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Sonoma County readers share their best and worst summer jobs as teens

When I was a teen, I got a summer job selling coupon booklets at $300 apiece. I was paid around $4 an hour to sell these books, and received a commission for each one I sold. Thing is, I wasn't a very good salesperson. Not only did I think these booklets were way overpriced, but I felt bad for anyone who was dumb enough to purchase them. I managed to sell a few, but probably received more solicitations from lonely guys than any kind of commission. Needless to say, that job was short-lived. Read more summer job experiences in the gallery above. Do you have your own story to share? Leave it in the comments.

Many of our first work experiences are those summer jobs we held as teenagers. These are the jobs that helped us learn how to earn our own money, teach us about responsibility and shape the kind of work we're willing to do (or will never do again).

We asked readers to share their best and worst summer jobs as teenagers, and received a lot of feedback. One reader, Mick Doyle of Cloverdale, shared this about his summer job experience:

“My mother was a firm believer in keeping me busy during the summer months. In the early 1960s I was in Boy Scouts and we would raise money by selling Christmas cards door to door. The first Christmas after I left the scouts, my mom got me a job selling Christmas cards door-to-door on my own behalf to earn money for college (I was 14). When Christmas was out of season, she found an outfit that hired teens for door-to-door sales of packaged frosting. Yes, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and butterscotch (hated that flavor).

“Then it was picking and cutting apricots back when Silicon Valley still had orchards. A box of picked fruit brought me 18 cents, a tray the size of a piece of sheet rock filled with cut ‘cots was a whole 50 cents. I usually earned about $2 a day. Did this for three summers at four different orchards. Then it was up at 5 a.m. to sit in the back of an open pickup truck for the ride from Cupertino to Watsonville to pick apples. Most mornings it was very foggy and cold. I was one of only a few migrant farm workers of Northern European ancestry in Santa Clara Valley in the mid 1960s. After I tired of this, my mom found me work as a busboy in a coffee shop. Shift was 6 a.m. - 2 p.m., still had to get up early and lasted about two weeks. Then it was as a part time janitor at my church. Didn't have to get up early and I used to sneak cigarettes from the desk of the priest. Stealing from a priest. What was I thinking?

“When I was 17, I took matters into my own hands and got a job that I wanted. Full time during summer and part time during school. The golden arches was second home. All the hours I could handle at $1.35 each. I was at last independently wealthy.”

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