~ What was your first job? ~

Serving Tables? Washing Cars? Camp Counselor? And how old were you? 15? 16? For many Nebraskans, you say first job and they say “Detasseling.” Detasseling is the art of removing the tassel of the corn to ensure almost total quality control in cross pollination of next year’s seed corn supply. The companies leave a row of male corn stalks in tact with their tassels and want all the wind-blow pollen to settle on the nearby female stalks, where the tassels are removed. Kinda like monitored corn sex. Detasseling is a grueling process and lasts about 3-4 weeks during the Summer. Detasselers from the ages of 13-21 are bused out into the corn fields at 5 a.m. and paid by the row. Not only are they working in hot and humid climate (today we had a high of 98 degrees) they have to be covered from head to foot to prevent corn rash and getting cut by the sharp edges of the corn husks. There are perks, one can make up to $1500 for three or four weeks of work and some groups have been detasseling for years together, so the conversation is very amusing as you walk through the corn stalks. I spent a two days out in the fields covering this process and am working on a multimedia piece, because, well, where else can I tell this story. Everyone in the newsroom thinks I’m crazy for spending my days off waking up before dawn to hang out with a bunch of teenagers in the sweltering heat. And you know what I completely agree. But there is some method to my madness, I got some great audio today and when I’m done, hopefully spoiled teenagers won’t complain about how much their feet hurt after working 5 hours at The Gap. (That was me, yup, I was a Gap Girl!)

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~ by kainazamaria on July 16, 2007.

2 Responses to “~ What was your first job? ~”

  1. You know, my first job was at a flyfishing store that sold Patagonia clothing, and I’m pretty sure I spent more than I made. At that age I probably would have been better off doing manual labor. Bravo!

  2. My first job was working at the Centarl Bank of India checking ledgers totalling 50 columns (100-200pages) of debits and credits by memory (there were no adding machines or calculators). I met my husband (your dad), fell in love and we are happily married for 30 Years with two wonderful children! That will tell you how much banking we did! Ha1 HA!

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