Getting your first job is a momentous event for a kid. I was happy riding my bike and playing street hockey in the Boston area. A job would have infringed on my play time.
The problem was that my best friend, Marc, has a job at a local department store, Zayre.
My parents said, “Marc has a job. Why aren’t you working? You need to go to work too.”
So that’s how I decided to get my first job.
Zayre seemed like a good place to work, so I filled out a job application and waited.
My mom told me, “Give them a call to show that you are interested in them. They have a stack of resumés, and one person calls in, they’ll stand out over the other applicants.”
So I called in and they told me that there were no jobs available.
A while later I called in again.
Still no jobs available.
I waited a while longer, and called in again. This time, they mentioned that there was this one small job making signs that was a few hours a week.
I told them I was interested and was hired!
This might have been the most entry level retail job ever designed, but I was enthusiastic and was determined to be the best sign maker that Zayre had ever seen.
The sign making room, was a very small room in the back of the Garden Shop. In there was a set up that approximated the early days for Benjamin Franklin and the printing press. There was a vintage letterpress, with printers blocks, ink and a roller.
To make the signs, you spelled the words upside down and backwards as you set the letters in the press, then inked the letters, placed your blank sign on the press, and then ran the letterpress roller across the sign to transfer the ink.
Here are some of the signs I made:
Images: Multi-line, multi-colored signs. Advanced!
Image: Being Creative
Image: You had to be careful to spell backwards
Image: Should have said 'ribbed.' The clerks in the women's department had a good laugh at this one.
It was quite an education in printing history.
I went to all the departments and asked if there were any signs that they needed. Then I quickly made and delivered them.
I also made some creative signs that the department managers got a kick out of.
After a short time, I job opened up in the Hardware/Housewares department, and I got that job because of my performance in this lowest of entry level jobs.
Now I was working with my friend Marc.
I worked at Zayre through High School. My boss put me on the schedule for 2:00. I told him, “I can’t come in to work at 2:00, I get out of school at 2:30.”
He told me to get in as soon as I could.
I think I worked three of four days a week, from 3:00 to 10:00 PM.
What got me promoted and kept me employed was doing the best job that I could, proactively looking for things to do, and being pleasant to work with.
These techniques helped me get and perform well in all my future jobs.
Image: With my parents and store assistant manager receiving Zayre college scholarship
What made me think about sharing this story, was MassMutual's #FutureSmart app. It’s a new tool for teaching #kids about making life choices and being smart about #money.
One of the situations asks kids how many hours they want to work. Depending on how many hours they work, the more money they get. When I went through the app and tried to put in how many hours I worked during high school, the app didn't have enough hours per week! It had 20 and I could have worked 28 or more.
I was very dedicated to working and saving money. Most of the money I made in that job at Zayre went into a savings account, where I put away money for college.
This has been a sponsored post for MassMutual.