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Like everyone else, I've had quite a few jobs during my life. Some jobs were temporary. I liked those. I knew when the ending would be. No fuss, no muss. As for the jobs from which I resigned, okay, quit, I had gone as far I wanted and needed to go with them.
Cutting apricots was my first paying job. It was also the first job I quit. I was nine years old.
The job entailed cutting apricots in half, pulling out the pits, and laying them on a wooden tray bigger than a kitchen table. When the tray was filled neatly with halved apricots, it was placed out in the sun for the fruit to dry. I think I got 75 cents a tray. Yeah, I know, a pittance. This was the early 1960s.
I don't remember how many trays I was able to fill in a day, or even if I could fill one. Some kids worked together on a tray. I did feel kinda left out working alone. I recall a couple of kids staring at me and talking about me and the way I was cutting the apricots but not in an admirably way. Hmmm, maybe they were jealous that I didn't have to share my earnings. Never thought of that.
After three days on the job, I got sick. Probably worked too long and hard, which I still do when I want to get something done and over with as soon as possible. When I was back to normal, the Mama and the Daddy told me that I did not have to go back unless I wanted to. I did not.
I wonder if the Older and Only Brother resented me for quitting the job. After all, he was the one who got me the job. Maybe I would've been better picking apricots with him. I know I would've liked it more. I envied him climbing up and down the ladder with his pail. It would definitely have been faster earning money. I think he got 25 cents a bucket, or maybe it was 25 cents for filling a box. I probably would've gotten sick doing that job, too.
Anyway, being allowed to quit the job, set the pattern for me. I learned that I could choose to say yes or no to being "cheap labor" for someone. Gosh, I hate that term with a passion. Several years ago, the Husband and I took an agricultural tour of our county. One of the stops was an apricot orchard where the Daddy used to work as a tree pruner. The daughter-in-law whined about the family's concern of not having enough "cheap labor" during harvest time. Seriously, how difficult would it be for her to say "temporary employees". I instantly lost all respect for her, the family, and the business. To this day, I will not buy their products, I will not recommend them, and I will spit out food if I happen to find out I'm eating their product at a function.
Okay, back from the digression.
Of all the jobs I've had, I have worked the longest for my current employer. And, I tell you, there have been days, weeks, and months where I've worked for far less than minimum wage. That's how much I like working for the Boss. And, I know she would not ever, ever, ever talk about me as being just "cheap labor".
|Trays of apricots drying under the sun.|