All the jobs I've ever done (sort of) - #blogajob challenge




About six years ago Alice at Nipper and Tyke nominated me for the #Blogajob challenge. Today I have accepted the gauntlet. Sort of. I have worked supporting children and families for many years but my roles and experiences in that field would be too much to cover in one post. Hopefully I can talk more about them in another post. For now I have decided to cover the part time jobs I have attempted. There was still a lot to learn…


BABYSITTER - HOMES IN SOUTH LONDON

My mum basically set me up with a reputation for being quiet, bookish and responsible. Which was pretty much true but not for want of trying to be otherwise. Babysitting was an easy gig. In short I let my wards do whatever they liked as long as it didn’t cause visible damage. Whatever bedtime their parents had told me to enforce, I would tell the child I had been told to put them to bed half an hour earlier. They would then think I was being ridiculously cool by letting them stay up thirty minutes past bedtime. Following which I would lie on the sofa and watch soaps. Ten minutes before the parental return I would shove any mess into a corner, turn off the TV and get out my homework. The parents would be enthralled by the peace they found on their return.

Lesson learned: Branding is everything


WRITER - THE VOICE NEWSPAPER, BRIXTON

'TheVoice' is Britain’s favourite black newspaper. It amuses me that it is the ‘favourite’ and not the ‘best’ as this moniker was clearly garnered from an impromptu street survey carried out in the mid eighties. At the time, a confused A’level student trying to cover all my bases with geography, biology and English, I told my mum that I had decided on the career of journalism. Being the encouraging woman she is, she told me I wasn’t tenacious enough. To prove her wrong I wrote to the newspaper with an example of my work, I'll date myself by admitting it was a review of Mariah Carey's newly released single ‘Butterfly’. They actually responded to my brazenness and let me write their young voices page! It turns out my mum was right because after a year I gave it up for the next job.

Lesson learned: Listen to your mum


CASHIER - SAFEWAY, STREATHAM HIGH ROAD

I loved the idea of a place with camaraderie but Safeway on Streatham High Road was the most depressing shopping spaces I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps it’s because Streatham High Road has been voted one of the worst roads in the UK but, everything – the managers, the staff, the lettuce – was sad. I tried my best to be perky and to entertain myself by making amusing comments about my customers wares. I got a reputation and often had a bit of a queue. I left after Christmas because I have saved enough to by my mates Ministry of Sound albums and because the uniform was scratchy but before I went a pensioner bought me a bunch of flowers for brightening up his mornings.

Lesson learned: A little can go a long way


CREDIT CARD INSURANCE SALES – DEPRESSING OFFICE IN CENTRAL BIRMINGHAM

Okay, I’ve never admitted this but I’m basically responsible for all those people ringing you and telling you they can help you claim back PPI payments. I had no idea what I was selling or why and it clearly showed because in the brief time I worked there I made NO SALES. Since the job was commission only I’m not even sure it counts as a job. Actually, my lack of success means I’m not responsible for those calls! They put all our names on a board and updated it if we made a sale. I think the public shaming was supposed to be motivating but I’m definitely a carrot girl.

Lesson learned: Ignorance is not bliss


PSYCHIC – PSYCHIC HOTLINE, MY HOUSE

I found this role in the back of Cosmopolitan magazine which as far as I'm concerned was a legit endorsement. When applying I was vaguely concerned about the fact that I have no psychic ability but it proved to be unnecessary. Weirdly the service routed calls to your landline so during the hours you were working you could never be sure if your mum or a girl from Essex wanting to know if she should dump her fiancĂ© was calling. I used tarot cards and genuinely learned what each draw meant. I quickly established that people did not want to know what the spirits really thought, they wanted to know that they were going to get married/win the pools/meet Peter Andre and, in honesty, they didn’t really care if it was true or not. Where appropriate, I was happy to oblige.

Lesson Learned: Give the people what they want

Thanks for the tag Alice. I'd love to hear about what you learned from your work history. If you're on Periscope come find me this month! I'm @moderatemum and I'm trying Working Mom Magic's challenge.




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photo credit: Shopping trolleys via photopin (license)

17 comments

  1. What a fascinating list of jobs - especially the psychic one. I can only imagine some of the calls you must have had! And I worked in The Voice building years back too, I used to write the arts column for The Weekly Journal - wonder if we crossed paths at all?? It was a long time ago! Very interesting to look back at all the various steps that led us to where we are today, all useful experience as you've pointed out - even if we don't realise it at the time (or even if it doesn't quite make the CV haha). Nice to meet you, via #BrilliantBlogPosts

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  2. How funny! Oh yes, back when Brixton was a market and not a village :) Working as a psychic was actually quite sad at times, I thought it would be people having a laugh but it was a lot of folk looking for hope. Thanks for stopping by x

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  3. This was hilarious! I love that you worked as a psychic... that has to be one of the most unusual jobs of anyone I've ever known...

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    1. I picked another name that I thought sounded more psychic than Charlene... I think it was Dominique :)

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  4. Thanks for finding time to write this - I tagged you because I knew it would be an interesting read, and you didn't disappoint!
    :) x Alice

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    1. Thanks for tagging me and for the reminder! I get ther in the end :)

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  5. You have had some really interesting jobs! Love the humour you've added to each one ;) x

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  6. Haha! That's an interesting selection of job! #fridayfrolics xx

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  7. Ohh I like this, I need to reflect back and see what my jobs taught me. Mich x

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    1. Ooh do! Would love to read a post on it x

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  8. I'm actually quite jealous that you had a job as Safeway cashier - that was the job I wanted as a teen but got shafted with the greasy coffee shop there. Though it sounds like Safeway sucked which I think is pretty universal for Safeway employees (and may be now why it no longer exists).
    I love that you were a psychic - I've always wondered who were behind those ads in the back of Cosmo and now I know!
    Love this #blogajob!

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    1. Yes! Please let go of the Safeway dream. The best bit of the job was that employees got 50% off any food bought on or at the end of their shift. Clearly that didn't help their profits.

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  9. Love this. My first babysitting job involved two kids spraying aerosol at the gas hob and not listening to a word I said! All other baby sitting jobs after that were a walk in the park!!! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

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    1. Wow! Quite literally a baptism of fire x

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  10. Loved this and tracing the steps that brought you to the present day, your psychic phone line sounds so fun and interesting and brilliant you wrote for the Voice. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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  11. OMG Charlene I used to LOVE reading 'Young Voices' in my secondary school / college years. Love your online resume of sorts. I think these early jobs really do shape our thinking. You've got an eclectic lot to draw upon!

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    1. Ha ha! That's so funny, I'm glad that people actually read 'Young Voices' perhaps my investigative pieces on Saturday job work conditions didn't go unheard :)

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