On April 12th, we will be scooping up free cones at our Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShops as part of National Free Cone Day. But, thanks to the support of some special businesses and individuals, we’ll also be raising funds to support our job training and workforce development programs! The 6th Annual Scoop-A-Thon brings together “Scooper Heroes” in our community who are dedicated to ensuring that youth learn the skills they need to find employment and lead independent lives. Whether they mentor the youth we serve, provide internships and employment, support our programs financially or work to engage others in our efforts, they are truly heroes for homeless and at-risk youth in our community.
Webtrends is one of our Scooper Heroes, and David Sinner is just one of their employees who has scooped at Scoop-A-Thon over the years and been a great supporter of our programs! We asked David to reflect on his first job experience and why he and Webtrends are committed to being part of the solution to ending youth homelessness.
Tell us about your first job…
Like most young people I had a number of part time jobs before landing my first “real job” as a computer programmer for Hughes Aircraft. I worked as a busboy in a restaurant, a baseball umpire, a custodian, a projectionist and as a ticket taker for the San Diego Chargers. I didn’t realize it at the time but in each of these part time jobs I was developing a valuable skill that would be useful later in my career.
What was the most important thing you learned from those experiences?
The variety of part-time jobs I had required a varied skillset and each experience made me better equipped in my career. As a busboy I was on the bottom of the ladder so had to learn to take direction from a variety of a people (some whom I did not think were as smart as me). As a baseball umpire I learned to make quick decisions and deal with angry people. Working for the San Diego Chargers taught me about unions and dealing with the public. And working as a projectionist taught me how to stay calm during a crisis (and also the little black dot in the upper right hand corner of the screen means a scene change is coming and it’s time to switch the reel). The key is no matter what the job there is a learning experience available. Also, never underestimate the power of showing up. In most all of my part time jobs getting people to show up consistently was the biggest problem for employers. While working as a custodian I was promoted three times in a 6 month time period mainly for being prompt and dependable.
Why do you and Webtrends think it’s important to support job training programs for youth?
There are many bright, capable youth out there that can develop in to strong productive employees if given a chance. Businesses want to reduce risk and hiring a young employee with no experience is a potential big risk. New Avenues’ job training programs helps reduce that risk for employers by preparing youth with the skills and confidence they need to be successful.
You never know where a job will take you. One of my first jobs was as a custodian at the Student Union at San Diego State. On the surface the job was not that appealing and I only got it because my brother worked there and was able to get me on the crew. Four years later it turned out to be one of the best part time jobs I ever had and in the end I was promoted to house manager and responsible for the building at night. It was all possible because someone gave me a chance.