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With summer jobs on the horizon, professionals recall the first jobs that launched their careers. Read more, then write your own #CareerLaunch post.

In the summer of 1971, I was babysitting for Mrs. Hackleberry for 50 cents an hour.

I entered the Miss Fire Prevention contest sponsored by my local radio station WVOL in Nashville. Everyone, especially me, was shocked when I won.  When I went back to the radio station to claim my prize, a Longines watch and a “digital” clock radio, the local DJ saw me looking around in awe.

“Have you ever heard your voice on tape?” he asked. “Think you could read this?”

He tore some wire copy, adjusted the mic, and rolled tape as I began to speak. I hadn’t finished three sentences before he called for another guy, then another, to “come listen to this kid read.”

I left the station that day with the biggest prize of all — my first job in broadcasting. I was 17 years old.