What was your first job?

December 27, 2022
Posted in Questions
December 27, 2022 Terkel

What was your first job?

From setting up broadband internet to working in a cafe, here are the 11 answers to the question, “What was your first job?”

  • Setting Up Broadband Internet
  • Performing Magic
  • Making Deli Sandwiches
  • Working at a Local Grocery Store
  • Building a College Website
  • Writing Social media Posts
  • Washing Cars
  • Helping at a Donut Shop
  • Managing a Family DMV Business
  • Interning at The Feminist Press
  • Serving Customers in a Cafe
  • Busboy in a restaurant

Setting Up Broadband Internet

I started my career back in 1999 with the local cable company setting up computers to work with the local broadband. At that point in time, most desktop computers didn’t come with an ethernet connection.

I followed the cable technician around, and he would set up the company while I configured the PC side, installing a network card, getting the computer online, and setting up email.

I was going to school to become a network administrator; this was an excellent entry-level job. Every day was a little different, and we worked on all different systems. I learned how to build my customer service skills and half of my job was how to educate the customer on how to work their new internet service. It wasn’t the most exciting job I have had in the IT field, but I learned some important skills that I still use to this day.

Evan McCarthy, President & CEO, SportingSmiles

Performing Magic

My first job out of college was definitely unglamorous—I worked in a small, smelly insurance office! But it wasn’t my only job; when I had free time, I performed as a magician for companies’ events and private parties.

It was really fun—seeing smiles on people’s faces after performing a trick that left them bewildered never got old. Ironically, a few months later, the same insurance office asked me to be part of their team event and perform as a magician again! So at least it was an enjoyable assignment.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

Performing Magic

Making Deli Sandwiches

Something as easy as working in a deli making sandwiches can be the foundation of an illustrious career. You learn how to respond to the customer.

Delivery of a quality product on time is key. Demonstrating flexibility to “off menu” customizations. Beyond that, it’s showing up on time, prepared to do the shift that will serve you well as you pursue your career. And later in life—you can still make an amazing sandwich at home.

Michelle Tinsley, COO & Co-Founder, YellowBird Holdings Inc

Working at a Local Grocery Store

My first job was working at a local grocery store. Despite having no previous work experience, I quickly learned the tasks at hand and was an efficient asset to the team. It was an excellent learning opportunity, as it taught me vital skills such as customer service, how to take direction and responsibility, along with learning about what hard work truly means. I became more confident and organized with my time-management abilities, having gained valuable insight into the world of business.

Jim Campbell, CEO, Campbell Online Media

Building a College Website

My first job was self-initiated, paid nothing, and had no boss!

When I learned about the internet in the mid-1990s, I was fascinated and intrigued at the same time. The fact that none of it was in the school or college curriculum further increased my curiosity, so I went into the rabbit hole to explore.

In this journey, I discovered the capabilities of HTML and designing public websites. At that time, I could not fathom the mega-size influence the online world will exert on the real world. I saw an exciting learning opportunity and learned HTML by building a website for my college. This is the story of my job, which was not really a job.

Rajiv Renganathan, IT Director, Supply Chain Digital, Schneider Electric

Writing Social Media Posts

The fact about my first job is that it got me where I am now. I started working as a content writer for social media-related posts for some companies back in October 2013.

I was tasked with writing four posts, 500 words each. It was a stressful experience full of self-doubt and obstacles. But once I completed my task and earned my first money in content writing, I knew that was what I wanted to do.

A first job is always remembered, and the first buck from it is also quite memorable. My first job gave me a bit more than that—it got me a career that I love and enjoy to this day, which is the most an entrepreneur can hope for.

Dejan Kvrgic, Founder, ProContent Services

Washing Cars

My first job was washing cars for $3.50 / hour plus tips. For a few reasons, I enjoyed my job. 1.) I got to work outside in the sunshine 2.) I worked with a lot of similarly aged peers and 3.) The act of turning something messy into something clean was inherently calming and fulfilling. After working at the car wash for a year, I learned an interesting fact: We charged $120 for a full car detail and it only cost the company $1.00 in chemicals to treat the car. I realized I was the losing party in that exchange and set off to start a mobile car detailing business soon after and the entrepreneurial journey continues today.

Brett Ungashick, CEO & CHRO, OutSail

Washing Cars

Helping at a Donut Shop

My first job was at the front counter at First Stop Donut Shop. My neighbors owned the shop and at 14, my mom woke up early to drive me there. I added filling to the donuts, served customers, and got to eat as many donuts as I wanted!It was a great weekend job and one that taught me the importance of the customer experience, and being able to multitask (sell coffee at the drive-thru, ring up in-store customers, and clean donut trays).

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Managing a Family DMV Business

I got my first job when I was 16 years old, managing my aunt and uncle’s DMV business in San Diego, CA. While they were out picking up deals, I would assist walk-in clients and get their registrations up to date.

I would also make cold calls to the local car dealerships to offer them our service and if these dealerships needed something done urgently, I would relay the message. I learned management skills and many of my foundational customer service skills that later played a big part in my future roles.

Kristina Ramos, Reverse Recruiter, Find My Profession

Interning at The Feminist Press

My first job barely paid for my transportation and lunch, but it gave me the credentials that helped me land my first actual job. I was an intern for The Feminist Press during college in a work/study program at SUNY/Old Westbury. And at night I waitressed at a nearby pub called The Salty Dog, which helped with my tuition.

When I graduated from college, the internship helped me talk my way into my first editorial assistant job at Cambridge Book Company, which eventually led to a job at Random House.

Joan Daidone, Creative Director & Brand Voice, Brand Storyteller NYC

Serving Customers in a Cafe

I worked in a cafe serving customers food and drink from the age of 19 to 25! It was an exhausting job as I was on my feet all day and never had a chance to really rest.

Ultimately, I realized I wanted to build more of a career for myself, which is why I got into marketing. I got out of the job as a server and am now far happier (and more passionate!) about what I’m doing. I don’t regret my previous job—I think it’s important to learn as much as you can from these experiences!

Sarah Parks, Marketing Manager, Moments Fostering

Busboy in a restaurant

My very first job was at 16. I was a busboy in a restaurant. At age 16 I decided to travel on my own. I had enough money just for the round trip plane ticket from Cairo to Paris. At the time it was less than $100 bucks to get a roundtrip from Paris to Cairo. That was literally all the money I had.

As soon as I landed at the airport in Paris I started asking people if they would give me a job. Finally, a restaurant took me in. I fell in love with hospitality. The job taught me that my true passion is providing quality service.

At the MGM Grand for example, we have 9,200 employees. One of the greatest accomplishments a leader can have is to be able to influence a group of people to go towards a commitment of quality and financial performance.

If you’re able to share a vision and see that people are pursuing that vision, I think that is the highest of your accomplishments.

Gamal Aziz, former CEO, MGM Grand (abbreviated from previous interview conducted in 2007)

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