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Suburban Island

Employment Excitement
Wednesday, Jul. 07, 2004, 1:16 p.m.

QUESTION: How was your first day at work?

WHAT I LEARNED: Everyone loves a happy worker.

Oh joy and delight – my daughter got her first job. She will be working in a small gift store/boutique close to home. As a parent I am happy about this for quite a few reasons. First off, I think it shows a level of maturity and independence that I like to see in my daughter as she moves out of high school and heads into her college years. Second, it will teach her how to function well in a workplace and understand how a small business works – lessons which should prove useful whether she is working for someone else or running her own business someday. Third, it will help her to learn how to budget her time and energy between more than school and fun – a tragic but necessary step into the real world.

There are other reasons I am delighted about her newly obtained employment too. This will plug up one of the great fiscal leaks in the family budget. Finally, there will be some money generated by someone other than my husband and I for all those movies, cosmetics, meals, clothes, coffee drinks, gas, concerts, and other delights that my daughter regularly requires to keep her young life in gear. A great weight has been lifted off of our parental shoulders this day. Less often will I have to hear the dreaded words - Mom, can I have, followed by (choose one: $3, $5, $10, your credit card) for (choose one: cute outfit, trip to beach, dinner out, movie with friends, cool makeup, latest CD, ticket to concert, I don’t know yet but I will know it when I see it).

I have discovered some additional reasons. These are bonus reasons that didn't first occur to me. They are presents - as in the kind I get from my thoughtful working daughter - and discounts - as in the kind she gets as an employee in a store full of delightful wares. The idea of presents kind of surprises me - it didn't really occur to me at first. In fact, the first thing my daughter did when she got the job was not to buy me a present but to ask me for more money to buy some clothes for work. She is a practical girl after all with a fashion sense. How could I decline such an request? I mean, she does need some proper work clothes as she enters the corridors of commerce in earnest. I consider it money well spent in the end. After all, if you are going to be a worker bee then you need a few worker bee outfits. Besides it's a small price to pay for a working daughter with a steady stream of spending money in place.

As if it couldn’t get any better, after her first day at work she brought me home a present – which was a very cool hula girl for my tropical-themed family room – and a gift for herself. She got the martini glass flip-flops – at a discount. I have a feeling that quite a bit of her wages are going to go directly back into the business. That’s one of the hazards of working, I suppose.

So here’s to first jobs, hula dolls, and flip-flops with martini glasses on them. I think I’m going to like this.

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