I’ve had an extremely long and rather colourful work history, starting a young age I had to learn to be self-sufficient. There was barely enough food to eat at home and definitely no money spare to buy anything considered remotely luxurious..
It all helped though and it helped me mature a lot, mainly in terms of finances it really taught me the value of money and that money isn’t easy to come by so don’t simple spend it frivolously. I won’t list all the jobs as I had as some were temp and lasted a few days or in some cases a few hours…I’ll mention those that I find interesting, or somehow relevant in my development.
I think it’s something Asian kids generally lack, working, earning money and learning some respect for the value of money. Kids here don’t have to contribute to their own studies or cars..they just get given money for free!
How many of you have had part time jobs? If you look at the catering industry here, or manual labour, security guards or factory workers and so on they are mostly foreign workers. All of these jobs are considered to ‘low’ for locals. You know what? In UK I’ve done ALL of those jobs.
Job 1 – Paper Round
This is a pretty typical ‘job’ for most kids in UK, any kid with a bike can do this job and there are two main types – Daily Rounds or Weekly Rounds.
Daily rounds consist of delivering local or national papers twice a day, either in the morning or in the afternoon (before or after school) and generally slightly older kids get these are they take a little more responsibility. I think it paid up to Â£15 a week if you did both morning and evening 7 days a week.
I started when I was 14 doing the once a week free local newspaper Berrow’s Worcester Journal. Which earned me about Â£3-7 a week depending on how many papers there were and how many advertisements..
The tough part was the paper and the ads came separate….so I had to stuff EACH newspaper which 1 of each of the flyers (up to 6-7 different flyers).
And the papers were pretty big so it was heavy..and I lived on a steep hill! Thankfully my Mom used to help me sometimes, epecially when it was bad weather – rain, shine or snow we still had to deliver.
Job 2 – Charity Books
This was similar to the newspaper delivery, but you knocked on the door and actually had to talk to people. The job was selling charity books.
The books sold for Â£3.50 and I got 50p I think for each one I sold…that was a tough job.
Job 3 – Computer Store Assistant
This was my first real job I think, how I would consider it anyway. Working in a retail store as an assistant, I got the job by being a complete geek and impressing the guy with my computer knowledge so he hired me on Saturdays to help out.
My first experience wearing a shirt and tie for work too, I just worked on Saturday and got paid Â£2.50 an hour or about Â£20 for a day of 8 hours.
It was a pretty fun job as I loved computers and lasted quite a while, I didn’t earn that much though as it was only one day a week. I was just about turning 15 when I had this job I think.
My first foray into what would end up as my final career too.
Job 4 – Door to Door Double Glazing Canvassing
I got this job immediately after finishing my GSCE’s at secondary school, the proper name is Canvassing as we weren’t actually selling, we were just setting up the sales appointments with the
poor suckers customers.
This job was great fun, it didn’t pay well unless you were good a it – so you had to learn to be good at it. It helped a lot with my confidence as I was pretty nerdy and school, very tall and very skinny…so this job helped me get some confidence in myself and helped me become a lot more articulate.
It was a pretty tough time to be doing Double Glazing as the industry already had a terrible reputation from the 80’s from being extremely hard sell and very pushy.
The good part was driving all around the county from town to town, having plenty of cash and competing with a bunch of other lads. It was a very motivating environment, the managers were excellent in training and playing games etc to get everyone to perform better.
If we managed to book an appointment it was called a lead, so we competed each day to see who could get the most leads. If the lead turned into a quote we got paid Â£15 and if it was a sale we got paid a percentage (so for big sales it could be quite a lot of money).
The basic salary was around Â£70 a week, which was very low. But some of the best guys would earn over Â£1500 a week from all their leads and sales.
I think my best was about Â£300+ in a week, which was a huge amount of money for me back then!
The company I was at was Zenith Staybrite (Just Staybrite then) and our main compeition was Coldseal.
You can see the actual job here.
Job 5 – Waiting
During college I couldn’t keep a full-time job and I tried canvassing part-time for a while but it wasn’t pratical. I went back to Staybrite a couple of times during holidays but it wasn’t so fun so after that I changed direction a bit as waiting was one of the easiest jobs to get for short term, the staff turn-over rates were very high, it was hard work, quite fun and you could earn quite a lot if you got good tips.
If I remember correctly my first waiting job was in a independently owned Pizza place, the wages were atrocious and illegal as the boss ‘paid’ us with our tips (which was wrong) rather than paying us a basic salary and tips on top.
We used to get Â£35 a day or around Â£3.50 for a 10 hour day (which sometimes ran to 12 or more hours). We got to eat free pizza and pasta though…and although the boss was an idiot and the chef was a really cool Spanish guy.
I worked at this place for quite some time.
I had a whole string of waiting jobs after this from when I was 15 all the way until I was about 23. The longest I worked at one place was full time during my gap year at Cafe Rouge – I was there for about 9 months until Uni started. Before that I was doing telephone canvassing for double glazing, the same as I did previously but on the phone..I was team leader for an independent firm. Basic salary was Â£90 a week + commission. I stayed there for about 6 months until they went bust and disappeared without paying us! I also went out a couple of times to help fit the windows which was fun.
After the canvassing I joined Cafe Rouge and by the end I was bar manager, but left to go to Uni. My main purpose of the year out after college and before Uni was to save money…if not I couldn’t really afford to go and study as student loans were being introduced and straight grants were being cut back. I managed to save over Â£3000 that year!
I also did Silver Service waiting, this is banquet type waiting where people are having company dinners or events (Worcester Rugby Club or Racecourse) and you serve large tables from serving dishes.
I probably had more than 20 different waiting/bar jobs.
If you want to read a great blog about the life of a waiter try Waiter Rant.
During University I used to work every time there was a holiday (summer break, easter and christmas being the main ones) to get extra money to support myself through my studies.
I did a whole variety of jobs during my 4 years of study as I joined up with a bunch of recruitment agencies, as that was the easiest way to get short term work. During some breaks I could have 5-6 different jobs in different industries.
I didn’t go for any waiting jobs as they didn’t pay so well as the nasty tough jobs which paid up to Â£7 per hour.
Some of the jobs I did were:
- Factory Job at Cosworth making engine blocks (This was extremely hard work, very noisy and dirty and I got burned a few times). I operated the Shot Blaster.
- Security Guard at a small supermarket (Most boring job EVER, not allowed to talk to anyone..and I knew the people stealing stuff – so I let them get away with it).
- Building Site Labourer pulling huge electric cables in wet mud for the new Worcester University
- Stuffing envelopes at Kays (graveyard shift Midnight-5am but paid well).
- Selling mortgages, well re-mortgages to be exact. I had good experiences in telesales so I was pretty good at it.
- At Bosch making water heaters and boilers, this was my favourite as it was walking distance from my house, the food was good and cheap and it paid well and had frequent over-time. It was tedious as hell though – screwing the same screw in the same position for 8-10 hours a day (Some of the guys had been there 20 years – imagine that).
- Chinese food delivery driver – this was probably the easiest job, lots of food to eat, driving around all night and getting tips
I also had a couple of jobs during term-time, mostly computer related stuff as that was what I was studying.
There were some really nasty experiences from agencies too were people just hired an agency worker for 1 day because they had a job they didn’t want to do (like cleaning a deep-fat fryer appeared to have NEVER been cleaned – I just refused of course). I turned down a few, like working in an old-peoples hope cleaning up old peoples poo…
I continued the Chinese food delivery after I graduated and got a job as it was easy money and I could earn about Â£70 in a good night if it was raining and I got good tips. It was what helped me pay off my credit card so I could move over to Malaysia 🙂
You better be happy, a whole post about me!
Have any of you guys actually had any jobs before you graduated, other than ‘promoter’ in the shopping mall or something fairly mundane, clean and easy? Any of you had any nasty jobs?