Deb's Lake Conroe Real Estate & Stuff! : What Was Your First Job? What Are They Thinking? The Fair Labor Standards Act.

What Was Your First Job? What Are They Thinking? The Fair Labor Standards Act.

I know this has nothing to do with Lake Conroe Real Estate but I have to slide it in here!

Debs huntsville Texas job at SonicWhat was your first job? I mean really your first? Not the baby sitting kind or the one that allowed you to stand in the concession stand for money or candy but your real life, get paid by the hour job?  

And, how old were you? How did you get to your job? I ask these questions for a very deep reason. Our children today do not even LEGALLY get to learn about a job or responsibility till the age of 16 or older.


Now, if I had waited till the age of 16, had a  home full of electronics like Wii, flat screen TV's, computers, cell phones and text, I may have never learned what a JOB was all about!! And, that's exactly what I am worried about for our youth of today.

Life was so much different in my childhood. By the time I was the age of 9, I was babysitting for the people in our neighborhood. The family I remember had three banshees children that were absolutely unruly and worried me half to death. I caught them walking on the piano keys, trying to swing from the living room chandelier and attempting to get the dog to eat soap! I would say goodbye to the parents, go in and wait for the kids to finish their dinners, do the dishes, and often times hide in the bathroom with the dog for as long as possible as the children seemed to be the spawns of some evil entity. I would attempt to govern them into their pj's, read a book with them jumping on the beds till they nearly broke down and finally closed their doors to keep from having to hear their screaming! Mommy and Daddy would get home finally, praise me for what I had done, pay me and I would walk on home. While counting my .75 cents...three hours at .25 cents an hour, I wondered to myself if life would always be THIS WAY!  It was surely tough to make enough money to buy a movie ticket, some popcorn and a few pieces of candy!
Sonic, Huntsville Texas Deb Brooks first job

I knew there had to be something better! By the way, that did not count as a job. I mean a real job. Where you answer to a boss, have to be there at a strict time and handle their money and represent their company. Not watching their banshees kids. And, I use to handle the concession stand at Edinburgh, Indiana Park for my dad. He ran the park during the summer when he wasn't teaching and I got to sell candy and sodas during that time earning the choice of a candy bar and a Cream Soda. I loved that!

Debs huntsville Texas job at Sonic



My first REAL job was in Huntsville, Texas, home of Sam Houston State University (back then still a college), as my mom could not afford my Cheerleading Fees. My mother was an Associate Teacher and could not afford any extras. Yes, I wanted to be a Cheerleader and was voted in by the Student Body of Huntsville High School! SONIC DRIVE INN, HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS was my first REAL job. It is still there and I am taking my Grandchildren there on a regular basis.  Mom and I had really moved up in the world and had an Apartment down the road instead of the College Housing that is now just a memory. I would ride the bus home, change clothes, walk down the road and go to work. My Money Tree Debs First Job, Sonic

I was barely 13 years old. I took pride in my position with Sonic! I showed up on time in my uniform, gathered my tray and change and got busy! Oh, I forgot to mention the Roller Skates...yes. I had to wear the skates to deliver the food which has barely changed I might add! The entire year I worked there I had only one mishap. My best girlfriend's brother showed up and placed an order. I had such a crush on this guy I couldn't stop shaking. When I rolled out to deliver his food I just kept Rolling! I managed to dump the entire tray of food right on Danny's lap...oops? Because he knew me so well he didn't complain so I got off easy. He gave me a .25 cent tip for that tray!

I had gone into the big time. A tip of almost .25 cents per car  instead of per hour. I learned I was able to provide what I needed for school and at the same time have enough left to have a life. At age 13 I learned the trick to a happy and prosperous life. I learned WORK ETHICS. I was able to purchase all my Cheerleading necessities and I loved work. It fulfilled me with more than I could ever explain. My mother, God Bless her, was one of the first women to graduate Magna Cuma Laud from Texas A&M University and became a full Professor at Huntsville's own, Sam Houston State University. I will always be proud of her accomplishments. See what two girls can accomplish together?

How many of you are finding that your 30+ year old children are returning home? How long are we waiting to teach our children strong work ethics? How are we teaching our children that they have the ability to take care of themselves?

Tell me about your first job
. Then tell me about your children and are they working? We need to change the laws our government has placed upon our children and our choice to teach them how the world works. This is our government's idea of when to begin to teach our children the true laws of our world. If you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth...go to work!

Minimum Age for Non-hazardous Work by the Fair Labor Standards Act:

In jobs that are not considered particularly hazardous, the FLSA sets the normal minimum age for employment in agriculture at 14 years, whereas in every other industry the normal minimum age is 16 years.

What are they thinking?


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Comment balloon 25 commentsDeb Brooks • June 26 2011 12:32AM


This is a good post. My first job (besides babysitting) was writing, editing and delivering my mother's real estate newsletter. I liked the writing and editing part but I dreaded having to talk to people face to face. However, it was good practice for real life, as I *STILL* have to do this today.

Posted by MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) almost 9 years ago

Michelle, so you came by the RE business naturally with your mom in the business. Excellent. Lots of people do not like to talk to other people although My Nature is to Talk about Anything they will listen to! LOL. Writing and wonder you are here. I'm so glad you are. Thank you for commenting my friend!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) almost 9 years ago

OK, first, you can't be old enough to have worked for .25 cents an hour.

I personally don't think kids should work at a real legal job until they are 16. There's still plenty of time to learn about life.

And when I had to baby sit, it was for free. I was the oldest, and therefore automatically expected to watch my two younger siblings. Of course I did get a roof over my head, food, clothing, etc. I still felt underpaid! But mom raised three of us by herself, as she was widowed when I was 5 and the two siblings even younger.

PS...if you are really from Texas, don't you have two "first" names, like Deb Sue, or something like that? I lived in Houston for 20 years and all my lady friends had two first names, like Nancy Lee, etc.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) almost 9 years ago

Hi Deb, very cool post, back in the day, high school years, a good friend of mine and myself's favorite place to eat was Sonic drive in just because of the cute girl factor alone.  My first job I can remember was mowing lawns around 12 or 13, then first official job was as a sacker/stocker at Winn I hated unloading that entire 18 wheeler...only reason they agriculture laws are different is because of the migrant workers and they wouild lose a lot of their work force if they raised the age, nothig fair about it.

Posted by Hrisco & Associates, Roanoke Homes for Sale - Roanoke Neighborhoods (Hrisco & Associates ) almost 9 years ago

Deb, what a fun post!  I was 15, almost 16, when I began working for a vet. (I babysat as well!)- It was a summer job, and one of my coworkers who had her license drove me until I turned 16, and then I drove myself, or my mom would drive if she needed the car.  Yes, it was not the glamour job with minimum wage at $3.35/hr. I loved working with the animals...and the people were ok, too, most of the time! LOL!

Posted by Sonja Patterson, Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou (Keller Williams - BV) almost 9 years ago

Jon, yes sir I'm afraid I am! Well, I'm glad I am. I disagree with you on that. My son started getting into trouble when he was young because he had no responsibility! I kept him as busy as I, football, school, basketball, soccer and any other extra cirricular activities I could find. I wanted him to learn to really WORK! And I am older than I look.

John, thanks! Love Sonic. I think I may have been one of those cuties that helped bring the cars in! I would like to think so anyway~Sacker at Winn Dixie. Now, that's a good job with a lot of exposure with customers and truly work. Yes, what you asay about the migrant workers is true and also a child is able to work the farm if their parents or a parent is there watching over them. They can help harvest, bail the hay, feed the livestock and so forth. I just think it should be the parent's choice. As long as it is reasonable. But can go to war at 17....why can't you work till you're 16?

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) almost 9 years ago
My first job, at age 15 was at McDonalds, and I have been working ever since. I totally agree with you. Children are handed everything and have no clue what it feels like to actually work hard, save, and earn something. For Jon, I am a native Texan and my name is Joni! I do not go by Joni Junell. I'm sure that you can see why! ;)
Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (101 Main St. Realty) almost 9 years ago

Sonja, working for a Vet is a very good, in fact, a dream job! You are much younger than I and I was lucky to live right down the street from where I could walk to work At that age none of us had a car...thus the school bus. LOL...3.35 an hour and I would have felt rich!

Joni Junell, my name is Debra Alayne...say that one now! LOL. No Debbie Sue here! Although, I think the two names are cute they are no longer practical. Jon, you are stereotyping us~ Yes Joni Sue? Debbie Lou thinks so~Just kidding Jon, we are playing with you. Thank you both Joni and Jon for commenting!

This was a fun post for me and by the way, Joni, thanks for the agreement. You knew what I was getting at in this post. Our children, for the most part, are growing soft and self centered and not the way we were raised! You got it girlfriend~


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) almost 9 years ago

My first job was lifequarding and my son is now doing the same thing.  I do see a difference in this younger generation however.  So many of them simply don't want to work and want their parents to foot the bill for everything.  A good work ethic is essential. 

Posted by Paula McDonald ~ GRI, Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) almost 9 years ago

My first job was at a gas service station.  Pump the gas, check the tire, clean the windshield, check under the hood, and gas was selling for 30 cents a gallon.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker almost 9 years ago

Deb-I love this post and "I suggested it" I smiled with the having the crush on the boy and kept rolling. Now I have a wonderful and fun visual in my head of you as a 13 yr. I agree with the work ethic and how different that is today with kids. There is a major sense of entitlement in todays world. I came from the time in this world that the work ethic was much stronger. I grew up in the family vending business and worked from the time I was 10 til the business was sold when I was 19. While kids were having slumber parties and attending football games I was making sandwiches, salads, donuts etc and washing dishes by the boatload. It was the only life I knew so I never missed what I didn't have. When I look at the young kids of today it is very foreign to me having that kind of lifestyle. What I did learn and that has been invaluable in making me a strong person is while I didn't know it then I was learning a life long work ethic. One that is extremely rare in today's world.  You are churning out fantastic posts my friend. Love them. Keep up the great blog ethic Smiling.

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) almost 9 years ago

those young adults I see these days dont understand work ethic, they call in late to work or dont come in at all due to a late night of partying or just dont feel good!  I would have been fired in my jobs if I had tried to pull that.  What ever happened to # of sick days a year, I used to save them like they were GOLD for when I was deathly ill or had a sick kid!

I see young people who want everything for nothing, not wanting to earn it, you know what that is,,,,,,spoiled!!!  They have been given everything and many don't work at Sonic :)

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Bono Realty) almost 9 years ago

Hi Deb-My first job was a 14 at Long John Silvers, then they fired me because I was too young so I got to go back at 15 :)!  I learned a lot there and had several jobs after that before joining the Army at 18.  Work ethic is nowhere to be seen anymore as kids generally want things instantaneously.  Additionally, jobs normally held by teens are snatched up by adults because of the horrible economy right now.  Craziness all around :).  Great post and suggested.

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) almost 9 years ago

First job, age 14 paperboy. Toughest part collecting the money door to door and getting bit by dogs at the door and on my bicycle. Oh and going out in the cold weather in the winter every day too. Not the worst job. That came later in college as a dishwasher. It's much better being independently wealthy now.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 9 years ago

Paula, where did you lifeguard? I once had a job of lifeguard in San Antonio, TX. Swimming was my life as a child. I loved it. When I was still living in Indiana, I was on a Swim Team and was very competitive. Once mom moved me to Huntsville there was no longer a team to join. At least your son is following in your footsteps my friend! It is a great place to start.

Richard My Man!!! Now, you had a tough job. Although, I really miss those full serve stations! I loved being able to pull up to the pump and someone runs out to was my windshield and pumped my gas for me and checked the tires and under the hood to make sure everything was good. Nowadays we have to do it all and our exchange of greetings and money is to a machine! Ick...

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) almost 9 years ago


My first (not with a "real" boss and for less than a dollar an hour) job was babysitting...I remember just having fed the baby who I'd draped carefully over my shoulder...dashing to pick up the phone thinking it was my "unreal boss"  and, as I began to say hello..little Tommy BURPED the most gigantic BURP right into the receiver.......

and ...astonished with that development, I just about fainted with the giggles...

It sort of reminds me of my current job...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 9 years ago

Hi Deb, this is a GREAT Post!  My first babysitting job around 11 or 12 was for a family of five boys, two were twins and they sound like the family you babysat for.  I don't remember how much I got paid, but not too much!

My first "real job" was when I turned 18 right out of high school.  I worked as a secretary for an attorney.  I typed off of a manual typewriter.  The boss shared space with four other attorneys.  The boss also use to have a little problem with drinking his lunch and would come back to the office, put his feet on his desk and take a little nap...snoring loudly so I had to shut the door.  Eventually he quit drinking and I found another job after about three years, I got to know the family, (wife and kids) and they were all nice to me.  I made $65 per week - this was in 1974.  I would give one third of my check to my mother faithfully every week for room and board.  I took the bus to work until I saved enough money to buy my first car.  I worked and put myself throgh school in the evening.

My two sons have a great work ethic.  They are both cooks, the youngest one just switched to a day job so he can take classes in the evening and night.  He worked in high school as a dishwasher and made enough money to buy his first car, which he still has.

My oldest lives with his girlfriend and he has worked the same job for the past five years.  They boys are 22 and 26!  They work hard, I am proud of them and have to admit they got their work ethic from both me and their father!

Posted by Christine O'Shea (Christine E O'Shea Broker) almost 9 years ago

I so totally agree with you.  With a house full of electronic toys, they not only don't have the concept of where they came from, but it would be hard to ply them away from them to get them to work.  My first job was in the late 60s running a computer the size of your living room, billing customers for Sears.  My how times have changed ;)

Posted by Mimi Foster, Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor (Falcon Property Solutions) almost 9 years ago

Deb my first job was working on my father's farm in Nigeria at the age of seven.-That's where the name "THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" came from. But my first paying job was at the age of 13 as a data entry clerk at the Latin American Youth Center in Washington DC in 1989. It was a after school work program. Did many after school work programs and summer programs till I graduated from High school. This blog took me back to memory lane. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

Posted by Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan, I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES (Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC) almost 9 years ago

My first job was age 13. My friend and I lied and said we were 15 (terrible, I know). We worked at a restaurant called Soup, etc... every Saturday. Then I got a job at a cookie store, then a grocery store. This was all before the age of 16. Around here, they don't hire until age 16. It is crazy!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 9 years ago

Hi Deb - we don't have children, so I can't really comment much about today's youth (well, I could, but it wouldn't necessarily be pretty...) - but I remember the days of babysitting (and 5 miles biking there and back) and doing volunteer work for the blind and at the old folks home - and then strawberry picking when the season was right.  Ah, good times...?!  Great post!

Posted by Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC (Royal Pro Real Estate Network) almost 9 years ago

I've been saying this for a long time now! Kids learn to get money from mom and dad and never learn to work! I started working when I was 11 in the berry fields and within 2 months was a field boss because I was such a hard worker. Ended up working all the way until the day school started. Was the only one under 30 that got that privilege.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

Did not have to work until after leaving school.  I was a secretary in my first job, and believe-me-you I don't remember how old I was back then. 

Work can be an essential part of any child's education and a means of gaining vital skills but, start too early and you are inviting problems.  Children are not physcially suited for long hours of strenuous or monotonous work.

Posted by Dee Mayers, San Gabriel Valley, CA almost 9 years ago

My first job (besides babysitting) was writing, editing and delivering my mother's real estate newsletter

Ha!  You were lucky Michelle.  I wasn't trusted with the reading and editing but I was sure encouraged to deliver, at a nickel a flyer (half the cost of the monopoly's dime an envelope).

Do you realize Michelle, that you and I could have been jailed for our actions?  (Sad, huh?)


Posted by Brian Brady, 858-777-9751 (San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751) over 8 years ago

FLSA Overtime Policy can be challenge for employers, particularly on exempt and non-exempt wage and hour issues. Employers who stay up to date on current FLSA overtime regulations and implement effective policies and procedures will be better able to prevent complaints against themselves.

Posted by computech buzz over 5 years ago