Politics

#FirstSevenJobs: How the Los Angeles City Council got their start

Budi Nusyirwan/Flickr Creative Commons

Whether you got a leg up or you crawled your way up from the bottom, we all start somewhere in the job market.

The #FirstSevenJobs social media trend, which started with a  tweeted question from singer-songwriter Marian Call, has shown the often strange career paths that celebrities, politicos and everyday people followed.

We reached out to members of the Los Angeles City Council to ask about their first seven jobs. There were five council members who worked in restaurants, four salesmen, three paperboys, two video store employees, two who shined shoes, two drug store employees, two tutors, two bank employees, two who sold concessions and two teachers.

From fisherman to professional dancer, here are some of their origin stories.

(Share your own stories on social media with #FirstSevenJobs or #First7Jobs and tagging @KPCC, or in the comments below.)

Councilman Mike Bonin

  1. Newspaper delivery boy - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
  2. Dishwasher, Brennan's Restaurant, Clinton, Mass.
  3. Cook, Burger King, Clinton, Mass.
  4. Drug store clerk, Clinton, Mass
  5. Bank teller, Leominster Credit Union, Clinton, Mass.
  6. Library Worker, Lamont Library, Harvard University
  7. Maintenance worker/gardener/security guard, @Philip Weihn Memorial Swimming Pool, Clinton, Mass.

Bonin spoke with KPCC more about his first jobs. His first five all took place before he started college., with his seventh being his regular summer gig while in college. His first job as a paperboy taught him a certain fear.

"It is where I probably developed a fear of Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds, because there were two of each along my route at different homes, so those houses tended to get their newspapers, but I very rarely got to collect the subscription cost," Bonin said.

He had a job the summer before college as a bank teller, but didn't always have the amount of money he was supposed to be taking in match up.

"I don't think I ever balanced my drawer the entire time I was there, and as I recall, every single day I wound up having more money in the drawer than I should — except for the very last day I was there, I wound up being a couple hundred dollars short," Bonin said.

Bonin also told us he forgot one other job that lasted one day during a summer in college: a light industrial job at the Cains mayonnaise factory. After they finished making the condiments for the day, he had to walk in with an industrial hose to a 30- to 40-foot vat and spray it down.

"What happened is, most of the excess condiments just fell down on me, because I was inside the chamber. So by the end of the shift, I was covered. I looked like a giant hot dog. And since then, I have been pretty averse to condiments," Bonin said.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield

  1. Children’s Express news service- Producer/Editor
  2. Fuller Brush Company- Salesperson
  3. Harris Publicity- Telemarketer
  4. Special Assistant/PA for Ken Burn’s Documentary The Civil War
  5. Clean Water Action- Canvasser
  6. Senator Bill Bradley- Special Projects and Grants Assistant
  7. Congressman Howard Berman- Legislative Assistant, then Leg. Director

Councilman Joe Buscaino

  1. Neighborhood Senior Citizen Grocery Carrier
  2. Lawn Mowing
  3. San Pedro Fish Market Cook
  4. Commercial Fisherman 
  5. Dept. of Rec and Parks Recreation Assistant
  6. Dept. of Rec and Parks Summer Camp Director
  7. Los Angeles Police Officer

Councilman Gil Cedillo

  1. Selling L.A. Times
  2. UCLA student job
  3. Concessions at Santa Anita Race Track
  4. Community Organizer for CSO
  5. Bullocks Wilshire (ties and dress department)
  6. Pasadena Community College job placement
  7. Field Deputy for Tom Bradley

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson

  1. Joseph T Smith Realty (gopher) 
  2. Popeye's Chicken (cook)
  3. First Interstate Bank (file clerk)
  4. Thrifty Drug Store (Cashier)
  5. Video on the Go (teller, video delivery service)
  6. One Lambda (biotech, inventory manager)
  7. McKesson Water Products (sparkletts brand AP clerk)

Councilman Jose Huizar

  1. Shined shoes
  2. Newspaper delivery boy (Rafu Shimpo)
  3. Video store clerk
  4. Tutored high school students
  5. UPS employee (midnight shift)
  6. Restaurant host
  7. Attorney (private practice)

Councilman Paul Krekorian

  1. Cook, Shakey's Pizza, Reseda
  2. Cook, Pup 'n' Taco, Northridge
  3. Laborer, Ramona Statuary, Van Nuys (My father's business)
  4. District Deputy, Assemblyman Tom Bane, Van Nuys
  5. House cleaner, Berkeley
  6. Summer Law Clerk, Organized Crime Strike Force, U.S. Justice Department, Las Vegas
  7. Associate Business Litigation Attorney, Los Angeles

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell

Councilman Curren Price

  1. Shining shoes
  2. Department Store
  3. Metal Fabrication Shop 
  4. Playground Coach
  5. College Work Study
  6. Youth Coordinator
  7. Quick Print Shop

Councilman David Ryu

  1. tutor
  2. civics instructor
  3. community organizer
  4. case manager
  5. policy researcher
  6. mental health advocate
  7. councilmember

Councilman Herb Wesson

  1. Concessionaire at Cleveland Browns games
  2. Supermarket stock clerk 
  3. Substitute teacher 
  4. Parks & Recreation staff  
  5. American Tobacco sales rep 
  6. Pots & pans salesman 
  7. Engineering placement agency rep