What's behind the first seven jobs phenomenon

What were your first seven jobs? In August the Twitter hashtag #firstsevenjobs ignited thousands of responses and an intriguing question: What is all of the hoopla?

I believe it is like passing by a house with its lights on and curtains open. We are curious about the insides.

In a world where we get to see a lot of finished products – books, renovated homes, photographs, the person on stage – we have no idea of how it got done.

It stirs our imagination.

Through the first seven jobs we see origins of a career path. Behind the job is a host of skills and experience at the core of who we are today. Each of those jobs gave shape to the ones following and ultimately what leads us to the work we love (hopefully).

Like many other young women in my generation, my first job was babysitting. There I learned a good deal about patience, compassion and how glad I was it was a limited-time offer. Tough work!

Babysitting also taught me about staying when the going gets rough, solving problems in the moment and there is nothing like playing to set the world all right again. Children know what is top priority. Having fun.

For finding work that matters, children would make good advisors.

            Here is the list of my first seven jobs:

  1. Babysitter
  2. Census enumerator
  3. Bookkeeper/Cashier
  4. Convenience Store Clerk
  5. Factory Worker
  6. Highways Department Clerk/Dispatcher
  7. Carhop

When I look at this list as well as the 27+ occupations that followed, the path is winding, about synchronicity and circumstance. I hear this from other people.

Where and who I am today has so much to do with the road that brought me here. 

For example, the factory work I did was my first “adult” job. At 19, I was one of the youngest workers. Daily I had a vision of my future life with a pension and yearly wage increases.

The promise of a growing bank account for a big dream of going to Australia began to pale during my mind-numbing shifts at the end of a conveyor belt.

I learned a lot about myself in that job. I hate routines. Read: I love variety. I hated being at one station once I learned the ropes. Read: I love a learning curve. I also learned the value of showing up.

Indeed the lessons of the first seven jobs are rich.

The popularity of the Twitter first seven jobs is also connected to a curiosity we have about roots. History.

Though the myth of the overnight success lives on, we know people who we consider successful followed a path. What brought them to the work they are doing today? And how do I get there?

Why also we love looking at first seven jobs is because it is fun. We can all use play in our day. Ask a child.

I would love to hear your thoughts.  What were your first seven jobs? Click on the comments button below.