Throw Back Post- My First Job

Good morning World of Virtual Friends! How is everybody doing today? I hope you are enjoying your Thursday Morning.

Today's post is a semi-political one, because I'm TIRED of hearing that immigrants are stealing jobs. I am an immigrant and I am not stealing jobs.

My parents moved me here when I was 14. I had no choice, we packed our stuff and moved here from Mexico.

When we moved here, I learned about my father and his working habits, it was like getting to know him all over again. My Dad is a hard worker, he has only called off when he was really really sick, so sick that he had to take FMLA.

Anyway, I was 15.5 when I got my first job. It was at a Mushroom farm in Avondale Pa. Mushrooms are the main industry in Southern Chester County Pennsylvania. Kennett Square calls itself "The Mushroom Capitol Of The World".

My Dad's cousin was the manage for this mushroom farm, my 3 uncles worked there, and my Dad had worked there many years before, so he counted on us being safe there.

Our work shift started at 4:00 am, and we worked until 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. It was exhausting! But we were not allowed to complain, at all. My Dad worked this shift 7 days a week, and he never complained. Never did we hear my father say "I'm too tired". He would mostly say "I'm going to sleep, wake me when dinner is ready"

All the workers I met there were always nice and friendly to us... some of the guys were a bit too friendly... but they all worked hard. Everybody was there at 4:00 am to start work, and anybody who arrived late would not be allowed to work, and eventually would get fired within a week.

At the time, most of us were being paid minimum wage, $5.15 back then. There were no benefits to be had. No health insurance, no overtime, no vacation days, no sick days, no holidays. I think the first time I heard about paid time off, I asked the manager if she was joking.

All which brings me to my main point... We are not stealing jobs from the Citizens of the United States. Citizens of the United States don't want the jobs that immigrants do.

Years later, I was running a youth program, and I had a Puerto Rican student who needed a job quickly. I called my contacts and set him up for a job at a mushroom farm, as soon as I explained to him the work, and the schedule, he said to me "No way, I'm not traveling to Mexico" and I said "This job is not in Mexico, is in Avondale PA." He didn't take the job.

Even now, I work for a place who helps families get back to work. But a lot of times, our participants don't want the jobs that don't pay overtime, the jobs that start too early, the jobs that don't offer vacation time, the jobs that pay minimum wage.

Now, I get it. We live in a developed country, why settle for the minimum wage jobs with no benefits? I get it. But then I ask those who claim we are stealing their jobs... Do you want a bad paying job, with no benefits? It's low paid, but it's a job. If Yes, then there are lots of jobs at the mushroom farms... believe me, I just saw about 10 signs in Chester County that were looking for Mushroom pickers. If no, then stop complaining and just flat out say what the real fear is.

Last year when I read Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, he said the best employees he has had are Mexican and Central American immigrants. They are willing to start at the very bottom, because a job is a job. I also admire that he has been very outspoken against Donald Trump's proposal to deport millions of Illegal Immigrants.

Wow!! that turned into a rant very quickly!

Your Turn! What was your first job? What was minimum wage at your first job? would you start at the bottom again if you had to?


  1. I think Donald Trump is nothing but a troublemaker. I wonder how many Mexican immigrants mow his lawn? Clean his house? Cook and serve him food at his hoity-toity restaurants? I don't see any complainers lining up to apply for those kinds of jobs. Because they're hard and they don't pay well. Don't even get me started. I care for so many children of Mexican immigrants in my clinic and I learned Spanish so I could speak with them. They are the kindest, most caring group of patients I see. I can't say anything bad about any of them. Trump is an idiot.

    By the way, my first job was working in a hospital coffee shop. I hated it. I think I made $3/hour back then.

    1. Wendy, thank you for all you do for those kids! I bet they really appreciate having a health professional they can communicate with. I know we did, there was a nurse that learned Spanish in our community, and we all would go to her, because we knew she would take care of us !!

      I don't worry about Trump as much as I hate everything he says. It's his followers that worry me, they don't seem to know better, and are not afraid to act on what they feel, and that's scary!

  2. First of all, as you know, I think Donald Trump is a DANGEROUS person and I am sad all of his supporters are so ignorant and fearful that they buy his lies and xenophobia.

    What I can't stand is people who are AFRAID of people different from them. I really don't get it. Let's hate gay people, they are different! Let's hate muslims, they are different! Let's hate immigrants!! Let's hate women!!! The list goes on and on.

    One thing I think is funny is when people complain about not being able to understand someone because they may have an accent. As if they shouldn't have a specific job because they have an accent. I want to say, okay, well how many languages do YOU speak??? Because it's probably only one, and that other person speaks at least two! Now I have certainly been on the phone and not been able to understand someone because of their accent but it is not something to complain about. When it happens to me I say, "I am unable to understand you, could I be transferred to someone else please?" and the one or two times I have asked this politely, I was immediately transferred. People, it's not the big of a deal. There is not a law in this country that everyone has to speak English or speak without an accent. It is very, very troubling to me that some people feel this way.

    Just today I was driving up 11/15 and then 104 North to Mifflinburg (we went to RB Winters State Park- see I am trying to take a page from your book!) and we passed SO many confederate flags. REALLY? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??? I suppose I should feel bad for them because they are ignorant.

    Thank you for pointing out that a lot of jobs immigrants do are jobs no one else wants. I know a lot of people and I don't know a single person who has not gotten the job they wanted because of an immigrant.

    My first job was baby-sitting but my first real job where I got a pay check was a cashier at a grocery store. I can't remember what minimum wage was 16 years ago, but whatever it was, that's what I got.

    1. Megan, you make excellent points!

      And you said it beautifully ! What is it with all the fear and ignorance !? I would truly like to have a sincere conversation with these people to find out what is going on inside their heads!

      I have hung up on people who tell me they can't understand me, because it wasn't that they cousins understand me, they didn't like what I was telling them. I've lived here for almost 20 years, my accent is not heavy!

      I hope you had a great time on your trip! There is this great ice cream shop in mifflingburg, Purple cow!! And a farmers market right across the street !

      I think 16 years ago minimum wage was 6.15?

  3. Wow, I did not know that mushrooms are a hot commodity in PA. I would have never have guessed!

    You and your family have a great work ethic! It's a shame that (some) young people today don't have those qualities.
    My first job was at a retirement center and I earned $5 an hour.

    1. Oh yes Mushrooms are a huge industry in Chester County!! They have an annual mushroom festival and all !

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I think it's so important for Americans to hear about the truth of farming and laboring jobs. The bottom line is that if someone is qualified for a "better" job, they'll be hired. If they're desperate for work, no matter how difficult or exhausting, they'll take it.

    I totally agree with you that the stigma of immigrants needs to be dealt with, and I hate hate hate Donald Trump and his rhetoric. It makes me SICK.

    1. Ali, I'm convinced that The Trump is seriously losing his mind !!

      He likes to talk about deporting the illegal imigrants and building a wall, but doesn't take a moment to consider the concequenses this would have on the economy of the country! And not all illegal immigrants come from Mexico!

  5. UGH, don't get me started on people not wanting a job 'cause it's not good enough. Is it a job? Yes. Do you currently have a job? NO? Then you're going to be better off. I was hiring for a grocery store once a few years back & I had someone tell me she could make more money collecting unemployment & food stamps than we were going to pay. Which if you ask me, is a problem. That's the worst sort of incentive there is.

    I find people often think very highly of themselves, trust me, if you were qualified for all sorts of other jobs, people would be offering them to you.

    My first job was also at 15, I started as an attendant // cleaner at a laundromat, followed closely by a second job reshelving books at the library.

    1. Jessie, we have this formula we share with our participants, yes they can make more off food stamps and unemployment, on the short run. But working, even if part time, can bring more benefits, like say ... Tax credits !

      Did you like your job as hiring manager? What was the weirdest thing somebody said during an interview?


Post a Comment