Do You Remember Your First Job? How Much Were You Paid an Hour?
Do you remember your first job? I do. If you don't count babysitting from the age of 11, (hey it was the 80's, that wasn't uncommon), it would have been at Hardee's, in Albert Lea. I was 15 years old, and I picked Hardee's because it was close enough to walk to, and I didn't have to rely on my dad for a ride to work as we only had one car for the family. Shocking, right? Only one car? How did we ever survive?
Anyway, my thoughts go back to that time as I have a daughter who is about to embark on her first job, other than babysitting. She will have her own money and will have to learn how to budget it, and she already has monthly expenses. Cell phones are not free. I watched my daughter, at age 14, navigate the many rules and applications to find a company that will hire her as young as she is.
The process for applying is very different from when I was looking for my first job. She did her applying online, no more needing to go to different locations to pick up a paper application, and then waiting to see if she would get a phone call for an interview. The onboarding paperwork, the I9, W4, and all of that legal stuff, is sent via email.
The wages, they are very different as well. When I had my first job, in 1989ish, the minimum wage in Minnesota was $3.85/hour. I was a shift manager at a McDonald's in Iowa in 1995 and only earned $4.90/hour. I thought I was earning good money when I was making $5.50/hour as a telemarketer (don't laugh it paid the bills). I thought I was making bank when I was paid $6.25/hr to work in a food processing plant.
I asked the staff here what their first jobs were, and the pay wage. The answers were more diverse than I expected, but, nothing close to minimum wage now. Roy worked at a radio station in Hibbing (no surprise there) as a part-timer for minimum wage, which was around $3.35/hr. Loren worked as a stock boy in a drug store, making union wages, $2.10/hr when he started. Yeah, it was a long time ago. Other answers included doing yard and maintenance work, detasseling corn, which was the big winner as far as wages go at $7.25/hr, about 20 years ago. You can check out what the minimum wage was in years past by going to the US Department of Labor's website.