Have you seen the meme #FirstSevenJobs? I just came across it on The Atlantic a week or two ago and thought it was interesting. People will sometimes ask in an interview what your first job was, or your first job after college, but not the first seven.
I thought it would be fun to answer, and I’d love to hear yours too! Tell me in the comments!
I decided not to include babysitting or the odd job I did for my dad’s company shrink wrapping balsamic vinegar bottles with a really hot guy for a few weeks … but instead focus on the jobs that I actually had to get hired for.
1. TJMaxx Employee — I did it all: fitting room, cash register, the back room, the dreaded putting things back out on the floor. I always had an interest in fashion, so I loved being able to shop for the “good stuff” before it went out on the floor. I vividly remember eating Pop-Tarts out of the vending machine in the break room on my 15-minute breaks.
I also, stupidly, said I’d work on New Year’s Day after Y2K, and ended up having to go home after an hour because I was so hungover. Pretty sure I puked once I got home. Yes, I was underage. But that should have no reflection on my parents because they were the best, and I personally think our drinking age here in the US is stupid, but that’s a whole separate topic. And my parents actually talked me into going out to a party that night because they thought I was being ridiculous wanting to stay home on New Year’s Eve.
2. Hostess at Applebee’s — Back in the day when Applebee’s was cool … in Missouri at least. The hostess stand was right by the smoking section — yes there was still a smoking section when I worked there, am I aging myself? At the time, I thought I was a cool high schooler and I also smoked, so my parents just thought it was from work. Although I think my mom finally figured out that I was smoking and she asked me about it. Which is a funny story because her approach was hilarious. Instead of going the you are in trouble route, or the you’ll get cancer route, she went straight for my vanity. Which I personally think was smart because it actually made me think about it. She said it would ruin my skin. I didn’t quit smoking until college where I only smoked out at parties my freshman year then completely stopped. So basically this post is just telling you how much I partied in high school…
3. Receptionist at a Salon & Spa — I was so excited about this job because it paid well. I don’t even remember how much it was per hour, but more than other jobs. Also it was a challenge. It was a large salon with a lot of women. A lot of bitchy women. And I was their punching bag. Most receptionists didn’t last long, but I was like — try me bitches.
I even remember what I wore to my interview — a pair of beaded jeans from the GAP. My mom bought them for me and I loved them. They literally looked like they were Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana because they had beaded roses and vines all the way up the legs. The lady that interviewed me, Jennifer, said she would never hire anyone who wore jeans to an interview (because the receptionist wasn’t allowed to wear jeans) but since mine were so cool she let it slide and hired me. I worked there for several years and during breaks in college.
4. Abercrombie & Fitch — Oh yes, I was one of those people that worked at Abercrombie. So I had a ton of Abercrombie clothes (I swear it was still cool at this point). I even dated a guy that worked there with me, who was older than me by several years, but he actually wasn’t a douche and still is a great guy. I was especially good/fast at the cash register and the long lines of customer returns after Christmas were like crack to me. I loved pushing all those buttons and seeing how fast I could get through the line without making a mistake! Yes, I’m crazy.
5. MIZZOU Alumni Association — When I was in college I worked at the Alumni Association. I don’t remember how I knew there were jobs available there, but it was close to my sorority house and it was easy. I remember my boss, I think her name was Lisa, told me after she hired me that she would never hire anyone with gross fingernails. Luckily I’ve been obsessed with having perfectly painted nails since I can remember. So I was hired, and I got to do a bunch of boring crap like stuff envelopes for a year.
6. Fashion Boutique — I don’t remember the name of the boutique but it was one of only a few in Columbia, Mo., at the time. It was easy and it was fashion so I liked it. This job is the story of my first panic attack. It was my senior year in college, I was engaged, planning a wedding, trying to finish journalism school (which was NOT an easy major), thinking about getting a job and where we would move after we got married, and my parents were going through a divorce. So ya, just a LITTLE stress. My now husband was in town to see me for the weekend (we went to college 3 hours away from each other) and I had to work that Saturday and I was just so pissed that I was working while he was in town. I only saw him once a month and I hated that 6 hours of it I was working a stupid job. The boutique was really slow that day so I was basically just there by myself thinking about everything in my entire life and him. Which just put me into a crazy state of mind, and then one of the owners of the boutique walked in the door and I just looked at her, started bawling, and ran out the door because I couldn’t breathe. I was hunched over outside hyperventilating for no reason really. She was like, maybe you should go home … um, ya. That panic attack was when I realized maybe I was a little too stressed out. But I did like that job.
7. Buyer at MIZZOU Bookstore — This was probably the coolest college job you could get in Columbia, Missouri. The University Bookstore had two buyers at the time. Tiffany bought all the clothing, Cathy bought all the accessories and tailgating merchandise. Books and school supplies were a separate department.
I remember this interview vividly. I wore my cutest professional outfit — black cropped pants, a cropped ivory blazer with black and turquoise stripes from Express, and black heels from Nine West with straps that wrapped around the ankle. I killed the interview and had my choice of jobs — work for Tiffany the clothing buyer or Cathy the accessories buyer. Since I’m a strong personality, I opted to work for Cathy, who was on the quiet side. It ended up being a great choice because she let me do the actual buying. I didn’t even have to run things by her. She let me buy all of the fragrance, jewelry, and Greek merchandise for the MIZZOU bookstore for two years. It was so much fun! Back then the most popular fragrances were Romance by Ralph Lauren, all of the Escada fragrances, and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. I couldn’t keep them on the shelves.
So there you have it — my #firstsevenjobs — I would LOVE to hear about yours! Tell me in the comments!
Photo by Laura Metzler