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10 Lessons from Over a Dozen Jobs

My cousin says that I'm a renaissance woman. working on ze bite

A renaissance woman is defined as a woman who has broad intellectual interests and is accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences.

It is also a generous way to say that I have been a bit all over the place in my career.  I see life as an education and I am always excited to learn new skills.  Because of this I have been everything from a waitress, a chef, a nanny, a producer, a travel writer, a skincare advisor and more.

While I envy those who excel at one thing, I am trying to see the benefits of my multiple careers.  For one thing, I have learned a lot, and I have respect for every job choice out there.

So why not share with you?  Here are 10 lessons from doing well over a dozen jobs...

No job is easy.

You can't understand how hard someone's job is until you do it yourself.  Working in a restaurant involves being a in a live theatre performance and team challenge every evening.  Being a nanny means being part therapist, chef, cleaner, tutor, role model and caregiver.  Working in sales requires serious product knowledge, an in depth understanding of people, and focusing on someone else's needs all day long.  Cleaning someone else's house is physically exhausting.

To be honest, some of my most respected and well paid jobs were the easiest.  I did my job, I did it well, and I was compensated.  The jobs where my skills were most underestimated, and where I was compensated the least, have often been the most challenging, soul sucking and grueling.

Tip your waitress.  Be kind to your barista.  Say please and thank you to those serving you.

All you can control is your reactions.

I've worked in a lot of high pressure environments.  Most notably, working as a story producer for the biggest reality show in Canada.  My calm energy got me really far on this job.  At one point, when working as a date producer, one of the most stressful jobs on the show, I forgot something really important.  My eyes teared up and I started to breathe a little more heavily.  A woman I respect said "We can't change it now, focus on what you can do."  I tell myself this anytime shit hits the fan now.

Do it right the first time.

I learned this working in a food truck with a French chef.  I apply it to everything in my life now.  He said that when you do something, do it 100% so you're not trying to fix it later.  It takes more time and concentration in the moment, but will save you a lot of work in the future (a stitch in time saves nine).

Prepare.  Prepare.  Prepare.  Mise en place. 

The same chef also taught me the art of preparation.  As did working in various kitchens.  The more you prepare and have everything set in place the smoother everything is going to go.  I apply this to my meal prep, workouts, and how I organize my apartment on a daily basis.

But also be ready to improvise.

Sometimes you can prepare to no end and something out of your control will happen.  Again, all you can control is how you react.  Be creative.  Have fun with it.  Some of the best ideas and experiences come out of moments like these.

The toughest nuts to crack are sometimes the best.

We have a bad habit of labeling strong women in the workplace as "bitches".  Keep in mind that a lot of these women had to work really hard to get where they are at.  They are often great teachers and can have very soft hearts under their tough barriers.

Treat everyone the same.

Your boss, the janitor, your co-worker.  We are all equal and our roles do not always define how capable or intelligent we are.  These roles are often based on circumstance and seniority.  Sometimes skills.  Regardless we are all human and equal.

Everyone is different, and that is good.

Every workplace has a huge variety of personalities.  This is a good thing.  While sometimes you might feel offended by someone else's way, you also have to stop and appreciate they have a completely different perspective.

Tell your mentors that they are your mentors.

I once worked for a woman who was intimidating.  She was also smart, funny, incredibly good at her job.  She was such a role model to me that when she came to talk to me I would often fumble with my words.  For her birthday I bought her a bouquet of flowers and a card that told her how much I admired her.  She was touched, continued to teach me a lot over the years, and had my back 100% when I had to leave because my divorce made staying at my job impossible.  To this day I consider her a close friend and we catch up whenever possible.

Your job does not define you.

Your job is simply how you earn a living.  Whatever it is find your worth in the effort you put in, not your job title.