My very first job was baby sitting or "kid chasing". I was 12 and the kid was a niece of a lady my mother knew from the Danville Methodist Church. I do not remember her name, the kid that is: the lady will remain anonymous to protect her memory. I was in charge of this 8 year old girl from 8 until 4 , Monday - Friday for four weeks. The first few days went ok but after that the hours seemed like days. I was very tired of running after this ball of energy. I wanted her to read or watch T.V. , she wanted to walk all over town or play hide and seek. The aunt was a nice enough lady and expected me to fix lunch and clean the kitchen along with entertaining this kid. I won't go into all the games, how terrible this kid acted etc. The point I want to make is about the lesson learned the hard way. My excitement about this job was all about when the aunt would hand over my money. The deal was I would be paid the day the aunt got her check the first day of August. I was excited about the cute outfits and shoes seen in the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. I had marked the pages and filled out the order form to have ready to mail. I was going to buy my own school clothes! The last day to baby sit passed . August 1 came and I expected the aunt to come by our house on her way home from work. She did not stop by or call. The next day the same thing. One the third day I went to my mother in tears asking her advice about how to ask for my pay. My mom told me the lady was probably busy and just forgot about it. We talked it over and it was decided for me to walk over to her house and remind her. I was very nervous that hot afternoon. I knocked on the door and waited . I could hear the T.V, I knocked again and nobody came to the door. I walked home with my feet dragging. The next day my mother called the lady and asked if she was well. The answer was everything was fine. She must have not heard me at the door and encouraged mother to send me over. I ran almost the entire 5 blocks. I arrived and knocked , the door opened and an envelope was handed to me. I told her thanks. She told me thanks and I left. When I was about two blocks away I ripped open the envelope to count the cash. $9.00 was it. One five dollar bill and four ones, I recounted, that was it! I started crying and ran home. I got home and showed my mother and she said I should call her. Mother thought perhaps the mistake was because she thought the ones were tens and ten a twenty. I pleaded with mom to call her and she wouldn't. So I made the call with my throat s!o tight my voice was almost breaking. When asking the lady about the pay she made it very clear $9 was it. She even had the nerve to ask me to watch the kid the next summer.
That night when daddy came home he heard me crying. He knocked on my door and asked to come in.
He told me the pay was not fair at all. He understood my disappointment and tears. He then asked me what was the original agreement? Did I tell the lady what I charged per hour or day to watch children. I had not made a deal at all. I learned a big lesson that day. Always make it clear what you expect to be paid whenever you work. Make sure all involved are in agreement and get the information in writing.