McDonald’s To Middays – Check Out Brett Alan’s Work History
How long have you been at WYRK? I get that question all the time. While I've been here for 17 years, I've done a ton of other jobs...
Like a lot of other people, I started my "work history" with quick side jobs for people in the neighborhood. Raking leaves, painting fences, mowing lawns - that's the kind of stuff that I did. I used to help my dad's friend with his farm and would help to do hay for the farmers around the corner. Heck, sometimes I did that just for the free food!
But when I was old enough to actually enter the workforce, McDonald's is where I looked first. They were opening up a new restaurant inside a new Walmart store that was being built in Springville. I'm pretty sure I made about $4.35/hr with that job. It was enough to fill my gas tank so that I didn't have to ride the bus to school anymore.
The summer before I went to Alfred, I was trying to get started in my field which at the time was Education. Yup...I wanted to be a teacher. I got a job at a local daycare for a summer camp that they were starting. I liked it, but I think mostly because of my size, the kids were scared to death of me.
Then I headed off to college. While I was there I had a work-study job in the mail room. It was in a dark room in the basement at Alfred University. It wasn't much...but again, it gave me a little spending money while I was on campus. And it was easy. I was filling envelopes.
When I came home for the summer I signed up to paint houses with College Pro Painters. That was a great job. It was outside, I got some exercise, and when it rained, I got a day off. Plus most of my friends from the football team signed up to do the same thing. We had a little too much fun. I still point out many of the houses that we painted in Springville and Hamburg as I drive by them. I should probably apologize to some of the people who's houses we painted right now though...college kids with paint who were just starting to begin drinking alcohol legally...some of them took a little longer to paint than others as we often had a rule of "it's too hot to paint" and would head to the beach to wait it out.
The summer came to an end and we all headed back to school. But then I decided to change schools from Alfred to UB, so that work study job in the basement wasn't an option any more. I needed to find something to make money here in the Buffalo area. I didn't want to be in fast food again. So I looked across the street at the grocery store. I was hired at Tops. I did everything there from cashing people out to gathering carts (which I actually loved) and running the front end.
It was actually there that I started my DJ career. Weird right? The guy that ran the produce department at the time had heard me on the overhead intercom and came to me to ask if I'd ever thought about being a DJ. He owned a DJ business and wanted to give me a shot. I'd never put any thought behind it before that but I thought, "what the heck...I need money. Let's give it a shot." Who knew that doing that would lead me to where I am now??
I really got tired of running a cash register. That's when my dad mentioned that they were looking for someone to stock shelves at the Fisher Price Toy Store in East Aurora. So I took that job. That was a good one too. I met some of the best people working there. Plus, I got to work with my dad. I'll never forget that job and I'll always be thankful for the opportunity to work with him in that capacity.
It was that job that got me into radio. Who would have thought? While I was there, Craig Matthews was working at WHTT and he came out to the toy store to do a remote. I was able to talk with him for awhile and thought at that moment that I really wanted to pursue a career in communication. I was super jealous of him that day and thought he had the coolest job in the world.
So I changed my major the next semester to focus on advertising and communication.
But yes, I was still in school and still needed money. In the winter I would work for a family friend at their ski shop in Colden. It was about this time that I scored my internship at what was Infinity Broadcasting to help out with promotions at WYRK. I talked to the promotions director at the time when she called the ski shop to ask about renting skis and set up an interview with her. Needless to say, I got the internship. So I was still living in Geneseo and driving to Buffalo to go to school and work as many jobs as I could for the radio station. I really wanted to concentrate on that one...
In the summer, there was a place called Classifieds Plus in Williamsville that took classified ads for some of the biggest newspapers across the country. And this one paid pretty well (at the time). So I took it.
I wasn't a big fan of that job. It was indoors on the phone, and many of the customers were just miserable. I worked it because I needed money, but at this point, I was going to school at UB and living in Geneseo with my girlfriend (who is now my wife). It wasn't an ideal situation.
Time for a change. I took on a seasonal job at Target stocking shelves getting ready for Christmas. That one was great. Working for Target was a really good experience. They treated me really well and even had me stick around for the end of the year so I didn't have to find another new job. They were understanding when I told them that I really wanted to be in radio. I was taking as many shifts as I could and never saying no to chances to work weekends or overnights on WYRK.
When my wife graduated from Geneseo we came back to Springville to get our start. I didn't really want to get into retail again because working weekends took me away from DJing weddings and parties. Plus I had gotten a job as an in house DJ at a new place in Ellicottville. But those jobs weren't paying the bills. Now I had rent, and car payments, and gas (because I was driving...A LOT!).
That's when I signed on to drive a truck and deliver furniture for Oak Express by the McKinley Mall. Again...it paid well (comparatively) but wasn't a huge fan of the job itself. Carrying dressers and desks up narrow stair wells that people said they measured was tough. I was in some good shape though and it was nice to work with friends.
Then my big break came. Chris Keyzer (the guy who was working the afternoon drive shift) was offered an opportunity in another market and Wendy Lynn was going to be moving to his old shift. Which meant that nights on WYRK was opening up. It was my dream job. I never wanted anything as much as I wanted that job. I put my hat in the ring and got an interview. I actually drove my delivery truck to my interview between deliveries.
And it was in that truck that I got the call a few days later that I'd gotten the job. It's possibly the best news I've ever gotten on the phone.
I guess the reason why I mapped all that out is to show that you never know what might come just from having a job. Who would ever think that being a cashier at a grocery store would open up an avenue as a mobile DJ, or that working at ski shop in a small town would be the avenue to a radio career?
But that's what got me here today.
If you're looking for a job, you never know what you might find at our WNY Diversity Job Fair. It's going on tomorrow from 9am-2pm at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. It's free to attend and all you need to do is dress for the job that you want to land and bring lots of resumes. You never know...this might just be the place where you find your dream job.