What was your first work experience?
Not your first job. When I ask this question, the answers range from delivering newspapers, picking vegetables on a neighbor’s farm, babysitting, cleaning out the horse barn for a neighbor, caddying at the local golf course to picking berries in the garden.
My first work experience was when I was 10 years old. My Mom had gone back to work as a nurse and had said (or what I heard her say) that her return to work was because we needed the money. I thought that if I could contribute to the family budget, my mom would not have to work. I knew that my getting a job was out of the question because of my age.
I was very skilled at making potholders. Remember those square looms with the loopy things that you stretched over the loom? I could turn out very nice potholders and learned from my grandmother how to sew a ring for hanging on one corner. It was summer vacation and I began to manufacture potholders. When I had enough product to sell, I initiated my door-to-door sales career. I knocked on our neighbors’ doors and sold my wares at 75¢ each or 2 for $1.00. I even had a special orders! Color combinations were requested. I used the money I made to buy more loops.
Then some neighbor shared with my Dad how impressed she was at my entrepreneurship. My business closed that evening. My parents had no idea I was knocking on doors and selling potholders! They probably thought I was loving my hobby. When I explained to my Dad that I wanted to contribute to the family budget so Mom would be able to stay home, he tried to explain that Mom’s return to work was because nurses were needed in the hospital and Mom was a good nurse.
I had not thought about this early experience as a first work experience until recently. As I told the story, it was evident that there was some important learning in the recollection. The entrepreneurial spirit was there early on! At the age of 10, I had no fear when it came to offering what I considered to be of value. I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange of my work for money. And, the comments about my great handiwork and choice of colors were very welcome. At the time, I didn’t fret or worry about what I didn’t know! I just acted on my idea. I have used those early skills over and over in my business.
If you are so inspired, please share your first work experience.