Very cool folks, Heidi! Money was always an issue in my family. We were taught at a very early age to "be responsible" about it. In 5th grade, I was taken to the bank and opened a checking account, taught how to balance it and "how to write checks." I then recieved an annual allowance - $325. I had to buy all my school stuff and all my own clothes for the year and keep track of it all myself.
First paying job? Actually, I supplemented my allowance at the age of 7 by ironing my neighbor's shirts each weekend for about a year. My neighbor was THE Kemper of Kemper Insurance. It was very sad when I heard he died two years ago. The $325 allowance wasn't enough, so I babysat as much as possible, and although the Kempers didn't need me to iron any more, he did pay me to help weed his beautiful gardens. I'll never forget his pansies - they were so beautiful. I loved helping him plant them. I don't remember how much he paid me to help do that stuff.
The ironing, I'm pretty sure I was paid $0.25 a shirt. ????
My first legal job was at the age of 14 (the legal age). I worked as a cashier in a bakery. I helped frost donuts, cookies and brownies, put custard in stuff, etc. when people weren't in there. I was paid minimum wage. That was 1977. I think minimum wage was $1.25 then. Maybe $1.50. ?????
Once you were a sophomore in high school (11th grade for those not from the U.S.), our school had two work programs available where you could attend school in a way that your free periods were stacked up all at the end of the day, so you actually only went to school until 1:00 in the afternoon, and they helped you find a job. You could either go retail or office. I went office. I learned to type in that class, and I had an afternoon job as a receptionist for a branch of Encyclopedia Brittanica that rented movies. At the time they were those 8mm films, I think? 16mm??? The stuff churches, schools and colleges rented. Not individuals. I think I earned $2.00 an hour, which was a lot. It turned out to be a very cool job, because cool people worked there and were really nice to me. Not only did I learn a lot, but I got to go to a lot of movie previews - you know, where you get to see them in a theatre before they're actually out in distribution? It was fun.
If you were in that program, you actually had to join some club and participage in contests and stuff. I don't know what the retail people had to do - office people had to do things like typing contests, shorthand (which I didn't do), "interviewing," and I don't remember what else. But I did place 3rd in the Nation for fatest most accurate typing!
I was SO GLAD I learned that office stuff early. I had to pay my own way through college, and I left home after high school and didn't go back, so I had to pay rent and support myself as well as pay travel and tuition. My college was based in Long Island, so I could get reasonably paid by working in New York City, which I did the first summer and the year I took off to work. I could also barter my office skills (especially typing) for things like rent as I travelled (for my college studies) places like Costa Rica and India.