Career Planning Tool: #MyFirstSevenJobs


I especially love one of this summer’s hottest social media lists — #myfirstsevenjobs — since it easily engages everyone in thinking about careers–past, present and future.

When the challenge first started trending on Twitter this past weekend, I took the challenge to name my first seven jobs. Here’s my top-of-mind listing of my first seven jobs:

  1. Lawn mower
  2. TV cabinet assembly line
  3. Journalism intern
  4. Reporter
  5. Politics
  6. Public Relations
  7. College prof

Upon further reflection, I realize I left out a few as I tried to recap an entire career with only the truly significant life-shaping gigs. For instance, assembling television cabinets at the RCA plant in Monticello, Indiana confirmed that I needed to focus on careers that didn’t require manual labor. But my list also should have included early jobs such as dishwasher in the cafeteria of my high school, gardener, newspaper boy, door-to-door sales, raising and selling rabbits (until I realized people weren’t buying the bunnies for pets).

According to this article, the #myfirstsevenjobs exercise confirms that job hopping is the fastest way for Millennials get bigger salaries. It also underscores the fact that many participate in the growing “gig economy,” rather than counting on one steady employer. Another revelation is that younger workers are reluctant to ask for raises, which opens the door to switching jobs as the best way to advance financially. Only 37% of millennials have asked for raises at their current jobs, compared with 48% of baby boomers and 45% of Generation Xers, according to a PayScale survey.

Importantly, use the #myfirstsevenjobs exercise to think about what’s next in your career. Those who regularly assess their job progression significantly increase their chances of success.

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