What is a skill you learned in one of your first jobs that you still use today?
As a camp counselor I learned that I could lead, that I had good ideas and could work with children. I found out that singing songs is the best way to get attention and invite connection.
Working at McDonalds, I learned I could be fired for no other reason than because I was the last one hired.
When I was a lifeguard at a local lake, I learned that people don’t always follow rules no matter if they are posted or are for safety reasons and that authority doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. I also learned I can’t face the water anymore when I’m on vacation at a beach or lake or pool; everything looks like drowning to me.
Part of my college tuition was supplemented with a position in the alumni office typing labels. Not many people in my class knew how to type efficiently. As my various positions over the years have demanded a lot of typing, I’ve been very thankful I took that hateful class in high school – mostly because the other choice was Home-Economics!
I did sales in a yarn shop and learned customer service – as well as how to fix people’s knitting problems. I taught swimming to people ages 9 months to 90 years and learned that everyone can be a learner and overcome fears.
I worked in co-op preschools and learned how to support all kinds of families to be their child’s best teacher even though their values and their lifestyles were completely different than mine.
I stayed in a position for 25 years and learned that there was more to a profession than moving up a ladder and increasing my salary and that “staying” was different than being “stuck.”
I threw caution to the wind and quit teaching jobs twice in the middle of the year to take totally new positions even though it would have been better to wait for the natural change time of “summer vacation.” Jumping at the right time was a good move for me even though it left some chaos behind.
I have learned so many things from so many colleagues and work mates in my life so far that I can’t even name all the people. Their leadership and mentorship has given me all the skills I use today and help me to know I am continuing to learn new things every day.