What was your first job?

Getting your first job is a monumental milestone in a young person’s life. It opens you up to a world
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Getting your first job is a monumental milestone in a young person’s life. It opens you up to a world of financial possibilities, but also teaches you about the newfound responsibility that comes with employment.

For baby boomers, it was not uncommon to hold the same job for decades without change, however for young people today the job climate is much different, with career paths often seeing jobs change every 3-4 years.

Learning a trade is still a possible career path for many young Australians just as it was 50 years ago but university enrolment numbers have grown steadily as young people focus more on building careers with their eyes on overseas travel.

We’d love to know, what was your first job? How long did you work there for? Do you think the job market is different for young people today?

  1. Marian Charlton  

    I was a comptometrist or Burroughs Calculator Operator. I worked for four years in my first job. I was responsible for invoice calculation and payroll for over 200 people. This started before decimal currency came in and I saw the change to electronic machines after decimal currency. This paved the way for computers. I saw one of my early machines in a museum in the nineties.

    • marlene barber  

      Hi there! My first job was also as a Comptomerist for the Navy at Garden Island Sydney at age 15 in 1965, mine was a Sumlock machine and I managed to buy one about 2 years ago at a swap meet. Like you I did payroll and checked all purchasing invoices in the old pounds, shillings and pence!!

  2. Kathleen  

    I helped my Parents’ in their business from the age of 8.

    For School Holidays, after Grade X, it was in a Record shop in the City.
    Ditto, after Grade XII, it was as a Receptioniste at a Children’s Hospital.

    Then I’d various Typing/Receptioniste jobs, until I got my ‘aimed for’ permanent job, which lasted me as my career for the next 45 years’, until Retirement. Loved it!

  3. I worked on the local telephone exchange and I loved it. I earned a staggering $64.00 a fortnight (for doing shift work, 7 days per week). Those were the days my friend!

    • Elaine  

      I also worked in the telephone exchange and loved it .Worked in Pricing Information Post Office Switchboard and Complaints and country exchanges .

  4. Started as clerk in public service for 6 months then nursing whe we worked split shifts and studied on our days off night duty was 12 weeks 7pm to 7 am 5 days a week ten later got a law degree and now a barrister. Life is a journey

  5. Sheila mitchell  

    I used to work in Liverpool UK in a lab testing seeds for germination This had to be done before they could be sold in shops

  6. Geoff Wilson  

    I started in Qantas in Sydney in 1960 as a Junior Commercial Trainee 3 months in each department for the first 2 years.It was a great grounding for an airline career. I then went to manual reservations(no computers) then to Operations at Mascot for the last 8 years. I did 10 years with Qantas and eventually did 43 years in airlines and 9 years in retail travel.I did my last 11 years with Virgin at Brisbane Airport and retired at 68.

  7. Cynthia Johnson  

    I worked as an office junior in a solicitors office, aged 15, 2pound 50 a week, delivered the mail around town was taught how to use the old plug type telephone system, great job

  8. Frances stone  

    I started as a very lowly Diet Cook in the Middlesex Hospital in London, very boring but I got the princely sum of £3.12shillings per week an absolute fortune back in the early Fifties!

  9. Susan Gabriel.  

    I wanted be a writer, so instead of striving to get to university I decided to see life by working in hotels, I was interviewed to be a trainee receptionist in an hotel in Berkshire, England but when I arrived I was told there wasn’t a position available in reception and I had to work behind the public bar, I was a very naive 18 year old and after two weeks I was sacked with the reason being I was ‘too young for the bar trade’ – that was a consolation as I hadn’t gone there to be a barmaid so I gave that as my excuse for having been dismissed whenever asked. Then got a job as assistant manageress in a residential hotel in London, that lasted about 9 months. I came down with tonsilitus, got over that then with impetigo from sorting out the hotel bed linen to be collected by the laundry firm and decide to give in my notice after that. Went to be ‘au pair’ looking after a little girl of an embassy official who was going to take up a post in Paris, me to go with the family, I was French speaking (one of the requirements) but never got to Paris as found ‘au pair’ to them was having to be a cleaner, when I’d been told light housework was a side-line. I left after two days. I could give a long list of work after that but it’d take up pages so let’s leave it there!

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