‘The president brought you a rose on your birthday’: 1st Jobs, Starring Nicole & Parents

The Billfold is proud to present an ongoing feature about First Jobs, primarily focused on what they paid then and for comparison’s sake what they pay now, but also everything about them from the hilarious to the terrible. Today’s subject: our very own Nicole Dieker and her parents.

Nicole Dieker: I did all kinds of babysitting, church organist-ing, and retail working jobs in high school and college, but my first “real” job as an adult was working as a telemarketer. I’ve told this story on The Billfold before. When I got the job in 2004, it paid $9 an hour plus commission, which averaged out to about $11 an hour. I suspect it pays much the same today. (Editor’s note: The average median income of a telemarketer in 2014 is $34,000/year, or just over $16/hour.)

Joe Dieker: In 1980 my dad was hired as an instructor of music at a small college in Portland, Oregon. He worked 3/4 time and earned $11,500 a year.

Mary Dieker: Year was summer of 1978. First real job after college was actuarial department secretary at an insurance company in their home office. I think I got $550 or maybe $580 (Editor’s note: that’s $2000 in 2014). Within the first year I was up to $650. My boss liked my work. The person before had not done very well. This was one of my favorite jobs. I like working with numbers. We were renting a one-bedroom duplex for $135 a month. Modest living but we made it work.

In 1978 we had flex time, got free checking if we had automatic deposit with a certain bank, and I think we got help paying for our bus pass and script we could use in the cafeteria in the building. As I was leaving they were having to re-think all of that because the government wanted them to start adding that to income. Everyone was on a first name basis and the president brought you a rose on your birthday.

I think a year or two after I quit to stay home with you they started a daycare. I worked there 78–79. Left for a year to go to Eugene and then came back for another year.

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