What were your first seven jobs? A simple question, but it dominated Twitter over the weekend. Turns out people love talking about themselves, cracking jokes, and discussing the current state of labor under capitalism. Who knew?
The #First7Jobs meme started with this earnest tweet from singer Marian Call:
What were your first 7 jobs?— Marian Call & the Guttersnipes (@mariancall) August 5, 2016
Babysitting, janitorial, slinging coffee, yard work, writing radio news, voice-overs, data entry/secretarial
And quickly picked up enough momentum to turn into a full-fledged hashtag game. As you might expect, jokers had a field day with it:
#first7jobs— nictate 📼 (@nictate) August 7, 2016
1. Orphan— Andrew Tumilty (@AndrewTumilty) August 7, 2016
6. CEO Wayne Enterprises
7. Batman, wait, dammit
My #first7jobs were all hand 😞— Christian Zamora (@Christian_Zamo) August 7, 2016
#first7jobs— Ryan North (@ryanqnorth) August 7, 2016
Renegade master, back once again with the ill behaviour
1 racist landlord— the supreme court will destroy everything we want (@SeanMcElwee) August 7, 2016
3 creepy pageant owner
5 fire people on tv
7 failed presidential nominee#firstsevenjobs
Coxswain— Moltz (@Moltz) August 7, 2016
Coxswain second class#First7Jobs
This seven jobs meme is the first time I've ever felt jealous of Jack Horkheimer, the Star Hustler.— Paul Ford (@ftrain) August 7, 2016
7Jobs7Furious— Jim Ray (@jimray) August 7, 2016
Most people answered seriously, though, and the results were revealing on a couple of levels.
Successful people’s answers reminded us that every once in a while, someone goes from washing dishes to being an astronaut. Or that a kid running a slushee machine can one day be Lin-Manuel Miranda.
#firstsevenjobs— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) August 7, 2016
Now Global Space Statesman!
#first7jobs— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 7, 2016
Slushee machine at my aunt's store
Intern for WNET
Drawing 1 model
Community paper writer
But that’s a rare career trajectory, especially for younger people.
The other revealing thing about #First7Jobs is that very few people—even those relatively new to the workforce—reported having fewer than seven. Getting and keeping a job for life, then collecting a pension and retiring, is a thing of the past. If young people want pay increases, they have to change jobs.
So #First7Jobs turned out to be more than just another chain-letter survey —the kind that used to get passed around LiveJournal, but now get passed around Facebook. It’s simultaneously a reminder that success is still (kind of) possible (in rare cases), a commentary on the economic struggle most people are going through, and a new joke format to play with.