Gofer This & That This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “But I don’t want to work every day this summer,” I protested

“You won’t, you don’t have to work Saturdays and Sundays. Besides, how are you going to make money if you don’t work?” That was the argument my mom always used when I didn’t want to work.

Three years ago, when school got out, I was ready to have a fun summer doing nothing but watching TV and playing video games, and for a week I had the time of my life. I didn’t know my mom and my uncle were plotting to ruin my life but one day out of the blue Mom announced that I was going to help my uncle at his job as an air conditioner and furnace repairman. I was furious that they had made the decision for me and didn’t want to do it.

Well, on Monday I got up at 7 a.m. and waited for my uncle to pick me up, not knowing what to expect. When I got into his black pick-up, he explained I would be his “gofer,” which meant I would go for his tools and go for the parts we needed. I could tell that that wouldn’t be the first bad joke he would tell me, but it made me feel a little better to think that the job might be some fun.

When I got to my first assignment at a dog-grooming business, the air smelled like dog poo and dirty animals. I had to carry in everything we needed from the truck, then help my uncle with the duct work and PVC piping. Then, Uncle Chris grabbed a plasma cutter so that we could cut through the spiral duct. Chris did the first few cuts and told me not to look because it might blind me. Then on his fifth cut, he called me over and asked if I wanted to try cutting through steel with the plasma cutter. I was thrilled because the whole time I’d been watching, I wanted to try it.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and I had boring jobs like sweeping up and putting everything back in the truck. When he took me home, he said he’d start paying me five dollars an hour and if I kept up the good work, I would get more. I was pretty excited since I was only 13 and actually had a real job. I had earned the equivalent of many week’s allowance in one day, which was pretty cool.

So now every day after school and all summer, I go down to my uncle’s shop and help. Now I earn seven dollars an hour, which is more than most kids my age.

I’ve learned to take every part of my job seriously; I don’t cut corners so I can leave sooner. I take pride in my work. Part of that is doing whatever I can to make people happy. If I am disrespectful, they will tell their friends, “That Cole is a real slacker” or, “You’re going to hire that guy? Have you heard about him?” If I am not nice, they could stop me from getting a higher-paying job or an important position at a company. So even though I don’t plan on doing this forever, this job has taught me a lot of lessons for life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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