What did you learn from your first job?

There are two great articles in the FT regarding enduring lessons learnt from six entrepreneurs’ and a journalist’s first jobs. Julie Rusciolelli has also talked before talked about the lessons she learnt from working in McDonald’s as a teenager.

My first job at 15 (I lied about my age!) was going door to door trying to persuade people they needed a free inspection of their outside walls. I guess that this was technically “lead generation” for the real sales people who would shake these unsuspecting home owners for some sort of god awful cladding. I’m happy I was awful at it and left after three days.

However, I did learn persistence when cold calling and the importance of making a good first impression.

Working in a bar taught me the value of customer service (with a smile, naturally); while working in a stereo store taught me that you need to know and love your product in order to properly sell it. Working at both simultaneously (9am – 11:30pm) also taught me a real work ethic which has served me well throughout my career.

What did your first job teach you?

UPDATE – love all the comments below but the real discussion and value being added to this post is over on the Brazen Careerist site where this was a featured post. Please check it out. If you’re a Brazen Careerist reader, why not become an Ed Lee fan?


3 Responses to What did you learn from your first job?

  1. Mary-Margaret says:

    My first job (outside of being a paper girl for the Algoma News when I was nine) was at the public library in Sault Ste. Marie. I shelved books, checked books in and out and worked in the reference area. It was quite cool.

    I learned a lot about customer service and have committed the Dewey Decimal System to heart. I also learned that you shouldn’t work with your family.

  2. I learned that you often don’t have control of situations and you just have to let it go.

    My first job was at Gap Kids when I was 16. I once saw someone shoplifting about $200 worth of merchandise. I alerted my manager, but the policy on apprehending shoplifting suspects is that the manager on duty has to see someone 1. Take the merchandise 2. Conceal it 3. Attempt to leave the store. Employees seeing those steps happen don’t count. Because she didn’t see the the first step, she couldn’t do anything.

    I also learned that America is an incredible litigious and fearful society. And that’s why I live in the UK now 🙂

  3. […] 2009-11-22T00:33:54  What did you learn from your first job? « Blogging Me Blogging You [link to post] […]

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