Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Passion to the Third Degree .

I never know whether to chuckle or give the kid a hug, but Shannon has a new job for the summer. And it’s most definitely a new perspective, and not just for her.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy


Her original plan was to take college classes this summer while working part-time for me and part-time elsewhere, plus volunteering and getting her college applications off. Things have turned out a bit different from what she expected, with her new employer working her full-time and with a varied schedule. Her classes and homework haven’t even started yet. She is getting a new appreciation now for why I live by the calendar and my mantra to her and her sister, “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist!”

Some of her family members didn’t consider it a “real job” when she worked for me. I’m wondering now if maybe it wasn’t. Not that the work itself wasn’t real (now I’m outsourcing some of her work), but the situation wasn’t the usual working conditions.

Flying By Night novel

Now she has to worry about things like the $4-5 a day in bridge tolls. And gas at $3-plus a gallon. And buying the cheapest lunch/dinner possible to get her through her shift.

She’s less likely to be able to switch schedules to hang out with her friends or go have lunch with her dad or to go to a family party.

She gets to stand on her feet all day and come home with a backache or muscle spasms. She gets to deal with the general public—at its best and worst.

Yes, it brings back memories of some of my jobs in college and right after. It’ll bring back more memories when she sees how much of her paycheck goes to Uncle Sam.

The biggest chuckle for most parents though is when we realize that yes, we still work those long days, too, but come home and worry about feeding the kids, getting laundry done, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, and all those things that are part of every day life. We fit the social life around the rest.

So the first job is just another rite of passage, I suppose, and one that brings back memories for the rest of us of what it’s like to be at the bottom of the food chain.


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