What was your first job?
I stuck pieces of plastic and metal together at an Evanston, Ill., assembly line. We produced photocopiers for a company called American Photocopy.
I hated the work. It was hot and boring. But it was useful. It taught me to get good grades in school so I might have other choices.
Four years later, good grades got me a job as a researcher at a TV station.
To my surprise, that became a career. I never planned to be a TV reporter. I hadn’t even watched TV news. I never took a journalism course.
But by showing up and trying stuff, I found a career.
I write about this because I’m appalled watching politicians kill off “first” jobs. (They say it’s to protect us.)
First, they raise the minimum wage. Forcing employers to pay $7.25 an hour leaves them reluctant to give unskilled kids a chance — why pay more than a worker can produce? So they offer fewer “first” jobs.
On top of that, the Obama Labor Department has issued a fact sheet that says free internships are only legal if the employer derives “no immediate advantage” from the intern.
Are you kidding me? What’s the point of that? I want interns who are helpful!