Forgettable first jobs

With exceptions of the Paris Hiltons and Athina Onassises of the world, most of us probably kicked off our professional lives doing something we’d rather forget. Like shoveling chicken coops, as Matthew McConaughey once did. Or chasing rats from a movie theater like Warren Beatty did when he was a struggling actor. Rod Stewart worked as a grave digger between jobs at a funeral parlor and as a newspaper delivery boy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with those occupations. The jobs we take as teens and young professionals tend to fall outside the interests that later guide us to the careers we’re really after.

No matter the job – or how little it paid – it nonetheless may have provided at least a modicum of value to you later on. Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell Computer Corp., earned $2.30 per hour washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant. Of that experience, he said, “The best part was the wisdom of the restaurant owner, which I could capture if I came to work a little early. He took great pride in his work and cared about every customer who came through his door.”

What was your least-favorite job when you were younger? What did you take away from the experience? What advice would you give to a young person wary of taking a job that doesn’t immediately fit his or her career goals?

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One comment Add your comment

Mortimer Collins

September 15th, 2010
7:49 am

Western Sizzlin Steakhouse – Dishwasher. Forget the pay but was just a typical worker-bee job. Learned if I wanted better pay and better working conditions then dont look for it there. Realized quickly the restaurant industy pay is poor to fair with Mgrs being expected to work double duty and more.