My first job

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Barry White


NOW: President and CEO of Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau


FIRST JOB: Summer camp staffer


Job responsibilities at Camp Carson Baptist Assembly in Newport, Tenn., were anything and everything that needed to be done: food service, cleaning facilities and grounds, interacting with campers.


In between meals, I worked shifts in the canteen serving ice cream, candy and drinks to the campers. Compensation was $8 per day, plus room and board.


I loved the job. I loved meeting a new group of people (campers) every week. I loved serving people and contributing to their camp experience.


At 15 years old, my best friend and I applied for the job together, and we both got it. The camp was about two hours away from home, so I got to move to the beautiful mountains of east Tennessee for the summer, where we joined about six other guys from other parts of the state. Since none of us was old enough to drive, we left the camp only a few times a month with our supervisor for an occasional trip into town to the cleaners, hardware or bank. On a rare occasion, we watched Star Wars at the drive-in theater.


The work was challenging and consisted of early mornings and a minimum of six-day work weeks. I learned how to work as a team with the other guys. I learned work can be fun. We rotated jobs on a regular basis so everyone had equal time with the "tough " jobs, such as mopping or washing the pots and pans. We didn't work a set number of hours in a day; we worked until the job was done. I learned the importance of taking pride in my work. I learned to put the extra effort into a job and do things right the first time. We worked until the work was done correctly, whether it took five hours to clean the camp for the next group of campers or nine hours.


The worst part of the job was washing grease out of the large pans used to cook bacon or sausage for breakfast for 300 people.

Jeff Spears


NOW: President of Savannah River Banking Co.


FIRST JOB: Delivering phone books

Being from a large family, I financed my way through college and worked many jobs to pay tuition and other costs. In addition to delivering phone books, I worked at McDonald's, Winn-Dixie, sold discount coupon books, planted pine trees and worked two summers at Graniteville Co. in the maintenance department.


The phone book delivery job was my most memorable job because I had to deliver in several neighborhoods and was paid per book delivered. These books proved to be very heavy, and I was required to deliver them to the front porch and place them inside the screen doors to keep them dry. This would require me to park my 1978 blue Malibu on a corner and walk the distance I could based on the weight of the number of books I was carrying.


A month of this made cooking hamburgers, bagging groceries, planting pine trees and working in the textile business seem like the best job a college student could have. The best part of phone book delivery is meeting great people who appreciated the door-to-door delivery of something that they used most every day of their life.

La Verne Gold


NOW: President and CEO of the United Way of the CSRA Inc.


FIRST JOB: Secretary and substitute teacher

My first job, fresh out of college (in 1970), was working in the public school system of Richmond County at A.R. Johnson Middle School. I started out working part time as the school secretary in the mornings and filling in as a substitute teacher for the remainder of the day. I subsequently became a permanent, full-time substitute teacher for the remainder of the year. This was an interesting time as schools were grappling with the issue of desegregation among faculty and maintaining a certain teacher ratio at each school.


The pay was approximately $12,000 annually.


I enjoyed working in the educational system, hoping to have a positive impact on the lives of students and to have the opportunity to ... interact in a professional manner with many of my former teachers.


I grew up in that neighborhood, which made it difficult to transition from being a neighbor to that of a classroom teacher in charge; after all, I was not much older than many of them.
I learned the value of being a good listener, having patience and how to execute diplomacy.

Gordon Renshaw

NOW: Senior consultant for The Human Capital Group Inc.

FIRST JOB: Account manager

My first job was as an account manager for a ServiceMaster franchise, the janitorial/housekeeping franchise serving metro Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I had begun working with them part-time in September 1991 as I took a semester of courses towards a master's degree.

However, my wife-to-be, Sharon, and I got engaged two months later, and that, combined with the fact several of ServiceMaster of Toronto's key accounts were struggling, made me decide to approach the owners for a full-time permanent role. I promised them that if they gave me the accounts, I would turn them around quickly and make them a strong reference to secure further business. Within the year, the accounts were both turned around and our contacts became references. Further business secured built this ServiceMaster franchise into the second largest franchise in the world.

My pay was $26,000 in that first year. I appreciated the owners having confidence in handing some of their key accounts to a 22-year-old and liked the challenge and intrinsic reward of building a strategic plan, delivering on that plan and turning around operations that were in trouble.

I have to admit that I did not enjoy the cleaning profession hours, smell of floor strippers or inspecting restroom cleaning.

This first position built my confidence to take on large challenges, work with all kinds of people and trust my instincts in what needed to be done to turn around an operation. It served me well as a foundation for each position that has followed.

Judy Whaley


NOW: Director of membership services for the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce


FIRST JOB: Cosmetics counter


My first, very first, job was at Bowers (Sky City) on Broad Street in Augusta. I worked in the cosmetics department. The year was 1968 and my pay per hour was $2.46.


I loved having spending money but did not especially like having to work on the weekends and some after-school hours in my senior year. I did however, learn responsibility and dependability, because I had to decide on what I needed to do and where I was needed at that time.


The only memory I recall is a lady named Pat who was my supervisor, who taught me the job and showed me the ropes and info on cosmetics. I met a lot of people who I still encounter.

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