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 fiancé 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.