Inspired by Elizabeth Irgens’s note, here’s a brief stroll down memory lane where I’ll touch on previous jobs.
My first real job was working as a retail clerk for Best Buy. This was in the days before their current CEO (2020) revamped their approach to pricing and customer service. As a checkout clerk, we were held to conversion metrics such as selling a certain number of protection plans, and getting customers to sign up for terrible credit cards.
I learned that it’s not as hard to upsell people if you instill a little doubt about the quality of the product they’re buying. In all reality, most people didn’t need the protection plans, or the protection plans that were sold didn’t offer the coverage we were told to imply.
The Internship (absolutely nothing like the movie)
My second job was during Sophomore year of college, and it was one of the best ever. F5 Networks offers technical internships, and I was lucky enough to land one.
I learned a lot of what I know about working with bash, building and maintaining server racks, and web development. I also learned a bit about office politics, and that internships don’t always lead to job placement in a company. That was a rough lesson to learn.
Shortly after my internship was over, I started working for a medium sized business in stores/receiving, later to switch to shipping. Here I learned what a hard day’s work really was, how to stand for 10 hours on end working through freezing temperatures.
My takeaway was that I’m not really cut out of blue collar labor on the regular. I’m an office man, through and through.
The Money People
I worked for a time as a database/server admin + general IT guy for a small financial advising firm. It was a stuffy business, both the clients and my fellow coworkers were mostly super conservative religious types. In fact, my boss even tried to get me to join a church so I could get free health insurance through them.
I didn’t, and I learned a powerful lesson. These guys paid me $10 / hour in 2014 for skills that took me a long time to hone. Just because a door is open, doesn’t mean you walk through it – and if you do and the room isn’t to your liking, walk back through that door.
The Medical Field
After a struggle of conscience and will, I decided that I needed to dip my toes in the medical field to see if it was right for me. I became a CNA and worked in an assistive living facility. It was all pretty hands off, save getting to help with med pass.
I highly enjoyed my time at this job, and I learned compassion for those struck by degenerative disease. I also feel pity for all people in nursing homes / assistive living whose highlight of the day is to go down to the dining room an hour early to just sit and wait for a mediocre dinner.
The Addiction Recovery Center
Much like my work as a CNA, working to help addicts through their recovery process was a very pivotal point in my life. It taught me compassion and understanding for those suffering from addiction, and changed my perspective in a huge way.
Triad Behavioral Health
Once I completed web development certs, I started to work for an e-learning company. This was my baptism by fire for Laravel, and I was really able to flex my PHP skills. I also learned how to work with people who were remote.
I would have stayed with this company longer, but they shut our department down.
The Dev Shop
Almost immediately after I left TBH, I started working for a development firm in Spokane. They were on the small size, 12 employees in total, with about 7 full time developers. I learned about networking, and how to work remotely with other companies on a daily basis. Ultimately, I found that I wasn’t happy jumping from project to project, being unable to take long term ownership of any products/projects, and having to kiss ass to rude customers.