“Would you kids like to stay up until your parents get here? As soon as we hear them pull in, it’s up to bed quick as you can. Okay?”
What kids wouldn’t agree to such a proposal? Stay up late while the babysitter takes the rap if they get caught? But, this first-time babysitter had a problem. Oh, it wasn’t the kids, though they did have behavior problems. The trouble was the creaky old farmhouse they lived in, the one which could have been from the set of some horror movie.
BUT it was my first job. I would earn money of my own. I sat for five hours with four school-aged kids and one dog which was having breathing problems because of eating a chicken bone. I even did their dishes which filled the kitchen sink, the table, and every available counter. My first paycheck: $5.00.
Although I watched those kids several times, I didn’t start earning real money until my first big-girl job as a hostess at the local Elby’s Family Restaurant. I don’t recall my starting wage, but that job didn’t last. Maybe because of my dislike of coring two huge mounded flats of strawberries every shift … or maybe because of my embarrassment from hanging up on the “big boss.” I’d answered the phone right when I’d gotten a $600.00 overring on my register and forgot to hit “hold” before putting the receiver on the hook.
When I graduated, I moved into full-time jobs, such as working at Murphy’s Mart, where most of my paychecks went to paying for things on layaway for my coming wedding. After that, I had a stint at the Great A & P Tea Company (because my dad worked there, and this was the only thing I could do that he did … another story someday). Again, didn’t last long … my husband yelled at the manager when I called to take off because I was sick.
Finally, I landed a solid, full-time position as a bookkeeper and the die was set. For the next four years, I worked in accounts receivable, accounts payable, and accounts computerized (a.k.a. the first time a computer was used in the office).
Another job, one which I’d prepared over 50 years for, came with several paychecks of varying amounts, $0.00 being the prevalent one. Yes, I meant zero dollars. Writers are taught not to give up their day job.
But what about having to PAY to get a paycheck? That was a new one to me, but it’s exactly what happened on my first REAL sale of two articles a couple summers ago.
Preparing for a writers’ conference, I’d done my homework, studied the marketing needs of the publishers and editors coming to the conference, and wrote several articles and devotions to pitch to meet those needs. I met with an editor of online inspirational websites. She accepted one article, for which I knew there would be no monetary reward. Knowing ahead of time about the no-pay standard, the thrill came from her acceptance.
When it came to the second article, I met with the woman editor of an online magazine for writers. She enjoyed the humor in the article and offered to buy it for $10.00, the price mentioned on the website as their normal payment for articles of this type. Again, no surprise there. HOWEVER … in order to see said article when it got published, I had to purchase a subscription to the online-only magazine … a subscription costing $25.00.
So, those of you to whom math comes easy will see I paid $15.00 to receive a paycheck for $10.00!
Fast forward to 2020 and the tides turned! I sold seven devotions to Guideposts for the All God’s Creatures 365-Day Devotional for 2021. I already received the payment for these devotions, an amount allowing me to attend a new writers’ conference. Now, that’s a paycheck I thank God for!
What about you? Tell us about your first paycheck. Where did you work? What did you do there? Was the pay worth the job? Leave your story in the replies’ box.
PS: If you aren’t yet subscribed to get automatic messages when a new story comes out, please consider doing so. If you are, thanks, and accept my apologies for the long hiatus I had from this blog. Too many reasons to spell out, but I’m back and ready to share our stories again and get to know one another! Blessings!
3 thoughts on “Tell Me a Story about … a Paycheck!”
Hi Cathy and welcome back! Glad to see you’re back at it again. Have missed you and your writings. Thanks for letting me know about it. Paychecks. Hmmm, an interesting thing to write about while I’m out of a job, lol. Well my first bit of pay was, like you, for babysitting. A couple of kids who lived around the corner from me when I was 12 or 13. A little girl and her brother. I recently made contact with Debbie, the little girl, on Facebook after all these years. I loved babysitting at their house. I don’t remember what I did with the money. I think I earned 50 cents an hour. I probably added it to my allowance and just bought toys or costume jewelry or something. Maybe clothes. My first “real” job was as a telemarketer for Olan Mills. My mom worked there too and got me in. I was only 15 and not legally able to work yet so was paid cash, under the table as they say! I used what I earned there for Christmas shopping and then took myself to the first movie I ever went to alone — Other Side of the Mountain Part 2. I felt so grown up! Later came Burger Chef, which I quit after a month or two because the bosses were mean. I did like the free food perks while there though. Many jobs since then — church offices, an airline, a township hall, call centers, social services agencies. I did finally get paid for my writing. It was for a devotional in Upper Room. I had some specific writing goals/dreams. Getting published in Upper Room was the first and it took years to get anything accepted there but it finally happened. My other dreams have yet to be realized but I do keep writing. Paying to get paid, huh? Well I guess it’s like starting your own business. Have to invest. Have to spend money to make money as they say! I’ve spent money on self-publishing and never made a nickle back, but at least I have gotten to see some of my stuff in print and been able to share it with others. It sure would be nice to make money doing what I love, but I still have to write, whether I make any money and whether or not what I write gets read. Just have to! I’m glad you keep writing too! And that I get to read it! Blessings 🙂
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Yay, you replied! I wonder if I could connect with any of the kids or parents of the kids I babysat for … although that’s going back a few years. I don’t even remember most of their names. One of the boys was killed in a motorcycle accident, which made me cry when I found out. I would love to read some of the things you’ve written over the years. Are any still in print? I know about having a dream place to get published. My dream, as you may know from Julie Garmon’s blog, was to get to be a Daily Guideposts’ writer. BUT God had other plans … better ones! I will be in a Guideposts daily devotional, but the All God’s Creatures one! You probably know from my former blog posts about how much I LOVE animals. So mixing my love of writing devotions with animals made my dream come true in rainbow colors! And currently, I’m working on several projects at the same time, a bit crazy keeping them straight, but fun. One is a novel, several are kids’ books for our grandchildren, another is a nonfiction book, and then there are always the devotions and the devotionals. Keep writing! Blessings!
I’m so thrilled for the writing projects you are getting to get in print! And so sad about the boy who was killed in a motorcycle accident. I know that must have broken your heart. Here is a link to one of my self-published books if you care to read it. I tried to change my settings to make it free but it won’t let me. https://www.blurb.com/b/1961912-a-light-of-love
And at barnes and noble I have one I wrote for my kids called Seeing Stars. It’s a short fantasy story that I started out writing about our trip to Hollywood and then it just sort of took off in a direction of its own! A lot of celebrities make appearances in it. This was from 2006. Just a fun little story.
It’s for Nook though, so I don’t know if you have that.
Anyway, glad your blog is back! God bless ♥
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