Do You Know What a Dollar is Worth?
Shortly after I turned 15 my first job opportunity materialized. A friend of mine was a dishwasher at a very small local restaurant but needed a sub one night. This was the moment I was waiting for - finally I could free myself from that meager allowance my parents gave me for doing my chores and earn some real money to spend how I saw fit. I agreed to fill in - and couldn't wait to earn my own money.
That evening was the longest night of my life. I can vividly remember the steam from the dishwasher; the cramped quarters; the piles of dishes the servers would bring every few minutes; the staff yelling at me to get them more clean dishes; the sweat pouring down my face as I struggled to get a handle on what seemed like a never-ending supply.
I often remember the fear and despair that I had that the misery would never end. Somehow the pile of dishes eventually got done. I can remember at the end of the evening, in a state of exhaustion standing in front of the restaurant owner eager to get my check. I can remember staring in a state of disbelief at the "$35" scrawled on the check that was handed to me for the 7 hours of sweat and hard labor I had given.
That night was a rude awakening for me. Someone could have paid me $100/hr to be a dishwasher and I would have felt robbed. I realized the value of a dollar that night.
Needless to say I have never worked as a dishwasher again. The next summer I became a lifeguard at a local pool and treated every dollar like one of the "35" I earned as a dishwasher. Maybe this explains why I am such a tightwad.
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