Life Lessons Learned at my First Two Jobs

by hedy on March 25, 2010

As my niece and nephews grow older, they’re approaching the age when I got my first couple of jobs, both in discount retail. While in a way the world is totally different (these jobs were the summer of 1999 and 2000. We were paid $200 just for working for three months as a sixteen-year-old new hire in 2000), in another way I learned some lessons there that have carried with me today.

1. No one will look after you like you will. At my first job, we were entitled to a half hour break if we worked six hours. One day my break wasn’t on the whiteboard.  I went about my business, and then went to my boss looking for my break.  She advised me I had missed it.  Now, as an older and wiser twenty-six year old, I know that was illegal.  However, at every “real” job I’d had, my colleagues will be griping about something that makes me want to say “Put on your big girl/boy pants and get on with it!”  Question about your pay, an issue, oe something doesn’t sit right with you?  Spit it out.

2.  You don’t have to like it, but you have to do it. When I started my first job, I was told that I would be trained to be a cashier.  Yet everyday I found myself surrounded by junk from shoe boxes, and dirty Peds.  I chose to suck it up and deal, rather than whine about it.  I ended up leaving before I could be trained on a register, but I still did well at my job.

3.  Always be nice, you never know who you will run into again. I left my first job for reasons related to #1.  However, I did so on good terms.  This is good, because that boss is now employed at a store I shop at all the time.

How about you?  What did you learn at your first job?

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