Get a job, they said. You’ll have some pocket money and you’ll get some good experiences, they said.
That is not the case. The only thing I got out of my first job experience is, I now know how easy it is to fall off a ladder.
Have you ever fallen off a ladder before or come close? If yes, you know that sinking feeling in your stomach when the ladder starts shaking. I quite literally felt that way the whole time on the first day of my first job.
My dad told me I shouldn’t disclose the place I worked at for barely four hours. So I’ll just say it was a shoe store, which is an important fact.
To begin my story, I will confess I was very nervous about starting the job. Ever since I went to the first meeting the Sunday before, I had a weird feeling about what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what to expect, I was just told to come in on Nov. 13 for training.
The whole situation felt odd to me. The reason I got the job in the first place is because me and my friends were walking in the mall and a guy called us over and asked if we had jobs.
I had been on the lookout for one, and my friends were pressuring me so I filled out an application and did an interview right there on the spot. So, from the very beginning of this whole thing, I was pretty much just thrown in headfirst!
The shift started at 6 p.m. so I arrived promptly at 5:45 p.m. and sat in my car for 13 minutes before I got up the courage to go inside. It took all my will to not start the car back up and head home. But I did it. I opened the car door and went inside.
I entered the store feeling a little more at ease because I had gotten that far. But little did I know this was going to be the longest four hours of my life.
The store has a young staff so it was weird at first because I had zero clue what to do and neither did they. I was standing awkwardly in the back as my new “manager” was figuring out what I was going to do. As he was walking past me, I definitely got a whiff of a very distinct smell: marujuanna.
First red flag! It’s legal in Michigan, and I am all for people doing what they do, but I was not expecting my first manager of my first job to roll one before he trained me.
I also was not expecting my first job to be so laid back. My sister Madison’s first job was at Culver’s, a local family owned restaurant, where they wear uniforms and hold high standards for their workers. That was the exact opposite of what I was experiencing here. I walked in to find girls in old sweatshirts and leggings and guys in beanies.
Unlike my new coworkers, I looked presentable for my first day at work. I had on, new ripped Levi jeans that I had just bought and a mauve long sleeve shirt, I even had a pair of VANs on that I knew they sold in the store. Climbing the ladders in my outfit situation was one of the biggest feats.
The second red flag was when the training videos I was required to watch had no sound and they said, “It’s all good, just look at the screen.” But these videos were on how to properly use the ladders and how to get the shoes down in a safe manner. I believe having no sound on the videos is why I almost fell off a ladder that night, not once, but twice.
I’ve used a ladder a handful of times and have common sense on basic safety when using them, but when you are in a back room of a shoe store and there are shoes from floor to ceiling, your basic ladder skills go out the window.
I had to carry a 10 foot ladder through narrow rows of shoes, set up the ladder against shoe boxes because there is no flat walls, and climb up to the very top to get a pair of pink UGGs and you don’t expect me to almost fall off the ladder? See, that is where you are wrong.
The first time I thought the ladder was going to topple, my first thought was, “at least I will get to go home!” The second time I almost took a spill, I was at the very top of the ladder and my thoughts were more along the lines of, “I am not meant to die in the back of this shoe store.”
During all of this time, I had my phone in my back pocket. Tempted to check it multiple times, I checked it thinking I had to be at least two hours into this torture. It had been 45 minutes. Maybe I imagined this, but I think a single tear rolled down my cheek when I realized I had to be there for another 3 hours and 15 minutes.
I am not even to the worst part of the night yet. Nope it wasn’t me almost plunging to my death off a ladder nor my manager smelling like mary jane, it was what I called the “never-ending quest.”
One of my training tasks was finding 15 pairs of shoes – five men’s, five women’s and five kids; shoes. So I went around the store and wrote the numbers of all the shoes. First off, I did a horrible job at that, because it seemed that all the shoes I picked were on the very top shelves.
The other catch with this activity is that you’re timed while finding the shoes in the hellish number system they have. (There’s no doubt, I am better with words than numbers.) So you are technically supposed to find three pairs of shoes in 45 seconds, the pair you went for originally, a pair like it in a different color and a pair of sale shoes. It took me 8 minutes to find one pair of shoes. I wish I was exaggerating, but when I finally found a pair of shoes I was looking for I felt so accomplished until I saw that the stopwatch read 8 minutes and 13 seconds. I was deflated, if I hadn’t been enough already.
I even asked for help to find a pair of shoes after I thought I was kinda figuring out the number system, and the manager couldn’t even find the pair of shoes I had been searching for! I ended up finding them shoved in a corner at the back of the store.
After finding all the shoes (not really, because towards the end I just started grabbing random shoes because I was so done) and putting them back they were finally closing down for the night. I have never felt such an overwhelming feeling of relief. I clocked out and never clocked in again.
Overall, I am a little embarrassed I only lasted a mere four hours at my first job, but I am proud that I did it. I was so nervous leading up to it, but I did it anyway. Now I have my first day at my first job experience over with!
For my next job, I’ll probably try to find something a little more low key, something with no ladders involved…