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My first job

My first job

In our series about first jobs, we spoke with some of the leaders that have helped make the property industry what it is today. Did you know the property sector is the largest private sector employer in the state and represents 11.5 % of the state’s workforce?

For part one of our series, we share some funny insights about where it all began for Phil McMahon, Managing Director at Phil McMahon Real Estate and Moira Mundy, Executive Officer at API (SA). They share their likes and dislikes, but most importantly what they learnt from their first job.

Phil McMahon, Managing Director – Phil McMahon Real Estate

After studying civil engineering for a year, I decided it wasn’t for me and took a role as an office boy at Eagle Star Insurance on Currie Street. I was 18 or 19 years old. It was an entry level role, so I was changing the ink in the printer, getting lunches and collecting the mail, but I loved it! I worked hard and it paid off as I very quickly became a department manager.

It was a great time of life – I was young and it was the 60’s. I remember that I’d finish work at 5pm and then dash across the road with a few colleagues to the local pub. We’d line up a bunch of beers before I headed home on the bus to be on time for dinner with my parents. 

I learnt a lot in that role. It taught me how to manage people and also how to be on time, but most importantly it taught me how to be disciplined - when I came to work, I was there to work.

Moira Mundy 1974Moira Mundy, Executive Officer – API (SA Branch)

My first job was Secretary to the Chief Clerk at Prudential Insurance on North Terrace, Adelaide.

My sister worked in the general insurance section and she let me know when a job became available. I lived in Gawler at the time and travelling to North Terrace for the interview was the first time I’d been to the city on my own. I was green and my colleagues certainly rubbed it in.

My first job taught me to be aware of the difference between your supervisor as a friend and as a boss and how to manage different relationships with colleagues. 

I was rewarded for my good work and received a promotion at the same time that my best friend and colleague got demoted due to poor performance. So while I moved forward in my career, she unhappily took a step backwards. She subsequently ended our friendship which was a bittersweet experience, but I learnt a lot about office dynamics.

You had to type everything in those days, so I also learnt the importance of accuracy. You couldn’t make a mistake or you had to start again. One of the highlights I can recall was shifting from a manual typewriter up to an IBM Selectric. It’s what everyone aspired to have in those days and was the latest and greatest available – a bit like getting the latest Apple device now. It was heaven - you could even change the font!