Francesca Levy, Senior Editor at LinkedIn, is doing a series over the next three weeks on the Biggest Names in Business and the the First Jobs that Changed Them.
Rather than rehash the Big names, let’s get personal and start a little smaller:
My First Job: Dog Caretaker
It all started when I was 9 years old.
One of our neighbors had passed away and the other was moving into a nursing home. Their daughter had come over and was making all of the arrangements. The couple had a female German Shepherd that their children were not sure what to do with.
The solution? Hire the neighbors daughter (me!) to feed the dog while they figured it all out.
I was so excited about the the opportunity to have my first job. I jumped at the chance to make $5 a week to feed the dog and play with it. That was a lot of money for a kid who didn’t get an allowance!
It wasn’t until after the discussion that I learned my first lesson: the importance of negotiation skills. It never occurred to me that I could have made $7 a week.
I was soon to learn my second business lesson…
It was during the spring and I was in the shed scooping the dog food out of the storage container then into the bowl. That’s when I heard a noise outside behind the back of the shed. It was like a whimpering sound. Curious, I went to the back only to find a pile of puppies!
Yes, you heard me…the second lesson…scope creep!
Now at the time, I didn’t mind…who doesn’t love a pile of puppies when you are 9? One of those puppies became a beloved family pet. I only had a few months left with them as each puppy found a new home and the neighbors daughter took the German Shepherd away.
In retrospect, the lessons then that I still remind myself and clients to do today include:
- don’t jump at every opportunity without first considering it, then ask what you are worth
- and second, if the initial assumptions change, renegotiate the contract.
This leads to YOU…
What was your first job and what lessons did you learn?