With summer jobs on the horizon, professionals recall the first jobs that launched their careers. Read more, then write your own #CareerLaunch post. From the the President of the United States scooping ice cream behind the counter at Baskin-Robbins to Oprah Winfrey working at a local grocery store where she was forbidden from chatting with customers, every professional has made their start somewhere. Everyone has held a position that they would always remember as their first job. This position was probably not the most glamorous job you’ve ever had, but it served as the stepping stone toward career growth and development. Even if it was 10 or 15 years before your career actually took off!
Reflecting on your first job usually sheds insight on your career journey. How far you have come, why you are where you are at now, and for some cases, just adds a little happiness to your life to know those positions were held when you were young and never again. Practice Makes Perfect’s employees decided to dive into their past and resurrect the memories of their first job to see how their #CareerLaunch gave them the tools they needed to become successful professionals.
Karim Abouelnaga, Founder and CEO - "My first job was working as a salesperson with my father in our family business. We sold Egyptian arts & crafts and sterling silver. I had the opportunity to shadow an entrepreneur, refine my negotiating skills as I dealt with international customers, and learn the ins and outs of building a business. To this day, I leverage the skills and lessons I learned in the family business to continue building Practice Makes Perfect."
Lauren Reilly, Program Director - "My first job was as a camp counselor at Craig Breslin's Champion Soccer Camp. I was 12 years old and was so nervous, especially because the age of the campers was 5-14! How was I supposed to tell anyone what to do as a 12 year old! My first day I showed up an hour early, so scared I was going to be late. My first assignment was to run a clinic for the 5 year olds. While it was scary at first, as the day progressed I realized as long as I acted like I was as old as the other 16 and 17 year old counselors, I would be treated with respect. I've carried this lesson with me through every job I've had since. Some would call this "fake it till you make it." I say it's really about having self-confidence and trusting yourself that you were chosen for a reason. You can do anything you set your mind to and you just have to believe in yourself and be your own champion!"
Kristy Zhen, Program Coordinator - "I got my first job when I was 14. I worked at a hospital greeting guests and helping the physician assistants. I wasn't interested in the field at all but it kept me busy over the summer. It also taught me the importance of customer service as I learned that I was a representative of the hospital."
Sarah Elkhayat, Program Coordinator - "When I was around 12 years old, I started babysitting for some of my parents friends. I would plan fun activities for me to do with the kids when I was on the job. Most of the money I earned went right back into buying crafts for the next new project I wanted us to make. Looking back, I can see how I was excited about education even as a pre-teen babysitter. It's clear to me that my path into this field was paved at a young age."
Hannah Perkins, Recruitment Coordinator - "My first job was at the Shoe Dept. at my local mall, working as a sales associate. I was in high school when I first started, but continued to work over the summer throughout college. We worked on commission, so this job naturally instilled a hard work ethic in me from a young age."
Akeem Headley, Finance Coordinator - "My first job was at the age of 15. I started working with my parents at a family owned business teaching music. At 18 years old, I received an honor from the queens district for being one of the best young music instructors in the city. This helped me be more disciplined and pursue my passions while being compensated."
Tom Schuster, Data Coordinator - "I started my first job when I was 14, working as a kennel assistant at a local animal hospital. It wasn't the most glorious work (read: cleaning up after animals), but I loved the environment and it helped me develop a strong work ethic at a young age."
Meiling Jabbaar, Program and Recruitment Administrator - "My first official paid job was a summer internship at the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce when I was in 10th grade. As an intern my responsibilities varied from helping to plan their summer events in Harlem and other office tasks, such as making copies, preparing mail, and filing. Although it wasn't the most exciting job, I appreciated being exposed to work and individuals who were driven to give back to the Harlem community, where I grew up. In being exposed to this work, I learned about community development, event planning, and the importance of networking."
Emily Becker, Program and Recruitment Administrator - "My first job was as a CIT (counselor in training) at the Jewish day camp I had attended as a child. I made less than a dollar an hour because I was receiving training. But shepherding fifteen rowdy second graders around a hot summer camp turned out to be incredibly rewarding--my two summers as a camp counselor jump started my interest in youth development."
Nicolette Templier, Retail Administrator - "My first job was as a team member at my local chick-fil-a when I was 17. Chick-fil-a is notorious for their southern hospitality and serving others so my customer service skills were created and polished under the guidelines enforced within that company. I learned how to multi-task, time manage and work with a team as a unit to reach daily goals. It was also one of two longest positions I've ever held ever."
Eliana Rodriguez, Direct Support to the CEO - "Starting at the age of 6 or 7, my mom would take me to the hair salon she worked at on Saturdays. After several years or shadowing and learning the trade, I was able to help my mother when she opened up her own hair salon. Working mostly on Saturdays, holidays, and summers, I learned skills that I will never forget and an appreciation for my mother's hard work. Although I was grateful for the experience, working at a hair salon is one of the most taxing working class jobs which further motivated me to attend college."
Devan Tierney, Communications Administrator - "My first job was when I was 13 years old at the local pool in my town. I was not a lifeguard, however, I was a “DP”… a dirt person, or basically, a janitor. As a “DP” I started at the bottom of the totem pole; I cleaned the trash up around the pool, cleaned the bathrooms (both boys and girls), pretty much just made sure that the entire pool was clean at all times. Even at 13 years old I knew that this position would not be the end-all be-all for me, I could not clean trash forever. So, I pushed myself that summer, I was the best bathroom-cleaner that that pool had ever seen. I proved myself to be a hard-worker and showed that any task I was handed I would do with confidence and do well. The next summer I was promoted to kitchen staff, I was very happy to leave the bathroom cleaning behind.
Peter Daskalov, Business Development Administrator - The first job i ever had was at a nursing home during junior year of high school. It was part time, and was there four times a week. At first I thought it was the most boring place on earth, but after a few week I started speaking with the senior citizens and their stories were unforgettable. I met war veterans, doctors, lawyers, authors, and it was very interesting to see how much the US has changed over the last 50 years. My first job was certainly one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Tania Wahdud, Program and Recruitment Administrator - My first job was working as an English tutor to a first grade student. I was 15 years old, and in the 10th grade. It was a short summer job, but I learned valuable skills of discipline, scheduling, and communication, all which continue help me grow.