I started working the summer after my 10th grade year. I was 15 years old. I didn’t really want to work, but my parents insisted I get a job. My mom found out about a contractor that maintained the grounds of the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, VA and got me an interview. They weren’t picky. I was hired.
The job itself was less than ideal. Days started early in the morning (6am). Summers in coastal Virginia are hot and humid. Some days they’d drop me in the middle of nowhere, fill my weedeater up with gas and tell me someone would be by with fuel and water in an hour. I started at around $8/hr which was way more than most 15 year olds were making around my age. That alone made the job worth it. All I was interested at the time was having enough money to buy comics, eat out with friends and other trivial stuff.
Some interesting things I learned while on the job:
- Being held at gunpoint by trigger-happy Marines is never an ideal situation.
- Some types of bees burrow in the ground. Running over them with landscaping equipment of any kind pisses them off. They will attack anything that moves. They latch onto clothing and get very, very aggressive.
- I once saw a guy strip down out of his clothes, which were covered in bees, and run 2 miles to get away from the remaining bees trying to get him.
- Gasoline + hornets nests + fire = awesome. Flying, burning hornets are not awesome.
- Japanese Hornets pack a punch. I was stung by them on two separate occasions. One hit me in the temple, the other got me in the ear. Both times, my face swelled up substantially due to the stings.
- Some veterans have really bizarre and/or disturbing stories that you can’t unhear.
- Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon can be found in the most random places.
- Dead fish, snakes, etc. are easily hidden in supervisor vehicles. Because they’re in their vehicles often, they usually won’t detect the odor for weeks…
All in all, I enjoyed the job. I worked there each summer through the end of high school. I was exposed to a lot of different people. Saw and did a lot of interesting stuff. I do it again if I had to.