I was thinking last night about all the different jobs I’ve had over the years, and how many were “relevant” to what I do now. I suppose they were all relevant, since they got me to and are a part of what I am now, but there are a few that I consider to be a direct link to what I do now. They also signal a conscious shift in my outlook with regards to my career. Note that while this is roughly chronological, and includes only wage-earning jobs, I’ve done the same job at multiple employers, so I rolled up those positions.
- Car wash carhop
Learned that ill will created by older siblings can negatively affect job duration
- Gas station attendant
Learned how change the oil in a VW, smoke Marlboro Reds
- Busboy in a fancy restaurant
Leaned how to set a proper table, which side to serve and clear form, hang out with waitresses
- House painter
Learned about importance of health insurance. First management experience, and my team sucked
- Apartment painter
Learned how to paint student housing interiors, survive all day on a diet coke big gulp
- Sorority houseboy
Learned how to steer clear of a house full of college girls
- Mail room of McDonalds world headquarters
Discovered they serve beer in the HQ McDonalds
- Printing plant
Learned about union-mandated breaks
Discovered bar tending isn’t that much fun, really.
- Stereo equipment sales
Learned how commission sales work (or doesnt)
- Lawn maintenance
Learned how to drive a big truck, second management position
Learned that laundromat/bar combinations are a great idea
- Picture framer
Learned how to get involved with much of the female sales staff, third management position
- University telecom warehouse storekeeper
Learned about DOS/Windows, and all the types of RJ jacks. First direct experience leading to current career.
- Telephone customer service/technical support
Learned about flaming co-workers via email not being a good idea, fourth management position. Also first experience working in a meritocratic workplace. Led to beginning of current career.
- Product design and management
Learned I loved designing interactive products, fifth management position. Start of current career.
- University computer science department design intern
Learned I had no idea how to build a large website, learned a lot about methodologically sound research.
- Interaction design consultant
Learned a lot about client management, had to lay off my first employee.
- Interaction design manager
Learned a lot about excellent and horrible management, big company politics.