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Marketplace Morning Report
My First Job

My First Job: Pet grave digger

Robert Garrova May 1, 2015
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Jesse Kovalcik got his first job because he wanted to spend time with his dad.

When the family moved to South Florida, Kovalcik’s dad got a job at the Tri-County Humane Society. When his father was tasked with managing the pet cemetery, Kovalcik decided he wanted to help out.

“Mostly I was responsible for digging the pet graves,” Kovalcik says.

It was hard work, but, for every grave he dug, his dad must have dug half a dozen, Kovalcik says. His father would hold a funeral service for the pets too.

“I always thought it was a little bit strange to have a funeral for your pet,” Kovalcik says, “but what always struck me was how helpful he was to them and how supportive he was.”

But for Kovalcik, his first job at the pet cemetery was more than just a macabre after school activity. Seeing how compassionately his dad dealt with people whose pets had died sparked something in Kovalcik.

“Definitely it gave me a sense that I should try to do something that helps people,” Kovalcik says. “It gave me a sense of what was important and what I should be doing with my life.”

Kovalcik now lives in Oakland, CA and is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a school counselor. 

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