Geoff Fullen: What I Learned from My First Job

I think I was about 15 or 16 when my mother helped me with an opportunity working for the City of Columbus Parks and Recreations Division at a local golf course. I’ll never forget her driving me to Raymond Memorial Golf Course near the intersection of Wilson and Trabue Road (I can’t believe I remember the actual street names. It must have been meaningful work without me recognizing it).

While nearing the actual golf course, you drive down the south side of the course where there are two seemingly never-ending, long par five holes. I mentioned to my mother how long the couple of holes were, mentioning how horrible it must be for whomever has to cut the 4-6 foot tall grass that act as barriers to the road. Little did I know that I would be cutting that long stretch of Hell for the next two weeks… with a push mower.

Once I arrived, it was apparent that I was the only young person in the landscaping barn. The barn was far removed from the glitz and glamour of the pro shop, clubhouse, and the pretty girls that worked as starters. Work began immediately. I was on my way to that horrible place, the ditch that separated the road from the course. I heard my peers laughing. No one wanted the ditch job. They left the push mowing to new folks that could not complain or turn it down.

My boss didn’t care about much of anything. He won a $1,000,000 lottery not only once, but twice in my two-year tenure at this particular golf course.

I was told that the ditch job would take me 4 week (4 weeks of my summer vacation!). I was determined to not let that happen, so I knocked work out twice as fast as anyone before me, making a serious positive impression.

After so called “knocking the ball out of the course,” I was promoted to working some of the machinery. The golf course also was apart of another neighboring course named Wilson Golf Club. Wilson had 27 holes. Still having to prove myself I was ordered to mow 18 of the 27 holes. I finished my 18 before the other lad had finished his 9 holes. I was rewarded with an increase, and ruled the roost for the full summer and the following summer (While the millionaire sat around. Later heard he had spent every nickel of the $2,000,000 and went completely broke).

I learned that if you do the difficult work fast, people notice and give you bigger and better jobs. I also learned that even when things are going well and you have a few bucks, you better keep hustling!