I first found The Atlantic’s piece on #FirstSevenJobs when reading Meg’s overview of her own first seven. It didn’t take long for me to do a deep dive into the hashtag on Twitter. I mean seriously deep.
Because it’s interesting to me how non-linear so many of our paths are, and I think we often overlook this. No one recalls that the CEO of the hottest new startup once bussed tables at a local pub or that the powerful boss demanding the boardroom used to refold sweaters at GAP. It fascinates me.
Success and career are no straight shot, friends.
Today, I wanted to share my own #firstsevenjobs (I was hired for the first time at 15, but did many odd jobs to earn cash before).
1. Cashier at Pretzel Factory. Oh, the Pretzel Factory. A place that I still affectionately call Pretzel Prison to this day. When I first started, I would come in at 5:30am every Saturday to open and work until around 1:30pm. I hated having such a sharp start to the weekend, but loved that I could get to work weekends without giving up all of my day.
Fun fact: I was terrible at twisting pretzels, mine were always too ugly to sell. I was not bitter about losing this privilege. This was also the first I learned the reality of paychecks. “Dad, who is FICA and WHY are they taking all of my pay?!”
2. Office Organizer. The Summer after my freshman year of college, I was all about the hustle. I had an unpaid internship (below) but also needed to earn money to save for the semester. I went into an office 3 times a week to organize, file and maintain a system. This was one of my favorite jobs, and my love for organization and systems has never relaxed since. And I made great money doing it.
Note: I was sill picking up shifts at Pretzel Prison at this time. Anything for the moolah.
3. Public Relations Intern at Skai Blue Media. As soon as my first year of college wrapped, I was ready to dive in to getting real world experience. I knew it was a long shot given my age and lack of course work, but I applied all over the city and landed an internship at a boutique PR agency. Their clientele were mostly fashion and lifestyle brands with a few tech and non profit. I learned a ton about public relations, got so much incredible experience and met some of the best people I know to date (including my current boss).
4. Communications Intern at the Independence Seaport Museum. Once I did an agency internship, I knew I wanted to be in house doing communications. I landed this internship and fell completely in love with working in museums. Getting to see exhibits come to life, the ins and outs of curation and research and having access to such much niche history was incredible. That summer was one of the best of my student time.
5. PR/Marketing Intern at the National Constitution Center. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge history nerd. I’d wanted to intern at this particular museum since my first semester, and jumped at the chance once it came. My combined love for Revolutionary era history and working in museums came to life while I worked there. This was one of my most challenging internships, and it really pushed me to stop thinking of myself as a student and more as a young communications professional.
6. Customer Service at Temple Housing Maintenance. This job meant the world to me. I was hired in the Maintenance office during my sophomore year when I was desperate for cash to help pay for school and life in general. A friend who graduated left, and I took her spot in the office. I answered phones and process all of the maintenance requests for the dorms.
I worked in the office through the summer after graduation when I started my first real job. My co-workers became my family, my boss was a mother to me. My memories there are some of my favorite memories in college. Forever grateful for my time there.
7. Digital Marketing Coordinator at Temple University. I’ve talked about getting hired in this particular position. A few months after graduation, I had the chance to join the amazing team in the University’s central marketing office. I handled social media, email marketing and a few other digital marketing tasks. I worked with some of the smartest and most talented communications professionals in the game. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first job.
Overall, I’ve worked in some amazing places, met great people and mentors and learned so much along the way. All of these jobs have helped me get to where I am today. They shape how I think, why I blog and why I love my current career path so much.
But what about you?! Which jobs have you worked in the past that stand out, or played a big role in your journey? Share in the comments!