The great team over at The Ladders reached out to me about my very first job and what I came away with. I thought about it and decided that it would be good to share some of my insights from my very first gig. Holding a job is such a big part of our society and so many lessons can be learned from your first foray into the working world. My mom always encouraged strong work ethic in me, even from a young age, so I was actually eager to get my first job. Well that, and the prospect of getting a little more spending money in my pocket didn’t hurt.
I’ve been in retail my whole life. From working on the sales floor in customer service, to running a whole store during my boutique days, to my current world of corporate retail. My first job was being a customer service specialist for JCPenney. I was a Recovery Team member, which basically meant a group of us on the team would go around the store folding clothes and returning items from the fitting rooms back to the selling floor. Definitely not glamorous but I still learned a lot through the experience.
Top takeaways from my first job:
- You will meet a lot of interesting and unique people in the workplace. On my very first day I had lunch with a girl who rarely left the house except for school and a guy who was an atheist – which he was very apt to share on day one. You have to know who you are and be prepared for all types of people and all types of conversations. You’ll spend a lot of time in your work environment so do your part to make sure it’s a welcoming place to be!
- Don’t be afraid of hard work, even when no one else around you is doing it. Your work ethic will not go unnoticed, you never know what opportunity awaits. Go the extra mile.
- Stay positive no matter the situation. Don’t let others’ negative attitude get you down. We worked in a JCPenney location that was moving so it was an interesting atmosphere when everything was marked down to 65% off with the store getting more empty by the day. It could have been easy to succumb to the negative attitudes – but where does that get you?
- Learn all that you can in your current role. The skills and knowledge that you pick up may be key in getting you to that promotion or next level. People love eager learners who are also willing to share their expertise on a subject.
- Pack your lunch! It’s much more healthy and will save you so much money. If you start in your early days, you’ll be so glad you picked up this good habit. When you’re tight on time during a busy day, a packed lunch will be your best friend.
Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you, either in your first job starting out or in your current role.
Please share some stories from your first job! I’d love to hear!