The Way We Work

Whether your first job was stocking grocery shelves, scooping ice cream or mowing lawns, it’s likely that the value of what you learned about the professional world was far greater than the money you earned. For some, first jobs were an initiation into entrepreneurial life; for others, they were lessons in how to deal with difficult bosses or less-than-honest coworkers.

For oDesk CEO Gary Swart, his first job—selling sneakers and sporting goods at the University Shop—brought many lessons in learning fast, working smart and being a catalyst of change. In this post for the LinkedIn Influencer program, Gary remembers his first real job and explains how he still carries with him many of those lessons. One learning, for example, is about not just working hard but working smart:

At your first job, you don’t know what smart is, so always run twice as hard as everybody else. My grandfather used to say, “If you don’t have it in your head, you have to have it in your feet.” I once told this adage to a colleague and he had the insight to reply: “I suppose the opposite is also true.” It turns out, he was right! While working as hard as you can, do your best not to make the same mistake twice. This is when working smart comes in—it’s critical to take time to learn from mistakes so that you understand what happened and why.

Read the full post on LinkedIn here!

Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more