My First Jobs

Brent Pittman —  10/20/2011

Chopping wood is tough work!

I’ve had a lot of jobs throughout the years doing a variety of tasks. These jobs have helped me to identify with a lot of different groups of people and appreciate work, hard work. I wanted to compile a list of jobs and tasks that I’ve done for money, so one day my kids will ask me “Dad you really did ______?”

I will smile, nod, and explain about how people used to order food at restaurants from real live people. I’ll explain what the mall is and how teenagers used to work there in mass. (Amazon will replace the mall soon no doubt).

Here is my list of paid jobs & tasks starting back in the beginning to the end of college.

  1. Shoveling horse poop out of stalls.
  2. Raking leaves.
  3. Pool cleaner
  4. Chopping wood.
  5. Mowing grass.
  6. Babysitting. (yes, I did do this a few times)
  7. Painting Houses-I painted houses in the summer  during high school. This skill has been used many times to make a quick buck. I even painted again when my dad began his painting company Southeast Painting in Nashville, TN.
  8. Shoe Salesman- Al Bundy would have been proud. I sold baby Jordans by the dozens my senior year of high school.
  9. Bus-boy, Server, dishwasher, kitchen helper- I worked crazy hours after graduating from high school to save up for my second car at Outback Steakhouse. It worked and I bought my Geo Metro that got me through 4 years of college.
  10. Server- I got two gold stars on my apron serving fried food, breakfast, and veggies at Cracker Barrel my first semester of college.
  11. I’m not sure what my title was, but I worked in the Men’s Department folding clothes and measuring men’s suits and pants (very awkward) at J.C. Penny’s. This was also in college.
  12. Trucking Lumper– One spring break I unloaded trucks at night and re-stacked the pallets. This was hard and made me remember that studying wasn’t too bad. I made much better grades the following semester.
  13. Day care worker and summer day care worker. I co-taught a class of 20 kindergartners after school. This was enough birth control to last me a decade.
  14. Construction worker framing houses and cleaning up construction sites.
  15. Youth worker- I was a youth worker in Miami, FL one summer at a small church. I got to work on my Spanish and got introduced to beans and rice, beans and rice, beans and rice….
  16. Education Library worker- What better place to to talk to girls in college than the education college’s library?
  17. Admissions department file room- We called this place “The Dungeon” and we filed and mailed till our fingers bled.
Wow that’s a lot of jobs! No wonder I can do almost anything. I’ll have to check with some friends and family to see if I missed any. What jobs did you have before or during college?
(Photo by Micahel Dales)

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
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  • That is a lot of jobs for sure! It is nice to have some experiences like that down the road.

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  • Oh man! I’ve done it all. Cafes. Event hospitality. Call centre. Tutoring. Office work. “Security” at events.  (Never done retail, though – how I tried to get a retail job and failed. In hindsight, I probably would’ve hated it. I’ve seen retail from the other side, though, as a mystery shopper). 

    • Never tried mystery shopping, though it could be fun catching people goofing off and vindicating a win for greater customer service good. 

  • Nik

    Nice list you have there,

    I have done many similar ones, my first “regular” was doing dishes every weekend at a restaurant. making popcorn at the local cinema was great since I could go and watch as many movies I liked (with one friend). That was probably worth more the money I earned but who cares. It was fun and had good benefits.


    • My best friend in high school also worked at a movie theater, so I’ve seen quite a few free movies myself.