What does Papabear recommend as a first job? And what was your first job out of high school?
Failaria (age 18)
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Hmm, interesting question. My first job was actually while I was still in high school. I worked at a burger joint called Boomer's Burgers in Tecumseh, Michigan, and then I worked as a cashier at Meijer's. While in college, I had the good fortune of having a father who could pay for my college while I lived at home, so I didn't really work much. My first job after college was as a factory worker in Ohio at a plastic extrusions company for the auto industry, and then I got my first "real" job as an assistant book editor in Detroit (annual salary $13,500--yikes--but that was back in 1988).
What would I recommend for a first job? The ideal situation would be that you already know what you wish to pursue as a career, and then take an entry-level position or an internship at a related job. If you don't know what career you want but have some special interests, see if you can do something you will enjoy doing. For example, perhaps you like dogs: you could become a self-employed dog walker or dog sitter. If you like kids, you can try babysitting. If you like being outdoors, try gardening or maybe being a lifeguard. Endless possibilities. If that is not something that works for you, the next thing I would say is try to find work with a small, family-operated company rather than a large, heartless, soulless corporation. I would much rather work for a Mom & Pop gift store or ice cream shoppe, for example, than as a fry cook at McDonald's or pizza delivery guy at Papa John's. It's much nicer to work at a place where you know, trust, even like your boss(es). Even if you don't particularly like the job itself, a pleasant work atmosphere goes a long way to making for a happy job experience. The best way to find jobs like this is to talk to friends and family and ask them if anyone they know is hiring.
First jobs are a great way to learn the ropes of a wage-earner. Learning to save money, pay taxes, and the joys of having FICA yank dollars out of your paltry bi-weekly check. More important is that these early jobs help you to learn how to work with other people and to explore what tasks you are good at and which ones you stink at. Always keep a lookout for an occupation you believe you will really enjoy, because if you find a job you enjoy you will never have to work a day in your life. Lucky are those who look forward to their daily jobs.
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