My mom has told me, on more than one occasion, that as she looked back to her career, every job she had prepared her for the next position she held. For instance, she was an insurance agent for a while, selling insurance plans for cancer. That experience, and knowledge, led her to a job filing insurance at the local hospital, and later, a doctor’s office.
There is much wisdom in her words. I can see the same thing in my own series of jobs. Another advantage is about the things your learn in life as well as a new skill that helps you get the next job.
Looking back in my own job career, I believe there are five jobs that will help you gain perspective in life, work and skills.
The only reality show on TV that I really care about is Undercover Boss. These CEO’s and bosses get to go work on the front lines with their employees and see the challenges they face and the remarkable resilience they have overcome them. It is really an eye-opener for them. I’m sure if you asked them, they would tell you that all bosses should do the same. That is why I always respect bosses more who have a first-hand understanding of what their employees are doing.
1. Sales/Car Sales
Have you ever sold for commission? It might not be your strong-suit, but it is a good experience to have. The bottom line is that businesses have to have salespeople to increase revenue. Recently, I was listening to a venture capitalist explain that in start-ups, everyone has to wear the sales-hat.
The other advantage is learning to receive compensation based on your work. This is the plight of small businesses all the time. In the regular job world, we are used to getting a set wage or salary for our work, regardless of how well we do or do not do, or if we sell something this week. Often, our evaluation changes our wage one way or the other, but it is not a true reflection of the quality or quantity of our work.
If you’ve ever worked a sales job, you appreciate consistency!
2. Manual Labor/Manufacturing
I’ve helped clean up a chicken factory from 10 pm until 6 am. I decided that wasn’t for me! However, I’ve had some other manual labor jobs that I enjoyed and could do fairly well when I was younger. I have mowed lawns, delivered furniture, delivered snacks for vending machines, worked in a warehouse, etc. It was very hard work! And, you can’t be dumb.
Safety is always an issue with manual labor jobs, and mostly, these folks don’t get paid near enough for the work and the risk they take doing the work. Someone has to do this work, and very rarely are they appreciated by their bosses. If only their bosses. . . . never mind.
3. Food Service
This is one of the most ultimate examples of customer service. People are extremely particular about their food. It’s understandable because they are ingesting it in to their bodies. They can get sick if it isn’t cooked thoroughly. Customers also, sometimes, make impossible demands of food service employees.
Retail is another example of extreme customer service. When I worked in retail, I could always tell if my customer had worked in retail before or not. They were usually a little more patient, and treated us with respect. Those that had not worked in retail, often, acted as if they were above you. They felt, somehow, that they had the right to be rude, crude or any other type of behavior towards us that they wanted to. Work in retail, and you will treat people in retail better.
5. Customer Service Call Center
Many jobs have the skill of customer service, but a call center is its own unique experience. It will change how you speak and act when you call in to a call center. Most of the time, these folks know more about your account than you do. They are often overworked and underpaid like most Americans. They get a tremendous amount of customer anger. They try to help customers, but often the customer will simply complain, whine and just yell at them.
Each call center is different, and I can only relate to the one that I have worked in. However, it will, undoubtedly, change how I act and speak to a representative when I call in the future.
Oh yeah, some of the smartest people I have ever met have worked in some of these jobs.
What job experience have you had that learned from? Is it different?
Add jobs you would consider important learning experiences below!
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