GUEST COMMENTARY: My first job was at a meat market
May 6, 2018 The First Job series is an initiative of the Youth Employment Council of the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board. Many variables have made it more difficult than ever for a young person to capture a first job and the NW ...   Read More »
The First Job series is an initiative of the Youth Employment Council of the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board. Many variables have made it more difficult than ever for a young person to capture a first job and the NWIWB believes employers can have an impact on our future workforce by hiring a young person.
Speros Batistatos is president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. Batistatos tells us he is “the Greek kid who went to the Holiday Star Theatre parking cars, and 10 years later I found myself as executive director of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.”
What was your first job for pay?
I worked at Buncich Brothers meat market in Hobart. I was 16 and had just received my work permit. The year was 1979 and I earned $3.35 an hour.
What did you do?
I cleaned the band saws that the butchers used to cut meat. At the end of the day, the blades would become clogged with a pink paste. My job was to clean it out, spray the blades, and make sure the equipment met health codes and was safe and clean to cut more meat.
Do you remember your boss?
I sure do. It was a family business and I had two bosses, brothers Ron and Vince Buncich. They were great to work for as they taught me all that you needed to know in your very first job: the value of money; respecting your employer; showing up for work on time; following direction; understanding what needed to be done and understanding where you fit in the business.
What hours did you work?
I worked a couple of hours a day during the school year, a few hours on the weekend and four or five hours a day during the summer.
What did you do with your money?
In my family, it was understood that if I wanted a car, my mom would pay for it, but my responsibility was to put gas in the tank, pay for upkeep and maintenance, as well as the insurance policy.
What did you drive?
My very first car was a 1972 Cadillac de Ville. It had been my dad’s car. He passed away but my mother kept it and gave me the keys once I got my driver’s license.
You could see me coming a mile away. It was chiffon yellow with an olive green landau top.
What other jobs did you have as a teenager?
It was my second job that served as my entry point into the tourism and hospitality industry. I drove that chiffon colored Cadillac to the Holiday Star Theatre where I was hired to park cars. To me, it was THE place to work in Northwest Indiana.
I was quickly promoted to be an usher. I got to wear black pants, white shirt, black vest and red bowtie. I was still making $3.35 an hour but I was doing what I wanted to do. There was one other benefit: Working inside the theater was a heckuva lot better than standing outside parking cars in the rain, snow or hot sun. I also picked up extra hours cutting and edging the lawn and spreading mulch.
What was your career plan?
I worked at the Holiday Star Theatre through high school and summers during college. I loved the place and my goal was to work there as a manager following graduation from college. There was no better way to express that desire by saying yes to every job offered me.
Did your dream come true?
As I was preparing to return to IU Bloomington before the start of my senior year, my boss told me that upon graduation, I had a manager’s job waiting for me. I was happy as a clam!
What advice do you have for young people seeking their first job?
My advice is: “Do the job that your boss asks you to do. Put in the extra hours. Show others the commitment you are willing to make.” I tell young people that you owe your boss the best job you can do. In the end, that hard work will be their gateway to better opportunities.
View article in The Northwest Indiana Times.
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