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My First Job

My First Job

I actually had two first jobs. One I consider my first job ever. And the other I think of as my first job as an adult. Both were very good learning experiences that taught me life lessons. And they also reinforced a common process of decision-making in my life: they helped me understand what I did like, by doing what I didn't.

The employment options available to me in high school were limited because of my disability. Most retail and fast food positions, common sectors for teenage hires, were too physically demanding or inaccessible. So when an opportunity came along to get paid for talking on the phone (telemarketing), it seemed like a perfect fit. For about six months of my junior year, I did cold calls about three nights a week for Farmer's Insurance. This was back in the early 90's when insurance agents had list books of phone numbers and they would pay young folks such as myself, to call and solicit people for home, auto or life insurance. I mostly pitched auto insurance. If I could keep someone on the phone long enough to answer some basic questions, and ideally agree to have an agent follow up, that was a win. A minimum of 10 wins in one night was considered a good night.

Well, good, according to the agent. Bad for me. Looking back I have no idea how I even lasted six months at that job. While I felt a temporary sense of accomplishment, only punctuated by the delivery of a paycheck every two weeks, it wasn't enough to make me love the job.