Archive for job training
Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm business affairs supervisor, Kelly Lorenz.
Early to rise! That phrase is never music to a teenager’s ears, especially during summer break. However, I was an anomaly. My first job when I was 14-years-old was working on a horse farm, starting in the wee hours of the morning, often before the sun even came up. Translation: I shoveled horse poop and avoided getting kicked in the face by aggressive stud horses. But that’s not all my work experience chalked up to be – it was only the beginning.
To be clear, I had my own horses growing up so I was accustomed to cleaning stalls, throwing large bales of hay and all of the dirty work that comes with these incredible animals. But that was for three horses, not 30, and I was riding solo in this job.
Even though temperatures were in the 90s by early-morning and I wore jeans and boots, I look back on this work experience for giving me the most fun and rewarding summer of my youth. In fact, I’d do this every summer if I could. In the meantime, I carry a few lessons with me to this day:
– Take pride in your work, no matter the task. Nobody wants to shovel s%#t, but somebody has to. So do it right, and do it well. I could have had a negative attitude and complained about the task, but instead I shoveled that dung like a rock star. My supervisor noticed and said the stalls had never been cleaner, done so quickly or without complaint. She hired two more people to take over most of that work so I could focus on other (less smelly) tasks.
– Seek out opportunities. Growing up I mostly rode for pleasure and recreation, and my horses were well-trained. Many of the horses at the farm were owned by renowned riders and trainers who had a lot of expertise to share. As I built a rapport with the owners that summer, they saw how I handled their animals. So, they offered me complimentary training and most allowed me to train on their horses. Additionally, many offered me side jobs to exercise their horses at an hourly rate that’s nearly triple today’s minimum wage.
– Capitalize on your strengths. There were many moving pieces and varying factors to completing this work in timely manner each day. For one, just like people, horses can be somewhat temperamental. Some horses can’t be around other horses (especially studs with mares…hello baby colts!), other horses can’t be removed from their stalls and the damn donkey that bites everyone/thing, but begs to socialize is another story. Not to mention the large ground you’re covering and the amounts of manual labor you’re required to complete in a short period of time. Here, organization and efficiency was everything. This is when I realized I had a strength for process and execution which are skills I use to this day in my professional life. I can steer a wheelbarrow while in a full sprint like a champ.
So, what was the biggest lesson learnt while shoveling dung? Turn work into play and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’d be fooling myself if I said this job wasn’t exhausting and dirty. This job was also a blast! Aside from working with horses, my one true love – horses –, I watched the sunrise over the mountains each morning, dunked friends in horse troughs of ice cold water and made human electric fence shock chains (not advised, and I was only 14). Not to mention my toned biceps, blond hair and killer farmers tan were the envy of every country girl when we returned to school in the fall.
Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm associate, Madeline Skahill.
While I have had my fair share of babysitting jobs and teaching younger kids the ropes of soccer at camp, my first “real” job all began during the warm summer months of Williamsburg. When you say “Williamsburg” to a group of New Yorkers, they automatically assume the trendy neighborhood of New York. However, when you say “Williamsburg” to anyone who has ever been on a field trip or have grandparents who live in the south, they think of Colonial Williamsburg; the mecca of bonnets, cannons, and daily reenactments of 18th century life.
The summers in Colonial Williamsburg were where the tourists went to play and the high school students sought summer jobs. As a majority of my friends obtained jobs as hostesses at neighboring restaurants, I was lucky enough to land a job as a Sales Associate at “The Williamsburg Peanut Shop.” While I can’t say I ever felt a true passion behind how peanuts were made and seasoned, I can say that my summer months spent in the small store located on the corner of a bustling street, taught me a few lessons I will always be able to apply in my career.
- Perform at your best, no matter what task you are completing: My first day on the job consisted of grabbing a fork from the back room and picking out the melted chocolate covered peanuts from the cracks of the wooden floor. While some may say this may not seem like the most ideal task, I knew if I did not get this job done right, my entire summer would be spent performing similar tasks. Dedicating myself to this task, left the floors clean and my manager happy about my positive attitude and efficient works style. This was the last time I ever scrubbed the floors.
- The customer is always right: This may not be entirely true, but for the most part dealing with an unhappy customer, or client, makes the task at hand, much more challenging. Understanding the needs of the customer, not only makes your job easier, but allows you to complete the job right and in a timely manner.
- Never under-estimate your skills: Although I worked with a fair amount of people my age, the managers of the store were much older. That being said, I quickly learned that in order to gain more responsibly in the store, I had to show the managers I could think and act on their level. By contributing to conversations about what products to buy for the store or how to handle the store operations when a summer storm knocks the power out, I was able to close the age gap between my co-workers and myself. While my ideas and thoughts may not have always been right, I did not let the age gap hinder the jobs I deserved to manage.
These are just a few tips I learned along the way, though I have many more stories to share. Unfortunately for you all, there is not enough time in the day to discuss the life lesson I learned from standing outside the store in a peanut hat for 2 hours.
In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future communications star, Meredith Briggs.
1.)Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?
My name is Meredith Briggs and I’m an incoming senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. I am double majoring in French and American Studies (see my blog post for more info). I went to an immersion school so I’ve been speaking French since the 1st grade! I’m originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, although neither of my parents are from Minnesota (mom is from Ohio and dad is from New York).
I worked at a PR firm last summer in NYC and was really excited about the opportunity to pursue another internship in New York. After doing some research on the top PR firms in New York I was immediately drawn to Peppercomm. Not only did they have an impressive list of clients, but they also continuously reiterated the fun aspect of their culture (how many companies do you know that actually have a Culture Committee?) Thankfully I was fortunate enough to get an internship here and the rest is history!
2) What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
This is a tough question for me. If you had asked me at the beginning of the summer I would have easily said that I was most interested in consumer clients. Between my internship last summer and my internship at Peppercomm I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some really cool consumer accounts. This is definitely still a passion of mine, however, after attending the Council of PR Firms’ annual InternFest I have no idea what exactly I want to do. Listening to Gail Moaney, a specialist in travel service relations, made me realize how insanely large the PR industry is. You can specialize in anything and everything and this is something that really appeals to me. I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that the industry itself is most appealing to me. I could potentially do the PR for my favorite sports teams, or my favorite candy bar. There are endless possibilities in this industry and that never ceases to amaze me.
3) Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?
I sort of answered this question in the last answer, but again, I think what really surprised me is how enormous the PR world is. I think this is exemplified through Peppercomm’s own clientele. For me, I’ll be working on a consumer account, and then 20 minutes later I’ll be doing work for a financial account.
Something specific about Peppercomm itself that surprised me was how true they are to the “fun” aspect of work. I definitely thought Peppercomm was a fun company but was shocked by how they are constantly bringing fun into the office. To name a few of the fun things I’ve experienced in my short time here at Peppercomm, they brought in food and drinks for the World Cup they brought in food and drinks, they hosted a comedy show and a happy hour. They try to help you balance work and play, and I definitely think they are successful.
4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?
Up! Just kidding – kind of. I hope that after I graduate (scary thought) I end up at a company like Peppercomm. Before I decide what I really want to do I’d like to keep expanding my horizons, and this is something that Peppercomm allows me to do. While I’ve definitely realized what I do and don’t like, I want to dive more into the type of work that I am interested in. What kind of consumer PR, should I specialize, etc. Basically all I really want is to work for a company that I love. I want to be excited about the work I do, even if it’s something as simple as putting together a media list. I think it would be really cool to do sports PR, but I don’t want to limit myself just yet!
Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm’s Jade Moore, manager, client relationships.
My very first job didn’t feel much like one. My aunt had a friend who ran an upscale (read: overpriced) boutique in my neighborhood in Staten Island, and asked if I’d be interested in working one or two days a week after school. This place had all of the trappings you might expect from a Staten Island outfitter. Sequins galore. I said sure, why not?! I was a junior in high school and could use some extra cash for buying acrylic nails or whatever horrible thing I was into back then. Plus, she was a friend of my dear aunt, so she had to be nice to me.
If you’ve ever seen “Happy Endings,” this shop was precisely like the boutique owned by ditzy Alex (played by Elisha Cuthbert) – that is, there were no customers. Perhaps this place was bustling during prom and wedding season but when I started in the fall – crickets. I quickly learned that I would be responsible for a few things: vacuuming, steaming clothes – which, admittedly, I love to do (ironing, not so much) – and affixing price tags onto said clothing items. The little price-tag gun was fun to use. Maybe the highlight of my time there.
To be quite honest, given the fact that there was not much to do beyond the tasks outlined above – and the fact that there were, again, no customers – I don’t think I took the job too seriously, in hindsight. I played with the owners dog. I challenged myself to find normal-ish clothes for myself among the bedazzled frocks. I may have napped once. Yes, you heard correctly. As a conscientious and responsible adult, I would never pull a George Costanza today. I’m ashamed to say I did then, but I had a good reason! See, the night before, I was at Yankee Stadium, watching the Yankees play the Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. An epic, 12-inning win for the Yanks. I was tired. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I still feel bad about that.
After a few months, the owner decided she didn’t really need me anymore and stopped calling me in for work. Probably for the best that we parted ways. In the end, I definitely hadn’t learned how to be a master salesperson. Or even how to use a cash register. The “no customers” part kind of made these things challenging. I didn’t really look up to the Boss either. Let’s just say, she was a little gossipy. But I took a couple of key lessons away from my brief foray in retail:
- Put your best foot forward. Even if you don’t feel like you can contribute much, there’s always something you can do to go above and beyond and add value. I could’ve used the opportunity to think of and share ways to bring in new customers. Or ask my boss to give me a lesson in making a sale.
- Don’t sleep on the job.
There’s something to be learned from every job. What may not seem like a worthwhile experience can be full of surprises if you keep your eyes and ears open and make the most of it.
Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Hughes.
It sounds more exciting (and tasty) then it turned out to be.
My first job was serving ice cream to the masses on the hot, humid days of summer in North East Ohio. Growing up in a small town outside Cleveland, the closest form of civilization (besides farms) was an ice cream window attached to a small pizza shop. I was thirteen and my dad knew the owners, so naturally he introduced me, and got me my first job. At the young age of 13, I pictured a summer full of free food and cute delivery boys. I had no idea that the work would be so, well… hard.
My first day was a quick run through on how to properly mix the blizzards and milk shakes, while managing to not cut my hands off on the machine. I also learned how to fill the soft serve machine, and defrost the buckets of hard ice cream. The second day I was on my own. I quickly found out that softball players can get pretty mean, pretty fast, when their ice cream isn’t made quick enough. Imagine twenty boys under the age of ten standing in front of you screaming out orders of ice cream. Just when I was on the verge of tears, I managed to dump the bag of liquid soft serve ice cream all over myself – missing the machine by just a few inches. Needless to say I went home pretty upset, despite the many dollar bills shoved into my tip can (I can only assume the tips were out of pity).
Despite my well delivered speech on why I shouldn’t return, my parents dropped me off the next day to face my fears of muddy tee-ball players and sticky ice cream machines. I didn’t become an ice cream wiz over night, but after a month or so I could stand on my own two feet. I became an expert at filling a cone with a perfect swirl of soft serve, and could fill the ice cream machines – two bags at a time.
Despite the rocky start, my first job turned out to be a great opportunity that taught me many life lessons.
- If you fail at something, never stop trying to succeed. Failure has a different definition for every person.
- Learn to lean on your coworkers, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
- It’s ok to laugh at yourself, and let others laugh too.
- Learn from your mistakes, and tell other people about them before they make the same mistakes themselves.
- Be very thankful for rainy days.
- You can never have too much crunch coat.
At the time, my job seemed like the most difficult one in the world. Now I look back on it with fond memories, and realize I was lucky to have a dad to push me into the real world of working for a pay.