My First Job & My Worst Job

I was having a conversation the other day with a mate of mine about what would be interesting questions to ask people. Wouldn’t it be interesting to ask successful executives and entreprenuers what they did for their first job? and what was their worst job? I didnt think the question of the “best job” was relevant because most people would be under the gun to say its their current job!

It got me thinking of my first job and my worst job.

I got my first job after I finished high school while waiting for my entry into university, I decided it was time for me to earn a paycheck. I got a job as a kitchen helper in a cafe under the Sydney Centerpoint Tower. I started at the bottom of the food chain (so to speak…) washing dishes. After demonstrating that I had more talents to offer, I progressed to making sandwich making and pancake flipping. My pancake flipping career didnt take off because on one busy day, I whipped up the pancake mix with the wrong flour. Needless to say we had a few complaints on the pancake orders that day. I was 17 years old. What I remembered of my first job was how physically tired and drained I was after my first week at work but how excited and thrilled I was to get my first paycheck (in Oz most businesses pay weekly, not monthly) because I earned every cent of it thru my hard, hot, sweaty work.

For my worst job, there are 2 actually:

Worst Job #1

I was at university and was looking for weekend work to make some pocket money. I was introduced to a creepy real estate agent that owned a few properties. In one property, it was dormitory type building that was rented out to single elderly retirees/pensioners. When these lonely souls passed away, my job was to go into their room to pack their personal belongings – tooth brush, comb, dentures, old family photos, clothes…etc…I remembered I was thinking that this is way too personal for me to go thru someone’s life possessions and there might be some karma payback down the road. I lasted 1 day in that job. I couldn’t get out of that job fast enough, vamos, ciao….With hindsight it was good that I quit that job early, years later, that creepy real estate agent was convicted of pedophilia!

Worst Job #2

After graduating from University as a qualified Civil Engineer, I got my first professional job as a Project Engineer with the Sydney Water Board (the equivalent to your government utility company that manages your water and waste water services). I was put on a million dollar project (good so far…) to investigate which section of the sewer system had massive cracks and hence infiltration of rainwater every time it rains. Part of my work required me to open up manholes at 2am in the morning and crawl down these claustrophobic manholes infested with a zillion cockroaches. I had to put on one of those white lab clean room suits with the hood so that cockroaches can’t get down my shirt thru the collar. I remembered the first time I had to do that, I thought of that scene in Indiana Jones where he walked into a dark cave full of crawling bugs. That was only the beginning, once I got to the bottom of the manhole, I had to measure the the level of raw sewer flow, not exactly the type of thing I was happy to discuss with strangers over dinner if they ask “what do you do for work?”. I persevered to the end of the project, all in the name of engineering! I earned every single cent of my paycheck in the Water Board, that’s for sure! I also worked on the water system as well but that’s a different story for another time.

My first and worst jobs taught me not to be afraid of hard, honest work, not to be afraid of creepy crawly insects and not to be afraid of….ermmm…..let’s just say I fix my own plumbing ๐Ÿ™‚

So after I left my engineering career behind me and started my career as a headhunter, everything I had to do, even the toughest parts of my job, I did it without complaining because it was easy compared to my 2 worst jobs! 16 years and counting later, I am still a happy headhunter.

What was your first job and your worst job? Love to hear them.

Image courtesy of Google images

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