Big money, little glamour!

Opening up the white business envelope to see my first paycheque nestled inside was a thrill not to be forgotten quickly. Though minimum wage, it was still three times what I was paid for babysitting kids in our neighbourhood, which was one dollar per hour.

I thought the salary was glamorous, but the work was not. I was one of six students hired to do janitorial work after school each day at my high school.

Every day immediately at dismissal bell we headed over to the janitorial room to pick up our heavy industrial vacuums and rolling carts of cleaning products to get busy vacuuming classrooms, emptying wastebaskets, dusting, cleaning blackboards, and worst of all scouring the washrooms.

The only real perk was the privilege of reading the graffiti on the walls of the boys’ washrooms before we had to wash it off, always hoping never to see our own names.


This was yet again another morsel of “Bite-Size Memoir” initiated by blogger Lisa Reiter.

Each week a prompt is given for a 150 word ( no more, no less) piece of  memoir to be written.

Check out more here:

14 thoughts on “Big money, little glamour!

    • Yes, I do too Sherry! And it would have had great curiosity value at that age! – A peak into the boys underworld! I wonder if seeing that graffiti (and I can only imagine the variety of secrets revealed..) whether it changed or influenced your own behaviour. You’d certainly think twice about ‘doing’ anything that might get broadcast on those walls!!


      • Lisa, it did make me think about my behaviour in a positive way, I really did not want my name written in the boys’ bathroom stall. Of course from time to time on the weekends I completely forget the possibility! 😉


  1. Pingback: First Jobs | Lisa Reiter - Sharing the Story

  2. I love it! Wish I would have thought of that..!! My first job, at age sixteen, paid 1.00 an hour also. It was a Tastee Freeze and I had to deduct the cost of everything I ate or drank!
    Those were the days..!!


    • Never did see my name thankfully! The girls washrooms were not worse in those days, perhaps now they might be. I will never forget the stench of the urinals in the boys’ bathroom and those awful “deodorizing” cakes supposedly to disguise odors but horrific in their own right.


  3. Did you ever leave a message in return? I suppose that might have ended the glamorous paycheck, but kind of tempting. What an eye-opener that first job must have been! I like how you wrote it to–punchy last line!


  4. good one Suzanne. My first pay envelope experience was not so positive. The fair came to town when I was about 10 years old and I spent 3 days selling cupidolls . on the closing night the fellow I had worked for gave me an envelope with my pay. I ran home without opening the envelope but could feel that there was something in the envelope. I did not open it at night but waited for the next morning so I could share the excitement with the whole family… when I opened the envelope, my heart just sunk… there was nothing in there but 2 blank pieces of paper. Never worked for a fair hawker again! Dad


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