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Minimum Age Jobs

An Extraordinary Time photo: Minimum Age Jobs © Karen Ducey

Minimum Age Jobs.   Fremont.    June 18, 2005


At the turn of the 20th century, 2 million children in the United States worked in factories, mines, farms and on the streets, according to the book Working Children” by Carol Saller.  They could be seen making fabric, selling newspapers, shining shoes, picking cotton or canning fish, to name just a few jobs.

Today, child labor laws mandate that you must typically be at least 14 years old to do a maximum of three hours of light work a day. Ironically, if you’re younger than that and you want to make some money, you must start your own business.  This often involves tackling such tasks as baby-sitting, mowing lawns, organizing a car wash, selling lemonade from a stand, or walking dogs.

Then again, you could pursue your dreams.  Just ask 13-year-olds James Squires and Joe Samsel of Seattle.


James:  Maybe 4 or 5 weeks ago it was Sunday …..  and we were like hey! We have buckets everywhere, Let’s go play some.  And it started out kind of slow, but once we got the bass pedal into it, it was really nice, and the people all around were really good to us and stuff. And then it kind of escalated from there. And now we’re playing here (at the Fremont Fair)  and its really fun.  And the kind of music we play, its kind of like Stomp.

Joe:  At first we were really nervous.

James: He was.

Joe:  I was like flipped out and I was like man! ‘Cuz James is a way better drummer than me.

James:  We play at the Sunday Fremont market from about 1:30 to 3.  We don’t really have an exact time – we get there when we get there.  But it’s really fun.

James:  The money!  Good.

Joe: Very good

James:  It’s a lot of money.  We really don’t have anything to spend it on except for candy. We go to like the 76 up the street and just, like, buy food. That’s all we do.  Or the bus…. We made  $50 in 20 minutes, a couple weeks ago.  ….  (Today) that looks like about $20. We’ve only been playing for about 20 minutes.

James:  We’re called Rain because when we first started, it was pouring down rain on us.

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