Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Seven Jobs

I'm late to this party, which is the usual for Twitter trends. I rarely watch what's happening on my feed. But I did hear about a #FirstSevenJobs trend on Twitter not long ago, where people talked about the first jobs they held. It seemed like an interesting topic to explore in a bit more than 140 characters.
Here's my list, as best I can remember.
  1. Strawberry picking
  2. Newspaper delivery
  3. Pizza at Little Caesars
  4. Espresso cart
  5. Computing center help desk
  6. Construction
  7. IT consultant
Two of those barely count, since I lasted only a day or two as a strawberry picker, and only a few days at the construction site. I was terrible at the former, and miserable in the Louisiana summer weather at the latter.

The newspaper delivery was only partially my job, since the rest of my family was just as much part of the job as I was. The delivery route wasn't what you see in the movies, with a kid on his bike delivering a few dozen papers before school. You needed a car to cover many miles of neighborhoods, handling around 300 papers each morning. Not my favorite employment memory, but it did teach me some discipline, getting up before the sun every morning. I also learned that a manual transmission is a terrible idea when your car is making 300 stops a day.

Working at Little Caesars and the espresso business were good opportunities for a high school student, plus the year I took off before going to college. The food service industry didn't lose much when I left, though. I was pretty good at doing the routine work, but dealing with irate customers isn't my strong point. And in those jobs, there are always irate customers.

I felt much more at home when I went to school and got a work-study job at the computing center. There were still irate clients, but I could almost always do something to deal with the problem. The paper route early-to-rise experience came in handy, since generally no one else wanted the early shifts. Eventually I was put in charge of all the other work-study students, which looked great on my resume, as well as providing very useful experience for my future consulting career.

With a computer science and mathematics degree, I could have gone on to graduate school, but I was anxious to get out into the real world. Partially that was to make money, of course, but also because I was tired of theory at that point. I hadn't even really considered consulting as a career choice before I started going to all the various events that companies held for prospective hires. The idea of working in many different fields for a variety of clients sounded much more appealing than a job with a single company. It worked out well - I spent nearly 10 years as a consultant before deciding that I'd like to stay home a bit more often, and switching to a single employer.

Interesting idea, that #FirstSevenJobs trend. I hadn't thought about most of those first six jobs in years.

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