My very first job was during my 3rd year of High School through my HS work-study program.

I attended a business preparatory HS that prepared students for the ‘real world’ of business. They offered classes such as word processing, typing, and stenography (just to name a few). These courses were to help students gain new skills to apply for a secretarial/office career in Corporate America.

I had an early morning typing class every day that started at 8:30am. It was a class I selected as my major. Every day I would show up 30 minutes late. I didn’t care for the class much. Never thought I really needed it. I preferred to sleep in and get to class when I was good and ready.

Well, When it was time to be a part of the work-study program, the school found me a job and arranged for me to start working at the Palmer House the following week. The position was for a Typist. I was excited about my first new job.

I arrived my first day at work feeling very nervous. The head secretary showed me where I would be sitting. She than handed me a hand written letter and said, “We need you to type up the letter.” My heart skipped a beat.

I sat in a chair with a big old typewriter in front of me. It was the kind of typewriter where the big metal keys hit the typebar and hit a ribbon.

I nervously started typing. Ten seconds into the typing, I yank the sheet of typing paper out of the type writer, balled it up and threw it into the trash. Same cycle continued for 15 minutes. Mistake after mistake. Balled up paper being thrown into the office trash can. I literally over flowed the waste basket. I just couldn’t get it right.

Needless to say, I was fired my very first day on the job. I remember as it were yesterday. It was early afternoon. I was pretty devastated and embarrassed to say the least.

Since that job experience, I promised I would apply myself to learn new skills so something like this would never happen again. I kept learning new skills ever since and can’t seem to tame that side of me. I wouldn’t want to.

Now, making that promise doesn’t mean I didn’t make any more mistakes along the way in my career journey. I’ve made tons but I’ve always chose to learn from them. I wouldn’t go back to change any of my work experiences. Good or bad. It has attributed to my work ethics over the years and who I am today.

There are many ways people learn and grow and sometimes life lessons are the most impactful. It certainly was for me.

There were many other lessons I’ve learned throughout my working career but that’s a whole other many stories I’ll share with you at a later time.

By Jeanna Zivalich

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