Robyn Gabel

Illinois State Representative, 18th District

Robyn Gabel, state representative of Illinois's 18th District, first worked as a part-time cashier at Jewel when she was 16.

Gabel held this position all through high school and says she enjoyed keeping busy and receiving a regular paycheck.

"Sometimes you could get store discounts," says Gabel with a laugh. "I definitely liked that."

One of the most important things Gabel says she learned from her first job was how to manage her time. Especially since she was in school and could only work nights and weekends, Gable had to carefully plan how to finish her homework and make time for friends while still being a reliable and timely employee.

"If you're a good worker," says Gabel, "and show up and don't call in, people are more willing to work with you and give you the hours you want."

Another important skill Gabel gained from her first job that still serves her in her political work today was how to interact with different kinds of people.

"I learned how to work with people of all ages and backgrounds. My goal was always to help people," says Gabel, reflecting on her years of important work in the nonprofit sector.

"A positive first job experience is what you make it," says Gabel. "You can't control other people's behavior, but you can always control your own."