Learning From a Not So Great Experience

By: Ashley

So I think the majority of us have all had a job or 2 that we didn’t exactly like. A job that we would never, if given the choice, do again. I thought that I would take one of my own experiences and relate how, even though I didn’t enjoy it, it helped me build up some of my strengths.

Two summers ago I worked for the fire department back home. Sounds heroic, but I actually wasn’t a fireman, I was one of two people that ran the local bar’s Tri-Wheel. It’s a gambling game where you place bets on numbers. I would spin the wheel, and then if it landed on your number I would pay you, the amount depending on how much you wagered. Sounds exciting right? It was a pretty easy job, but taking money from people who have had a little too much to drink was not easy, or exciting. See, I had to convince people to play. When they lost I had to convince them to play again, and the more they lost, the angrier they got. Nobody ever got to irate or physical, but sometimes when people are drinking they say dumb things. Things like blaming me for them losing when really they were just unlucky, thinking I had some supernatural power over the wheel, which I didn’t. Anyways, at the end of the night I had to count up the winnings given out, and subtract from the amount paid in and make sure the numbers added up. If I gave out a winning of $100  and they were only supposed to get $80 I had to use my tip money to balance it out, after all it was my fault, not to mention I had to do all this number business at 12 am, in a noisy bar. Now seldom did anything go wrong. However, once an inebriated individual accused me of stiffing him his winnings and even though I was nervous and thought it was possible that I had, I had to make sure. I double checked the numbers quickly and realized he was trying to trick me. As he was getting angrier, I called over a bouncer and he dealt with the individual. The man did eventually apologize. It was a stressful job and I never did go back, but in all its unenjoyableness I did learn some very important things.

First off, I learned and fine-tuned many skills that are at the top of the top skills and qualities that employers seek in job candidates as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. I fine-tuned by ability to verbally communicate with people as well as the ability to sell and influence others. If I hadn’t learned either of these, I would have never made the fire department any money with the game. I also amped up my ability to analyze quantitative data with the number crunching I had to do each night. Not to mention being able to think quickly on my feet in a sticky situation like calling over the bouncer and keeping a level head. Besides those four I also learned how to adapt. I had to adapt the bar environment. Being the introvert I am, it was hard but it did help me come out of my shell a little and helped me learn to communicate with people. I also learned to be patient because I had to deal with not just angry customers but upset customers that had partaken in some “goofy juice.”

Even though I did not like my job, I did learn some very valuable things. I bet if you took every bad experience you have had and sat down and thought about it you would find just as many, and maybe more, things that those bad experiences have taught you. Things that can be applied to the enjoyable things you do now and the things you’ll do in the future.

I believe it was Albert Einstein who said the only source of knowledge is experience, whether that experience be good or bad, learn from it, grow from it, and use it to advance yourself to where you want to go in your life!

Read Ashley’s other posts

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About ellenhatfield

New professional in the field of Student Affairs in Higher Education. I am a Career Counselor at the University of MN Duluth.

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