When you ask someone what their first job is, you're likely to hear a similar response. Most kids have either worked at a fast food restaurant, served as a host/hostess, or maybe even worked in retail. My first job, however, was not conventional. I had the honor of working at the local pet hospital in the kennels. I was a pooper scooper.
How does a teenager grab a job like that? I had connections. I'm a big deal. Actually, my sister was a dog groomer and she knew that they needed help in the kennel, so I was the lucky one that got the job! I thought I had struck it rich at $7 an hour (oh boy!) and I was anxious to get started!
My first week gave me the opportunity to train and learn how the job is done. Folks, it's a lot more than scooping poop. I quickly learned that it was labor intensive and you barely got a break to eat lunch. This would scare most 14 year olds away, but I fell in love.
I learned here that I loved routine. Everything in the kennel ran like clockwork. I had to took the dogs out of the kennel and out to the outdoor runs. While their kennel was empty, I cleaned up any messes, which involved washing the floor, laundering their bedding if needed and checked their cards to see if they received meds and when; as well as when they ate. Once finished, I had to bring the dogs back inside and move on to the next set of dogs. Some dogs got baths the day they were picked up and this is when I learned (and shocked most of the staff) that a 110 pound girl, can in fact, pick up an 80-pound golden retriever to plop it in the tub. :)
I learned that working hard is the only way to work. I learned that it is better to be respected than liked. I learned you need to stand up and speak up when something isn't right, even when you are the youngest employee. I learned what makes an amazing boss as well as great co-workers. I learned that professionalism is more of how you interact and communicate with others, instead of what you wear. I remember beaming with pride when the woman training me, a pro in my eyes, brought me out to Dr. Barton and told him that I was one of the best. It means a lot to be appreciated for the work you do and when it's recognized, you can bet that I will work even harder, better, stronger and faster.
There was some definite hearing-loss from the ear-piercing barks that howled through the kennel. I stunk like pee, poop, puke and wet dog 90 percent of the time; even after a long shower! It was all worth it, though. The relationships I built (both human and pets) was amazing. While, it wasn't an easy job, I am so thankful for it. Hard work pays off and while there I learned what makes an amazing boss as well as what makes great co-workers.
It's funny that I actually miss that job sometimes, but it also is nice to know that I have carried what I learned in that first job to apply in my other jobs!
To Park Hills Animal Hospital, and to Dr. Barton (where ever you are), Thank you. The tools of success I learned while working there built the foundation I needed to create more successes in my professional career.