MONTHLY QUESTION

I remember my first paying job! Like Frances, I consider my first formal employment as my first job.
My folks did not want me to work in high school so my first job came in my freshman fall of college. My sister-in-law arranged it. I became a front desk clerk at a hotel that primarily served the real estate developer on whose vast property it sat.
Those were the days when planes of buyers arrived from the east: Pittsburgh, Lansing, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto…. Such places had miserable winters. Men who worked in factories hoped to retire in a
place where they could boat, hunt and fish while leaving hard winters and their aching backs behind them.
20 to 30 salesmen would caravan in their white jeeps to the airport and pick up the victims –er –couples, bring them back to the resort and start plying them with food and booze. These middle-class factory workers took full advantage of this royal treatment.

The next morning the salesmen would pick them up and show them lot after lot (some without paved roads and utilities to them “yet”). They extolled the joys of the reservoir (which was just barely starting to fill at that time), pointed to the air-clear view to the purple mountain majesty (a quick hour away), and
the mild weather (bereft of humidity!)

After more food and booze, vision-blurred men would have talked their “tired of fighting
it” spouses into signing papers for property that would be
“building-ready” when gold watches were received and pension checks came rolling in.
Then jeeps filled with sleeping passengers would be caravaned back to the airport. They would receive a grand send-off as confirmation that they had made the deal of the century on a piece of paradise –and asked to tell their friends to fill the next plane!

My job was to check the Easterners in and out, and make sure to notify the sales team if anyone was bored, drifting off –or (horrors!) arguing about whether or not they should buy.

Rooms not taken by the east-of-the-Mississippi guests were open to the public. I had plenty to do as I was clerk, cashier, concierge, and evening housekeeping.
I worked 2:00 to 10:00 pm. We were the nicest hotel near the blue-collar town of Pueblo, Colorado. We were contracted by the Colorado State Fair for entertainers’ accommodations. I once made Glen Campbell’s bed and cleaned his room after he checked out. The maids had left and we needed it for a bride and groom coming that night. I met a lot of 70’s Country-Western entertainers and many a traveling salesman. Almost no families stayed there. It was too expensive and too far from town.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

As an employee of the developer I was allowed to hitch a ride on the planes if there was a open seat. The salesmen who lived in the East, accompanied the guests West and made sure the drinking started once the plane was at altitude were very happy to show me around their various cities and introduce me their families.

I saw all the cities that most people leave rather than choose to visit for a vacation! Ha! The sales went along for a number of years more but it was almost 30 years before the community filled out and became beautiful.

Those “early adopters” lived out in the dust for a long, long time!

Georgene (July ‘17) adds, “The job only lasted two years. I got married and moved away, but every time I returned home for a visit I would make the trek outside town to see how Pueblo West was growing.”

**

Chantal (June ‘17) also remembers her first paying job. “Other than baby-sitting, my first paying job was while in high school. I worked in a dental office. 

“I called to remind people of their appointments and did filing. I also handled the ‘recall’ list. That task involved phoning and reminding patients it was past time for their routine dental check-up.

The job provided valuable experience in dealing with people, but also had a downside.  At the end of each day, I had to balance the day’s receipts with the day’s services performed. 

For some reason it often seemed there was some circumstance I was unaware of which led to a snag reconciling. That could be frustrating!”  

**

This month’s question, “My first paying job…” will hold over for September. It will be joined by a new question, “One thing I have always secretly wanted to do is….”

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