A Lesson From My First Job I’ve Used at Every Job Since

You know how sometimes, celebs forget to remove the price tag on their shoes and then the world goes nuts?

Like the time Anna Kendrick forgot to remove the price tag from her $600+ Casadei Blade pumps. How dare she?

First, I hate to break it to you, but she’s not paying a damn cent for those shoes and second, I apologize: some of those incidents might be on me.

Okay, not really, because the shoe manufacturer I worked at when I was 17 didn’t make such expensive shoes, but still: I spent all of my fall holidays 2008 looking at those tags.

More specifically, it was my job to remove the old tags from the bottom of each and every single shoe and replace them with updated ones.

My first attempt at getting a job had failed. This was my second one and I ended up pulling staples out of shoe soles for 8 hours a day with my bare hands.

I learned two things from that job:

1. How hard your job is is up to you.

In the beginning I was slow, took forever to find the shoes, went pair by pair, grabbed the carton off the shelf, removed the tag, etc. Then I started pretending I was playing Tetris, looking for efficiencies everywhere.

  • I batch processed shoes from certain price categories and sizes.
  • I stacked the cart with as many boxes as it could stably carry.
  • I started using a screwdriver to pull out the staples.

That made work a lot easier and faster.


2. So is how much fun you have while you do it.

Of course it’s still a boring job, but that’s exactly why I tried not to focus on it. Instead, I turned my attention to the fun parts of it:

  • The office dog who often came to visit.
  • The great food we’d get each day for lunch.
  • The ridiculous cars of the owners, which they always parked right in the warehouse.

…and of course the fact that I could at least listen to music all day. There’s always fun built-in one way or the other, so I thought I might as well try to find it.


Whatever job I’m doing today, I’m still looking for ways to make it easier all the time and I always try to see the fun sides of it.

The freedom to do these two things is something no one can take away from you, no matter the task at hand.

Oh and the next time you see a celeb’s price tag on their shoes, don’t think about how expensive they are. Think about the person who put it on there.

We all start somewhere.