• Jessica Sherry

5+ Story Writing Prompts on First Jobs

What was your main character's first job?

Mine was working for my parents in their gas station/convenience/deli/video store. As a kid, I learned more about the following than most people ever do:

  • making change, coffee, and counting a till,

  • stocking shelves,

  • fixing subs, sandwiches, hot dogs,

  • penny candy,

  • brands of beer and cigarettes,

  • R-rated movies, B-movies, and our town's appreciation for Kung Fu,

  • how many people are kind enough to rewind,

  • shoplifting and overnight robberies, (Yeah, it's no wonder I enjoy mysteries),

  • slicing meat and cheese,

  • loitering and what's hidden in small, brown bags,

  • how a hair pin can be used as a weapon (Mom had to break it out when a guy was being aggressive in the parking lot).

First jobs provide glimpses into the way the real world works, so they play a role in shaping a person's views on work, people, money, and life in general.

To develop your character, give him a first job.

  • What did he do as a teenager to make money?

  • What did it teach him about life?

  • What did it reveal about himself?

  • What did he learn about other people?

  • How did he spend his money?

  • How did those experiences shape him as an adult?

The more you know about your main character's background, the better you can portray him on the page. Here are some specific ideas for common jobs for teenagers.

So, happy job hunting! Visit www.coffeebrained.com for more prompts and brainstorming. Share any insights below!