Kids, Work

Workin’ man blues

It’s a big job gettin’ by with nine kids and a wife
But I’ve been workin’ man, dang near all my life, but I’ll keep workin’
Long as my two hands are fit to use
I’ll drink my beer in a tavern
Sing a little bit of these working man blues….”

-Merle Haggard, 1969

We have a workin’ man!!

Yes, Ethan has now officially completed 8 hours of paid work, with a W-4 on file and everything.

I received a couple texts from him throughout the day yesterday, checking in. The first one said it was “good”. Hm, okay. Good sounds…good, I guess!

Later in the afternoon, they were being transported from one field to another (in a van), and he sent me a funny selfie with his buddy who is also working there. The follow-up text said, “This is torture.”

I wrote back, “????”

And he basically replied,” Nah, just kidding. It’s just hot and boring.”

Apparently his main task involves walking through the corn field (the “recruiter” told me on the phone they often walk over 10 miles a day!), identifying rogue corn that won’t grow correctly and then using some metal stick to snag it and remove it.

(That does sound really boring. 😬)

HOWEVER….at 13 years old, his employment options are slim to nonexistent, besides this one.

He has 2 best friends working at the farm too, which I am quite certain factored into him wanting to do this. That and the idea of actually earning money!! He came home saying, “I can’t believe I earned like, $90 today.” (*base pay, before any taxes etc. I think they are paying them $11/hour!! This seems like so much, for kids! I made $5.15/hr at McDonald’s back in the day…)

I was also happy to hear him say last night, “I think I’ll put just like 20% of my earnings into my debit card account (the one he spends from) and the rest in my big savings in the bank.” LOVE this idea, Ethan. Yes.

The schedule is Monday- Friday 8-4:30, but it won’t last the whole summer. In fact, it sounds like it could be as short as just a few weeks, or, if he is selected to stay on, some employees will continue on in the Nursery until early August. (Not guaranteed though- they need less people for that part.)

I figure even if he only works 2-3 weeks, he will still make some good money and gain some valuable “life experience”.

He’ll be off for camp next week, anyway. (We had marked him as unavailable.) So it actually worked out nicely to just work Thursday- Friday, and then have a week off!! That’s my kind of schedule. ha. Ease into it.

After work, I picked him and his friend up and bought them ice cream.

Ethan did a moderate amount of light-hearted complaining about the job, saying again that it was hot, boring and that he will definitely be working in air-conditioning at a “real job” someday as an adult. I pointed out that this is great to keep in mind, when he complains about school. 😉 I also pointed out that for many adults around the world, this type of farm job IS THEIR REAL JOB. So, how about we pause and just think about and appreciate that for a second.

He kind of shuddered at the thought of doing this for a lifetime, and basically said no way. (Like I said, it’s a good life experience!)

Anyway, so far, so good. His lunch is packed again for day #2!

Thought of the Day:

Stay close to people who feel like sunshine. 😊

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful that Ethan is planning to go back for day 2. (Honestly, it did cross my mind that he might come home and say, Nope. Not doing that.)

8 thoughts on “Workin’ man blues”

  1. What a great life experience! I did something similar around his age or maybe a bit older? But we were walking bean fields and had to chop down corn stalks w/ a machete. The pay was NOT $11/hour. I can’t remember what we got paid and I think we only did it for 2 weeks? It was a HARD job – lots of bending over! Definitely makes you appreciate the workers who are picking strawberries and doing other back-breaking work.

    I wasn’t able to get a “real” job until I was in college since I lived in a tiny town. I would have loved to have been able to work at McDonalds or something like that. Instead I worked for my parents in the summer at their business or mowing lawn for them. They did pay me for that chore since it was time consuming. Then from 10th-12th grade I taught piano lessons and charged 5/lesson, I think? Maybe 10? I had 10 students so it wasn’t a ton of money, but it was something.

    Love that he wants to save so much of what he is making! That is a good trait to have! Phil and I are both savers, but Phil is especially a saver. His mom spoke at our wedding and talked about they took the boys to a gift shop on a trip and said they could pick something out – Phil picked out a book about the history of money!! So he had an interest in money and was frugal from a young age. I hope our boys have that trait as well.


  2. I love the idea of kids doing boring jobs hahahah… seriously… not everything in life is exciting and fun, most of the jobs are repetitive and boring at the time. it’s better they get that early on. it helps to put things in perspective. I’ll definitely start them working during summer breaks when opportunities come.


  3. $11/hr at 13? Damn, that’s a pretty good wage… some people don’t earn this working full time. And he probably doesn’t even pay taxes on it, or does he?


    1. I think he does?? I actually tried googling that because I am not sure how it works for minors… We had to submit a W-4 and mark him as “single”, of course…I think they will withhold something. But anyway, yeah- it’s a good wage for a kid!!!


  4. Unrelated to this post but we got back from our trip around New England and used SO many of your recommendations! My kids LOVVVVED Lost River Gorge especially. I posted a ton about it on IG if you’re on there – erinkkr 🙂


  5. Oh, my parents were SO into this type of job for us – long hours, challenging conditions, repetitive (or, um, boring), etc. My brother worked at a local plant one summer. He painted a bathroom for 2 weeks straight. He hated it with a passion. I worked in a nursing home as an aide – and actually liked it! – but also chafed at what I wasn’t able to do as a nurse. So, all of that to say – I hope this helps Ethan realize things he likes and things he doesn’t like about this particular job. I can see independence (maybe? Are they supervised very closely/watched over?) being something that I would like about this. Not to mention the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. 🙂


    1. I think it has been a good experience! The season is already mostly over, so it wasn’t even that many days/weeks of it. So it was kind of perfect- short lived but still got to experience boring work. 🙂 He is 14 now, so he is thinking he will be able to apply for a Maybe slightly more enjoyable job going forward, possibly very part-time during the school year or else for sure next summer!


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