15 lessons from 15 jobs

15 lessons from 15 jobs

I have had 15 different jobs since the time I could start getting paid. Before, I was doing yard work on our family acre in suburban Wisconsin. I am pretty good at mowing lawns and hauling mulch (if you need my service I gotchu’). You may be assuming I was fired from a job, nope. I have never been fired from a job. You may be assuming I have ADHD, probably. I don’t like to sit still for very long if I have to. Having many jobs has taught me some simple life lessons.

The 15 lessons I have learned (that come first to mind) are repetition, hard work, smart work, do more, experience, listen, ask, humor, stuck, leave, just do it, reputation, time management, job, keep moving forward.

Pick N’ Save Cashier (Spring2012 – Spring2013)
Tuckaway Country Club (Spring2013 – Spring2014)
Uline Warehouse (Summer2014)
Pronto Laundromat (Summer 2015)
ALH Painting (Summer 2015)
UPS truck driver helper (Winter 2015)
Blue Beacon Truck Wash (Summer 2016)
DLK Enterprises (October2016-Summer2017)
Qdoba Mexican Grill (January 2018 – July 2018)
Target (October 2017 – July 2018)
Saz’s Festivals (2018 Wisconsin State Fair)
Brew Fitness (September 2018 – November 2018)
InStep Running and Physical Therapy (September 2018 – November 2018)
Cheba Hut Toasted Subs (November 2018 – April 2019)
Ember Hostel Denver (November 2018 – Current)

Here’s what I learned rom 15 jobs.


Part-time jobs are repetitive. You are given a task and are asked to repeat it (I have rolled many burritos in my day). If you want to gain a skill: do one thing every day until you become efficient. It is up to you if you want to continue. Habits are repeated action/inaction.

Hard work

All the jobs I have had involved movement. Always on my feet moving around, some jobs more hands-on then others. My parents exposed me to the value of hard work while I was growing up. The jobs I had proved their lessons to be true.

Smart work

Combine hard work with smart work and you’re onto something. I’m always trying to figure out the most efficient method to getting the job done. When I worked at DLK Enterprises and had to pick up trash, I would build a 3D model of the route in mind head to find the best route. What is my next best step (I ask myself all the time).

Do more

Help out. When you find yourself not helping out it’s probably a sign that it’s time to change things up, or leave.


You will not learn how to roll a burrito by reading about how to roll a burrito, you must roll a burrito. When I worked at Qdoba I wanted to start rolling burritos right away. I understood that it was practice and repetition that was going to get me to burrito grandmaster (a title I created). You can learn what has not worked for others, but the best learning comes from personal experience.


Active listening is a combination of hearing what the other says and responding with questions. Most often, we are thinking about a time during the conversation when we can tell our experience. We are listening to reply rather then listening to learn. Everyone has something to teach. Even a bum on skidrow can teach you how they got there, whether it be through words or actions.


Again, we are listening to reply instead of listening to learn. In order to become interesting you have to be interested. “What” and “how” questions are open-ended questions – questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”.


Laughter has been shown to increase your mood. I think one of the reasons people enjoy working with me is because I laugh a lot (lol). It’s contagious.


A handful of my past coworkers are stuck. Years have gone by and they stay at the same job, the same routine, complaining, dreaming about something new. We are all a bird in a cage with no door. Some people see the doorway and move on, some are afraid and comfortable.


Coming from a kid who doesn’t have a mortgage, children, or other responsibilities read this with that in mind. If you are not happy, healthy, joyful, growing leave your job.

Just do it

Nike was on to something when they came up with the slogan “Just do it”. Stop talking about what you want to do and just do it. I created a shirt that reads “Stop Talking – Start Doing“.


Your reputation stays with you. Do you want to be known as the guy or gal that never follows through. Don’t make promises you don’t want to do after you have time to think it through (easier said then done).

Time management

We all have 24 hours in the day. Jobs are very limited because in most situations there is a cap on time and compensation. And, when you get fired or quit (poof) it’s all gone. Most employers don’t want their part-time employees working overtime. Working overtime is a waste of time. All the hours clocked-in are hours taken from doing what we want. Study the people who are “successful” and learn how they spend their time.


In hindsight, I see a pattern in all the jobs: the learning process. I love to learn, and each job brought with it new challenges, experiences, knowledge, friendships. To me work becomes a job when there is nothing left for me to learn. When I start to work for the paycheck instead of the experience I know it is time to move on.

Keep moving forward

“Everything grows, it’s destined to change”

J. Cole

Follow your interests, rather then passions. I was never passionate about rolling burritos, hauling carpets, or washing trucks in the humidity. I was interested about the job and wanted to learn. Have the courage to keep moving forward when the interest fades.

Click here to read the previous article: Filter failure

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