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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

My First Job

Posted February 28, 2007 6:28 a.m. EST

What was your first job and how much did you make? I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago in preparing for my return home to Morganton for a concert with my musical group Lorica.

I was probably 12 years old, maybe younger. My father asked me to help out at the family store on West Union Street. My first chore was sweeping up the cleaning compound on the wooden floor. My wage: 45 cents an hour. And I thought I was rich. My father frequently reminded me: "Bill, you must learn the value of a dollar." Well, it took me more than two hours to earn my first buck and it sure was sweet.

I remember setting up a savings account at the local bank just across the street. Later my wage grew to nearly $2.00 an hour as I learned to frame pictures, sell greeting cards and deliver wedding gifts.

Lessons learned in my first year of employment included "keeping the customer satisfied." My mother was particularly good at working with difficult customers. She had a smooth Southern grace and charm that could defuse the most thorny of situations. Tomorrow I will tell you about the most unusual employee we had at our family business.