Money Slackers: What's in your resume?



Myles Ma

Myles Ma

Senior Reporter

Myles Ma is a senior reporter at Policygenius, where he covers personal finance and insurance and writes the Easy Money newsletter. His expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, PBS, CNBC, CBS News, USA Today, HuffPost, Salon, Inc. Magazine, MarketWatch, and elsewhere.

Published July 25, 2019 | 9 min read

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Featured Image Money Slackers: What's in your resume?

Myles Ma : HELLO Money Slackers. We are here as always to talk about personal finance, and you can't have finances without an income and you can't have an income without a job, so let's talk about jobs. SO when did everyone start earning money for the first time? Any weird first jobs?

Hanna Horvath : I worked in the back of a bakery making croissants.

Anna Swartz : OMG I worked at a bakery making croissants once too! But my first job was def babysitting.

Blayne Smith : Lots of lawn mowing/yard work when I was in my early teens. Delivered party supplies (dunk tanks, bounce houses, cotton candy machines, etc.) when I was in high school.

Jeanine Skowronski : I worked at the municipal pool as a groundskeeper.

Patrick Hanzel : My first real job was serving dinner at a retirement home.

Kieran Duffy : My first job was around 13 or 14 taking care of gardens for my neighbors.

Holden Lee : Summer cashier at BJ's Wholesale Club.

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Myles: What compelled everyone to start working? What did you need the money for?

Blayne: Video games.

Kieran: What Blayne said.

Blayne: Reason No. 2 was keeping my dad off my back in the summers. If I even worked a little bit he didn't complain as much.

Jeanine: I'm with Blayne. I worked at the pool and beyond because I recognized having my own money — or working for my own money — precluded problems with my parents.

Hanna: My first car.

Myles: Is that what you actually did with the money once you started making it or did you blow it?

Kieran: I blew it on video games so mission accomplished. I didn't really learn to save money until I moved out of home.

Hanna: I blew it at first and then I realized I was not going to get a car so I saved.

Anna: I saved all my babysitting money and the money I got from my bat mitzvah until college.

Patrick: Yeah, I think I saved most of it because I just wasn't sure what to do with it. My expenses were pretty low at that time and I was still able to wrestle some dollars from my parents.

Myles: For people who saved it, where did the money end up going? Is it spent now or is does it still form a tiny portion of your riches?

Anna: I basically spent all my savings when I moved to New York after college. This city is expensive!

Myles: I definitely did not save anything. I was a cashier at Sears my senior year and the money was all gone by the time I left for college. I ate at least an hour of work every day at the food court.

Jeanine: I worked at The Olive Garden through college. They gave you a free shift meal.

Holden: My first real job was 2002. Small tech company dealing with rather old tech nobody else wanted to manage. If only someone had told me about Roth individual retirement accounts at the time.

Anna: What's the value of an Olive Garden staff meal every day versus a Roth IRA?

Kieran: OG wins that one every time.

Holden: The value of a staff meal doesn't grow through compound interest.

Myles: Since Holden has taken us there, when did you first start earning "real money" or what you considered real money anyway? Like I had a full-time job out of college, but it was for very poor money.

Jeanine: What is "real" money, Myles?

Myles: I guess enough that you could have things like a Roth IRA. When you weren't like 'oh no. am I gonna make rent?'

Jeanine: I could have a Roth IRA with Olive Garden money. I just didn't. I had a shore house instead.

Kieran: I hope it was the Jersey Shore.

Jeanine: It was ... and it was before "Jersey Shore."

Myles: Woah, do you still have the shore house? Let's do Money Slackers there.

Anna: My first year in New York I don't think I broke even. I was doing a bunch of different writing jobs and working as a tour guide, trying to stay afloat.

Myles: How did you balance multiple jobs like that?

Anna: They were all part-time and also I am very lucky and my parents helped out that year. But it took like a year to get a full-time job with benefits and then I was only making $36,000.

Holden: I can't remember having my parents help me out financially after college.

Anna: Yes, I was very lucky and privileged to have their help!

Blayne: My first "real job" was at Pet Airways (defunct airline for dogs and cats).


Kieran: The airline only flew dogs and cats?

Blayne: Website is live, oddly.

Myles: How did you even get this job? This chat is just about Pet Airways now.

Kieran: What did the flight attendants do when they were telling the animals what to do in case of emergency??

Blayne: I worked at a doggie daycare in college. The dog trainer from our doggie daycare was friends with the founder of Pet Airways. I talked to her one day and it turned out they had a position on Long Island, which is where I was.

Anna: Was the pilot a dog?

Myles: What did you do for them? Did you fly the plane?

Blayne: I was the terminal manager out of Republic Airport on Long Island.

Anna: Were the flight attendants also dogs?

Blayne: Jack Hanna called in one day and I took the call. I thought I was being pranked.

Hanna: What is the weirdest interview question you've been asked? My favorite interview question is: How many tennis balls fit in a limo?

Jeanine: 'Tell a joke.' I didn't know what to do. I didn't know any jokes.

Myles: I don't think I've ever had too weird interview questions? I always ask weird ones though. Like "What gives you the warm fuzzies" aka, what, other than money, is rewarding about working here?

Patrick: One time the first question I was asked was: "Are you nervous?" Not a nice thing to ask someone who is likely kind of nervous.

Myles: What did you say?

Patrick: I said: "Not really..." (this was for my retirement home job)

Myles: Does anyone have any interview tips of their own? (not that mine was a tip).

Holden: Prepare intelligently and be yourself. Also don't sweat the outcome. Some doors are better left unopened.

Myles: What do you mean prepare intelligently?

Holden: Don't boil the ocean. I think I got smarter about interview prep as I got older and had more jobs, so I didn't wind up preparing for EVERYTHING.

Kieran: I'd have to say it's always best to look at previous jobs as learning experiences so that no matter what type of situation you were in, there was something to gain personally and professionally.

Jeanine: I think I got better at interviews when I realized I was interviewing the employer just as much as they were interviewing me.

Anna: When I interviewed at Pg, Jeanine asked me about my dog, which was great.

Jeanine: I remember that! I wasn't screening for anything. I just wanted to know about the dog (Laney).

Myles: I always try to bring a list of questions and try to know at least something about the company.

Holden: Right. Or come in with observations to start a conversation with the interviewers. Show interest and strong desire to join if offer comes.

Myles: Can we talk about quitting? What factors have led you to jump ship in the past? Is it always more money? Has anyone taken a job for less money?

Anna: I'm sure we've all had jobs where the workplace culture is really bad. That has a big effect. I had times where I considered leaving a job for a job that paid less because I was so desperate to have functional leadership.

Jeanine: I made a career switch six years out of college and that required me to backpedal on pay.

Patrick: Does taking a job for less money than another offer count?

Anna: Sure, what made you do it Patrick ?

Patrick: Taking happiness and lifestyle into consideration is sometimes worth a dollar amount.

Holden: Exactly. Also in reverse. Someone's gotta pay me $$$ if they want me to commute two hours each way, working in a thankless role, in a not-so-great work culture.

Anna: Commute is a big deal to me too. I would probably take a pay cut to be able to walk to work.

Myles: What are other reasons you'd take less pay? Maybe getting to work remotely whenever I wanted? Laptop by the pool.

Anna: Working remotely! Myles have me over to your pool.

Holden: Free lunch?

Anna: Free meals at work add up to a lot of savings! That's like a few thousand dollars a year.

Patrick: Part of my decision to join Pg was actually that I didn't have to wear a suit and tie everyday.

Holden: In short, generous benefits offset less pay? Otherwise, not sure. Maybe location? 10% less pay for a location where my dollar can stretch 10% further?

Jeanine: I mean, it's not as simple as less pay, right? You've got to look at the whole offer. If one place is offering you $60K, but high-deductible health insurance and another is offering your $50K but a premium plan, for instance, you should maybe go with the place offering better health insurance. In other words: You have to assess the whole offer, not just base salary.

Myles: Location is an interesting one. You definitely get paid more in New York, but as we frequently mention, New York is mad expensive. Anyway, we're out of time. I'll tell human resources about all our demands.

Anna: Ask for a pool on the roof Myles!

Image: Phillip Blackowl