100 Days Left

[This is the first entry in my project to write something every day in the 100 days before my retirement, reflecting on my career and life]

“100 Days Left”

May 23, 2018

I was first paid for work outside the home when I was 11 years old. I was paid the lofty sum of 10 DM (Deutsche marks, equivalent to about $2.50 Canadian in 1967 – an awful lot of money to an 11-year-old), by Mrs. MacLeod our neighbour, and my first employer.  

Mrs. MacLeod hired me to supervise and entertain at her daughter Kim’s 5th birthday party.  At the time, I was known as the “Pied Piper” of the neighbourhood – younger kids clung to me, followed me around and wanted to hang out with me – I have no idea why. Because of my reputation, Mrs. MacLeod thought I could be employed to entertain the kids at the birthday party.  We had a meeting to discuss the plans – yes, my first business meeting!  I presented a proposal.  She needed me for two hours.  

I remember arriving at the MacLeod’s apartment with a bag of tricks and a solid plan in my head.  We’d start with Kim’s Game (I remember thinking that was a very clever idea because the birthday girl’s name was Kim), make a craft, sing some songs, open gifts and have some cake.  All was going well until about five minutes into the party, the Birthday Girl had a hissy fit and up-ended the tray holding the sundry items for Kim’s Game.  She was promptly sent to her room by her mother and we had the rest of the party without her.  Including the cake.  

So not only was this my first paying job, it was also my introduction to the weird and wonderful world of idiosyncratic bosses (it is just me or did you notice that the first syllable of idiosyncratic is the same first syllable of idiot?).  I remember thinking that Mrs. MacLeod was pretty harsh to her daughter, but I was accepting of the fact that she was “the boss” so she got what she wanted.  

All in all, a satisfactory introduction to the working world.  It wasn’t the last time I would be hired based on my reputation, I was paid a very reasonable wage, and I now had some solid experience for my resume.  I was officially a working girl and in great demand – Mrs. MacLeod gave me a good reference and I remember organizing many neighbourhood birthday parties after that.