They may be running the most successful companies in Massachusetts today, but many senior executives at AIM-member businesses began their work lives with summer jobs delivering newspapers, working clam shacks on the Cape or picking vegetables.
AIM asked business owners and managers participating in the monthly Business Confidence Index what they did for their first summer jobs. The responses underscored the fact that everyone pays his or her dues when entering the work force, whether working on farms, in gas stations or at summer camps.
“Paper boy at age 11, janitor at age 14, construction at 15, marine mechanic at 17, engineer at 22, global manager of sustainable operations at 28,” responded one manager who believes the experiences of his early summer jobs prepared him well for later career challenges.
“I loved it and it gave me great experience dealing with people, cash handling and generally just being required to think on my feet and make responsible decisions,” said another participant whose first summer job was working in the Snack Shack at the Orchards Golf Course in South Hadley.
Golf courses were a common source of summer employment, whether in lawn maintenance, caddying or food service. Other popular jobs were landscaping, construction, restaurants, commercial fishing and babysitting.
Many people fondly recalled working at iconic locations around the state.
“Serving Ice Cream at the Rt. 1 Saugus (Dinosaur) Mini-Golf and Ice Cream,” recalled one survey participant.
The list of summer jobs also provides reminders of how much things have changed, and continue to change, in the regional economy.
“Pumping gas at a full-service gas station.”
“Stocking shelves at First National stores.”
“Flipping burgers at Hardees.”
“Boat yard worker at 85 cents per hour.”
Indeed, there is no shortage of nostalgia about summer jobs.
“I use to mow lawns outside an office building and always told myself that someday I wanted to work inside the building. Now that I work inside an office building, there are plenty of days I look outside at the young people mowing the lawn in the beautiful sunny weather and wish I could be back outside the building,” one participant wrote.