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7 Lessons from my #FirstSevenJobs

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I found myself waxing nostalgic recently when I saw this strange trending hashtag on Twitter: #firstsevenjobs  — and apparently I was not the only one! (Search for that hashtag on Twitter and you’ll see.)

It got me thinking about what I’d learned from each of those early work experiences — a.k.a. the foundation of my career!

And I ended up writing a long-ish post on Medium, which included the essential lessons I learned at each of those first jobs. Here’s an excerpt:

  1. babysitter (age 12): this is where I tried to learn how to be responsible, but I was a really bad babysitter — mostly watched TV and ate their food.
  2. receptionist (age 12): this is where I learned to be professional — by faking it. I was hired at the age of 12 to answer the phone at my parents’ factory. I loved working the switchboard and pretending to be older than I was.
  3. ice cream scooper (age 16): no question, this is where I learned self discipline —as I wrote in my recent Quick Tip, here are the 3 simple self discipline tips that work continue to work for me every day.
    1. Get up early.

    2. Work on your own business first.

    3. When you’re ready to move on to client work, do one more thing for yourself.

  4. frozen yogurt purveyor (age 16): this is where I learned punctuality. It was the beginning of the frozen yogurt craze and the store was in swanky Beverly Hills. I had to get there on time after school and sometimes during free periods.
  5. waitress (ages 16-26): this is how I learned to be organized and developed my
    Photo courtesy Shutterstock.com

    Photo courtesy Shutterstock.com

    memory. I loved waitressing and worked in many different restaurants in many different cities — it’s definitely a job you can do anywhere! I especially relished the challenge of keeping track of everyone’s order, making nice with the kitchen staff to get what I needed for my customers, not to mention the instant gratification of good tips when I did a good job. In fact, in between my first (and only) 2 real jobs in NYC, I waitressed the lunch shift at Cafe Un Deux Trois (it’s still there!) and made enough money in 3 hours a day to support myself for a year!

  6. personal assistant (ages 19-26): this is was tricky for me because I liked being in charge. So while I was good at anticipating the needs of a series of bosses, I secretly wanted to be the boss and sometimes it showed.
  7. assistant chef (age 19): this is where I learned to cook! And of all the jobs and learning experiences, this was the one where I didn’t have to figure it out for myself. The chef was teaching me! That was a pleasure.

I’d love to know your #firstsevenjobs — post them with this hashtag and tag me @ilisebenun at the end.

  • More in: #firstsevenjobs, being your own boss, Content Marketing, freelancing, overnight success, Posts by Ilise, self discipline, Success Stories

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