First jobs- everyone has them, and wether we’d like to admit it or not, all first jobs tend to teach us a lesson we carry with us for life. Here we asked five women at the top of their professional game right now: what was your first job? From the greasy, to the low-paying, to the down right horror stories, we learned that everyone has to start somewhere, and all jobs, big or small, are valuable to our growth.
Editor-in-chief, Disfunkshion Magazine
“My first job was actually at a Venezuelan bakery in Miami called Don Pan.
One thing I learned that I still carry with me today is that all GREAT things take time, therefore the process must be enjoyed. In a bakery, there’s such a detailed and invested process in making a loaf of french bread, baking a cake or making a delicious Venezuelan arepa.
At first I’d get frustrated feeling like the amount of time something took to bake versus the time it took to eat and “enjoy” was just not worth it. Over time, I realized that if you don’t enjoy the “during” you wont enjoy the “when.” So now, I enjoy every step of the process toward whatever my goal may be without putting so much pressure on results.”
Photographer, Cait Miers Photography
My very first job was a friend of mine and my most loyal client, Arrow Divine. We teamed together as I knew her sister and it was her first fashion shoot as well! We just kinda went with the flow, and the response was amazing! Both of our brands were growing rapidly at this time so I’d say it sent us in a great direction! Biggest thing I learnt was to back myself, as I was so new to the industry. But I did things my way and didn’t worry about what others thought and that’s the biggest lesson!
“I was 14 at the time, and it was illegal to work at 14 so they changed my date on my application because they liked me.
I went through a ton of courses on hospitality and customer service that were great.
I ended up having a job wearing a grey managers shirt with a name tag that said “hospitality leader” and walked around giving coffee refills and asking people how their experience was.
It mainly meant smiling and being warm and talking to people, but it also meant settling disputes sometimes and mediating.
I also was in charge of children’s birthday parties. So I would organize like 30 meals, build the Big Mac game out of foam, games, gift bags.
I remember having two birthday parties at once and being in a shit show of small fries, cheeseburgers and plastic toys and thinking I’d gone mad.
One of my core values to this day is to see people. Really see them. Everyone. The barista, the guy working at shoppers drug mart, the man passing me on the street. I make an effort to be incredibly dropped in and warm to the humans I pass and meet and cross moments with. These moments of connection are the same if not equally important as moments I have with loved ones. I try not only be in a relationship with my loved ones, employees and people immediately close to me, but also this entire world and the strangers I come across each day. I think learning to really say “I see you” in presence came from many different things, but I would absolutely credit some of it to my first job at McDonald’s.”
Founder and editor-in-chief Global Hobo
I worked in a tiny grocery store run by a very nasty and stingy boss named John Chan. He watched his staff (and his customers) on CCTV from his office the whole time he was there, and only emerged to threaten to call the police when toddlers waddled out with stolen chocolate frogs in their hands.
From day one he hated me, as I looked at the screensaver on his desktop computer and commented on how sweet his chubby son was. “That is my DAUGHTER!” he shouted. I was paid cash in hand, $6 an hour (though offered a generous $10 an hour if I worked on Christmas day), and my duties included serving customers, selling cigarettes and – worst of all – cleaning the rotisserie where the chickens were cooked.
What I learned from this position is that if you treat your employees poorly – you don’t trust them, you don’t pay them fairly, you don’t create a work environment that is enjoyable and you aren’t kind to them – they will not be loyal and will eventually bail.
I like to follow a rather different model with my employees now, paying them as much as I possibly can without going broke, hanging out with them all the time, commending them for their hard/good work and putting them forward when opportunities arise. As a result, our relationship is now so friendly that a) I get to work with my best friends every day and b) it would be way too awkward for them to quit and abandon the business now
Photographer at Renae Saxby Photography
My first job – when I was little my brothers and I used to pick lemons and mushrooms from our farm and sell them on the road side. We would make a little sign and sit out on the country roadside trying to sell them. Our place is right out in the hills so not many people would go past, but we had a lot of fun and made a few bucks to spend at the lollie shop up the road!
What I learnt from it – do what makes you happy, not what makes you the most money… and also how much more meaning it has when you work on projects with people you love.
Co-Founder of the Salty Souls Experience
I started my working career as an assistant teacher in a Arts & Crafts class offered in my hometown… such a nice place ! It was basically a studio, with all the artistic material you could dream of, and we were free and encourage to create whatever we wanted!! I was a student for many years, and eventually, at like 15-16 years old, I started helping out with the younger groups.
Looking back, all the years spent in this studio was a true gift. As an opposite to what we are being taught is school, there we were instead invited to think like there was no box. To explore the full range of colours of our soul. When you had an idea, a project, whatever it was, we would help you bring it to life !
I’ve learned that we are free and allowed to chose all the pieces with whom we want to build our universe. The possibilities are endless and it is worth trying, exploring, getting dirty !!! There is no such thing has right and wrong in the world of creation.
featured image: Hugette Montesinos for Disfunkshion Magazine