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This originally appeared as part of the article “Typewriters and Lint Balls and Ice Cream, Oh My!”
Many of us worked in fast food, mowed lawns, or babysat to earn our first cash, while others delivered papers or worked on farms. A few had more unusual factory experiences, like putting handles on suitcases or stickers on dog food bags. We compiled a few more quirky jobs that kept our local business professionals busy as teens.
“My first official job was at a silk-screen factory cleaning the ink from the screens in a fume laden, explosive back room. One time, the fumes were so bad that my co-worker and I got light-headed and wound up sitting on solvent drums, uncontrollably laughing at a stupid joke, until someone came and ushered us outside. Workplace safety has changed over the years.” – Tim Davis, Ministry Director, Woodcrest Chapel
“When I was 19, I worked on the ‘Mosquito Fleet’ for Union Electric. I drove a boat around the lake all summer spraying a larvacide in the back of coves to control the mosquito population.” – Matt Kitzi, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale
“My first job was as a papergirl. I would wake up at 5 a.m. once a week to deliver the newspaper for the sole purpose of earning enough money to buy my own 35mm camera.” – Stacie Pottinger, Owner, Rogue Studios
“I was a bagger, return bottle sorter, and floor mopper at Safeway. I got locked in the deep freezer for over an hour one time, and then I had to mop the floors before I could leave!” – Doug Schaffer, Controller, OTSCON, Inc.
“My first job was taming and training young horses. I started when I was 12 and trained colts every summer until I went to law school. It was great job, but I was thrown or stomped at least once a week!” – Brent Haden, Attorney, Haden & Haden
“I was a delivery driver for Imo’s and worked at Chuck E. Cheese. I may or may not have dressed up in the Chuck E. Cheese costume a few times. . . ” – Brant Bukowsky, Co-Founder, Veterans United Home Loans
“My first job was washing dishes in my father’s Italian restaurant in St Louis. I was 9 years old and I was paid 50 cents an hour.” – John LaRocca, General Manager, University Club and Catering
“I was a waitress in a bingo hall. My tips typically consisted of quarters, nickels, and good luck charms!” – Barbie Banks, Executive Director, Citizen Jane Film Festival
“I delivered the Chicago Tribune to earn money for baseball camp. Six mornings per week, 50 to 55 papers per day, $21.00 per month.” – Craig Chval Sr., Associate General Counsel, Veterans United Home Loans
“I hand-collated textbooks at Lucas Publishing, without AC, for $2.10 per hour. I’m not to blame if your textbooks didn’t have all the pages!” – Linda Karl, Compliance Manager, Missouri Employer’s Mutual
“I worked in a nursing home cleaning combs and brushes. I also worked at the State Fair
as a tram hostess.” – Jennifer Spiess, Instructor, Moberly Area Community College
Many Columbia business professionals grew up and started work right here in Mid-Missouri. Do you remember the history of any of these local establishments?
“At 15, I was working at a burger restaurant on the Business Loop across from the Parkade Plaza. The place was called Sandy’s and they had the counter girls wear a white uniform with a red plaid apron and beret!” – Teresa Maledy, President and CEO, Commerce Bank
“I was a lifeguard at Douglass Pool. Now I teach at Douglass School!” – Ruth Booth
“I worked at Miller’s Shoe Store on Broadway and Eighth. I did their books, ordered stock, did billing, and even sold shoes, all for $1.10 per hour.” – Sherry Leach-DiChiro, Hairdresser, Off Broadway Salon
“My first real job was at the Gerbes grocery store in Tipton, which incidentally was where the Gerbes franchise started. Frank and Minnie Gerbes were from Tipton and opened that store back in the 1930s.” – David Nivens, CEO, Midwest Computech
“My first official job was at Town and Country Bowling Alley, where I worked in the grill and snack bar. I loved meeting people and knew most of the bowlers in town because of my parents. It was a great first job!” – Teresa Brown, Paralegal, Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber & Howard
“I worked the window at A&W. Best job ever. I used to get off around 2:30, hitchhike up to Lake George, and hang out at Million Dollar Beach. For a young guy, that was heaven!”
– Tony DiChiro, Certified Life Coach, Tony DiChiro Coaching