I have decided to start my own Blog Challenge of the back of this post I wrote last month. As you can see, the theme is a sort of CV, and like a real CV you can gloss over the less interesting parts of your career if you wish (I did), forget something you spent two years doing (I also did) or leave out your involvement in secret undercover operations for MI5 for your own safety (I will leave you guessing on this one). But I thought it would be nice to find out more about other bloggers and this was a fun post to write, so I hope you enjoy taking part!
Here are the rules:
1. Write about your job history, including highlights and something you learnt from your experience there.
2. Tag some other bloggers you would like to take on the Jobs Challenge themselves. I will leave it up to you to choose how many!
3. Show it some social media love – Pin if you find it Pinteresting, update your Facebook status, Instagram it, or send a tweet or carrier pigeon to me @aliwal, using the hashtag #BlogAJob
I would welcome anyone who wants to take up the challenge to please tweet me a link when you’re done 😀
Malcolm McKowan’s Bakery, Palmers Green.
I was a shop assistant come cleaner, paid a pittance. My abiding memory is of accidentally taking home the shop Tesco Clubcard in my apron pocket, then pretending to find it the next week in the biscuit cupboard. Also, going to the pub with the other girls, who were a few years older than me but still underage, and not having a clue what to order. Did I mention that I am a genius of deception? I learnt that you should never chat amongst yourselves when there are customers waiting and never to buy those marzipan figures sold in bakeries around Christmas time.
Annie Rooney’s Cafe, Palmers Green
Winner of the worst waitress award 1998, I served people things they hadn’t ordered for one summer in a cafe that really only sold two things. I never learnt to recognise the differences between Big Breakfast 1 and Big Breakfast 2, so you got what you were given. I made up for it in charm though, managing to meet my husband there. The chef was a loon who sometimes went awol, leaving us teenage girls to muddle through. Highlights included badly burning both my hands after a particularly tall fellow waitress put two full cups of tea on the shelf where the rest of us kept the empty cups. I learnt that people will eat food they didn’t want if you smile enough and how to make perfectly round fried eggs.
Enfield Library Service, Ridge Avenue
I put things on a shelf, usually in the right place. I helped people find things, even though I was told not to as I wasn’t qualified librarian. I tidied up a bit. I was the go to girl when it came to sticky back plastic, inexplicably referred to as “Vistafoil” by all and sundry, as I had the knack. This was quite a lovely job for a sixteen year old. I was responsible for a net loss equivalent to the average Enfield household’s council tax bill, as the power went to my head and I got all gung ho with my ability to waive the overdue fines of anyone of my acquaintance. I learnt far too much about the Dewey decimal system, but I have almost forgotten it now.
Marks And Spencer, Southgate
Starting out as a Christmas employee, my main duty was to put people’s shopping in bags for them at the till. This is ironic, as I would never in a million years allow anyone else to pack my shopping, being far to much of a control freak and not having much faith in adolescents not to put a carton of juice on top of my croissants. I ended up working there on and off for about four years whilst I was at Uni, graduating to the dizzying heights of putting stuff on shelves (my experience at the library having taught me everything I needed to know) and the odd spell on the till, culminating in a short stint managing the cheese department whilst the real grown up was on holiday. My best ever moment was when a man asked me to show him where the taramasa-lu was. After I had shown him both the tiramisu and the taramasalata, he was still insisting that what he was looking for was in fact a third, different thing, probably too embarassed to admit he’d just said it wrong. Another highlight was having to wear a jumper with ‘Squeeze me” written right across my ample chest. I learnt that hiding upstairs was even more boring that actually working, and that people can come to blows about groceries when it is Christmas. I also learnt that the customer is definitely not always right.
Contemporary Applied Arts, Percy Street W1
After 2 weeks work experience, I was offered a job I had dreamed of doing throughout my degree – Textiles Manager at CAA, one of the country’s best established and most highly respected retail galleries, showcasing British craft. My fact-loving brain quickly absorbed the names and relevant details about craftspeople in a variety of disciplines, and I got to select, display and in some cases actually sell beautiful things three days a week. I loved absolutely everything about this job and couldn’t believe that I was allowed to do it, even though I was hugely intimidated by a lot of the artists because their work was so amazing. We had coffee at half past three every day, which could be drunk out your choice of handcrafted vessels by some of our time’s finest artisan potters. I learnt that you should never dry a coffee pot with a tea towel (a sackable offence, I am sure) and developed a taste for expensive tablewear that I have maintained even though I can’t really afford it. It was a wrench to leave.
Enfield Library Service, Children’s librarian
On paper, this looked really fun – Baby Rhyme Time, Story Time, Homework Club, and a little bit of promotion of our local library service, all packed into three days a week, making my dream gallery job (also three days a week) financially viable. Having been selected from a large number of applicants for my ability to do all of these things, I was not really allowed to do any of them, and was left instead to hand out leaflets and put things on shelves (spotting a theme?) in a variety of locations across the borough. Not really belonging anywhere in particular, me and the other women on the team led a nomadic existence, being largely ignored by staff across the borough’s 14 libraries. Travelling from A to B on company time became a large part of my day and as such I took great delight in benevolently letting people out at junctions left, right and centre. I learnt that whilst many of them are individually lovely, there are few more sociopathic collections of people than librarians. I also learnt that returning to somewhere you used to work, marginally more qualified than you were before and with the debts to prove it, is fairly depressing.
A Primary School, Haringey
Thinking about becoming a teacher, I found a job that would offer me the chance to get some school-based experience whilst I applied for a place on a PGCE. I was offered a job as a Learning Mentor and spent a year trying desperately to figure out what I was actually supposed to do. 10 months after I had started there I left, none the wiser. I learnt a lot about what kind of teacher I would like to be and also what kind of teacher I would not like to be.
Another Primary School, Enfield
I was accepted onto an employment based teachers’ training programme, and found that teaching came quite naturally to me. I seemed to be more than adequate at it and it was good fun. I spent every night writing lesson plans and evaluating things I had done that day, which appealed to the more analytical side of my personality. The other trainees were great and we supported each other through the experience, emerging at the end of the year ready to take on our own classes. There were some fantastic teachers there who were also all round good eggs. I learnt that I am capable of inspiring children to want to write.
A Third Primary School, Haringey
On the day of my interview at this school, I wore a particularly out-there necklace with parrots all over it. It just felt like the kind of place where one would wear a necklace with parrots all over it. It felt like the kind of place where I could be myself. They obviously liked my necklace, as they offered me the job. To write a synopsis of this workplace would be weird, as I still work there. But I have learnt that there is a lot you can learn from everyone you meet.
Tapestry designer, blogger and craft teacher at Me (NipperAndTyke)
During maternity leave with my second child, I made the decision to set up my own business as an outlet for my creativity. I have a lot of ideas but not very much time to devote to it, and now I am blogging too I really hardly get anything done. But, you have to start somewhere! Every time I sell something or teach a class I get a massive buzz from it, it is lovely to be doing something where I feel like I can offer some degree of expertise. I have learnt that it is amazing how productive you can be when you are a mother.
What have you learnt from the jobs you have done? And what funny memories do you have from previous jobs?