My First Seven Jobs
I’ve noticed a few people on social media sharing their “First Seven Jobs,” and as I’m getting ready to hit the monumental big “40” this month, I started thinking about my own first forays into employment. Food, fashion, movies, and writing have always been a big part of my life, as supported by these first few jobs!
1. Belk Teen Board. This regional department store selected a certain number of teenagers each year from the county schools to make up this board. We had to fill out applications and go through interviews like any other job. I did this during my junior and senior years of high school and it was a blast. We modeled in fashion shows for the store, set up merchandising displays, handed out perfume samples in the cosmetic departments, and one Christmas, I worked in complimentary gift wrap having no prior experience in gift wrapping. By myself.
2. Movie Theater Employee. After accepting a job in a local manufacturing plant that produced parachutes with my best friend and lasting exactly one day, we stumbled upon a job at our local movie theater. I think we were hired by phone interviews alone, which must have been how desperate they were for help. I started out in the concession stand and worked my way up to the box office, where I would help count all the concession stand inventory each night as part of my job and reconcile the accounts. Again, another great job for a teenager, especially since I got to see most of the movies free. (A character in one of my YA manuscripts has a similar job.)
3. Express Store Associate. Once I started college the minimum wage salary wasn’t enough to live on anymore, and the theater couldn’t give me a raise. I headed across the street to the mall once again and got a job in Express, where I promptly ran up a store credit card so I could effectively sell their clothes. FYI, I’m pretty sure much of the first few seasons of the TV show “Friends” got their clothes from Express. I sometimes recognize specific styles when I watch old reruns.
4. Restaurant Hostess. I worked at Express for about a year, and then they gradually began cutting my shifts back until I could barely afford to eat. I took a job as a host at a local restaurant, which was one of the toughest jobs I ever had. Trying to keep the wait staff and impatient, hungry diners happy was a definite challenge. I eventually worked my way up to server, and then to a headwaiter, which meant I helped settle the books at the end of my shift. (How did I keep ending up in accounting-type positions when I never considered myself good at math?)
5. College Newspaper Staff. After working as a reporter for two years at my college for credit, I took job as the features editor of the newspaper and eventually news editor. I got paid $40-$50 an issue for these jobs and we produced the paper each week. I worked these editing jobs in addition to my wait staff jobs.
6. Blockbuster Video. Remember those? After getting burned out at my restaurant job, I took a break and thought it would be fun to work at a video store since I loved movies so much. Wrong. The corporate office had a lot of rules and procedures that I found tedious. I quit after getting scolded because I didn’t answer the phone the right way one night when the district manager happened to call.
7. Clerk at a Chocolate Shop. I mostly weighed chocolate bark, sold bottled water, sodas, boxed up truffles, and gained at least 10 pounds that summer. I also began my lifelong love affair with dark chocolate raspberry truffles.
I have to admit this has been a pretty fun exercise. It’s also been interesting to see how technology has changed since I had several of these jobs (such as the way we printed the different sections of the newspaper and pasted them together and the video store). Having trouble coming up with an interesting job for a character or subplot? Go back and list your first jobs and I guarantee you’ll dig up something interesting to write about.
You know where I’m going with this. I want to hear about your first seven jobs now! Please share in the comments below.
|What I looked like when I first began working.|