I can finally share this…

by Jennifer on May 19, 2009

A few months ago, I got an email from my friend Deb, who writes at San Diego Momma, asking me (and others) if I’d like to be considered for a writing project. T. Rowe Price, the financial services company, along with Disney, were launching a new website aimed at helping parents talk to their children about managing money. The site would include a page where “real parents share their childhood memories of jobs, money and lessons learned.”

I couldn’t throw my hat in fast enough. (A paying gig, no less.)

In the end, they chose stories from nine people – five bloggers among them. And now, finally, after months of hush hush, the website is live and I can tell you all about it. The link for the main page is here, T. Rowe Price Family Center, and to read all of our stories, you’ll want to click here or on the When I Was Your Age tab.

The other bloggers who participated are Deb, Melissa at Green Girl In Wisconsin, Darcy at Mommie Pie and Brian at PapaTV. I hope you’ll take a little time to read all of their stories. There are as many approaches to money and how to manage it as there are stories, and I felt honored to be included.

(The site doesn’t link our stories back to our blogs, though we hope they will change that.)

P.S. If all of that isn’t enough, you get to see pictures of us when we were kids. Where else can you see my 5th grade school picture and my real hair color?

I’d love to hear your stories, too. What was your first job?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

phd in yogurtry May 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Congrats on being selected for the paid gig! Whoohoooo!

My first job at home was ironing shirts. We went to Catholic school, my two brothers and I, so there were lots of white starched collars to iron. I was paid 25 cents per shirt.

I was also paid an allowance for the general chores: cleaning the kitchen, folding clothes, making my bed, etc. I can remember when my allowance was a quarter. Then fifty cents, then the big jump to a dollar. I thought I was rich!

AMomTwoBoys May 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm

YAY for you!

Congratulations! How exciting!

My first job was at the local photo developing place. It was a family owned 1 hour style place. Nice people. My most vivid memory is when we developed pictures from one of the local dairy farmers of a cow who had fallen asleep with it’s head in the pond. He was filing a claim with his insurance co.



V-Grrrl May 20, 2009 at 3:00 am

Cutting dandelions out of the lawn for a nickel a bucket (elementary school)
Babysitting for the toddler across the street (5th and 6th grade)
Working as a receptionist (college)

Christy May 20, 2009 at 3:51 am

That’s terrific–good for you!

I guess the first “real” job I ever had that I got paid for (outside of babysitting or walking to the corner store for the neighbors) was a server/bus person for a catering and pastry company. I was 14 and I lied and told them I was 15 b/c I REALLy wanted that job! The 1st job I worked at was some kind of function for Greek Orthodox clergy members…I can’t even imagine what these men thought seeing a bunch of kids parading around carrying huge platters of food!

Kimberly May 20, 2009 at 4:42 am

Congrats on being selected! It’s so important for parents to talk to their kids about money. I wish mine had done a better job – I got myself into quite a financial bind with lots of credit card debt right out of college and it took years to pay it off. We’ve vowed to do a better job with our kids.

kyran May 20, 2009 at 4:46 am

congratulations! writing for love is great. writing for pay is even better! Sounds like a great writing prompt too.

maggie, dammit May 20, 2009 at 4:47 am


(But what is this “money” thing of which you speak?) 😉

Gypsy May 20, 2009 at 5:45 am

That’s great! Congrats.

Chris May 20, 2009 at 7:08 am

Congratulations! A paying gig is always a good thing! 🙂

Smalltown Mom May 20, 2009 at 7:28 am

First job – motel maid.

De May 20, 2009 at 7:28 am

Congratulations! I wish I had the time right now to really explore the rest of what’s over there. Later…

I need all the advice I can get: at age seven, my daughter has no idea of the value or cost of things. And she seems to think that her piggy bank is like a magic, bottomless purse. Lately, whenever I won’t buy her a thing that she wants, she says, “Well, I’m going home to get $20 (or $50 or whatever) and next time we come back, I’m buying it and you can’t stop me.” What can I say to that? No point in arguing with complete fantasy.

De May 20, 2009 at 7:29 am

Oh, and first job? In the kitchen at a nursing home.

Jessica May 20, 2009 at 8:29 am

first job: working as a grocery check out clerk. I believe I wrote about that and other outstanding work I’ve done a few months back

Mazel Tov!

jenrantsraves May 20, 2009 at 8:37 am

Congrats! I enjoyed your story. Your mother sure was a role model of what not to do, huh?

For my first job, I went to another state and worked as a preschool teacher at a Christian campground, for the summer. It was a very big step for me, to be on my own the entire summer. The pay, however, was pitiful. Room and board, basically.

Daryl May 20, 2009 at 9:27 am

My first paying job was babysitting … $.75 an hour .. it was right around the time Abe Lincoln walked to school …

Suzanne May 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

Hey, that’s great! And I love the picture. How nice it is to get paid for doing something you love!

Dharmamama May 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

My dad paid us 10 cents for every golf ball we retrieved from the cow field across the road, 25 cents if it had cow poop on it. Yes, there was surreptitious dropping of golf balls into cow pies when Daddy’s back was turned.

What I learned about money when I was a kid was that there wasn’t enough for what we (my two sisters and I) wanted, but there was enough for cigarettes and whatever else my parents thought was important to them. So the lesson was less about money and more about how much we were valued by my parents. And, oh, ouch! See what I did there? Still tying value up into whether I get what I want. Not that I have anything to look at. *cough, cough*

Dharmamama May 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

And, oh!! Congrats on the gig! I loved reading your story.

we_be_toys May 20, 2009 at 11:00 am

Good on ya, for snagging the paying gig! I’ll be sure to check it out.

I think my first job was working in the nursery for a large church. I know – me, the tree-hugging pagan, tending to the children while their parents went to pray. Just think of the opportunities I missed – all those easy to convert youngsters and me, all alone for hours on end. And I never even tried to convert any of them – by pagan standards it’s considered unethical to coerce children into a faith.

And then there was Pizza Hut. ‘Nuff said!

KellyL May 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

Wow, you were 10 years old paying for your own necessities – major UGH! I just finished explaining the difference between long hair and short hair and the need for “better” shampoos/conditioners for longer hair. Her brother can use Suave – no problem. But, DD needs to have a detangler/smoother of sorts – are we spoiled or what? Oh well, another discussion for another day. My first job, babysitting of course – I was the oldest of 5, including baby brothers who were twins. Big BIG CONGRATS Jennifer on the T. Rowe story pick! I love your then and now pictures too. You Go Girl!!!

San Diego Momma May 20, 2009 at 11:35 am

So glad you were a part of it!

Craig Glenn May 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

How awesome is that!

I am so happy for you Jennifer! I loved your story. I am a sucker for a great story, especially if it teaches us a lesson. This was a great story and a great example for so many children who have no idea what it means for work for anything.

My first job was mowing the grass and working in yards for the neighbors. Not many people will know what this means but I also picked up pecans on halfs for a few people. In south Ga people who had pecan trees would pick them up and sell them each year. Most people used it to pay their property taxes since fall is when the pecans fell. Picking them up on halfs meant that I did all the picking up and they would sell them and give me half the money. I would work for weeks picking up pecans but was so excited to make as much as $100 when they were sold.

Great story again J, thanks for sharring and congrats for the paying J O B!

Craig Glenn

PAPA May 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I really enjoyed reading your story and being a part of this great project as well!!!

(Though it was hard keeping quiet, yeah?)

Another great benefit to come of this is discovering other great writers…Excited to read more!

Hilary May 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Good for you. I’m happy for your success. 🙂

anymommy May 20, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Congratulations! That is awesome. First job, scooping ice cream. I ate a lot, too.

Maggie May 21, 2009 at 10:58 am


First job–waitress. First day on the job–opening day of hunting season. I’m still impressed with myself that I went back for day two.

ByJane May 21, 2009 at 11:21 am


Green Girl in Wisconsin May 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Babysitter (off the books) ice cream scooper (on the books).
I loved doing this, too. We’re a lucky bunch.

JCK May 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

Congratulations, Jennifer!!!

Ree May 22, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Oh congratulations! I’ll head over to read for sure! My first job was babysitting. My first non-babysitting job was as a parks and rec counselor for our summer community parks and rec program – I had to come up to arts & crafts, field trips and activities for the neighborhood kids. They locked me in a port-a-potty and tried to tip it once. Damn kids. 😉

Jenn @ Juggling Life May 23, 2009 at 11:22 am

You did great! Your stepmother was really a piece of work–not that we didn’t already know that.

I had lots of jobs, but I think my most interesting one was when I was a spotter that paid off money shots in Moonlight Bowling–I did it when I was 14 and 15.

Coco May 26, 2009 at 9:39 am

1. Congrats on the paying gig! Woot!

2. I want to slap your stepmother every time I read about that debt repayment system for shampoo. Well, I always want to slap her, but that’s hardly breaking news.

3. Except for the fact that you’re a redhead and she is brunette, you looked EXACTLY like my best friend through most of my school years. Seriously. It was that close a resemblance.

4. My first real job was working at a discount store called Big W in Perth, Australia. I was a cashier and worked Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings – the only times I could have shopped because otherwise the suburban malls closed there at 4:30 PM sharp and NOTHING was open on Sunday. Sometimes I skipped school and took the bus downtown just so I could wander around and shop and eat lunch at a cafe by myself.

52 Faces May 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Oh wow, what a neat idea! And yes, it’s always awesome to get paid for writing!

Really nice to meet you through – of all places – my google reader recommender (we also are fellow BlogHers)

BTW, all those growing up pics are really affirming – non-celebrity ppl all tend to look better with age!

Louise June 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I don’t know if I ever said and official Congrats. I just read this. (You’re on of the few that I’m trying to do an actual “catch-up” for. Great story! I guess 5 a.m. on Sunday to LEAVE the house was better than staying no matter how hard the work!

I think my first paying job was at DPC, packing. (I did it for years for free.) I would get $0.25/box, and could do 3-5 boxes/day. I was in the wrong business. (I was 9.)

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