Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should Teenagers Work While in High School?

Other than doing filing at Legg Florist (where my mom worked as a bookkeeper) and babysitting for various kids, my first real job was at Waid’s Restaurant in Fairway, Kansas. (You gotta love the curled bangs and blue eyeliner.)

One day during the winter of 1987 when I was 16 ½ I got off the school bus at the first stop (in front of Waid’s) instead of MY stop. I marched in and asked for a job as a hostess, waitress, anything. I got the job that day and walked home with a Waid’s menu in my hand. Once home, I put it on the bathroom counter and waited for my parents to find it and wonder what was going on.

They were proud that I had gotten a job without them even mentioning it.

It was a great first job … I could walk to and from it. I worked a few nights a week as a waitress plus weekend days as a hostess for a total of about 20-25 hours per week while maintaining a low B average in high school. I made $2.01 per hour plus measly tips. I think I made $4 per hour as a hostess. I saved up and bought my mom’s yellow Chevette, paid for my own car insurance, sugary snacks and cigarettes.

Waid’s was where I learned to enjoy coffee. I drank loads of chocolate milk and cooked my own chicken strips and fries. And somehow lost about 15 pounds.

They closed years ago and now the building is a Stroud’s (fried chicken).