First Jobs – Making Wrongs Right – Three Decades Later

Show Notes

Today Jill asks the question, "What is the greatest lesson you learned from your first job?" Listen as she attempts to make things right with a former employer from more than 30 years ago.
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Audio Transcription

Jill Donovan:
Do you ever feel like you’re building an arc with only the instructions for canoe? If so, you’re not alone. Welcome to CEO-ish where we’ll discuss traveling the path of the unknown while making it your own.

Jill Donovan:
Hi, welcome back to CEO-ish, the Rustic Cuff bracelets podcast. I am Jill Donovan and with me today is Kelly Smith. I say that Kelly like it’s something brand new-

Kelly Smith:
Hello.

Jill Donovan:
With me today-

Kelly Smith:
With today’s special guest star is… I’ve always wanted to be a special guest star.

Jill Donovan:
Today you’re a special guest star.

Kelly Smith:
Every day I’m the special guest star.

Jill Donovan:
Do you know what we’re talking about today, Kelly?

Kelly Smith:
I’m not sure. I like a surprise.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Today I want to talk about the… I’m going to ask you this question (not about bracelets) and that’s how you’ll figure out what we’re going to talk about.

Kelly Smith:
Go.

Jill Donovan:
Your first job, what was it?

Kelly Smith:
My first real job or my first job like as a teenager?

Jill Donovan:
Just job.

Kelly Smith:
I worked at Steak and Ale as a hostess.

Jill Donovan:
Biggest thing you learned at your first job.

Kelly Smith:
This is not funny this is true. I learned consolidation.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, at Steak and Ale?

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
In what way?

Kelly Smith:
Well, they always say as a server in training they want you to consolidate your trips back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room. And so I would always have to think 10 steps ahead. Oh yeah. I need to get that and that. Consolidate your bracelets and your movement. So that was like truly-

Jill Donovan:
Wow. How old were you?

Kelly Smith:
I was 17 or 18.

Jill Donovan:
First of all that you learned something like consolidation.

Kelly Smith:
The word consolidation.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, but that’s so smart because it can carry over into every other job. It’s just a shame it didn’t carry over into this job.

Kelly Smith:
That’s true.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
But right now I’m making cuffs while I’m doing this podcast under the table.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
Consolidating.

Jill Donovan:
Consolidating.

Kelly Smith:
What was your first job?

Jill Donovan:
Making the most for time. I was a hostess at the Olive Garden.

Kelly Smith:
We were both hostesses?

Jill Donovan:
You were at the Olive Garden?

Kelly Smith:
I just said Steak and Ale.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I know that-

Kelly Smith:
I was hostess.

Jill Donovan:
I thought you’re a waitress.

Kelly Smith:
No, it was a hostess.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I was a hostess-

Kelly Smith:
Did I not say hostess?

Jill Donovan:
Did she say hostess? She said hostess. I was consolidating and thinking about something else-

Kelly Smith:
She was thinking of her answer.

Jill Donovan:
Trying not to waste time. I was a hostess because I had not learned how to be a waitress, but you want to know what I learned?

Kelly Smith:
I would love to know.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. This is what I learned, actually, it was two things. number one, don’t steal mints. You know those Olive Garden mints?

Kelly Smith:
They don’t want you to steal them?

Jill Donovan:
I found out they don’t.

Kelly Smith:
Those are so good.

Jill Donovan:
So one time I borrowed my manager’s jacket, it was cold and I stole 25 mints but I left the wrappers in his jacket.

Kelly Smith:
Right because you’re were teenager.

Jill Donovan:
I was a teenager and I might have gotten a little slap the bracelets wrist for that. The other thing I learned is that a $20 bill will get you very far. People-

Kelly Smith:
As a hostess.

Jill Donovan:
As a hostess. Well, it’ll get other people very far.

Kelly Smith:
That’s true.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. I used to accept $20 bills to move people up on the list. Not proud of it.

Kelly Smith:
I did to.

Jill Donovan:
You did?

Kelly Smith:
But probably more $100 bills because I grew up in New Jersey.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I grew up in Pensacola, Florida. So $20 bills and I would feel terribly guilty every time I did it.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Well and that’s the difference between you and I because I didn’t feel guilty at all.

Jill Donovan:
Still don’t?

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
I still do.

Kelly Smith:
What?

Jill Donovan:
Yes, I still do. I felt so guilty because I took that money and then I cheated my bracelets company out and all of the other people who had waited for an hour and I allowed somebody. I want to apologize to all of the people-

Kelly Smith:
You’re going to call everyone that you accepted the money from right now?

Jill Donovan:
I should call the Olive Garden and apologize for all the mints that I stole.

Kelly Smith:
You should.

Jill Donovan:
Should I?

Kelly Smith:
Well sure.

Jill Donovan:
I think I should.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Would you get me the local number for Olive Garden please?

Kelly Smith:
In the meantime-

Jill Donovan:
Do you need to call Steak and Ale and apologize for anything? Because that would be-

Kelly Smith:
No, I don’t because I don’t feel guilty about anything.

Jill Donovan:
How do you not feel guilty about-

Kelly Smith:
I just took it, It was a bribe. Is that illegal?

Jill Donovan:
I feel like bribes… I don’t feel good about it. Never did.

Kelly Smith:
All right. It’s not a bribe, it was just a there was somebody in a rush that needed to get to the front of the line. It was $100. That doesn’t make me feel bad. That’s just smart.

Jill Donovan:
Okay, so the more money that it is does it make you feel bad?

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Wow. You don’t have the character I thought you did.

Kelly Smith:
Well, my husband will watch this and he’ll say mm-hmm (affirmative) that’s right.

Jill Donovan:
Because he would feel guilty about it-

Kelly Smith:
My lack of remorse about lots of things have been a marital issue. He’s like, don’t you feel bad about that? I’m like, no, I don’t.

Jill Donovan:
Now here’s the crazy part about that. I don’t feel guilty going up to give somebody $20 to get… I know it’s called a double standard.

Kelly Smith:
That is a double standard.

Jill Donovan:
I know. I need [Gayle 00:05:07] to work this through with me because I don’t feel bad saying, “Here’s-

Kelly Smith:
Why don’t you feel bad? Let me help you work through it.

Jill Donovan:
Because I’m not hurting other people. I’m not asking to be bumped up on a list, I just want better service. I guess I feel bad if there’s a line of people I don’t do it if there’s a line of people, but if I just want-

Kelly Smith:
But why would the hostess who’s accepting that money from you have to feel the guilt if you don’t feel the guilt?

Jill Donovan:
I don’t know.

Kelly Smith:
Well, that’s doing double standard.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, it is a double statement.

Kelly Smith:
Let’s just let it go. It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a table.

Jill Donovan:
For the mint stealing, I do feel like I need to call the Olive Garden.

Kelly Smith:
That was stealing and I would feel guilty about that.

Jill Donovan:
We’re talking about your first job and things that you learned on your first job and maybe some things that you did that you don’t feel so good about.

Kelly Smith:
I do feel a little bad about eating all of the French choke pie that I did eat at Steak and Ale.

Jill Donovan:
I really feel like we should call Steak and Ale after we call the Olive Garden?

Kelly Smith:
Is Steak and Ale still in business?

Jill Donovan:
Yeah I think it is.

Kelly Smith:
That was like 50 years ago.

Jill Donovan:
No, I think it is. The funny thing is that sitting here at this podcast, which you can’t see if you’re watching the bracelets podcasts are two girls who this is their very first job.

Kelly Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) that’s true.

Jill Donovan:
One of the questions I like to ask those of us who have gone on to fourth, fifth and sixth jobs what would you go back and tell your first job self? But better yet what do you tell these two girls since it’s their very first job ever?

Kelly Smith:
Well, this is not advice from a previous job, this is advice from this job. This job is like no other job that you’re ever going to get. That’s the advice is enjoy it because-

Jill Donovan:
But I want them to go out to get another job for six months where they really feel like-

Kelly Smith:
And they would be like, “Oh my God, is this what people are doing out here?”

Jill Donovan:
Working?

Kelly Smith:
Oh, my gosh.

Jill Donovan:
Wait, people work?

Kelly Smith:
I want to go back to the dance party over at Rustic Cup.

Jill Donovan:
We’re going to call the Olive Garden because I’m still carrying with me some guilt from when I stole mints. I believe I was 18 years old as a hostess at the Olive Garden in Pensacola, Florida. We should call the Olive Garden in Pensacola, Florida.

Kelly Smith:
I’d like to go on record as saying, stealing mints feels to me like I took a box of 500 mints and I sold them in the parking lot. Eating 20 mints does not sound like a crime to me, but-

Jill Donovan:
That frightens me a little bit because how many cuffs do you take home in your pockets because it didn’t feel like stealing.

Kelly Smith:
Like 20 or 30 what’s the big deal?

Jill Donovan:
No wait, you don’t think that eating mints that you didn’t pay is-

Kelly Smith:
They’re free mints at the end.

Jill Donovan:
Oh. It’s just excessive eating though.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. So it’s the excessiveness that’s bothering you?

Jill Donovan:
It’s Not. I know the mints are free for the customers at the end. Number one, I wasn’t a paying customer and number two, it was excessive eating.

Kelly Smith:
That is semantics right there.

Jill Donovan:
It wasn’t just 25 minutes. I mean I am certain I ate 500 all told at least and that’s taking from the company. And I think that there are some times that we need to make our wrongs right and I’m going to do it today.

Kelly Smith:
I support you in your endeavor to make things right.

Jill Donovan:
Do you have the phone number for the Olive Garden in Pensacola, Florida? We are going to apologize for stealing. What it felt like to me was stealing mints. So we’re calling the Olive Garden in Pensacola, Florida. Would they be open? Yep, it’s noon. I’m sure they would love nothing more than to hear from me.

Kelly Smith:
Oh lunchtime. I know what I would love to do. Except the manager wants to real quick accept a phone call from a podcast.

Jill Donovan:
Do I ask for the manager?

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Speaker 3:
Thank you for calling Olive Gardens.

Jill Donovan:
Somebody’s got to answer.

Speaker 4:
How may I help you?

Jill Donovan:
My name is Jill Riemer and I’m 49 but when I was 18 I used to work at that Olive Garden. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I stole a box of mints when I was 18 and I just needed to call and tell somebody at that Olive Garden that I am sorry, 31 years later.

Speaker 4:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
So I guess I want to ask for you to forgive me on behalf of all Olive Garden employees.

Speaker 4:
Sure.

Jill Donovan:
Will you forgive me for stealing all the mints?

Speaker 4:
Yeah, it’s no big deal.

Jill Donovan:
Can I ask you a question? Do you ever steal mints?

Speaker 4:
No.

Jill Donovan:
You don’t ever eat those little green packaged mints?

Speaker 4:
Yeah, I’m not huge fan of the mints.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, you’re not a fan of the Olive Garden mints but your work at Olive Garden?

Speaker 4:
Nope.

Jill Donovan:
Do you like their food?

Speaker 4:
Yeah, I like their food I’m just not crazy about the mints.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Well, have you ever carried something like bracelets for 31 years that you felt guilty about and just had to get it off your chest?

Speaker 4:
No.

Jill Donovan:
No?

Speaker 4:
No.

Jill Donovan:
What was your first job?

Speaker 4:
I’m not really comfortable answering all these questions. Would you like to talk to a manager.

Jill Donovan:
No, I’m totally fine. Now that I’m forgiven I’m good. Thank you so much for taking the call.

Speaker 4:
Okay.

Kelly Smith:
She’s reporting you to some sort of firm right now.

Jill Donovan:
That felt good though.

Kelly Smith:
It felt good until she said she was uncomfortable.

Jill Donovan:
When she used the word not comfortable is when I became uncomfortable. But listen-

Kelly Smith:
But now do you feel better?

Jill Donovan:
I’m the Guinea pig for everybody who’s watching and listening. Think about your first job. What is it that you’re still carrying? Perhaps maybe just a phone call like that will begin to lift off that heaviness.

Kelly Smith:
There you go.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

Kelly Smith:
Do you feel better?

Jill Donovan:
It’s gone, I actually do. Now I’m actually craving-

Kelly Smith:
Olive Garden, right? Me too.

Jill Donovan:
Olive Garden mints. They’re free to me, I’m a bracelets customer now I can take as much as I want.

Kelly Smith:
I think what you should do is you should get Olive Garden for lunch and then just leave a big tip and call it done.

Jill Donovan:
I should have talked to the manager, but who’s got time for that?

Kelly Smith:
Nobody.

Jill Donovan:
I’m free from the guilt.

Kelly Smith:
They’re in a lunch rush. We got to move on.

Jill Donovan:
Thank you for joining us today on CEO-ish. We will see you next time. Thanks, Kelly.

Kelly Smith:
Thank you.