Revisiting My First Job

Revisiting My First Job July 5, 2011

We took a trip back home this weekend and spent some time with my family.  While there, we went to the blueberry farm and picked some fresh blueberries.  (Which, by the way, is much cheaper than buying them at the store.  At the farm, you’ll pay around $1.60 per pound if you pick them – at the store, you’ll pay upwards of $2.00 for a pint or less.  That’s almost 8x the price!)

With my bucket in hand and the sun directly over my head, it felt like a flashback to my first job as a blueberry picker.  Yes sir, the first job I ever held was at a blueberry farm picking berries from 6:00 AM until noon.  Every day my brother and sister and I would wake up early, make our lunch, and head out to the blueberry farm down the road.  It was our first taste (no pun intended) at real work.

This time, my two younger brothers (age 15 and 9) came with us to pick and helped us gather a solid 15 pounds in about an hour’s time.  It didn’t feel like work, but I still saw them work like they were being paid to do it.

– It was hot outside, but they didn’t complain.

– It was easier to jump around from bush to bush, but they stayed and cleaned each bush as instructed.

– When the youngest picker was discouraged because he was slower, we helped him by filling up his bucket a little more.

Sounds like Mayberry, huh?  In all seriousness, we had good time and I was really impressed with how hard they worked.

Going Back To Your Roots

Picking blueberries was pretty simple back then.  There were no project deadlines, no spreadsheets, and you were paid for the work you did – if you worked hard, you were paid well.

I could walk through my resume and think back to each job I’ve held and pull out a few key things that really shaped my work ethic today.  Sometimes, it’s easy to forget about those first jobs and write them off as insignificant, but that’s where it all begins.

Hard work, discipline, and honesty were core to blueberry picking (as funny as it may sound).  As an 8 year old starting my first job, I wasn’t looking for lessons in discipline and honesty, but every day that I went into work, I shaped my work ethic and built character that has proved to help me grow in each new job.

While it’s important to look back to your roots and think about how those first jobs shaped your life, don’t forget about the current job you have.  It may not be your favorite.  You may feel that you’re supposed to do something different.  You may think that you can handle more and that your employer isn’t using your full potential.  No matter what job situation you’re in, ask yourself if you’re working hard to improve your work ethic.  While it’s true that those first jobs will have a significant impact on your work ethic, it’s important to understand that it’s never too late to improve and build even better habits.

What was your first job?  Did you learn anything that would shape the way you work today?  Leave your answer in the comments below.

photo by _rockinfree

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