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Why your paper round was important

A blog sharing thoughts about all those jobs you have done that don't make it on to the c.v. and why they still matter!

Our c.v.s have jobs listed on them that we feel are important to potential employers to know about. However there are usually other jobs we've done that may not seem to have much relevance for the role you are applying for, or where you are now and yet, they do count!

Don't dismiss those early jobs we did! They were character building and important.

A story with some relevance: Recently I was working with a client who is just starting out on her career having graduated last year. Her new role is in a very flexible organisation. Yes there are times to be in the office, but no-one is looking over your shoulder. The role has intense periods of time with strict deadlines and slightly more casual times with no immediate deadline. The staff are relaxed and supportive overall. But for my client that felt a little uncomfortable. Uncovering this a little I learnt that one of her first jobs was as a lifeguard and swimming teacher at the local swimming pool.

It couldn't have been more different! Not only was she 'on duty' 100% of the time, she was also being closely observed by others: the pool staff, those learning to swim and parents, (anxious, ambitious or both), watching her teach and be responsible.

Whilst she had done other jobs in between it seems it had left a lasting impression on her. She was used to and expecting close observation so she responded to work in that way. Without knowing it this job had set up a strong work ethic. She was always accountable. She expected to be observed. She was punctual and clear in any instruction.

Those early 'pin money' jobs we did as teenagers shaped us.

If it was a newspaper round it meant you were able to get up early and be somewhere on time. It meant being out in the cold and wet and then often going to school.

A job in a cafe/restaurant meant sometimes dealing with people who may be hungry, agitated, angry or rude.

If it was in a factory or production line doing something repetitive or physical it meant you could stick with something.

Fruit picking? Hard physical labour that doesn't change much day to day and the capacity to stick at something, even when tired.

And my point is?

Don't dismiss those early jobs we did! They were character building and important. I know that the jobs I did early on in life will not make it on to my LinkedIn profile! (But in a sneaky kind of way, they will now!) It seems to me that the jobs I did below set me up for life actually.

Here they are:

  • *Waitressing - Wearing black skirt and top and white lace pinny. It was at a seaside hotel in Lowestoft and I was learning silver service techniques. I went on to work for other catered events, including the Freemasons meetings.

  • Cooking and selling hamburgers and hot dogs and onions. It took a while to get the smell out of my hair and clothes!

  • Selling tickets for steam train rides on the nursery railway at Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens

  • Bar work - in Norfolk and on the Hove Cricket Ground

  • *Saturday girl in Boots, working on the pharmacy counter.

  • Vodafone - temping when the the firm had accidentally taken 2 direct payments from all of its clients, they needed a bit of a hand with the day to day work, while they sorted it out.

  • Working on the deckchairs on Brighton beach

  • Tour guide for E.F. taking American High School students around Europe on coach tours. It really was a 'It's Tuesday, it must be Paris.' type of job. And it was in the days before mobile phones and Euros so required having to cart around many European currencies in small change to reconfirm reservations country to country. (To be honest this did actually make it on my c.v. in the early days.)

*I'm calling it that because that is what it was called then in the late 70's and early 80's

I have dined out on stories of many of the above- particularly the E.F. Tour Guide job which was packed with stories and tales!

And you? What were your early jobs? How have they had an impact on you now?

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