had to leave to go look at some other jobs.

Polaroid was a thriving company back then with a very large facility and thousands of good paying jobs. Besides the very large main building, there was a separate building Joe called the power plant. We went in, got visitor passes and Joe talked to the supervisor, who showed us to the burner room. On our way through the facility I was amazed how clean and bright everything was, with all the employees wearing hard hats, safety glasses, and white jumpsuits.
The control room looked like something from NASA, with a crew of union workers, going through their daily routine. They opened a sealed door for us that gives access to the area between the huge main boiler/furnace and a massive brick chimney. The job was to clean that area of all the ash and soot that had built up on the floor and walls over time.
Joe brought in the shovel, broom and barrels I would need to get started and quickly left.

I realize I'm just rambling here, a bit cathartic for me as I look back at my work history of nearly 50 years, and forward to retirement. Thanks for listening.
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Old 09-07-2020, 05:50 AM   #5
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Bob, I think it’s time
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:27 AM   #6
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Bob, I think itís time
Yeah Ray....i'm feeling it but, according to SSA, I've got another 22 months to reach full benefit. Wont be easy with these arthritic hands though.
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Old 09-07-2020, 03:23 PM   #7
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PCs of cake
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Old 09-08-2020, 05:28 AM   #8
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So I get started shoveling soot and ash into barrels and realize this is going to be a very dirty job and that I only came with the clothes on my back and a lunch, no mask, or any other protective gear. The floor is covered with at least 6" thick of densely packed ash with an occaisional seagul. And being in the chamber between a huge furnace and the chimney had me thinking "I hope somebody doesnt forget I'm in here and fire things up".

When I come out at noontime the union guys tell me I can sit in the lunchroom and eat with them, some of them chuckling at how dirty I was. The foreman, says its too bad but the adjacent room with showers and changing room is for employees only. Joe comes back late at the end of the day to pick me up and is pleased with the progress and says figure another day or two to complete the job.
On the ride home I can tell he is a little lit and smell alcohol. Joe tells me that he will pick me up in the morning... Im happy about that ...at least I wont be walking.

Next morning Joe picks me up at the corner of my street, right on time. My mom suggested wearing some clothing that could be discarded if neccesary, she didnt want to deal with soot covered clothing
in the washer again. I get dropped off at the power plant and get right to work. Joe says he'll pick me up at the end of the day. As I work I'm thinking...I'll have money in my pocket for the weekend...maybe even go to the drive -in movie with friends without being a moocher. My parents had eight children and struggled financially....I never once in my life asked for a penny from them.

Last edited by Rmarsh; 09-08-2020 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:13 PM   #9
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,,,, I'm listening

...
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:55 AM   #10
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Being one of eight children...you soon realize that the world does not revolve around you, and I grew up taking what I was given and asking for nothing more.

Back in the chamber cleaning, I wondered what other dirty jobs Joe had lined up. I worked diligently.... making good progress, and by the end of the day I was close to finishing...and completely filthy.

I cleaned my hands and face as best I could and waited for Joe to come pick me up. I waited some more....then wondered if he was coming or maybe forgot me. After an hour or so I made the decision to start walking home...it was a long way but I had a lot of experience with that and I usually had good luck with hitchhiking rides.
Problem with that was I was filthy from head to toe...no one was stopping. Somehow I ended up on I 195...still holding my thumb out there but nada. Was about to give up and just walk when I saw a white Buick Wildcat coming down the highway....could that be my dad? It was....he must have recognized me at the last second....he quickly pulled over and I ran to the car.
"Jesus Christ"! he said "What the hell have you been doing?" I hadn't told him anything about my new job until now.

Last edited by Rmarsh; 09-09-2020 at 06:18 AM..
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:58 AM   #11
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; )

My first paying gig (other than paper route or under the table local odd jobs) was summer between Junior and Senior year of HS: Mess Hall KP at the 2/37th Armor, Panzer Kaserne.

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Old 09-09-2020, 03:20 PM   #12
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; )

My first paying gig (other than paper route or under the table local odd jobs) was summer between Junior and Senior year of HS: Mess Hall KP at the 2/37th Armor, Panzer Kaserne.
How was the pay? :-)
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:18 AM   #13
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My dad was on his way home from work at Newport Naval Base, when he saw me hitchhiking on the highway.
We didn't have a lot of interaction back then, and he was gone for weeks sometimes, traveling to Navy bases all over the world to test fire weapon systems. I was about to graduate high school and had no plan or moneys to go to college or a career path to follow.

On the short ride home we discussed my situation and lack of transportation. I told him I had been looking for a used car but was far from having the $800 dollars it would cost. Without hesitation he offered to loan me the money, at the same time he suggested that I look for a better job with room to advance.
Next morning, Joe comes to pick me up and apologizes for leaving me stranded the previous day. I told him it was okay and that I might have a car soon anyway.

I knew my dad was right about getting into another line of work...but what. I started scouring the help wanted adds and saw one that I thought "I could do that".
Carpenters helper wanted for work on Cape Cod...transportation provided
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Old 09-11-2020, 10:31 AM   #14
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My 1st job was blue gold sea farm in middle town on Burma road I lived in navy housing . And had my scuba diving license so they had me being a watch person in the boat when guys were in the water , and did a lot of piece work putting dowels in rope from which they hung the bags for the mussels to grow on . we got paid by the box
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:06 AM   #15
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When I called the number listed in the want ad for helpers, a man with a deep gravely voice said to show up at the gas station parking lot at 5:30 am. and look for the orange passenger van.
When I got there that morning, a very rugged and weathered looking older guy, standing outside the van smoking a cigarette, introduced himself as Roger...the boss. "Get in" he said, as he looked me over. I found myself sitting between two other guys who had already taken the window seats, and off we went.
"Little did I know".......about a lot of things....but in particular that being a carpenter would be my life long vocation, and a turning point in my life.
I had already spoken to Joe at Jiffy Clean, to tell him that I would be taking another job. He wished me luck.
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:40 AM   #16
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My new boss Roger was what I would call a home grown redneck. A country music lover and straight to the VFW after work. He was definately one tough SOB. He barked his orders and everyone jumped when he did. I was a skinny and under developed teenager, but I put as much effort as I could into it. I remember Roger looking at my skinny legs and with a grin saying "Bobby, how do those things hold you up? He was equally snyde with all the new guys, especially those of us with long hair. "What do you find under a pony tail?" He would ask us. He would answer himself with "A horses ass" and laugh at us. But as weeks went buy I found myself gaining respect and admiration for him as a leader and carpenter. I think he started to like me as well.
And..I started liking the job, the progress of a building going up, working outside in the fresh air, making new friends with some of the crew, and the takehome pay for my 50 hr week was $99!!
By the end of that summer of '73, my blisters had turned to calluses, muscles started growing where there were none, and with those big paychecks I was able to pay my Dad back for the car loan.

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Old 09-22-2020, 05:14 AM   #17
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By the end of that summer we had worked all over the cape, framing houses in Brewster, Hyannis, and Harwich....weather was hot and the hours were long. Getting home tired and hungry every night and then up early again the next morning left very little time for anything else.
Come fall we were framing condominiums in Falmouth right by the water. I was getting very interested in learning everything I could about wood framed structures, beyond what I was learning on the job, so I started getting books on the subject and studied carefully on my own. I had always enjoyed building things.... first bicycle was built of scavenged parts from different bicycles I found at the dump.....a good frame from one...wheels and seat from another etc.
Roger the boss, noticed my enthusiasm, and that I had very little fear of heights...must have been all the tree climbing we did as kids. He assigned me to be the guy unhooking trusses from the crane as they were lifted into place, with just the last truss to stand on. Every payday I would go straight to the bank and deposit my whole check....except for a few dollars for gas. Next stop was a little hardware store where I set up an account and every week I would buy a new tool to add to my homemade toolbox, like the ones I had seen other guys with.
It felt good when I got a raise in pay.....like my efforts were being rewarded.
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Old 09-22-2020, 12:38 PM   #18
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How was the pay? :-)



Terrible. Minimum wage was 4.25 but their was a provision in minimum wage for dependents overseas that was 2.90 / hour

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Old 09-23-2020, 04:48 PM   #19
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Great read .

But I can,t ad anything …..just knew I had to survive & once I got married & a kid on the way pretty quick ...I was in OJT when she was growing .

I did what ever I could legal & illgal to make ends meet & because of unplanned events .I,m still doing the same , sadly at a much slower place .

R Marsh did it the right way .

I DID IT ANYWAY >> can,t change what was …..but I sure would have gotten a education ..

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ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE !!!

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Old 09-23-2020, 06:00 PM   #20
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By the end of that summer we had worked all over the cape, framing houses in Brewster, Hyannis, and Harwich....weather was hot and the hours were long. Getting home tired and hungry every night and then up early again the next morning left very little time for anything else.
Come fall we were framing condominiums in Falmouth right by the water. I was getting very interested in learning everything I could about wood framed structures, beyond what I was learning on the job, so I started getting books on the subject and studied carefully on my own. I had always enjoyed building things.... first bicycle was built of scavenged parts from different bicycles I found at the dump.....a good frame from one...wheels and seat from another etc.
Roger the boss, noticed my enthusiasm, and that I had very little fear of heights...must have been all the tree climbing we did as kids. He assigned me to be the guy unhooking trusses from the crane as they were lifted into place, with just the last truss to stand on. Every payday I would go straight to the bank and deposit my whole check....except for a few dollars for gas. Next stop was a little hardware store where I set up an account and every week I would buy a new tool to add to my homemade toolbox, like the ones I had seen other guys with.
It felt good when I got a raise in pay.....like my efforts were being rewarded.
1 chisel a week..... LOL
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:59 AM   #21
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1 chisel a week..... LOL
Yes Ray...thats how it was. Nowadays I have so many tools, its mind boggling.
Those first few personal hand tools, that I bought, turned out to be an investment in my future. Wasnt long before my boss noticed my seriousness about becoming more than a helper and started giving me more responsibilities, and the pay raises just reinforced my resolve to advance.
That fall the weather was glorious, but eventually the the harsh reality of working outside in the cold and wind of winter, brought a new set of challenges to overcome. I suffered through it like most of the guys on the crew. Some days were tough, with frozen numb hands...unable to even hold a framing pencil.....and feet that didnt thaw out until getting back home at the end of the day. Other framing crews werent even showing up...or calling it quits after a few hours....but Roger, my boss wasn't the kind of guy to show any weakness, and we stayed working through the bitter cold.
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:51 AM   #22
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Hard work builds character. I remember having to shovel the snow off the top plates of the walls first thing in the AM in order to get up there and set floor joists, or nailing of strapping inside when raining with just some plywood on the roof so still getting wet, trudging thru snow climbing ladders boots frozen. Then I went from one extreme to the other moved to Tempe Arizona, left here April 1st with an inch of snow that day, got a job framing, by June we started at 5 AM so we could be done at 1, talk about hot, burning hot. I felt bad for the roofers. Next month I got a job in a cabinet shop, been doing that since.

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Old 09-28-2020, 02:43 PM   #23
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Hard work builds character. I remember having to shovel the snow off the top plates of the walls first thing in the AM in order to get up there and set floor joists, or nailing of strapping inside when raining with just some plywood on the roof so still getting wet, trudging thru snow climbing ladders boots frozen. Then I went from one extreme to the other moved to Tempe Arizona, left here April 1st with an inch of snow that day, got a job framing, by June we started at 5 AM so we could be done at 1, talk about hot, burning hot. I felt bad for the roofers. Next month I got a job in a cabinet shop, been doing that since.
Smart move! LOL
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:53 AM   #24
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Hard work builds character. I remember having to shovel the snow off the top plates of the walls first thing in the AM in order to get up there and set floor joists, or nailing of strapping inside when raining with just some plywood on the roof so still getting wet, trudging thru snow climbing ladders boots frozen. Then I went from one extreme to the other moved to Tempe Arizona, left here April 1st with an inch of snow that day, got a job framing, by June we started at 5 AM so we could be done at 1, talk about hot, burning hot. I felt bad for the roofers. Next month I got a job in a cabinet shop, been doing that since.

Yeah Slip, dealing with the extremes in weather will separate the men from the boys for sure. One July my boss decided to take on a large roofing job on a commercial building. He put me in charge of four newly hired guys to help.
First day was mid 90's and the forecast for the week was more of the same.
After about an hour or so, I saw one guy go to his car and leave, never said a word. Then as we kept working, I noticed another one of the new guys had gone down to rest in the shade. When he hadn't returned after 30 minutes, I went down and told him that he needed to be up on the roof working like everyone else until we all came down for a break. When I went back up on the roof I saw his car leaving too. Out of the four, only one made it through the week. We found taking salt pills really does help when you sweat so much in one day.
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Old 10-02-2020, 05:32 AM   #25
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That first year of work, framing houses and condos on the cape, went by fast. I learned the basics, measuring, cutting, fastening and hauling lumber......alot of lumber. There were even informal lumber carrying challenges, like who could carry the most studs on there shoulder or multiple sheets of plywood or floor joists at a time. I was still a lightweight but tried to compete anyway.

But it was the more advanced stuff like layout and reading plans that interested me the most. When I saw Roger marking wall plates or figuring out rafter lengths and cuts, or stair stringers I wanted to know more. Whatever the job of the day was, I would go back home and study the chapter on that subject, in the carpentry textbooks I had bought.

On those long rides to cape cod to work, I would daydream about maybe building my own house some day.
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:27 AM   #26
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Getting up early to work, and back home late, tired and hungry was cutting into my social life. I was dating my future bride at the time and nearly falling asleep on my drive home from her house......it was because of the travel time mostly, I thought.
When I heard about a job opening with a local custom builder, I called and set up an interview. We met at his cabinet shop on a saturday morning, he asked some questions about my experience, then if I had any tools. We went out to my vehicle, and I opened the trunk.
There I had my home made carpenter tool box, with its separate slots for my handsaws, and other compartments, filled neatly with all the basic hand tools. He turned to me and asked, "Can you start work today?" Caught me off guard, wasn't expecting that, but I said "Yeah...Ok". I followed him a short distance from his shop to a new home he was building, and he put me to work in the attic nailing up collar ties.
It was another raise in pay and only twenty minute ride to Mattapoisett, a beautiful seaside community, with a lot of wealthy residents. Much different than the inner city life in New Bedford where I was born and raised.

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Old 10-11-2020, 08:06 AM   #27
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I love reading these posts. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:50 AM   #28
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I love reading these posts. Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you for the positive feedback.....putting my thoughts and memories in writing is my way of dealing with the inevitable demise of my physical body and aging mind. I'm sure everyone here has a story to tell.
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:09 AM   #29
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Thank you for the positive feedback.....putting my thoughts and memories in writing is my way of dealing with the inevitable demise of my physical body and aging mind. I'm sure everyone here has a story to tell.
Your story sounds a lot like mine. I started working in my trade when I was 15 and Iím 47 now. Got used and abused when I was younger by people I made a lot of money for. I suffered through it and it did eventually pay off. It took a long time though.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:25 AM   #30
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Got used and abused when I was younger by people I made a made a lot of money for
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Jenn is a tough boss for sure....
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