I’ve had eight jobs, and my favorite was a paper route, when I was 12. I delivered newspapers for the Daily Californian, from the late summer of 1997 through the late summer of 1999.
After school, I rode my bike a few miles around central streets of El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, CA. The freedom and independence, combined with self-organized effort, gave me experience that I’ve benefited from ever since.
I mapped out my route from memory. The best way to remember a house was from how it looked, because few houses looked alike back then. For apartments, it was the apartment number, or the subscriber’s front / back patio.
I had the trust of my employer and subscribers that I would deliver the newspaper, and not an overbearing boss or camera spying over my shoulder. Sometimes I would miss delivering a newspaper, but it was rare.
I earned roughly $60 every two weeks, which was great for a 12 yr old. It was a direct reflection of my output and efforts, instead of a market-based average hourly and salary employees are paid today.
When I needed a break, I could simply stop and take it. I didn’t need many, and I did attach a bottle filled with water to my bike. Knowing that I wouldn’t be timed, or allotted a number of breaks, was a great freedom to enjoy.
I had to be organized: my boss, who delivered the papers in a stack each day to my door, didn’t tell me how to do everything. When I had a new subscriber, or one cancelled their subscription, I wrote it down on paper, and kept it with me until I memorized it.
I had to roll the newspapers myself, and tied plastic bags on them when it rained. Delivering newspapers in the rain was a lot of fun – especially during a thunderstorm!
The skills, the lessons, and the experience, of working independently was very enjoyable and rewarding. I suggest it to anyone who wishes to break their minds and potential from the chains of traditional employment.