First paycheck – another rite of passage for a young man

Big day at the Saldivar household. Joaquin got his first paycheck today.

Today was like most days, I picked up Joaquin after school and then we had to dart over to Emma’s school to get her since Liz was going to be late. On the way home we chatted about homework, the coming week’s activities, who would be making dinner, Joaquin stated he finally figured out Geometry while Emmy sang to Adele on the radio.

As we pulled into the driveway, Joaquin mentioned that his friend (who also got hired at Fiesta Texas) had already gotten paid so Joaquin wanted to know how to check his account we had just recently set up. I told him when Mom gets home, we’d figure it out. For now, he was to go bring in the trash cans, get his homework done before he had to go to his Confirmation Class meeting at church tonight.

Joaquin pulled his backpack over his shoulder and lumbered off while I made my way to the mail box. As I scanned the mail,

“Junk…Junk…Bill…Fiesta Texas Check addressed to Joaquin…”

I looked over at my son pulling both cans, one in each outstretched arm behind him, towing them like Conan the Barbarian would two stubborn horses across a river, fighting him all the way…but nonetheless he managed to pull those steeds (cans) to their proper resting place beside the house.

“Look what you got…” I waved the white business envelope in the air to him. He came over with this big toothy smilie and grabbed the paycheck. We all walked in and he opened it.

He smiled so big as I showed him how to read the business check,

“Here are your hours…and here is what they paid you…and here is what the government takes…”


Now I’m smiling as I say, “Welcome to the working class Mijo.”

He was happy just the same. Soon I was bombarded with a slew of questions,

  • “Does this mean the money is in my account?”
  • “Can I spend it?”
  • “When will I get paid again?!”

For those of you that don’t know (proud papa has told this to almost anyone that will listen) my son has gotten his first job at Fiesta Texas. The journey began back in early January when a recruiting team came to his school and gave out flyers  for Summer workers. He applied online with his Mom hovering over him and then she took him to his interview.

Prior to his interview, we armed him with what all loving parents could offer…knowledge to build his confidence…

  • Wear nice clothes…
  • Don’t take your iPod or phone…
  • Stand up straight…
  • Do you know your Social Security number?
  • Look them in the eye…
  • Take something to write with…
  • Iron your clothes…
  • No t-shirts…
  • Get there early…

You get it.

Right before they left for his interview, I told him that he needed to prepare for a very important question that will come in the interview.

“Why should we hire you?”

I didn’t give him the answer, I let him think about it while his Mom drove him. After an hour, he came out to greet his Mom with a “Puro Diente” smile.

“They hired me!”

On the drive home they called to let me know. He said they gave him a couple of math tests, even one with money and he passed.

So proud…

Especially when Liz shared with me a story about his interview, “the question” and his response. It went something like this…

“So…why should we hire you?”
A quick pause from Joaquin as he gathered his thoughts and he then recalled his Scout training…

“Because, I’m Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean (sort of) and Reverent!”

He said he didn’t get past “kind” because they stopped him. Hell, I should just say that at my next interview! Good ‘ol Scout Training kicked in…Always be Prepared.

He’ll be working in Retail and his duties will be outlined later but at least they paid him for the time he was in training.

I find myself constantly telling this 16 year old young man,

“You are closer to being an adult than a child. What you do affects more than just you.”

And so it does me. *sniff*

My boy is growing up. Just never gonna get used to that.


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