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Quitting Time

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Come August I shall be celebrating my 27th anniversary at my job. I doubt the Boss will give me a gift of money or even a lousy pen to show her appreciation. The Boss is cheap. Yeah, I said it. C-h-e-a-p. Cheap. But, then, you see, the Boss is me. 

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.


  1. The apricots are so pretty and healthy for us. I plant apricot trees where ever I live and then feel sad when I have to leave them. You don't know how lucky you were.... 75 cents a tray. But then, inflation had moved up by the time you were working from when I was working as a child. I didn't get 75C for a whole day. The good thing, I don't remember those days.
    I know it's hard to forget the names we were called when young. I had a few negative names, too when I was young.

    1. Yep, I didn't know how lucky I was. But, I'm wondering if I got the amount correct. Cause if it is, then that was pretty darn good pay for a kid or anyone working in agriculture in 1963. Especially when I put it in perspective of the Daddy getting 75 cents for every apricot tree he pruned. Hopefully, that was what it was and not 75 cents a row. Anyway I look at it, it is a shame how little many farmers may their workers. For that matter, in any type of work.

  2. I would rather work for someone else than for me. I am a sloppy boss and tend to let myself dictate the schedule which means nothing gets done. I have only "quit" one job. It had a satisfying ring when I told them to "shove it". That's when I found that I was in charge of my destiny.

    1. Yes, the satisfying "shove it". Scary up to the moment it's been said.

  3. I remember that sense of achievement when I quit a job for the first time. Very liberating!

    1. I felt so liberated after leaving one job, I made a cross country trip.

  4. My mother-in-law has tales of picking cotton. Just stopping by from A-Z. Great to meet you.

    1. Now there's a job I am very happy I didn't have to do.

  5. One of my first jobs was picking strawberries on a farm. The farmer hired "cheap labor" as in small children to pick but it was a good way for a young kid to make money. All the kids on my little street would ride our bikes up each morning to pick as many flats as we could.

    1. visiting from A-Z


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Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

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