That is a perfect description of what I am doing since I’m about 13 years old. My parents are definitely not rich but we are not poor either and I guess, compared to others, pretty well off. So I always had my “pocket money” to spend on stuff I liked. But my parents also taught my sister and me the value of money and that money does not grow on trees but that you have to work for it. And if we wanted to have something which was just a tad bit too expensive we always had to pay our share or even buy it ourselves.
To be able to afford all those pretty things I wanted to have I started bringing around papers starting in the summer after I turned 13. It was no hard work but it was lousy paid. But at least it was only one afternoon a week, took me only about 2-4 hours, and I was able to read all those cool magazines for free and the night before they actually came out. But after two summers and one hell of a winter I quit. I only earned about 25€ per month but considering my age and the times back then it was quite a lot and I was able to save some money which lasted me a bit.
To earn some extra cash after quitting the newspaper job I started to help out at my dad’s company. In January the annual stock-tacking took place and I usually helped out at 3-4 weekends. With Christmas right before and my birthday in March I was able to make as much money to get over the year without having to take another job.
When I was 16 I was able to take some more serious jobs. I was about to leave for the States in the middle of August and I knew a lot of great shopping opportunities were waiting for me. As I did not want to rely only on my parents’ money I worked at a local entertainment park for three weeks. Hard earned money but worth every cent in the end – including the free rides
After I got back from the States I was looking for another job right away. I wanted to visit my friends in North Dakota again sooner than later so I worked weekends in a hotel. I am not a very good waitress (KLUTZ is my second name) so I only lasted for one summer until about October. But at least I was able to save enough money to buy a ticket for Christmas and some extra cash for shopping.
As I’m not big in waitressing but prefer to sit in an office my mom was able to get me a job at a local architect’s place. His secretary was pregnant and while she was on maternity leave for about 9 months I did what she used to do for him: go to the bank, run errands, answer the mail and the phone, and make coffee. I stopped working there due to my final exams in High School but I would have loved to stay. He paid a lot and I got it cash every time I worked which was awesome!
After graduation I applied as a Sales Assistant at a local clothing store. I love working with the clients and helping them pick out the proper outfits. It was hard work (not fond of all the standing) and it was not paid a lot. But I did quite a lot of hours even with a full study load so I still made quite a bit.
Two years after graduation I started my apprenticeship at a local bank. Compared to other apprenticeships (i.e. when you want to become a baker, hair dresser, etc.) the bank job was paid pretty well. I still got only half of a regular bank clerk’s salary but still had to work full time. After I got my degree in Banking & Finance I went back to university. And once again I needed a new job.
As the local airport was not too far from where I lived I was able to get a great job with a tourism company. Good was the hourly salary (100% extra on Sundays and holidays). Bad were the working hours (night shifts meant getting up at 02:15 to be at work at 03:00 – a.m. that is) and that no one really cared that I still had a full semester work load and needed some time off every once in a while.
Due to moving to the city where my university was at I had to switch jobs anyway. Luckily, because I was exhausted with all the night shifts and the double workload and would not have done it much longer. I went back to retail and enjoyed working in a local store selling clothes I would wear myself and getting a good discount. Sadly I was only allowed to work Fridays and Saturdays (they did not need me the other days) and in order to earn some money I had to work almost every weekend. If your parents live 250km away that is not the best solution. So after about half a year I was looking for something else again.
Due to my apprenticeship, my work experience in general, and my education I was able to score my current job where I am working for almost two years now. Yesterday I got a new contract until the end of March 2011 and I’m still very happy here. I earn good money, it is related to what I am actually studying so it looks good on my CV, and it is an office job (not back pain inflicted).
Well, as you can see I did not exaggerate when I wrote that I was working almost all of the time since I am 13. I love to be not too dependent on my dad’s money and still to be able to life my live at a certain level (I love having a car, I love going on vacation twice a year, and yes I love to go shopping whenever I like). I am working hard and I can spend my money on whatever I like!!! If I want those jeans which might be way too expensive I can still buy them. Yes, if I want to own 50 pairs of shoes I can. And yes, I also love handbags. I do not like to be judged by my shopping habits. I love to shop but I work hard for my money as well. Other people spend money on cars. I like to shop. So what? Nobody’s business. To say it in a Bart Simpson way: EAT YOUR SHORTS!!!