How our first jobs shape the rest of our lives

angela davis and nardos tesfalidet
MPR News host Angela Davis (left) talks with Nardos Tesfalidet in an MPR News studio in the Kling Public Media Center in St. Paul on Monday.
Nikhil Kumaran | MPR News

We all start somewhere. And our first jobs — no matter if you’re an ice cream scooper or an investment intern — leave lasting marks on us.

First jobs teach us about ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

MPR News host Angela Davis talked with two experts about how our first jobs shape our minds, habits and futures.


  • Nardos Tesfalidet is the program supervisor for Right Track, the City of St. Paul’s youth employment initiative. She has over 15 years of experience in college access, special education, community-based programs and youth employment.

  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson is a professor and chair of the department of sociology at Washington State University. Her research focuses on work, family and education.

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.   

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