What was your first job?


I’m 21 and I’ve never had a “real job.” I’ve worked for my mom a couple times (they just put me to work, so I didn’t have to go through the tedious application process) and now that we moved and my mom got promoted, I have to find a real job. I’m still entry level because you know, I know nothing about life. But the process is so tedious… I’ve applied to just about everything around and no one has called me back.

A few days ago, I did get a call back from a small theme park, but when I called them the next day, it went to voicemail and I completely screwed up. I forgot my own phone number so I hung up, called again, did the voicemail and gave them the correct number. I haven’t gotten a call to set up an interview…

Ugh. I’m socially awkward with social anxiety and I’m shy… the idea of talking to someone, on the phone or in person, terrifies me.

Does anyone relate?

When did you get your first job? What was it for? Does the wise have any advice?

On a side note: how do you gain confidence?


My first job was McDonald’s. It honestly really helped me with my severe social anxiety I have. When calling in, write down what you are going to say before calling. They actually do that at McDonald’s for headset (I got put on headset even though they know I’m incredibly anxious and was at the second window to give drinks and such) so we always had messages in front of us to recite.

If you get an interview, for the “what is your greatest weakness/flaw,” say “I’m quiet but I’m working on it by trying to speak louder and gain confidence.”

Confidence just comes with time and the longer you’re at a job, the braver you get.


Thanks! :blush:

I’m just a nervous wreck like 99% of the time when it comes to being with strangers. So… xD

I’ve been told that, but I’ve never fully gotten confidence whenever I worked, especially since I had to deal with people part of the time.


Goodwill, I had an employer (my last boss after previous ones were amazing) that was kind of a prick about people presenting male at work, buying dresses.

He was also real big about posting the ten commandments in the dressing room. Which … seems like something that Salvation Army would do, not Goodwill.

Dad has his own reasons for hating Goodwill, I have mine.

That and the boss docked my pay for filing a complaint against him, because he wouldn’t get this one follow employee to stop running his cart into my back at full throttle.

Not only will I never work there again, I also will never buy stuff there again.

It was one of those “You had that one job” kind of jobs.


Well, my first job was as a liaison officer for a construction agency. It was basically keeping up with clients, perform I land surveys, and basically tailor-make a construction kit for them. I was 18 when I got that job.

I think the best advice I can give is that every failure is an opportunity to learn. Don’t be discouraged if you dont get something perfect on the first try!


I used to be like that. Honestly, the best medicine for that is practice, practice, practice, and then fake it until you make it.

Your first interviews are going to be awful if you’re shy and awkward. You don’t know what to say, you don’t know how and when to say it, how to answer the questions correctly, etc.

My tip is to do a debriefing by yourself after each interview you do. Think about what happened, not in a omg-I-did-that way, but in a next-time-I-should-do/say-that way. For example, they asked you why you wanted to work there, or whatever, and you didn’t expect that. So you answered awkwardly and it screwed up the interview and you didn’t get the job because of that.

Then you go home, and you think about how you could have answered that correctly, and write it down. Also write down whatever you could have done better, or better answers to common questions they ask (they always ask the same things after a while). Then read your notes, and visualize yourself answering those questions with what you wrote down. Next interview, they’ll ask the same question or something similar, and you’ll have your answer prepared and have the confidence that your answer is good because you’ve spent hours thinking about it, and you visualized yourself saying it.

Also, on the phone: make notes of the points you want to talk about, your questions, the info you want to say to the other person, so that when you speak or leave a message, you don’t have to think about if you forgot something, it’s all right there in front of you. You forgot your phone number? Next time, have it written on a paper in front of you while you make the call.

So basically, practice by writing down answers and by reading them before the interviews. Just don’t bring your notes to the interview, of course.

About the “talking to people in person terrifies me”. How often do you talk to a new person? This is also about practice. Try talking to a person you don’t know and will never see again, just to practice. Then try it again with someone else. Then with someone else, and so on. Practice and seeing that it won’t always go wrong will make you gain a lot of confidence and see that in the end, it’s not a big deal.


Never say stuff like that. This affects your confidence a lot, and the way people see you. You’re 21, you probably know more than a lot of people.


Well my FIRST job in highschool was a nanny and I’m not sure that counts. However, my first job out of college (that I’m currently in) is in facility management. It’s a corporate job and to this day there are situations that give me anxiety.

I totally relate to everything you mentioned above. It’s hard being shy and anxious in the working world. Even something as simple as hoping onto a conference call still makes me nervous.

But surprisingly, the further I get into it, the more I realize that I’m slowly getting past the shyness. And a lot of that comes from learning more about the position and how to get the work done.

It’s okay to be afraid. In fact, a little bit of fear will make you more cautious when doing the work, which isn’t a bad thing. The important thing though is not letting that fear stop you from getting the job done.

When it comes down to it, that’s what the company wants to see. They might be surprised at the shyness and the way you handle or go about different situations, but at the end of the day as long as you’re getting the work done and doing your best, they’ll retain you. ^.^

Best of luck! It’s scary, but you’ve got this :heart:


Hoo boy. Don’t know how much of this I should say on the Interwebs.

I had my first job in the restaurant belonging to a huge basilica church that’s nearby home. I luckily didn’t have to deal with an interview process - I saw the ad on their website, called to make sure it was still relevant, and the manager of the place said they desperately needed people on the weekends. I went to the restaurant, filled out an application, and began one of the BUSIEST DAYS OF THE YEAR.

Things went dramatically downhill from there. For starts, my boss was fired two weeks later.


I can definitely relate! When I started my first job I was 15 and started part time after school hours at a local tyre and farm produce store. I am a real introvert and also has extremely shy and softly spoken. I used to get insanely anxious with being on phone calls and talking to strangers but honestly going to work was the best thing I could have done. Over time it gave me so much more self confidence and I gained a lot of useful experience to help me in future employment.

Originally I was there serving customers, stocking shelves, filing paperwork and doing quotes. But later on when I graduated high school I was offered a full time position and started working there Monday to Saturday 8-5. We lost two of our tyre fitters and I ended up replacing them temporarily for a few months and I loved it. Fitting tyres, balancing tyres and doing wheel alignments. Nothing better than a guy coming in to get his truck tyre repaired and seeing a teenage girl doing it :joy:


My first job was at a retail store which I don’t know if I should mention the name of. I was in therapy/treatment for social anxiety disorder at the time, and this was one of the things I chose to do to aid in my recovery (one of my final “steps”). I asked for shorter shifts and fewer hours, but I ended up leaving because even with a note from my psychiatrist saying I couldn’t work certain days and needed my (legally encouraged) break, they weren’t very flexible with some things.

I no longer meet the criteria for social anxiety disorder, so I’m not diagnosed with it anymore (yay!), and even though towards the end it got difficult, I think it helped a lot because (for the most part) my managers were really understanding and I was able to tackle some of those final issues that I still struggled with.

I think it’s important to find somewhere flexible and have some kind of documentation on your side because my last job wasn’t understanding AT ALL (fired 2 people for health issues, even though that’s illegal), and even at my first job, they started being… meh… after one of the managers left (to the point I had to leave).

I wouldn’t have been able to do it without going to therapy first though and taking things one step at a time. I think it really depends on where you’re at and what you feel comfortable with. But for me, getting a job helped push me over one of my final hurdles (which was directly talking to strangers). And it was hard to be firm about what I needed, but I have gotten soooo much more comfortable working now and being in public. I do still have issues from time to time. It didn’t go away completely, but I can function in public now, which I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. And I’m still working in customer service, and I’m actually pretty… good at it, surprisingly lol


I helped out at my mom’s job behind the cash register since I was around seven and managed to do customer service alone in the store while my mom was away for errands, but I guess that doesn’t count as a real job.

First actual paid job was a summer internship as an office receptionist/assistant at a newspaper company in high school. I hated answering phone calls because the people are just so rude, and it sucks when I have to endure it to show my professionalism.

In college, I had two jobs as an office receptionist/ambassador (my employers thought that this was better on our name tags) and as a writing tutor for international students. I worked non-stop.

Then my first real job after college is being an elementary teacher. It’s hard and there are times that I wasn’t doing a very good job I wanted to quit. But I really don’t want to quit as a teacher because I believe I can learn so much from the children and I hope they learn a lot from me too.

I think the more you experience mistakes and learn from them builds confidence. I’ve seen a lot of rude customers and made mistakes, but I learned from them and try to become better as I can be. We might fail but it’s important to not give up. I learned this from my first grade class.


I worked in Burger King. It was horrific. Don’t work at Burger King.

I’ve since then workes as a photographer and a cleaning lady at a psych ward. The cleaning job was a really great job, actually. The patients were super sweet and it wasn’t very hard to clean there. (Well… Except for when the patients had accidents. And chose to smear those accidents on the walls…)

And honestly? Being socially awkward and having anxiety is something I struggled with when I was younger. What really helped me, was cognitive therapy. It didn’t just “blow over” or get better for me - so there was no way around it for me. Have you considered doing something like that? (if you’re not already doing it)


I set up my first company in 1958 when I was thirteen, and without interview, I hired myself. :innocent: Since then, I’ve been self-employed except for the eighteen years I spent as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.


I worked at a water sports centre last summer, when I was 16. It was my first job.

I quit after two days. It was also my last job.

Sorry for the sad story, I don’t think this will really make you feel better about working.


I was a barista. It was the 26th job I applied for and the only one I heard anything back from, so it’s safe to say my confidence was at it’s lowest when I started it. Obviously, it involves customer service, and I’m a really nervous person too, but like others have said, it actually really helped me build up confidence. I worried about what to say to people, but the reality is that in a customer service environment they generally give you set stuff to say, so then you’re just rattling that off at people. I started a summer placement in my field of study this summer and it’s my first “real job” and I definitely felt a lot better starting that after doing my time as a barista.


I got my first job in my teens. I worked in a theatre as a lighting technician, learning how to set lights, run cables, drive a lighting rig. That sort of thing. It got me into some interesting places … .

I’ve worked my way on since then, becoming a degree-qualified engineer.

If you want some advice about overcoming your social anxiety, may I suggest that you come up with a script to work from in interviews. You can get a book on common interview questions and practice. Confidence comes with being prepared.



My first job was cutting black forest ham on one of those terrifying circular meat saws… I got the job because my best friend cut off part of her thumb (they never found it).


First pay job? That would be polling clerk for a couple of elections whether they are for student union reps (at university) or federal elections. Those are temp/seasonal but they still count as jobs.

One of these days I’ll have full-time job. Most of the ones I’ve had are part-time. Even my time overseas in which I’d be offered full time were only part time due to what they could offer me/see if I was a good fit for the place.

Currently I’m looking for something part-time so I can save up for a small place of my own (even if it’s a bachelor room), and I’m doing part-time online studies so can’t really full-time it.


Haha, I was told that practice helps, but I feel like it hasn’t. xD Maybe I just need more?

I have had one interview before, earlier this year, and because I was so terrified, I actually researched things on what to say, what questions I’ll get, and other things and practiced saying them. I was interviewing for an usher’s job at a movie theater, and I’ve read things like “ask them questions (to look prepared), give details of the company if needed…” I mean, my interview went pretty well it seems, because it was about an hour conversation. I asked him what he liked about the job, what he didn’t like, and how he got into the business. And before the interview, I had looked up things about Regal and memorized it for the interview, but never announced the details (though my parents were shocked because I knew the exact dates of the history and whatnot).

Good points. :slight_smile:

Though as silly as it is, I had what I was gonna say written down, I just didn’t have my phone number, because I was like “…call me at (area code), 4… 4…” Then I hung up, realizing it was the wrong number.

It kind of depends because I hardly leave the house. xD

I’m an introvert, with social anxiety and shyness, so I don’t really like to talk to people. I will if I’m forced to, but otherwise, I want to stay silent. It mainly terrifies me because I hate being judged or looking weird for talking, so I don’t usually do it. And with my social anxiety, I speed talk (say things way too fast, or just mumble) and feel flustered, so it doesn’t really work out in the end. I’m like a hot mess.

Last year, when I worked under my mom and was a pool attendant, I talked a lot because I had to yell at kids, but like I said, I hated talking to people. I’m not a people person and probably never will be. I don’t even like people. xD


I think that counts, especially if you got paid. xD

I had babysat a few times, but only with my sister’s friends. And I got paid for it, too. Haha.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I try my best to get things done. When I was a pool attendant, I was the only person who used the whistle and yelled at kids and actually made sure things were done in the pool area and people following rules with the slide. I had to talk to people then, but I didn’t like it. And at the end of the day, it drained me and I hated that job. Simple, sure, but I’m better working for someone in an empty room, without talking to people… haha. I did do some bookkeeping for my mom in her office and I really loved it. I like that kind of work. :rofl: