Don’t ever let anyone disparage those often-awful first jobs in the teenage years. They can be highly motivating to do better in school, to avoid being stuck in a bad job. They also can suggest a clear career path to those who are paying attention to what they like and dislike about these lowly jobs.

Take my friend who described working as a young teen at an Omaha pet store.

She fed dead goldfish to baby alligators.

“It was the perfect training for my future career as a trial attorney.”

And that’s about what her job is like!