When people ask about my previous work experience, depending on whether I want to impress them or not I will give them either a vague answer (‘a lot’) or what I believed to be an exact answer; 23. Prior to writing this post I sat and listed all of the jobs that I've had that my poorly flu brain could remember; it’s 28. Yes, you read that correct, at the ripe old age of 29 I have managed to work my way through 28 jobs, which would equate to two jobs per year since the age of 15, the age at which I entered the realm of employment.
I garnered the urge to write a post describing all of my past jobs as a) at times it can be quite amusing and b) it’s not as of a negative thing as people would initially like to think. Each role has helped me acquire a different skill set and a growing base of knowledge. When people claim that they are a jack of all trades I try to keep a straight face and stop myself prattling on about my ability to change the peddles on a bike but also place an order with a fashion designer. Sophia Amuroso speaks of her eclectic work history in her book ‘Girlboss’, which let me to think- let’s break the stigma on this. Yes I get bored easily and yes my timekeeping is abysmal, but I wouldn’t trade my life experience for anything. Upon writing this post I realised that this would have to be broken into sections, so here we go; part 1 of the longest most honest CV in history:
When I was 15 I was itching to enter the world of work. At home I had written up price charts for chores but 20p for drying up even every day a week only left me with a £1 and I knew my labour could be much more of a commodity out in the real World. My first job was as a dishwasher in a Beatles themed restaurant. I would work evenings and watch food come back hardly touched, have to throw it in the trash and then wash and stack the burning hot plates. My mother’s best friend worked at the time as the salad chef and every so often id sneak out the back to go see her and she’d feed me burger buns with mayonnaise. The final straw came when the chef shouted at me to pass a plate and I refused because they were burning my hands. I got my mother to call and quit for me and decided not to eat in there for the next couple of years.
Silver Service Waitress
Have you ever tried to pick up a fried runny egg with a spoon and fork like a pair of chopsticks? No neither had I. My short stint as a silver service waitress for weddings came to an end after I was asked to train outside work hours the night before my GCSEs and I refused. The sacking probably also had something to do with my regular dropping pepper on the guests and bursting that damned egg.
This one barely lasted a week. Whilst being taught to clean the tables I accidentally sprayed everything in leaf shine then burst out laughing in front of the guests. Apparently laughing was frowned upon and I wasn’t asked back.
Looking back I actually quite enjoyed my stint working in a bakery in the nearby town of Southwold. It was summer so the bus ride was quite pleasant and the fact I could eat their food for lunch was an added bonus. The problem came really with a mixture of what my teenage brain classed as workplace bullying and my actual inability to take direction and do things that I'm not interested in. I REALLY liked organising the shelves, so much so that I would be immersed lining everything up completely exact so that the shop section of the bakery looked like something from a magazine. In hindsight this was probably linked to what a psychiatrist later called‘autistic traits,’ I however felt victimised for being asked to sweep every five seconds, dramatically quit and then had to call my mother from the seafront whilst sitting on a canon.
Bakery girl x 2
No I didn’t learn my lesson and also worked for a short while at a local bakery but this merged into;
Car dealership coffee girl
This job was in equal measure boring and awesome. I essentially got paid £3 an hour (I was 16) to sit on Myspace, eat paninis and make the very occasional coffee. When the business went bust I wasn’t surprised but it was fun whilst it lasted.
Dish washer at a tractor auction
This sucked balls. A friend of mine at the time took three of us to help out for a day’s work in Cambridge. It was hot, it was sweaty and may have got the two lads I was with to do a lot of the leg work – sorry guys.
Retail assistant (fashion)
I had my first long term employment with a well known fashion retailer where I managed to get a job in the home section. A major positive was the uniform allowance that we were given however anyone that knows me knew that during sixth form my fashion sense wasn’t exactly what you would call ~feminine~. In a poor attempt to try and fit in I wore kitten heels to work and fell flat on my face walking up the glass steps. My hours there were decreased as a punishment after I had a major operation and didn’t have enough holiday left to cover it (sorry that I was growing an orange size cyst on my ovaries arseholes!) so I told them I couldn’t work my notice (which ran over my birthday) as I was suddenly relocating to London that coming weekend. My cover may have been blown when I passed the manager in town a few weeks after…oops. I’d come to work in retail a lot more later but for now I was finished in that sector.
Now I better stop at this point as it nicely rounds up all of the jobs that I had between the ages of 15-18 which I’ll class as the ‘school years’. Even by this point I had had more work experience that a lot of adults I've met today however it wasn’t going to stop there, I had University to go yet…