Summer is coming and so are summer jobs — though they’re not as hot as they used to be.

The share of 16- to 19-year-olds working or looking for work during the summer has plunged over the last few decades, from a peak of 72 percent in July 1978 to 43 percent last July, in part because more kids are spending that time in summer school or doing other education-related activities.

But those who grew up in the good ol’ days recall valuable lessons from their first paychecks.

Three Chicago-area CEOs reflected on their first jobs.

Andrew Swinand, CEO, Leo Burnett North America

First job: Paperboy

Where: New Jersey

In his words: “I started working as a paperboy at nine and have had a job ever since. I delivered The Philadelphia Inquirer in New Jersey on my bike. The biggest lesson I learned was the need to show up on time. People expected their papers in the morning and would be calling if they were not on the step. Showing up matters.”

Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty

First job: Stocking shelves at Osco

Where: Darien

In her words: “While earning my first paycheck stocking shelves at an Osco in Darien, I held back my ideas about how products should be arranged in store. I was sure no one would be interested in taking suggestions from a 16-year-old. I reflect back and think … why didn’t anyone ever ask me?

“This experience taught me to always view things through the eyes of the consumer, and respect the feedback from front line associates serving guests.”

Chris Crane, CEO, Exelon Corp.

First job: Paving company

Where: New Hampshire

In his words: “When I was 13, I started working for a paving company in New Hampshire for $5 a day. I chipped concrete off bricks, filled wheelbarrows and pushed them wherever they needed to go. In that job I was able to see direct results — the harder I worked, the more I learned. That work ethic has stayed with me throughout my career.” ___


This article is written by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to