My First Job – Pizza Restaurant Extraordinaire!

first job pizza

My First Job – Pizza Restaurant Extraordinaire!

My very first job wasn’t a glorious job, but it taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I’ve carried with me. I worked at a pizza restaurant near the end of my high school years to earn some extra money. I ended up saving most of the money for college, but I did spend a bit to have fun too! So, what lessons did I learn?

The Hardest Workers Don’t Always Get Ahead

It seems that most people are always taught that hard work will pay off. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. It’s true in some cases, but it definitely wasn’t true in my first job.

I witnessed the hardest workers often get taken advantage of. They were rarely promoted. You have to put yourself in a position for your hard work to get noticed if you want to take advantage of it.

So what did I take away from this lesson? You should always make sure that you’re communicating how hard you’re working to the people that matter, rather than just your shift supervisor who doesn’t care and has no power to make changes.

Two more notes about working hard. You should make sure that you’re working hard on what the boss needs you to work hard on, not on personal pet projects that the boss doesn’t care about. Second, sometimes you can avoid hard work by working smart. There’s no shame in that!

Bad Management Can Quickly Sink A Business

To say we had bad management at my first job was a complete understatement. I didn’t expect anything stellar from a pizza restaurant, but when the general manager, assistant manager and shift supervisors all did drugs while on the clock using money from the cash register you have a problem.

How bad did it get? After legitimately being robbed once, the assistant manager got the idea that he should stage a robbery to pay off his drug dealer. He was never formerly charged, but he was promptly fired and we never saw him again.

I left for college and had to leave my first job behind. Just two years later when I returned from school to work for the summer, I found out the restaurant had been closed down. Bad management drove the restaurant into the ground. Literally. They tore the building down and built a jewelry store in its place.

Stay In School, Don’t Do Drugs & Respect Yourself

The biggest thing I learned from my first job was I didn’t want it to become my career. There were a couple of good role models at my store and they strongly suggested I try my best in college so I could get a good job after I graduated. I’m so glad I did!

Another lesson I learned was to not do drugs. It can easily lead you down the wrong path and can ruin your finances. If you’re so desperate that you have to rob your workplace to pay off your drug dealer, then you’ve pretty much hit rock bottom. Never venture down this path and you won’t have to deal with the potentially awful consequences.

Finally, there was one lesson that I didn’t learn at the time that I wish I would have. I should have respected myself enough to not stick around at that job. I put myself in some horrible situations that easily could have been avoided by finding another job. Luckily, nothing bad happened to me. However, because the job was easy, I stuck around. Respect yourself enough to not fall into these situations. Don’t take the easy way out. Do the right thing.

What was your first job and what lessons did you learn?

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Lance Cothern
Lance Cothern loves everything personal finance and has his own blog exploring his thoughts on the subject at MoneyManifesto.com. Together with his wife, they've paid of over $80,000 in student loans on their way to financial success! In addition to his blog, you can connect with him on TwitterFacebookPinterest or Google+.