Everybody has to take a first step on the job ladder. Even the richest of entrepreneurs started from humble beginnings. (Did you know Stephen King started out as a Janitor? Or that the former president of the USA, Barack Obama, started out as an ice cream server!?)
And of course, everyone has nightmare stories about the jobs they’ve done and their prior tyrannical employers. But surely this is all just a step on the job ladder?
So we decided to ask our own WigWam HQ team about their ‘worst ever job’ – and more importantly, what lessons they learnt from it. So set against the background of ‘Reservoir Dogs’, here we go.
Crank up ‘Stealers Wheel’ – and please try not to chop any ears off!.
Mr Teal: My first job was a door to door sales person, I had to face the elements each day walking for miles, armed only with a soggy clipboard. I knocked on over 150 doors per day and the general public who didn’t appreciate me turning up invited! What I learned is working in these tough conditions helped me to create a mental toughness. Several other colleagues folded under the pressure and left the job almost immediately, whereas I was able to change my perception and see these trials as a challenge!
Mrs Burnt Sienna: I was a Saturday girl in a shoe shop and I hate feet! when someone bought a pair of shoes I had to upsell them polish and or American Tan Tights (that’s an age thing!!) I could sell more accessories on a Saturday then the full time staff did in a week –teaching me how to maximise my work output over a short period of time (aka time management).
Mr Beige: A paper round! There was one particular road where a particularly menacing looking dog would always chase me and try to bite me! I eventually figured out if I planned my route so I went down the road just after the postman, the dog would be pre-occupied chasing him and I could deliver my papers in peace! I learned to spot trends and plan my day.
Mrs Seafoam: My worst job was grading potatoes on a night shift! We would have to grade the same potatoes 3 times,by which time we were pretty much just picking out the stones. The monotony of this job gave me the kick I needed to focus on what I needed to do to head towards a career I would enjoy doing! It also helped me to decide what I didn’t want to do!
Mr Mulberry: In my younger days I was unfortunate enough to have worked in a 24 hour cheap alcohol shop, with no protective glass! Let’s just say the customers were very mean to me and my manager was absolutely militant! This job helped me to develop really thick skin along, with the ability to handle difficult and irate customers. It also set a benchmark for me. When I’ve had difficulties at work, I’ve always reflected back to that job and how it would make me feel, and suddenly it doesn’t feel so bad!
So there you have it. What doesn’t kill you makes you… more employable?
Let’s reflect on the positives of these confessions.
In many ways ‘bad jobs’ are capable of teaching you skills you would never have, although it may feel cruel at the time. It’s all a learning experience, a chance to face adversity and ultimately become a stronger and wiser version of yourself and if nothing else… It will teach you what you don’t want to do!