Thursday, March 5, 2015

Work Experience in School (My Job Journey Part 2)

I got a bunch of work experience while I was still in school (or during years when I was going to school).  I think I really benefitted from the experiences I had during this time.  I was able to see what 'working' was like, it helped me grasp the value of a dollar, I got to earn enough money to pay for my first year of college, and I got exposure to a variety of industries.

Here's a glimpse of what my early 'job journey' looked like, and some of the lessons I learned from that time:

Esso Gas Station, paid by the hour ($3.65/hr)  This was a part time job during my high school years
of 1986, 1987, 1988.
I learned to:
  • Manage my schedule - concurrently went to school, skied, was involved in extra curricular activities, and I had other part time jobs in the summer,
  • Be dependable - someone depended on me to do that work - I was the only one there.  I received shipments of gas and managed the till and pumps,
  • Communicate better - gave directions and tourist information
  • Respect value of money - working for minimum wage and seeing how long it took to save up for something special

Saw Mill, paid by the hour (union work $18+/hr) This was a weekend part-time job during and after high school - 1988, 1989, 1990.  My routine job here was as an oiler.  However I also did spark watch with the welders and clean up.
Here I:
  • Saw a hierarchy in the workplace in action - unionized mill.
  • Learned the value of personal protective equipment and safety procedures - the story of electricity, sparks and smoke at the Electrical Panel by the 22 inch barker, saw a co-worker hit an elevated walkway with the BlueChip forklift boom - gave him the shock of his life.
  • Learned how pay cheque deductions and income tax work.  Paid union dues, paid more in taxes, got it all back because I was under the annual basic exception tax.
  • Learned more communication and schedule management.  I had to set priorities and manage my schedule - piano lessons, basketball/volleyball tourneys, overtime, getting up early - work started at 5am.  I needed to communicate with my team lead at work, my coaches and teachers at school, my piano teacher, and my parents what was going on with my schedule.
  • Learned to drive heavy equipment - several forklifts and use some of the mill machinery.
  • Got to see what Millwrights, Welders, and Electricians did for work in a Mill.  Didn't understand or see at that time how lucrative those trades would come to be in the oil industry
  • Began to appreciate different work environments.  I worked both inside and outside for hours at a time.  It could be cold (-30 C) or hot (+35 C) outside.

The Old Caboose - Restaurant, paid by the hour (around $5/hr plus tips) This was a summer part time job after high school in 1989 and 1990.  The only job I didn't really do around the restaurant was
cook.  I got a chance to do pretty much everything else.
I continued to discover:
  • Time and schedule management as I had several part time jobs during those summers, and I had to ensure that I wasn't expected to be working in two places at the same time.
  • The value of money - I was paid fairly low, however there were tips here.
  • Teamwork - sharing tips with the rest of the crew - the value of a team.
  • New jobs - dishwashing, basic food prep, bus-boy, waiter, etc.
  • Planning - strategic thinking before attempting a delicate manevoer - the garbage bag fiasco
  • Communication - both heard and spoken.  I learned fast that I needed to get orders right and manage customers' expectations

Tree Planting, paid by the tree - spring and summer after first year of college 1990.  In my journal at that time, I called this 'the ultimate test of human goodwill in work.'  I saw the limits of my patience tested with my friends - this surprised me somewhat.  I started to learn more about myself, and continued to build on lessons I had already started learning....
  • The value of money - This was hard manual labour, not paid minimum wage but paid by the tree planted - I averaged around $100-110 per day.
  • Exposure to a different work environment - seasonal outside work in the mountains.  On good days it's OK (if the bugs aren't bad).  On cold rainy days it can be miserable.  Most of our crew got varying degrees of hypothermia on one particularly wet and cold day.
  • Learned a bit about personal hygiene.  Jock itch.  Enough said.
  • Value of Integrity.  Our contract got terminated because others were hiding trees (getting paid for them, but not planting them)  Saw how the actions of others on the job impacted me (devaluing a team)

Salmon Fish Hatchery, paid by the hour ($15/hr) fall 1990.  We wore hip-waders most of the day, caught Spring Salmon (some up to 30 pounds) in drift nets and then collected sperm and roe from them.
  • Seasonal outside work harvesting sperm and eggs from spawning salmon.  Beautiful scenery but long days because the spawning season is short
  • Scientific work - gathering data about each fish we harvested from.  I felt like I was involved with sustaining our natural resources and helping scientists learn about them at the same time.  It was fulfilling (even though it could be miserable an cold in the mornings)

No comments:

Post a Comment