what our first gigs taught us

What do cowboy boots 🤠 and earthworms🪱have in common? Mintees’ first gigs. See how we got our start and the lessons we’ve learned.

december 12, 2022

brands - content - trends - marketing

by: fiona lam

The mark of an official grown up? Getting our first job. And for us teenage dirtbags, as the internet lingo goes, the extra cash from it was our taste of freedom. Yes, we were in it for the money, but it taught us a life lesson or two—even if we had to learn from trial and a lot of error. So dive into our career origin stories and what we’ve learned.

fiona lam

community manager

“I accompanied ballet classes on the piano. Still my side hustle after 11 years.”

Lesson: Don’t stay up all night watching Friends before your shift.

jeff mcquarrie


“I sold (and polished) cowboy boots at a store in my hometown that had Ontario’s longest wall of cowboy boots.”

Lesson: Large, mundane tasks are best done with a little music.

william ng

print production lead

“I sorted earthworms for my Aunt’s bait shop. Got promoted to plan out the display racks shortly after. I was 8 years old.”

Lesson: People who fish like to tell stories both long and tall.

andreea vernescu

account director

“Worked as a Pharmacy Technician in highschool.”

Lesson: Telling people you were a lifeguard in high school is way cooler than a pharmacy technician.

sylvain beaudry


“Worked on the night shift at a 24hr McDonalds for a summer”

Lesson: Organization of your workspace makes the work easier down the road.

jaime eisen

associate director, pr

“I made slideshows that played at Bar Mitzvahs, and shot and edited videos of the night.”

Lesson: There are always creative ways to turn something you love into a job or side hustle!

darcel milani

account supervisor

“Worked as a party inflatable coordinator, aka a bouncy castle supervisor.”

Lesson: Patience. 10 – 15 kids at once, full of sugar bouncing around.

yulia gavriltseva

senior digital project manager

“I worked as a census taker going from home to home to gather information about each household.”

Lesson: Not everyone wants to happily share their private information.

ettienne nxumalo

jr. producer

“I started and ran a chess club at my little brother’s Montessori.”

Lesson: A queen is nothing without her pawns.


account supervisor

“I was in a Children’s Aid Society training video when I was 12.”

Lesson: That was my first taste of production – almost 20 years later, I’m still at it.