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Memorable First Jobs and What We Can Learn from Them

By Margaret Manning October 13, 2015 Mindset

Many women have strong memories of their first paid job. Sometimes their memories are tinged with mixed emotions – but there is no denying that first taste of freedom and a pay check combined with the sense of being truly “grown up” represents a significant milestone in a young woman’s life.

Our first jobs are often different from later our careers, but, they always teach us important lessons and shape our perspectives on life and people.

In fact, many people who turned out to be very successful had humble beginnings and unusual first jobs. Richard Branson sold parakeets and then Christmas trees. President Obama scooped ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Oprah worked at a corner store and Madeline Albright sold bras at a department store in Denver.

Making the best of a first job is really all about having a positive attitude and turning the lessons you learn into practical experience.

So, what did I learn in my first job as a Community Manager at the WEXL radio station “Country Club” in Detroit, Michigan? Well, I learned how to get organized and follow deadlines. Radio shows are micromanaged and involve a lot of stress, so, I learned about remaining calm under pressure.

I also learned how to deal with people in difficult situations, how not to get caught up in personal work dramas and how to manage the complex egos that fill the entertainment business. I didn’t love the last of these. I did love the music, however.

What was your first job and what did it teach you? What advice would you offer to your granddaughter of grandson who is thinking about what first job to take? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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