Sunday 19th January 2020

My First Paid Job. #ltw13. 366/330.

My First Paid Job. #ltw13. 366/330.

The story behind this prompt today is that it was/is usual around the end of the year, after exams, for students to look for and get paid work. I know this is the case with my grandchildren and was with our children too.

But what about me?

In the mid 1960s there were few opportunities for part-time or casual work unless it was with a family member’s or friend’s business or it was something you started up for yourself such as babysitting or lawn mowing. I was a baby sitter for a few local families from around age 14 but it is my first paid job at 15 I will write about.

Of course, if you had left school by 15 (the earliest age…or maybe it was 14 and 9 months back then) your first paid job may have been your first employment since leaving school.


NO computers or technology at all other than a telephone in 1960s.

I was to remain in school until the Higher School Certificate examination in 1967 – which I wrote about here – and so it was with a a bit of a ‘push’ from Dad that my first paid job was in the Sydney office of the company where he was Chief Accountant. I began as an almost 15 year old in 1964 and continued in some of the school holidays until I found my next part-time work in 1967.

My role was to assist the full-time employees in the Mail Room. They were hard-working women, my Dad reminded me when I rang him to do a ‘fact check’! I was to become a Mail Girl. That always amused me!

In those days written communication was by mail. There were no faxes, emails and telephones were good but to have something in writing was essential for orders, invoices and all that. The mail room was also for internal mail i.e. from within departments in the company and for external mail. At specific times one of us, sometimes me, would deliver both internal mail and that from the GPO (the General Post Office). We would also collect it. Sometimes it would be memoranda and in envelopes where the addressee would need to respond, then leave for us to collect.

Twice in the day we (I) would walk to the GPO (still there!) in Martin Place to collect the mail from the company mail box outside or to go inside to collect items which needed signing. The office had their own postage/franking machine to apply paid notes/stamps to letters/packages but occasionally the machine itself would need to go the the GPO with one of us, along with a signed company cheque to have funds applied to it.

On other occasions I might be asked to go to the Bank of NSW (now Westpac) where the company had its funds to deposit cheques and to collect any documents. I was 15 and trusted to do this and I had a bag and never ever had cash on me but I was always alert (still am) and very sensible (mostly still am!)

I would sometimes do errands for the ‘boss’ – not Dad – and pick up items he had ordered from David Jones or other shops.

I did enjoy the office camaraderie and stayed right away from Dad (LOL) but then again, he was my lift to and from work!! I enjoyed pay day because it was cash in a little pay envelope with my hours and details on the front. I am sure none of it was saved…and I would have bought treats with it too.

Nevertheless I got some independence. I learned new skills. I learned so much about Sydney streets in those years from the walking to and from Circular Quay (occasionally we got money to use the bus) into the heart of the city that the knowledge has stayed with me forever. It’s been a blessing when I have gone to the city as an adult and tried to get around!


From Circular Quay up and down many of the city streets as far as Martin Place. credit:

The building where Dad’s company was located was a shining beacon back then as it was the tallest one in Sydney – possibly Australia – and it was very special to work there. This is the AMP Building (front one here) which even had a special  top floor viewing area for visitors. Dad’s office location was on the 21st floor and let me tell you the view was spectacular.


Dad’s office was on level 21. Cool views!

It’s been fun recalling my first paid job.

What was yours?


Joining Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

And for the weekend, I am linking here with Sammie, Karin and Paula! The Ultimate Rabbit Hole!

life 150

life this week icons 150 2

I hope you are joining in Life This Week #ltw13 {optional} prompt My First Paid Job.



  1. What a great building to work in!
    I remember franking machines. My first full time job (after uni) I was the receptionist in an industry organisation where we did mail outs every few days to the 100+ members. I’d have to use a franking machine to stamp the envelopes. Do those things still exist?

  2. Great theme this week and I also had fun writing mine.

    I had to laugh when you wrote about your dad being your lift to and from work. I was the same only I was the one driving for my L and then P plate experience.

    SSG xxx

    • I like that memory for you too. Yes, back and forth in the car with dad..couldn’t escape those convos either. Your trips sounded very practical.

  3. I worked not too far from that building. What memories. My three girls, as of the last month, now all have part-time jobs. All in retail. My eldest has worked part-time, from the minute she was legally allowed to. It meant she was able to pay for her school trip to Greece herself (all $6k). She was the only student that went that was self funded. I was so proud.

  4. My first job was working at Kmart in the men’s section. I paved the way for four of my seven siblings. Definitely interesting for a 15 yo. Also I remember going into the Post Office with mum and feeling it was a place to be revered.

    • Good on you Maria. Post offices were very different. Nothing like the “retail bombardment of must haves as you line up” they are now.

  5. My first job was at Flints Shoes which went on to become Mathers Shoes.

    • I remember Flints shoes and didnt realise they went on to become Mathers. I wonder if you spent your earnings before you left the shop!!

  6. Mine was an afterschool job as a market researcher (phone). Worst job ever but paid well, As a result I almost always have to do those surveys cos I know how many hang ups you get….

    • My goodness, you are being kind but I realise why. That is a job that I know someone has gone into now too. Mind you I usually do a survey if I have the time but we have a silent number and are on the ‘do not call’ register.

  7. I enjoyed thinking about mine too Denyse… how I was happy with so little back then. And how nervous I was in the job etc… But it was a wonderful (and important) experience in retrospect!

    • Yes, looking back in this instance has its benefits and we can see how it helped guide us for the future. I am looking forward to reading your post!

  8. As per normal I’m not following the prompt!….but I will tell you here that my first paid job was down at a local grocery store and I think I was probably the worst employee ever! I constantly I ripped people off by giving them the wrong change (unintentionally), slice their cold meat either too thin or thick and really had no customer service skills at
    All! Didn’t last there too long!

    • Oh too funny about the service & work in the grocery store. My daughter’s first paid job was in a deli and she got to know a lot about cuts of various small goods.

  9. In the mid-90s in country SA, employment was rare. My first paid job outside of a work for the dole scheme was as an office assistant at a plumbing company when I moved to Port Hedland in WA. They hadn’t made the move to computers yet (this was 1997 so they were lagging behind) and everything was done by hand. The office manager was hard but fair and the plumbers were good lads. This set me up for a career in administration !

    • What an interesting start to your working life. I do recall employment being like that in regional areas and to a certain extent it may be the same although industries like mining (when there were better days) seemed to help. You have travelled in your work life and I’d say learned a lot thanks to the less than modern office conditions. Lots of stories from then I would imagine.

  10. I was a late bloomer when it came to working – my first job was at a service station/roadhouse when I was at uni. I don’t have a lot of fond memories as I was the youngest employee and made to do all the things the older employees didn’t want to do! Thank goodness I was saved from it when I was called in for an interview after sitting the public service exam. I also had roles in the mailroom when I first started there and have fond memories of moving files from the office to our off-site storage facility. We’d always take the scenic route back via Newcastle Beach!

    • I dont think I went to work because I wanted to particularly but I think it was Dad deciding it was a good idea!! My job from Year 12 and to end of teacher’s college was in a jewellery shop on the Corso in Manly and I loved that one. Got our engagement and wedding rings there at cost price. How interesting that you got to do the ‘not so good’ work. That is pretty typical. I am glad you understand those mail room duties but oh gosh I never learned to like filing. At all.

  11. Aside from babysitting throughout high school, for my first paid job I worked on a Commercial Goose Farm! I collected eggs, graded them, set them up in incubators and looked after the chicks when they hatched!

  12. inthegoodbooksblog says:

    My first paid job was in a cafe/cake shop that I worked at for almost 7 years.

  13. This reminds me very much of my first office job working in records for a state government department. I learned very quickly that high heels were a very bad idea walking around the city running errands!

    • Oh yes! High heels and city pavements…hurty! Amazing how much goes on with people still doing these I imagine as not everything can be emailed. Documents need to be ‘in actual form.’

  14. What a fantastic firsst job, right in the middle of Sydney in that huge building! That would have been a great experience x

    • Yes it was. A few years later, they moved but still into offices that overlooked the Quay, harbour bridge and harbour again. Dad certainly got to go on some lovely lunchtime walks for the decades he worked there!

  15. That’s a good first job and definitely a lot of responsibility at a young age! 🙂 My first job was during the summer between Year 9 and 10 — at a library! Best job ever!

    • Thanks it was good and I was speaking to Dad about it when writing the post and I said I can’t believe I did that kind of running around in Sydney…but it was the 1960s and it was a kinder, gentler place! Your job sounds ideal for a keen reader.

  16. I didn’t write about about my first job this week but it was at Dominos when I was 15! I loved the crew there, they were all a lot older and wordlier than me and I remember learning a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have hahahaha

  17. What a cool place to work for your first job! My first job was at a private boys’ school in my gap year. I was a teacher’s aide in the prep department where all the boys wore caps, were super posh and were called Henry or Alexander. It was like going back in time to the 1920’s but it was such a hoot! Oh, the tales I could tell! I only got paid one pound per hour (which is like 2 dollars) but it’s probably my all time favourite job!

    • Oh how wonderful. I can only imagine how it must have been for you fresh out of school yourself and working alongside these young gentlemen (nearly called them kids…that would not do!). I regard myself as fortunate to have worked in that special precinct in Sydney. In fact, the second building where Dad moved to was Goldfields House, near George St,and my then fiance put my engagement ring on my finger…46 years ago next week. There was a superb restaurant under the building called The Islander Trader run by Cahills and it was a sad day for us Sydney-ites when they went out of business!

  18. Is that where the 14 years and 9 months thing come from? I always knew I was able to get a job at 14 years and 9 months, which I did at the local chicken shop, but I didn’t know why it was such a strange, exact date.

    • Well now you’ve asked I am guessing it was because you could leave school at what was then the minimum age which was 3 months off your 15th birthday. It’s my best guess! Hope that helps with the mystery!

  19. I was a nanny right after high school. I was 18 and not sure about what I wanted to do so when one of the ladies I went to church with asked me to take care of her two little girls while she worked, I jumped at the chance. Those were some fun times! 🙂