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Before Running the Greenhouse: John and Jessi’s First Jobs

With summer quickly approaching, many are headed out to secure their ideal spot where they’ll be raking in some extra cash this season–some for the first time ever! 

While not many people stay at their first job forever (or even in the same industry), those work experiences can be very memorable and a great starting point for knowing what you want to do in the future.

Let’s take a look at where our owners John and Jessi had their humble beginnings.

John Kelly (The Boss)

Though the job was originally offered to one of his older brothers, John jumped at the opportunity to take a position at a neighbor’s farm when he was just about twelve years old. Tom and Diane Woodford provided him with steady work throughout high school and even college when he was available to come back to help.

While he didn’t always enjoy the barn chores like milking and cleaning pens, he did love being outdoors, driving tractors, and operating equipment.

“I learned a lot those years,” John says of his time on the farm. “Hard work, figuring things out on your own, discipline, and having to get out of bed early (yep, I sure missed a bunch of mornings over the years by oversleeping!).”

Some of his favorite memories include the first time he got to drive a tractor, the day he tried (and failed) to ride a cow, eating delicious meals from Diane, and going ice fishing to supply fish fry with Tom.

“In the winters Tom would take me ice fishing. He had some great spots and we’d usually catch some fish. We’d clean fish in the milkhouse after chores at night and do a fish fry that evening or the next day. Perhaps the best part was the LEFTOVER (if there were any) fish to eat again the next day. Warmed up and wrapped in a buttered piece of bread – golden nuggets! MMMMM, so good!”

Jessi Kelly (The Actual Boss)

With no prior experience working in restaurants and also little experience eating in them, Jessi’s first job as a server at a local cafe was challenging to say the least. 

On day one, she was handed an apron and put to work with next to no training–on the busiest day she ever experienced! After a whole shift of forgetting drinks and silverware, taking orders from a menu she didn’t know and getting lost trying to find supplies, Jessi took home about five dollars in tips and a slightly bruised sense of pride.

However, she persevered throughout the summer until school started and picked up a few more skills along the way. Though she never became a star employee at that restaurant, she does affectionately remember their delicious desserts.

“I’m sure I got a little better at the job,” Jessi muses. “They made the best sour cream raisin pie!”

Jessi later tried her hand working at Hardee’s, Bush’s Beans and a local bindery as well as as a nursing assistant and home health care aide.

With a mix of fond and not-so-fond memories, John and Jessi’s experiences in their early working days certainly helped to build a strong foundation for pursuing even more ambitious careers in the future – like running a greenhouse.

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