Summer Jobs Series: Building fences and developing a thicker skin on a job site

National Post | News

In this summer series, the National Post reporters and photographers bring us tales of that annual Canadian rite of passage for young people taking their first dip in the labour pool: This week, reader Jason Smith of Toronto shares his story:

It was the summer of 1987. My friend Kevin and I landed summer jobs with a local fencing company. Although neither of us had ever swung a hammer before, we thought working outside would give us a great tan and put some muscle on our wiry frames.

It was a family business, owned by three brothers who we briefly met, and they hired us, a couple of 17-year-olds, on the spot. Our first day, we were assigned to work with two of their long-time employees, whom we dubbed It & Twit behind their backs. It & Twit were not the most sophisticated fellas, and personal hygiene was definitely not…

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