Humble Beginnings

Last week, we looked at the subject of motivation - what it is, how it works and when it doesn't.

In our continuing and ever-blossoming search for improvement, we thought we'd take some time to delve into the stories of the folk here at Folk.

Someone once said that big things often have small beginnings - well, we all start somewhere, right?

So, without further ado, we reflect on some of the lessons we have learned from our very first jobs  that remain with us to this day.

An assistant in a film company

That having the courage to make yourself feel a little vulnerable by saying you don't understand something, and ask questions, is extremely important.

I worked in Mace, aged 15

Minimum wage was not good and the fresh bread was not that fresh ... but talking to people wasn't that scary (I was super shy at the time).

Schuh, Sales Assistant

Going the extra mile can really make a difference to someone else's day (and that some people have really bad taste in shoes). 

Ambient Replenishment Assistant (shelf stacker) at Safeway

You can still chop a lump out of your finger even if 'safety' is written on the side of the knife. I also learnt that caring bosses get a better quality of work out of their staff (me) and that purposeful work with meaning is much more motivating to staff than work where the employee can't see how it fits into the bigger picture.

When I was 9 I bought a box of water damaged footballs stickers from the market, and sold them outside school for double the price they were in the shops.

You can sell stuff you would never buy for yourself - opportunities can be found in unlikely places.

Branch manager of a garage. 

Being confident as I had to tell people, who had been working there for 30 years, what to do and how to do it. I also learnt that being 15 and telling people who are halfway through Ramadan what to do is not always well received. 

Technical Support – SAQ Internet

What 0x800CCC0F means.

Waitress in The Gallery (Pizza restaurant)

The art of dealing with customers - listen well (and let them think they are right!).

Onion factory worker

If you have the right people with you, even the shittiest job can still be fun!

Burger King

I learned that being myself and working hard gets you more responsibility and better hours (and sometimes free food).

Dancing the can-can at events aged 15 (professionally - nothing seedy)

I learnt to double check you have everything you need (still learning that one), to practice, practice, practice, to not get drunk on the job, and that you can get paid for doing something you love. 

A lovely sports shop called First Sport

How to up-sell. Buyers of Reebok Classics were always partial to the latest pair of slouchy nylon socks and a can of protector spray!

Strawberry picker at a fruit farm in Somerset

I used to be smaller and slower than the bigger kids who picked twice as fast as me, so I used to nick their full boxes and palm them off as mine! As the saying goes, "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

Yes traditionally speaking, our first jobs are often pretty unpleasant experiences - scary, demanding and unfair (c'est la vie).

There's a lot we can take away from our very first experience of work in the long run; it just depends how we approach it.

The glass is half full, if you want it to be!

What was your first job, and did you take anything away from it?

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