What was your first job? Mine was probably babysitting my cousins. But my first real job was the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years of school, if memory serves me.
Pioneer Seeds came to our fair little city of Minneapolis Kansas towards the end of the school year offering a gold mine opportunity for those wanting a summer job. $1.40 per hour. Boys and/or girls, equal pay. I couldn’t suppress my excitement at making that kind of cash and I eagerly signed up, along with many classmates. We were going to own Minneapolis by the time summer ended.
The appeal of cash was more important than the details of the job, and with that kind of money dangled in front of me I just signed up without reading the fine print. Day one arrived and we were loaded up in school buses and hauled out into the countryside where they unloaded us into massive fields of corn. Too far from town to run home.
Turns out we were hired to walk down rows of corn and reach to the top of every corn stalk and pull out the tassels. I’m pretty vague on all things agricultural but it seems like this is some sort of plant life reproductive system deal. Involving pollination perhaps? The word hybrid comes to mind, but I may be way off.
Money. I was there for the money.
Anywho, I found myself in a field of corn with about 20 of my closest friends. There I was, all of 5 foot tall, peering up at the top of corn stalks and wondering exactly how to reach those tassels. I think maybe we chopped sucker stalks away from the base of the corn stalks too and with my vertical challenge that may have been my main task. But I know I pulled some tassels out also. On the shorter stalks.
The rows were often muddy from the irrigation system. It seems like maybe the irrigation system even started up once while we were walking the rows. There was always the threat of seeing rats or snakes although I don’t recall seeing either. We girls tried to make the job more fun by singing at the top of our lungs as we worked the rows. And laughing hysterically at the lyrics we could make up. It was kind of fun.
I don’t recall how many weeks we were hired on to work, but I do recall that well before the intended duration of the job was completed I developed allergies. Either to corn pollen or work. Either way, the checking account I opened prior to starting the job seemed pretty pointless. I used the money I earned to buy a purse. Not to carry money… probably just kleenex. I did have allergies, after all. Allergies, and no money. And later that summer on a shopping trip I actually left that purse unattended in a Salina department store where it was quickly stolen. Never to be seen again.
Oh what a gold mine that cornfield job turned out to be.
That was my first job. And now I’m sort of semi-retired from my long career as a radiologic technologist. Taking x-rays in a hospital and/or clinic setting for over 40 years. I have no regrets. It’s been a rewarding and fulfilling career though not without occasional ickiness and challenges, of course. Every job has challenges and ickiness. Attitude is everything, though.
We live in a new housing development with lots of construction going on. Last summer I went for a walk through the neighborhood and was greeted by a happy smiling young man driving a truck slowly to a construction site. He smiled, waved and said “Hello, how are you today?” We didn’t have a long conversation but I was impressed with how pleasant and friendly he was. Clearly a happy employee. Probably using his skills to build beautiful homes for happy families.
I assumed he was a carpenter on a new home, but then I looked closer at the truck he was driving. It was a tank truck. The writing on the tank indicated it was a septic cleaning service. For porta potties. Of which there were several at the various construction sites.
This friendly, pleasant man was removing human waste from portable toilets.
And happy to do so.
I think I heard him singing funny songs with made-up lyrics as he drove off. 😁
Yes, attitude is everything.
And the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye. 🎵 🎵
Oh what a beautiful morning…. sing it, people!
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23
6 thoughts on “Employment Enjoyment”
Great story Benita. Keep em coming…
Yes I was right there with you!
Fun times for sure and I bet you and I sang beautifully. 🙂
Ah, happy days! I can still recall the lyrics to the song you made up in honor of our supervisor, Denny, to the tune of Rubber Ducky:Denny Dumb B—, you're the one,You make detasseling so much fun. Every day when I make my way to the cornfield,I see a little fellow whose ugly yellow and hairy. . .
Well that clears up exactly why I never had a future in song writing. 🙂