#52 Lists

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Part of my whole new ‘me’ is not doing unnecessary things that require commitment (which basically rules out all internet challenges and swaps, although if another Hoop Up came along I’m jumping right at it) but I like the sound of #52lists, just a list a week, on anything and you know, with me it’s not necessarily going to be a list a week either but I have been thinking about this ol’ blog, thinking that I should go back to writing more about things that aren’t a) food b) craft related c) books d) Richmond Park, so this could be a way into it.

So, my list this week is of all the jobs I’ve had and I think it’s a bit sad that probably the best job I’ve ever had is no. 2 on the list, yep, I reached my career peak at 17 but oh working in that book shop was sooo cool. It was a tiny little independent book shop, the sort that doesn’t really exist anymore (in fact they went out of business about a year after I left to go to university) but I’d work there every Saturday, whilst the owners, a married couple, would look after their daughter in the office at the back of the shop, so it’d basically just be me and the shop most of the time and I loved it. I especially loved it when people would come in looking for some really obscure book and I’d search on the old microfiche, find it if I were lucky and order it for them, christ who’d do that now in the Amazon age.

My first job though, to put it mildly, was shitty, highlight or should I say lowlight was more than once having to try and mop up a crate load of spilt bubble bath off the floor of the stock room. The 7-11 job was not that much better but at least did not involve bubble bath. But both the drug store job and the 7-11 job were picnics compared to my very brief and disastrous career as a secondary school science teacher.

I then escaped to do something I had always wanted to do, work as a scientist. Due to my less than conventional scientific career path up to that point (although I had a so so degree in Biology from not the best university in the world), I started at the bottom, earning a pittance and my job was honestly, literally, writing numbers on tiny tubes. At the time I had also started doing a Masters at night school and one of my tutors, a bloke who spent most of his time working in industry would go, when hearing what my job was, “why in my lab we have robots to do that”, I think I was cheaper than a robot. But I worked hard, impressed my bosses and worked my way up, so that by the time I left to have Girl Lacer, I was in a relatively senior position, having been promoted twice and now earning probably over three times my original wage. I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had gone back to work after having Girl Lacer, I was doing very well in my career and keeping up that sort of trajectory I could have been looking at a very interesting and rewarding job with an equally interesting and rewarding pay packet by now. But what ifs are pointless, as it happened my old employer was closed down a few years ago, with mass redundancies, flooding an already saturated job market with scientists who all offer a very specific set of skills where there wasn’t really enough jobs to take them all.

When I started looking for work again, as my children got older and I discovered the hampering effect of those unique set of now out of date skills, I picked up a number of self employed type jobs, the book selling, the equivalent of being an Avon lady but with children’s books was pretty disastrous, the private tutor was towards the end pretty successful but mind numbingly boring and the Etsy seller, I know it looks the complete opposite but I haven’t given up on that idea, I just need to be in a better position with my life first before I go back to devoting energy to it. My job now, I am extremely grateful for, I got employed by a company who saw beyond my rather eclectic CV and although I’m back at the technician scale of pay checks, at least I have the knowledge that I’ve worked my way up before, if I want to, I can do it again. It’s the ‘if I want to’ that is the great dilemma, it was a hell of a lot easier flinging my way up that career ladder the first time round when I was in my 20s and had no children to go back home to, a hell of a lot easier. I see the cost of childcare, do the maths and wonder how much have I got to gain and how much have I got to loose by going conventionally full time? We’ll see.

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