My First Job
“What day do you graduate?”
“Sunday June 5th”, I answered.
“OK. You can start Monday, June 6th. Be here at 8:00am.”
Those were Howard Fine’s harsh words to me as he reluctantly hired me. I had sent out over 30 resumes, which in 1983 were sent by mail.
M.H Fine was a clothing company that designed clothes for pregnant woman. The supervisor had graduated from Endicott College, where I graduated from and wanted to give a fellow alumnus an opportunity.
Howard Fine was not thrilled with the idea of meeting or hiring anyone, but agreed to interview me. As I entered his office for the interview I put my hand out to shake his. As he took me hand, his eyes bulged out of his head and he shrieked, “you have the weakest hand shake I have ever encountered” and preceded to practice with him how to properly shake hands for the next ½ hour.
Mr. Fine agreed to hire me for a trial 6-month period, explaining that he was unsure of my capabilities and would let me know if I would continue after my trial.
He paid me $12,575 a year.
I learned a great deal while at M.H Fine and was able to see and do all aspects of design and production of clothing and met so many talented people.
At the end of my 6-month trial I marched into Howard Fine’s office cutting my way through the cigar smoke and asked him how I was doing and asked for more money. He grumbled through his cigar and agreed to keep me on and gave me $50 more a week. I stood up from the chair gave him my best, hard, most assertive hand shake and walked back to my design table with my head held high and spring in my step.
A first job is called a first job for a reason and that is what I now tell me oldest daughter since her graduation from college. I may not have had the best salary or the nicest working conditions but I was able too learn the in’s and out’s of clothing design under the instruction of a well-known and inspirational figure.
To this day I tell the story of my first job, and how it took one wimpy handshake from Mr. Fine to take my under his wing and give me the best first job ever.