Sunday, 6 November 2011

List 18: jobs I have had during my life

I've had a fair few jobs in my life. Not a record breaking number, but I often surprise myself when I realise just how many very different jobs I've had! So here are most of them, in a roughly chronological order....

1. newspaper delivery girl - this was my first ever real job, and my god was it awful. I delivered a weekly local paper to several hundred houses, usually after school or on the weekend. In exchange for about 4 hours of hard work, in conditions ranging from torrential rain, to  a heatwave, to snow and frost, I received about £11.

2. dogsbody in a hair salon - I got this job when I was 15, before I should have legally been working a job like this. But I desperately wanted extra money, and the owner was a friend of the family, so I worked there every Saturday, sweeping up other people's discarded hair, making cups of tea, folding towels, and learning the art of a good shampoo. It was pretty gross (you could never quite get all the bits of hair out of your clothes) but it was pretty well paid in comparison to my newspaper round.

3. pharmacy assistant - whilst studying at sixth form I worked a few evenings a week in a local pharmacy. Although it sounds like a pretty boring shop job it was actually really good fun. I helped sort prescriptions, learn tons about over the counter drugs, and even delivered medicine to patients that couldn't get out. I always remember going to a fancy apartment building to drop off some medication for an old Polish lady. She was the sweetest person, and spoke to me about what I wanted to do with my life. She told me I had the most beautiful smile and gave my ten pounds to buy myself some flowers because everyone deserves to have beautiful things around them. I did buy myself flowers, and now every time I do this I remember her.

4. bar girl - whilst studying at university in Northampton I got myself a job in a bar a few evenings a week. It was the craziest time; we would work until two or three in the morning, then go out to eat at one of the all night food places that are mandatory in any student town, and then often we'd go somewhere for a house party. I worked with an amazing group of people, and we would sing and dance behind the bar all night. For almost a year they were my surrogate family.

5. vintage/secondhand clothing seller - when I was really broke I decided to try and sell some of my clothes over on eBay. I didn't expect much from it as the majority of my clothes come from car boot sales and charity shops! As it turns out I made myself a fair bit of money just selling some old bits I never wore. Then whilst out car booting I came across a huge haul of vintage clothes for dirt cheap, but they weren't really my size and/or style. As they were so cheap I bought most of it, and then listed it slowly on eBay, and ended up making about £200 profit. For about two years I bought and sold secondhand clothes, shoes and accessories in this way to give myself a bit of extra pocket money. Sadly eBay has become pretty saturated with people doing the same thing (I started doing this about 7 years ago, before it really took off) and so I stopped. It was pretty good fun while it lasted though!

6. perfume seller - the only Xmas temp job I have ever had (and hopefully will ever have!) was working behind a perfume counter. It made me realise two things; firstly, I really dislike about 95% of perfumes on the market, and secondly, I really dislike schmoozing customers. Sadly these two things pretty much defined the job and, needless to say, I wasn't very good at it.

7. freelance audio typist - oh the stories I could tell you from this job... it was probably the most random job I've ever applied for, and in all honesty I wouldn't have even applied for it had I not been desperate to leave the job I was in at the time! It was advertised in a local free magazine, and I knew I had good enough English skills to do the job, but sadly I wasn't the speediest typist, and I couldn't technically touch type. Somehow I managed to blag it, and ended up getting the job. It was the steepest learning curve of any job I've ever had. Basically we would be sent cassette tapes of interviews (usually for television shows) and we had to listen to the tape and type up everything that was being said. Sounds easy right? Well, it's not. It was also a freelance position, and as I was also studying at the time I used to work all night, or do ridiculous split shifts (9am till 2pm, go to university for 4 hours, come back and work 7pm until midnight.) But all that said I absolutely loved it. The lady I worked for was so great, and I learnt so much about current affairs, as most of the interviews were about politics or world news. Plus, it is without a doubt the best paid job I've ever had.

8. Oafette - my current job (well, one of them!) is working for the uber cool clothing brand Lazy Oaf. I work with two of my best friends, get to sell clothes I genuinely think are awesome, and I absolutely love my job.

9. carer -for the best part of a year I cared for my Nanny while she lived with us. It was a really hard job, people who care full-time for relatives do not get enough credit in this country, but I wouldn't change it for the world. My Nanny was such an inspiration to me, and being able to spend all day with her during what would be the last year of her life was an absolute privilege.

10. vintage homeware buyer -as you may already know from reading this blog my newest business venture is buying and selling vintage homewares and knick knacks for the Ayoka Charity Shop Boutique in Bethnal Green. I scour car boot sales, jumble sales, and charity shops, looking for unusual items, clean them up, photograph them, and sell them on. I'm a self-confessed thrifting addict, so this is pretty much my dream job. Next year I hope to expand the business further and sell in more shops, and maybe even open my own little online store for some of my favourite finds.

Sandwiched in between these jobs I've also had numerous sales assistant jobs in very non-descript shops, handed out flyers at too many gigs to count and done all manner of odd jobs for extra cash. What have been your best and worst jobs? xoxo


  1. Some great jobs there Zoe! I've had a pretty mixed bag of jobs too, but I guess my favourite one was working for a music promoter as I got to see about 5 bands a night, hang out with my favourite musicians and be around music non stop. Brilliant. Cash in hand and not much of it though so couldn't last forever...xx

  2. What a great idea to list all your jobs. I really enjoyed reading it....
    My own job history has been similarly varied with too many dodgy jobs to mention! The one that probably wins the dodgy job award was doing telephone research whilst on a years working holiday in Australia. I hated it with a passion and didn't stay very long. I can remember a guy saying to me "mate it's saturday arvo and the footy's on" and hung up! Funny though.
    The best was doing group work with people with mental illness. We'd go out and about and do all sorts of stuff like lawn bowls, water parks, lazer tag and one too many games of mini golf for my liking. Hard work but fun and rewarding.
    Jo :)


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