Fired! …. at 12 years old.

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Written by Ben Alexander

Every day, all over the world, every single MINUTE people are waking up and going to their jobs and expending their energy, time and intellect in exchange for the money they need to eat, live and take care of their family.

No other plant, mineral or animal does this other than humans, with the exception of performance animals and service dogs… and we pay them in food and shelter, mainly because it would take a very talented dog to handle coins and paper currency.

Of course, you can’t forget your friendly killer whale down at Seaworld, doing flips for buckets of fish and occasionally living up to their names when that little switch goes off in their Orcan brain and they decide to murder that small primate in a neoprene wetsuit who has been ordering them around for the last few years.

If you outweighed your boss by a few tons how tempting would it be to simply END them one sunny day?    

My first job was an auctioneer’s assistant, I was 12, the guy who hired me knew me from church and he was a total jerk. He paid me $2 per hour to clear brush in his backyard and help him run estate auctions on the weekends. At the time the minimum wage was about $4 an hour, but I was 12 and he paid me cash.

You have about zero options for legal employment when you’re in sixth grade, and my parents would not have been happy if I’d become a cocaine dealer while still in elementary school.

In this first job I learned all about auctions. People would die, and we would come in and sell every item in their home. This was interesting because you learned that used stuff was pretty worthless 99% of the time. At one house I took home a whole set of heavy duty hand tools for about $4. They were probably about 60 years old when I bought them back in the 1980’s, I still have those tools in my tool box to the present day.

A valuable thing to learn early on is that THINGS have less value than you may realize.

During the actual auction I would hold up items and then help haul stuff around for the buyers.

At 12 I was a smallish kid, so my lovely boss would always tell me what a pathetic weakling I was. I had spent my childhood reading books and avoiding  athletic activity, for a mere 2 bucks an hour what the hell did he expect, Hercules?

My boss would also find odd lots of stuff in warehouses and then buy it to sell it elsewhere. I remember one day when we drove to a decrepit warehouse in a ghetto of Philly where we loaded about 500 one gallon tins of tomato sauce into his box truck. To this day I have no idea what he did with 500 cans of tomato sauce. It was crap work and he paid me crap pay, and then he fired me a few months later.

I guess 2 bucks an hour was too much to pay a 12 year old kid, perhaps he found a 5 year old who could work for less?

So there I was, fired from my very first job at the tender age of 12.

I had all the feelings that one associates with being fired; shame, humiliation, failure, disappointment, etc. But in a way getting fired is an action of forced change, you have no choice but to look around and consider your other options.

Later on in life, when I was fired from other jobs I took it in stride and always landed with all 4 paws on the ground. Getting fired forced me to try new jobs that I never would have considered if I didn’t need work. I was a waiter in a BBQ restaurant when a balloon guy came in and started twisting balloons, if I had NOT been fired from my last waiter job I never would have learned balloon art, if I had never learned balloons my present company would not exist today…

Everything happens for a reason.

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