All posts tagged: First Job

May Issue: First Jobs

What were some of your very first jobs? Mine: babysitter; Asher’s candy store salesperson; ice cream scooper, book shop salesperson, John Wannamaker’s retail associate, 18th-century-preserved science museum helper. Our first jobs aren’t necessarily the ones we want for the long haul, they may not be our dream career, but they leave us with important lessons that stick with us forever. For example: When a child runs after you with a butter knife, hide in the closet and call their parents. The freshest food items are in the very back row. People always smile when presented with ice cream. Tear up anything you wouldn’t want someone to read in 150 years. In our new issue, we’re looking back at our earliest gigs with 20/20 hindsight — from the silliest to the scariest to the ones that illuminated a new path. Stacy London almost loses her cookies Robin Gelfenbien drives a giant weiner Dee Poku battles fashionable bullies Mallory Kasdan follows Ru-Paul around the country And Lauren Young tracks the first jobs of famous folk Our authors …

Bad Grades and Chocolate Chips: Stacy London’s First Job

Photo: Stocksy I ended my sophomore year in High School almost failing out of algebra. The D+ I received was generous and my grades in other subjects were pretty mediocre too. My parents weren’t just disappointed in me, they were livid. Here I was their oldest daughter, failing at everything, and whether their concern was for me, or the way my lack of achievement reflected on them, it didn’t really matter. My parents were divorced. Back in those days, they never spoke. My sister and I would had to have leprosy for them to get on the phone. But my academic apathy was enough to have them talking daily. This was a five-alarm fire, an earthquake, a tsunami. It was decided, without my consent, that I would have to get a job. My Father gave me the news over the phone: “Stacy London,” he said, “ You do not understand the value of a dollar. Don’t tell me you want to go to Paris! I’ll send you to Paris Island!” (A military base, of some kind …

You Better Work: My First Boss and Ru-Paul

On RuPaul’s book tour (Photos courtesy of the author) My first job out of college was as an assistant to a publicist at Hyperion, a “boutique” publishing house owned by a quaint corporation called The Walt Disney Company. We had ID cards with a Mickey Mouse hologram on them. Seriously. My boss, Jennifer, was a tall, brassy, 27-year-old woman who somehow seemed as old to me as one of the Golden Girls. She was fierce, whip smart, and a little bit scary. Jen liked a large iced coffee and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, which I ordered for her every morning. This was back when people ate bagels. She taught me to take a thorough phone message. To grill the “freelance book reviewers” trying to get free review copies. To massage the egos of the needier authors and only get her out of “a meeting” if it was someone specific. She taught me to pitch reporters, the most awkward and agonizing part of publicity work. While at Hyperion, Disney was bought by ABC, …

My Dream to Crisscross the Country in a World-Famous Wiener

Robin on the hotdog highway (Photo courtesy of the author) I couldn’t wait to get to college. I was going to study Broadcast Journalism at the same school where Dick Clark and Bob Costas went — the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Not because I wanted to do hard news. Oh, no. I wanted to do features like interview Ricky Schroeder at the mall or be the wacky weather girl. I dream big. Freshman year started and everything was going great. I made friends easily, I got involved in all kinds of activities, I had my first Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler and the best part? I had an awesome roommate, Mindy Cohen. Not to be confused with the one from “The Facts of Life.” Although that would have been awesome. We loved all the same things like air-popped popcorn, musicals, and Balki from “Perfect Strangers.” I was having the time of my life until I started to hear the strangest thing every time I came in and out of my dorm. It was almost …

Do You Know Who I Am!? Perils of a First-Time Fashion Week Assistant

Photo: Stocksy I was a 20-year old recent math graduate with enviable job offers and a potentially lucrative career in banking already on my horizon. But… something was missing. For one, I never actually wanted to work in finance. I wanted to be creative but no one would ever let me. Ever since my school teachers discovered at the tender age of eleven that I had a talent for math and sciences, I’d been nudged, cajoled and downright shoved (the shoving part by my parents) in that unwanted direction. Now I felt backed into a corner. Most people rebel in their teens but I’d been raised by strict Ghanaian parents in London. As an immigrant, I was well aware of the sacrifices they’d made to give me a good education and I didn’t dare start pushing back against authority until I was prepared to leave home.. Then one day, I was walking down the street, deep in thought when I caught a glimpse of the really swanky west London office building that always had the …

How I Came to Love Shipping (and the Hot UPS Guy)

I was fifteen years old, answering phones in the main office of my high school. “Good afternoon, Park Ridge High School, how may I direct your call?” I’d look up the extension on the printed sheet and punch the square plastic buttons for HOLD and TRANSFER. My best friend had a work-study job in the guidance office, and I put in a few hours a week at my floating desk in the front office. One day, I was answering phones and a tall, handsome woman in a pantsuit pushed open the glass door. She introduced herself as a small business owner from down the street, and said she wanted to post a help wanted notice. “I need someone to work in my business, doing office work after school hours.” I took the index card from her and read the typed requirements. Typing, filing, something about shipping. “I’d like to apply,” I said. I put the card in my pocket, as if to say, I’m not posting this on any bulletin board. “All right,” she said. …

tuenight first job black at school kelly wickham

Being Black at School: A Teacher Creates a Better Classroom

I was born in Chicago, raised on the south side and Hyde Park, and finished high school in the south suburbs. My upbringing was so diverse that there didn’t appear to be a dominant culture. It wasn’t until we went to the suburbs that I asked my white mother, “Where did all these white people come from?” My dad is Black, and all our friends were a blend of countless cultures. In that very white environment, I found myself searching for any kind of color and I also began to hear, for the first time, about how proud the people were for being colorblind. It’s funny that I’ve only ever heard this expression from white people who use it as a way to let others know how great they are for not considering color. It’s even funnier that they never notice the absence of color when they’re surrounded by homogenous populations. After graduation, I continued south to college and then again to start my career as a high school teacher. My first professional job came …

tuenight first jobs magnet factory wendy scherer

Working in a Magnet Factory and the Lessons That Stuck

I have always understood about working for a living. In fact, I got my first job at age five. My dad ran a magnet factory. Yes, you read that right. A magnet factory. I hear business is picking up! (yuk yuk yuk) What an attractive business! Drawn in to the magnetic field. You know, opposites attract. Yes, I’ve heard them all. My dad hired me when I was still in kindergarten. My job? To stamp manila envelopes. Small ones. Coin envelope size. Inside each was a sheet of magnutties — a sheet of scored magnetic rubber that you could break apart into 50 (or was it 100?) teeny rubber magnets. All I had to do was ink the stamper and stamp the envelopes. I distinctly remember staring at huge piles of envelopes. [pullquote]I filled in where I was needed. I busted my ass. It was hot and fast and fun. We were a team.[/pullquote] I’m not saying it was hard, but you know what it’s like — sometimes the stamp isn’t straight, sometimes some words …