The road to workplace stardom can take many forms. From coffee slaving intern to the best babysitter in town, few people start their journey into the workforce by being handed the keys to a corner office. While you may not realize it at the time, sometimes even the oddest jobs pose unique challenges that are exactly what you need to excel in your dream job later in life.
We asked members of the Wix family to share their stories about their first jobs, and how it prepared them for working at a hyper-creative and technologically driven place like Wix.
Probably the weirdest thing I had to do on the job was that I had to iron the husband’s shirts. I did such a terrible job that the husband decided to demonstrate his mad ironing skillz to me. That’s when I realized that I’d plugged the iron in, but never turned the dial up.
In all fairness: – I’d never held an iron in my life – No one told me that the iron actually had to be hot :-)
My one piece of advice isn’t from a job, but an old family motto: If it looks like chocolate, don’t taste it, because it’s probably not chocolate.
When I was a kid a friend and I sold fireworks out of our backpacks on Independance Day. Being young and stupid, we didn’t actually have a license, so when we caught sight of the police I would yell out to my friend to hide the fireworks and run!
I like to consider this job my first entrepreneurial venture, and my biggest takeaway is that entrepreneurship works!
When I was 21 years old, I worked as a firefighter. One of my most memorable days on the job was when we had to put out a fire at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. I felt like a superhero; I literally had to scale the outside of the building to reach the 8th floor and put out the flames.
You wouldn’t think that working as a firefighter could prepare you for a job at Wix, but I learned some valuable lessons:
1. Team building is incredibly important.
2. You never know what the next moment will bring.
3. Expertise counts and your boss may actually know better than you do.
4. When put in a crisis situation, sometimes you need to trust your instincts in order to make quick decisions.
Fresh out of high school I worked as a sports journalist for Yediot News, the biggest newspaper in Israel. Like most first jobs, I had to start small, and I initially covered obscure high school sports like handball for the paper. I’m a huge sports fanatic, so I figured finding a way to combine my passion for sports and marketing would be the ultimate gig, however over time my passion evolved and I came to realize that sports was best left for after work hours.
The biggest thing that I learned from my earlier days is that a strong work drive and a spark of passion is the main force that you need to excel in anything you do.
The coolest job I ever had came completely by chance. I was walking down a street in Paris, and a guy stopped me and asked if I was interested in joining him at a casting call for a commercial he was working on. I was a students at the time so I said, why not?
Next thing I knew I was selected to star in a Russian chocolate ad. They offered me $3,000, flew me to Moscow, and put me up in a 5 star hotel with a personal assistant, all for a few seconds of TV time! You can see the final product here:
After that I was offered some modeling work in magazines. The best thing I learned from this experience is to seize the moment, you never know where saying “yes” will take you.
I had my first job when I was 10 years old, when over summer vacation I would deliver breakfast groceries to people’s doorstep before the early morning rush. I would wake up at 4am, get in a van and travel to wealthier neighborhoods where I would leave a bag with bread rolls, milk, cheese and other breakfast goodies at our customer’s doorsteps. The biggest obstacle in this job (other than juggling massive bags of food) was evading the neighborhood dogs to get the groceries to the doorsteps safely!
To optimize the van-to-doorstep time, I would often hop out of the van before it came to a full stop… which naturally resulted in me badly hurting my arm once. This is a perfect analogy for my work at Wix. Just like jumping out of a van before you’re ready, launching a product too soon also has its setbacks – but it can also help you reach your market sooner.
For (too long) in my 20s, I worked as a waitress at a local bar. Not only was I barely taller than the bar top itself, but being the young and cool waitress that I thought I was, I decided that wearing glasses on the job would cramp my style. Needless to say, that decision, to literally not see my customers, made me one of the worst waitresses in the industry. BTW my tips completely matched my performance.
My biggest career takeaway from this job is that image isn’t everything and that sometimes you need to put your ego aside in order to get a job done well. Seeing something doesn’t hurt either.
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And just before we part, remember to follow Wix on LinkedIn for more career and work advice.
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