From then to now – What have you learnt since your first job?


by JobFlex


Do you remember your first job? Was it mundane, boring and did you feel like you had so much more to offer? Or was it terribly exciting, earning your first paycheck and feeling like you were contributing to society?

CEO of JobFlex, Don Robertson’s first job was as a Milk Delivery Boy. “I learnt how to carry eight bottles of milk whilst jumping off a moving vehicle.  I also learnt that my favourite time of day is day-break, I generally started work at 4am, 6 days a week for 3 years. Whilst it was demanding and low paid, it kept me physically very fit which in some way compensated for the lousy pay! To this extent this job showed me the importance of being physically fit which has helped motivate me in each and every work environment I have experienced since”

Marketing Manager of JobFlex , Sarah Morrissey’s first was as a waitress at a Cafe. “Probably the most physically demanding job I have ever had.  It taught me a huge amount regarding customer service, providing a good service was vital in order to maximise tips and was drilled into me that the customer is always right!”

We also spoke to a range of people regarding about their first job,  what they learnt from it and where they are now.  The responses are all so different however everyone seems to have learnt something vital.  So if you are stuck  in a rut, feel like you are in a dead end job or just embarking on your career and feel like you are not getting much from your current position take a read through the short case studies below.

My first job was a professional ice skater touring around Europe in the Chorus of Holiday on Ice . My job currently is in Sales & Marketing for a software compnay. And in between a real estate agent & 12 years at ABC TV.  From my first job, I learnt communication is king

 Meryl Whiteside  – Constructor Software

My first job was at my uncle’s motorbike/scooter/spare parts shop. We mailed several parcel per day for customers who ordered different parts from paper catalogues and by calling or mailing their orders to us. This was some 20 years ago. Today I’m running an online store called Princes Pier.. The underlying idea is the same, people order products they like and place the orders from their homes or offices. What has changed is the medium/channel, new marketing tools, competition, ease to start a business and payment methods.

My first job gave me a good insight what it would be to run your own company.

Anne Salomaa – Princes Pier

I dedicated all my time in high school to my art, but by the time school finished I felt a bit lost and didn’t really know what to do. As much as I loved painting, sculpting and creating I didn’t want to be a full-time artist. Encouraged by my parents I studied administration but hated being stuck in the office all day doing bookkeeping. I finally got a job doing some PA work for a photographer, which helped fill the creative void I’d been craving since leaving school, and let me use the administration skills I’d built up over the years. My boss was also very clever and marketing driven, so even as a PA I felt like I could apply my creative skills there too. I eventually moved cities and started working for a not-for-profit organisation doing full-time administration until I was able to apply internally for a different role and study marketing in the evenings. I’ve been working as a Marketing Specialist with Compassion Australia,  for over three years now and it’s fantastic. It’s quite strange when you realise that you weren’t treading water for years at a time like you thought, but you’re actually building up to something you didn’t even realise you wanted!

Berlinda Fortin, Compassion Australia

My first “job” was as a trainee childcare assistant at a small childcare centre. I was fresh out of school and, while I knew that working in childcare was not a long-term career choice for me, it gave me a foot inside the door that every young adult needs when transitioning from school into the real world. I had a vision of starting my own small business one day but, like most young adults, I couldn’t make up my mind as to what I wanted to do. Over the years, my career path inevitably changed and the choices I’ve made enable me to call myself a young entrepreneur today. Alongside my business partner, I now run a successful small business, Massage Specialists, and am co-founder of a tech startup company, Mystro.

My first job taught me to step out of my comfort zone, to exude confidence, to be willing to work hard, and that a smile and good attitude can take your far. These lessons learnt not only influenced the career choices I made, but were fundamental factors that helped shape me into the successful entrepreneur I am today.

Danielle McFarland  Massage Specialists +  Mystro

My first job was with a Woolworths supermarket as a ‘serviced delicatessen hand’ while still in high school. It was terrifying as metric had just been introduced, I knew nothing about salami and all the other workers were middle aged European women with strong accents who knew exactly what they were doing!  Back then, I worked on my feet, and dealt with food, cash and customers, while working for a large corporation. Today I sit at a desk, and deal with manuscripts, internet transactions and clients, while working for myself.

I began full-time work as the first female clerk in the Legal Branch of the then Department of Main Roads. I also worked as an accounts clerk with their Credit Union, then worked my way up to Head Office Accountant with QBE Insurance.  Now I work for my own company as an editor and publisher.

My first job taught me to talk to people. I had been chronically shy, but eventually learnt that if I ‘performed’ as the consummate, friendly, shopkeeper the customers responded, and I started enjoying myself. I then did better at my job, built great relationships with my customers … and it has paid off ever since.

Jennifer Mosher – MoshPit Publishing

My first full time employment was at The Royal College of Ophthalmologists straight after graduating. I ran events and courses for trainee eye surgeons. A pretty random role, it involved organising, admin, a little PR, lab maintenance and setting up equipment for practice surgery, I fell into the role but I loved it and I stuck with events in my next couple of jobs.

After 10 years I needed a change, the economic crisis really changed people’s perceptions about self employment over in the UK, it doesn’t feel so unobtainable there is more help and push towards small businesses in a crisis. I guess everyone wants to run their own business in a recession and take control of their future. So in April this year, along with my husband we launched The Lost Lanes.

I have learnt lots from my first job mainly how to juggle tasks, writing lists, talking to senior figures and sticking to deadlines. But also it took a lot of my shyness away, I had no choice I was forced to socialise in the events that I planned and I had to go out to dinner with a group of people I’d met that day.

Raquel Wallace – The Lost Lanes



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