We all remember our first job and how bleak the working world looked through its lens. Random hours, low-pay, and physically exhausting work has taken its toll on nearly everyone in our society. However, it is not all bad- there are a lot of valuable career lessons that we learn from working a bad job. Today we are going to look at these, and figure out how our first job can help us figure out what to do with our current career.
You can be replaced- This is very obvious if you work at a McDonalds- but holds true for McDonald’s executives as well. Someone else can do your job. When you’re switching shifts with co-workers in order to make it to the great parties- this is obvious. When you are managing a team of skilled employees, it is a bit easier to forget this. This is good to remember, whether you are having qualms about leaving your job, or need some extra motivation. If you can’t or don’t want to do your job, someone else will.
Work is for the Working- Think back to working for tips. The harder you worked the more money you made. The happier your customers and co-workers were after your shift- the more hours you got. It sounds simple but you are meant to work while you are at work, and that means from the moment you start until you clock out at the end of the day. Try to bring the service mentality into your job- the harder you work the more money you will make. While it may not come true as quickly as it does while waiting tables- it will almost undoubtedly lead to more money in the future.
The Customer is King- Remember how you used to have to smile and humor insane complaints? Someone thought they were supposed to get one thing, but ordered something entirely different- and you had to manage the complaint. This is an incredibly useful skill- both for your current customers, and also for difficult co-workers. Being in constant contact with customers teaches us how to keep a situation civil and pleasant, even when it is incredibly taxing. This is something you can carry with you in every interaction you have at work- especially with higher-ups. You can think something is unreasonable, but being able to find a compromise while still maintaining an attitude of deference is crucial to any job.
Know that you can Quit- We all leave our first jobs, and we all learn what it means to leave a job by doing so. There is a breaking point with a bad first job- a moment when we realize we just cannot do it anymore. Think back to what that felt like, and carry that feeling with you. If you ever find that you are experiencing the same emotions as you were then- quit. Knowing what it feels like to have a soul-crushing job is very useful for getting out of a soul-crushing job, so don’t forget that feeling.
No experience exists in a vacuum. Your first job will inform how you show up to every other job, so do your best to remember useful aspects, so you can continue to make your first job useful long after you’ve moved on.