What Was Your First Job?

“What was your first job?” This is one of the most common questions we ask at Apprentice Learning. Jobs are always on our mind. It’s what we do for middle school students. And as our fall process of apprenticeships comes full circle, I realize that the question is less about one’s first actual “job” and is instead about the first time you realized that your role in the working world mattered.

My first official job was working in a foster care office when I was about 14. I spent my shifts making copies and… well that’s pretty much it. But when asked about my first job, I always return to when I was 11 and selling frozen Capris Suns and Oreos out of a second book bag I would carry to school. It was a pretty nice setup for an 11-year old. I dragged that heavy second book bag to school filled with frozen Capri Sun juices and packs of Oreo cookies. The only thing I ever worried about was whether or not the juices in my bag would crush the cookies. It may not have been an official job. But I always go back to that as my first real working experience. That’s because it was one of the first “jobs” that actually needed me.

Your first work experience is more than just something to throw on a resume. It’s a way to instill a sense of worth and a feeling of being counted on. This newly support sense of worth changes the way you see yourself and shows you that you belong in working world. You have something to offer and that there are people ready and waiting to see it. This is the moment we are looking for when asking about someone’s first job; the moment when you see the connection between what you can do and what needs to be done.

Our apprenticeships for the fall are complete. I cannot express enough how proud I am of this group of Apprentices. Over the last 2 months we have had 21 Apprentices work at 12 different sites all over the city the Boston. As 8th graders they have cared for infants, managed stocks, edited cartoons, built bikes, organized weights, sold comics, greeted customers, prepared meals, and so much more. They have matured into productive and more self-assured young people. One of them mentioned in his exit interview how special it was to work somewhere that “valued his input.” These Apprentices have all learned some incredible life lessons and are leaving work with new collection of skills that will matter for their entire lives. But along with all of that they are leaving with higher sense of purpose, a deeper understanding of all that they have to offer to the world, and most importantly a belief that the working world is somewhere they belong. Congratulations to the Fall 2014 class of Apprentices. We are so excited for your continued growth and can’t wait to see what other inspiring contributions you will make to the world through your work.


Executive Director of Apprentice Learning
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