Three high-flyers share memories of their teenage gigs

John Grant, Australian Rugby League Commission chairman

John Grant, Australian Rugby League Commission chairman

For John Grant's holiday job at the Yeronga pool in Brisbane in 1965, he had to be on his bike early for a 4.30am start. "I had to have the vacuum in the water by first light," Grant says. During summer, he rose through the ranks of general hand to canteen assistant and eventually scored the coveted role of pool supervisor. The daily wage of $5 - "a lot of money in those days" - remained the same and was mostly reinvested in the canteen, Grant says.

Steve Baxter, Pipe Networks founder and BRW Rich Lister

Steve Baxter signed on as a boy soldier at 15. Before his service career, his string of part-time jobs included mowing and cleaning the facilities at a tennis centre with his older brother. "We were paid $15 each per week for four days before school, so I guess that is $2.50 an hour," Baxter says. The result of all that industry? "We bought an Atari 2600 and a ping-pong table."

Kym Quick, chief executive officer of listed recruitment firm Clarius Group

Kym Quick is an authority on getting jobs. Her own first gig, at 14 in a shoe factory managed by her father, was less than glamorous. "I worked during school holidays doing all sorts of tasks from working on the production line to packing cartons in the warehouse," Quick says. "We had to start work at 7am and often stayed there until 6pm waiting for dad to take us home. It made school look like a walk in the park!" One of the few perks was first pick in the adjoining seconds shop, where Quick says the bulk of her meagre pay packet was spent.

Related Articles