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CHOG #27 - WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

My first job was at a downtown Atlanta real estate development firm located in a skyscraper that this company had just developed and were busy as the leasing and management company of said building. I thought I was jack-s**t!


I “graduated” early, in March of my senior year of high school, and got this job. The office was gorgeous and prestigious. The women I worked with were so sophisticated and polished. The men in the office, so successful and confident. I was in heaven! But wait, I got my first paycheck and there must be a mistake! I go into the office of my manager and tell him so. Ohh….taxes….I didn’t realize would take so much….I was so embarrassed and so mad! I was 18 years old.


By the time I was 20 years old, I had had several jobs and finally landed (with my dad’s help) a job at one of the top 3 trucking companies in the country. My salary (in 1978) was approaching $30,000/year! THIS WAS UNHEARD OF! None of my friends could believe it….how in the world could I be making that much money at that time and at my age!? Well, it was because of the unionization of this industry. While not being unionized myself, we reaped the benefits of this bargaining agreement and that was that. I worked at that company for 13 years, salary increasing yearly, and pretty much hated it every day. It was a small office of 6 executives and their administrative assistants and the atmosphere was not pleasing. Thank goodness my boss was a wonderful man and he and I had a great relationship, but the overall environment, awful.


There is that saying that if you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. Well, that was true (after I left this job), of the rest of my working life until I retired. You may ask, how did you ever leave such a lucrative job. Well, that’s a story. Of course, this job helped to propel Steve and I as a young married couple in so many wonderful ways and I will always be grateful for that. But, when Steve’s (now more lucrative job than mine) company transferred him to Houston, TX in 1990 to run the office, we had to take that opportunity. My company offered me a transfer as well, and after talking with my new boss in Houston, and getting all the particulars of my new job, I arrived on my first day, and what do you know, there was no job for me. I’ll leave the story there because there is really so much to it, but I just turned around, went and picked up Hayden at the preschool that I had researched for the 2 weeks of “getting myself organized in Houston before starting my job” and went home. I ultimately got a job with a Texas “oil man” that had recently bought his own company and was busy setting up a gorgeous office space and building his team and it was a match made in heaven, for me. I was, not only his administrative assistant, but also his personal assistant and participated in his family’s life which I loved. It was incredibly hard to leave our life in Houston when, 3 years later, Steve was transferred back home to Atlanta. Now what?


Well, if you have read my book, Insert Giggle Giggle, Laughing Your Way Through Raising Kids and Running a Business, you know the journey of the rest of my working life. So, what about you? Did you have an interesting career path? Did you ever find the job that you didn’t think of as a job? Are you maybe in a job that satisfies your economic needs but is unfulfilling or maybe even a detriment to your happiness? I discuss in my book that, being a baby boomer, I didn’t “get” the work-life balance mentality of so many of my employees (millennials) when we owned our business. Of course, I strived to provide a pleasant work environment for my employees, and for myself as well, but there is so much “out there” that’s considered “normal” to provide for employees these days that is hard for a small business owner, or maybe even a large corporation, to maybe even be aware of, much less to provide or compete with. I have an interesting story about a company that one of my employees currently works for in my book - you wouldn't believe all the "perks" they provide their employees!


Like so many things in life, sometimes the toughest things to do, to overcome, or (yes) to accept, creates the most meaningful part of your life as far as growth and as far as potential happiness. If the horrible situation of me moving to Texas, buying a home based on two lucrative paychecks, showing up and not having that job, didn’t happen, then I would not have had the incredible experience I did have with the job I ultimately had in Houston. I could give more examples of people that I know that had similar bad experiences with a job or a career that they thought they would never recover from that led them to experience a whole new career that they loved and couldn’t imagine a life without. Maybe starting their own business like Steve and I did or maybe being able to explore a talent they had that was left untapped due to the work grind. Who knows?

Did you work as a teenager? My boys didn’t. Both of them had interests that totally occupied their free time (as in time not spent in school), as well as ours (insert giggle giggle). Hayden was an Irish dancer from 8 years old until his freshmen year in college. He had practices 3 times a week, weekend workshops once a month or so, and competitions every 4-6 weeks all over the country and the world. He participated 3 times in the Irish Dance World Competition held in Ireland and Scotland. William was a baseball player. He was in “travel ball” from the age of 12 and also had weeknight practices, games all weekend, local as well as out of state tournaments, a week of tournaments in Cooperstown, then high school college prep leagues and college scouting showcases, all leading to awards and collegiate team championships. Both boys attended college on scholarships.

We sometimes were asked why our boys never had a job. Well, there wasn’t time for one (insert giggle giggle). I sometimes thought that maybe they wouldn’t know how to commit to a job since they didn’t have experience at a young age of having one. But you know what? Each of their commitments, not only to work hard to achieve success for themselves but also to contribute to an overall team success, instilled in both of them the work ethic necessary to be successful in their careers. They are both the hardest “workers” I know….


So, how did you arrive at your current career? Was it through a lot of interesting, awful, or inspiring jobs that each taught you a little something along the way? Or have you arrived at your current career in other ways, just as interesting, awful, and inspiring….? Or hey, maybe you haven’t yet “arrived” at your dream career. Keep looking for that time when you are working hard but don’t feel like you are “working” at all !


Next up……Does Your Family Have Traditions? Have your read about that in my book !!

Always remember to insert a giggle giggle ~Kay 😊

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