Jobs I Have Had and the Lessons I Learned

Jobs are a great way to learn about the world. Luckily, I had my share. Here I share some of the poignant stories and the lessons I tried to learn.

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Artwork from the book - Jobs I Have Had and the Lessons I Learned by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג -
About the Author
Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג
I'm a writer, scientist, musician, inventor and lecturer. During the daytime I am advisor to the President of Shenkar College, a job I love. I write children's books, satire, and…
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Jobs I Have Had and the Lessons I Learned

by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג

Copyright © 2017

When I was about four years old, the Sagers would come to visit. Joel Sager and I would make drawings and would sell them to our parents for a couple of cents. This helped keep us out of their hair. This was my first experience as an entrepreneur. We had a captive audience, but no potential for scaling up.


The family used to pick delicious raspberries at an abandoned farm in Ottawa. Later I branched out and picked my own raspberries in the forest between our home and Hillcrest High School. I would jar them and sell them to neighbours. Once some kids held me up at gunpoint (ok, bb-guns but still mortifying) and took all my pickings from that day. Lesson: Distance yourself from unprincipled characters.


The Pacquets, our neighbours, gave me a babysitting job. They had a turntable, Simon and Garfunkel LP’s and they let me play them. I was in sixties heaven! And I got paid! Lesson: Work can be enjoyable!


Growing up, I had odd jobs at synagogue. Leading the Junior Congregation. Singing in the High Holy Day Choir (soprano). They would pay me an ‘honorarium’. Lesson: Worship can pay off in the present life as well.


Kenny went on vacation and let me replace him as paper delivery boy for a few days. It was in the Canadian parliament. The tips were very satisfactory and Kenny did not ask for a cut.  Lesson: Politics and money go hand in hand.


Tom Swadron hired me for his coin and stamp store one summer, down on the Ottawa Market. I thought I was going to be a salesman, but instead spent the week soaking stamps. He wanted to pay me in kind and I had to get Dad to go downtown to extract the $20 that he owed me for the week. Lesson: All that glitters is not gold.


One summer Dad got me a job sorting mail at Canada Post. It was the night shift. I must have misplaced hundreds of letters and packages. Lesson: Keep your eye on the final destination.




I spent the first half of the summer of 1969 as a garage hand. I didn’t fit in. One of the Gentile employees choked me and said “Too bad Hitler didn’t kill all you Jews.” The irony of it all was that it was the Bessin’s Morton Motors Volkswagen garage.  Lesson: Immigrate to Israel.


One summer I was a secretary at a synagogue, with Maxine Robern. We helped ourselves (with permission) to left-overs from the bar mitzvahs and weddings. I gained weight.  Lesson: Perks are pernicious, and can slow you down.


I was a door-to-door salesman for the Fuller Brush Company. A prospective client invited me to see her bedroom. I didn’t ‘get it’. Lessons: 1. Learn your customers. 2. Body language is important. 3. Be prepared for eventualities and expect the unexpected.




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