Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
free to use sounds kOuCX7fh50U unsplash?width=719&height=464&fit=crop&auto=webp
free to use sounds kOuCX7fh50U unsplash?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp
/ Unsplash
Life > Experiences

Lessons Learned From My 7 Jobs

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

I am twenty years old and I started working at 17. In that 3 year span, I have had a total of 7 jobs. Don’t worry, I’ve never been fired for being a bad worker or anything like that, just life happens and better things come my way. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot from these different jobs that people that haven’t had a job or haven’t had such a wide range of jobs, may not know. So here is all the wisdom I have to offer.

First, for those wondering, the jobs I’ve had include (in chronological order): McDonald’s, Herb Packing, MDining Blue Market/Café, Meijer, Home Healthcare Aid, Doordash, and Harding’s Grocery Store. I currently work at a Blue Café, having transferred from a market to a café from one academic year to the next. There are definitely a lot of different jobs here and lessons I’ve learned from each one.

1. Mcdonald’s

This was my first job. I don’t recommend it. No hate, but there is not enough money in the world to make me work at McDonald’s again. While my experience is not everyone else’s, it must be noted that there are very few people that have fond memories of working here. The lesson I learned from McDonalds were important though. It’s okay to mess up. I’ve had a desire, a need really, to be perfect. And at my first job, this felt like a requirement. But it’s not that important to be pure perfection, it’s more important to have the skill of finding solutions, fixing the problem and not freaking out in stressful situations. It’s easy to say, but in the moment it can be very difficult to put into practice. But there is some solace, I think, to know that it’s okay to make mistakes. And if you get yelled at for making a simple mistake, that is not the workplace for you.

2. Herb Packing

Basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, parsley, and many many more. I took herbs out of big bags and put them in tiny plastic containers to be sold at grocery stores. For hours on end, standing and putting the perfect amount of a certain plant in a plastic package in a very particular way. This is where I learned more about myself. Customer service maybe not be the most fun, but it is what I’m good at. I couldn’t stand the hours of no talking, as a particularly chatty person, and I frequently got separated from people that I would talk to because of this. The lesson here would tie in with the need for perfection, which is that not every job is for me. Everyone is different, and while working is not always the most fun, it’s important to get a job that plays off of your particular strengths to make it that much more enjoyable.

3. Blue Market & Cafe

My college job. Gotta say… it’s not bad. College student customers are never mean, never complain, and are the easiest to talk to. While the market job and the cafe job are very different from each other in the actual job description, the lesson from them are the same: get a college job or work for the university itself if you’re in college. If you want an accommodating work schedule that fits your school schedule and breaks in work that mirror breaks in the university school schedule, there is nothing better. I don’t have to worry about taking time off for spring break in order to travel or go home. Managers will put your education first because that is the only reason you’re working there. While there are downsides to every job, it’s the most convenient for a college student.

4. Meijer

To start, for those of you not from Michigan or the surrounding inferior states, Meijer is a supercenter chain store. This is where I learned the most important lesson of all: the customer is not always right. In fact, the customer is normally wrong, but they will be sure to make a fuss about it in order to get what they want. This is an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless. I did Meijer pickup specifically, and I know all the different departments have different horror stories of customers. It is important to note that in order to work at a grocery store, keeping composure at every obstacle is a difficult feat. I experienced the rudest people who said the meanest things at this job, and remember I worked at McDonald’s. It was hard facing all of that, but it was also good for me to develop the skills to not let people like that bother me, to try my best and to stop caring if someone is angry over nothing. Many of the problems were trivial, especially in the grand scheme of your life, so don’t sweat it.

5. Home Healthcare Aid

This job sounds super important, but I was just paid to take care of my family member by making him grilled cheeses and going to the pharmacy for him. It was nice, and gave me an excuse to hang out with my older relative while also getting a little paycheck as well. But, similar to the herb packing, this job solidified that I could never be a healthcare worker as a career choice. Having all these different jobs really tells me what I do and don’t want to do for the rest of my life. It was a unique opportunity, so my recommendation is to take those opportunities, and make something out of each experience.

6. Doordash

Everyone loves a little extra cash. Every time I tell someone that I do doordash the same question pops up: is it worth it? And sometimes it is. But it also comes with heavy costs of gas, mileage on your car, and if you make a certain amount: complicated taxes. There are times when I would sit in a parking lot waiting for an order and the only one offered would have me drive 15 miles and I make $3. I had to learn how to say no, to know my worth, and enjoy the alone time. It was nice to listen to my own music in my own car, drive around the area I already knew pretty well, be able to take a break whenever I wanted, and find new restaurants I had never heard of before. The problem with independence, though, is that sometimes you won’t make money when you have the freedom to just stop working whenever you want. It takes a great deal of discipline to work a job like that.

7. Harding’s

Everyone loves a good small-town grocery store. I worked as a cashier here. I was able to be as chatty as I wished, and didn’t deal with too many rude customers. The job was easy, so easy that I would show up with a total of 4 hours of sleep and just go through the motions for 8 hours before I could go home and sleep. They saw me as a perfect employee and I was well-loved by my much older and much younger co-workers. The lesson learned here from my short summer job, was to be kind to everyone. My co-workers and random customers would feel comfortable confiding in me, just because I would show them a little kindness. Each person that came through probably had some sort of hardship, and they would be met with the bubbliest version of myself. I was told it made people happy, and that made me happy. People going grocery shopping are normally not very happy, they themselves are just going through the motions, and to be in the position to change that is very empowering. My advice is to not tarnish the opportunity to make someone’s day just a little brighter, no matter the job you may have.

My future is full of new jobs that, hopefully, will allow me to use the lessons I’ve learned and maybe learn some new ones. I know that each of these experiences has made me who I am and has enriched my life, as well as my bank account. And who wouldn’t want that?

Jamie Murray

U Mich '24

I'm a sophomore at the University of Michigan, my major is Political Science and I hope one day to go to law school. As an Aquarius, I hope to have some unique ideas and takes for Her Campus articles. And I'm excited to meet new friends along the way.