Work & Purpose

What Were Your First Seven Jobs?

This trending topic shows how we, and the economy, have changed

What do your first seven jobs say about you? And about the way our world has changed since you were a kid?

Last week, a Twitter user named Marian Call started a viral trend when she tweeted her first seven jobs. (These days, she’s a singer-songwriter based in Juneau, Alaska.) Among the celebrities who’ve since tweeted their first seven jobs: Stephen Colbert, Buzz Aldrin, Mo Rocca and Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’ve been fascinated by the lists showing up in my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds with the hashtag #firstsevenjobs.

Comparing my experience as a Gen X’er to those of my older and younger friends, relatives and followers is just plain fun.

Summer Jobs

But a story just published in MarketWatch takes this one step further. In it, reporter Maria Lamagna points out how these tweets provide a snapshot of how the world of work has changed. There’s the rise of the service economy and then the sharing (aka gig) economy of today. The story also pointed out something I hadn’t thought about much before: a decline in summer jobs for teens.

“More than half of teenagers worked summer jobs in the 1970s and 1980s, while now about one in three do,” says Lamagna, citing a 2015 Pew Research Center study.

“Restaurants and retail outlets are still hiring teens, but not as many as in the past, and the number of jobs in summer camps, neighborhood pools, amusement parks are not growing,” the story goes on. In addition, technological advances mean a decrease in low-skilled first jobs, Lamagna said.

Teen Memories

This all made me nostalgic for the good old days when I was a teenager:

  1. babysitter
  2. fitting room attendant
  3. stock room girl
  4. cashier
  5. horse track pizza slinger
  6. boutique clerk
  7. lumber company office worker  

Every one of those #firstsevenjobs opened my eyes to the world in some way.

By Heidi Raschke
Heidi Raschke is a longtime journalist and editor who previously was the Executive Editor of Mpls-St. Paul Magazine and Living and Learning Editor at Next Avenue. Currently, she runs her own content strategy and development consultancy.@heidiraschke

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