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My First Job(s): Karl Gibbons

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“In the U.K., when you become 13, you’re allowed to have a part-time job. When I became 13 [in the U.K.], my parents cut off my allowance, which was the princely sum of one shilling a week [about 10 cents at the time.] 

So, I got a job delivering newspapers. That’s where my entire focus and appreciation of money started, and I instantly became independent.

When the other kids didn’t show up to deliver their newspapers, the newsagents used to ask me to do it, and they would pay more because that’s the only way the papers would get delivered.

I used to deliver the morning papers and evening papers six days a week and the Sunday morning newspapers, which included all the magazines. I did that for a few years, but then we moved to a place called Tamworth, near Birmingham, England.

I got a part-time job after school working at a greengrocer—an independent retailer that sells fruit, vegetables and flowers. During the summer, Sheldon’s [the greengrocer] would employ me full time. I would get up really early and go to market with them at 3 in the morning, and I loved it.

I would have customers who would wait for the weekend to do their shopping with me, because I’d bring their groceries to the car or I’d put everything to one side so they could pick it up when they do the rest of their shopping. I had no idea that was customer service; I had no idea that was marketing. It was just the nicer I was, or the more accommodating I was, the better it became.

Those first two jobs gave me an appreciation for work, discipline, customer service, money and what it could do. Without a shadow of a doubt, it set me on the entrepreneurial path.

I highly recommend to anybody who reads this article: If you have children, please encourage them to get a part-time job as soon as they are able to do so. It will just make them so much more appreciative of what the value of money is and the experience of what it’s like to actually earn money. Their financial education and awareness of money is just as important as history, biology or chemistry.”

—As told to Melanie Pagan | Photography by Craig Hildebrand

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