My first job was flipping crusts in the air, oiling pans, and rattling off toppings on the phone to customers hungry for pizza. It was a good enough job for a sixteen-year-old—hustling around, mostly brainless, flexible schedule—and nothing overly exciting or interesting. But what it taught me was monumental. In fact, that first job of mine, I’d say, taught me a few of my most important life lessons that I still carry around with me today. Starting with…
YOUR SERVANT IS YOUR MASTER: Those who wait on you, own you. If you don’t treat them well, you’ll be eating pizza à la body fluids. Be good to others. Period.
LET FREEDOM RING: I didn’t realize just how independent and headstrong I was until that first job. Those first few shifts when I was alone, without siblings or a list of irritating parental directives, doing something I could quite easily ace (I mean, how hard is it to keep the pizza line moving?) filled me with a new confidence. I could do something for myself, ON MY OWN. All of a sudden, I started picking up as many shifts as possible and thus began my workaholic nature. Which brings me to my next lesson.
SHOW ME THE MONEY: Holy crap, I got a paycheck. Someone actually gave me dollars to sprinkle olives on crust. Blew my mind! So I promptly bought glittery lip gloss and Victoria Secret bras, or CDS and books. BOOKS and BOOKS. (Clearly that love never died.) I went to the movies with friends. I felt like a queen of my domain. All of that immediate gratification made the teen hormones pump faster in my veins! But then I also learned…
DON’T BE A FOOL, STAY IN SCHOOL: I would absolutely study my butt off in college, so I didn’t HAVE TO sprinkle olives on crust. Because, yeah, snoozefest-o-rama and sneakers that curled at the edges from all the grease = grossssss.
Which brings me to my last lesson of…
THERE’S NO I IN TEAM: We need all kinds of people in the world to do all different kinds of jobs. Kind of like an ant farm. Some carry food back to the ranch, others build the hills, some protect the queen. But they’re working together to keep the community alive and thriving. We need pizza parlors (at least I do), and every other job you can think of. And, most importantly, I am not above working hard for my money, no matter what form that may take. I AM NOT ABOVE ANYONE. I respect what others bring to the table as I hope they respect me.
So first jobs are essential, painful as they may be, and come to think of it, all jobs are. The experiences and wisdom they bring shape us. Just think. I’d never be the writer I am today without those many nights of endless pepperoni. I’m grateful.
What did you learn from your first job?
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