Dave M, a friend of mine, recently wrote a blog post in response to another blogger’s post about his first five jobs. His post inspired me to write one of my own.
The set up is as follows:
There’s currently a meme on Facebook: Your First Five Jobs.
What interests me more, is what lessons did you learn from your first five jobs?
How did each job change you?
Here’s my response:
Lagoon: At 16 I set out looking for a job, and quickly I heard that lagoon was hiring. I went through the interview for the job available, which had something to do with accounting, and I did well enough for them to offer me the job. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be doing that sort of work, but, you take what you can get. On the way out of the office, however, I ran into an old family friend. Turns out, her family was pretty high up in the management of Lagoon. She asked me if I’d rather operate rides, and I said yes. This taught me pretty early on that who you know really does make a difference in your career and in your life.
My biggest take away from working this job losing my so called “homophobia”. I grew up in a fairly traditional family and a large part of my extended family believed that being gay was wrong. As a young impressionable boy, I took what they told me and learned it as truth. Being around and making good friends with people in the LGBT community at lagoon opened my eyes and set me straight (pardon the unintentional pun). Now I’m an advocate for love, acceptance, and pride.
Raging Waters: Oh, to be 17 in-shape and shirtless all day. I spent my summer working a few hours a week for barely minimum wage. I thought I was cool until I had to borrow money from my parents to take my girlfriend to a movie. I learned that being wild and free is fun, but it’s a whole lot better when you can afford your lifestyle. I can proudly say that since 17 I have always been able to pay for both my and my date’s movie ticket.
Spectral Fusion Designs: When I was around the age of 11, I had to have surgery on my knee. The surgery put me off of my feet for close to a month. Boredom took hold and I began to browse the internet on my parent’s computer. After awhile I literally searched “How to make a web site” and that is where my web development experience really began. I learned the basics, and even made a few stick figure animated games.
Coming into college, I thought that by going to a job fair I would end up working at the cafeteria or working for the janitorial staff. But, as luck would have it, there was a booth open for students interested in a career in web development. I pretended I knew a little more than I did, and I rehashed on some things I had learned 7 years prior and miraculously I found myself in an amazing job that I would stay in for the duration of my college years.
I learned that you never know how the small decisions you make will turn out in the end, and that sometimes things that appear to be bad may very well turn out for the good.
Substitute Teacher: Despite working as a web developer while in college, I earned a degree in English Teaching. I had a love for writing and a love for coaching so teaching seemed like the perfect fit. Throughout my days student teaching I found myself more and more at home in the classroom. That was until I began to sub. Being a sub is pretty much the equivalent of being bullied by kids half your size and half your age. I thought I understood how to manage a classroom, and I was entirely wrong. The hardest part about this was that I had to accept that teaching isn’t always romantic. There won’t always be kids with a desire to learn. More often than not, as a sub, you’re just a guy in a classroom that you probably got a B- in back in high school and you’re just trying to play it cool until the bell rings.
Mountain Care Pharmacy: So I hated being a sub. It was awful. So while I had applied to be a teacher with the Salt Lake School District I also began applying for jobs in the Web Development world. Let’s just say it’s a nice time to have an IT skill-set. I had callbacks immediately and eventually I went to work for Mountain Care Pharmacy on the condition that I could have a month off shortly after being hired so that I could travel around SE Asia. Sounds like a wild ask, especially in an interview, but they were entirely on board. I worked for a few months and then I was off on my travels.
When I came back, I had come to the realization that I didn’t really enjoy working there. I didn’t like the strict rules and I really didn’t like the dress code. I had received a call from another place I had interviewed, Clearlink, and they had a job for me if I was willing to take it. So I quit at Mountain Care, after officially being there for 3 months but only working for 2. But the move got me to a better place physically and mentally in my career. Because of that move, I don’t mind going into work on Monday and I’ve been able to start building the lifestyle I want to have. Basically I learned that it is okay to make decisions for yourself and that usually those selfish gut-feelings are actually the right decisions that you should be making.
- Who you know matters.
- Be open to changing your values.
- Life is meant to be fun, but it feels a lot better when you can afford it.
- Substitute teaching is terribly difficult, we should have been nicer to them while growing up.
- Put yourself first always. Quit that job if you need to. Travel the world. Just follow your gut and remain optimistic; things will turn out alright .