Rachel Fox posted about the many different things she's done in her life so far and it got me to thinking about all the different paths that I've persued over my years too. So here goes...
Tile painter: 1986. My first proper job. I worked in a studio over a tile shop with a graphic designer whose job it was to print patterns on tiles. My job was to paint in the tiny leaves and petals on the prints before the tiles were fired in a kiln. I remember the first week, dreaming every night about all the leaves I had to get just right.
Kitchen designer: 1988ish. After a draughting course, I worked in a kitchen showroom, taking the measurements that the salesmen brought in, designing a kitchen and then pricing it up, from the rough drawings that were brought back from clients. The difference between a dear kitchen and a cheap kitchen lies in the choice of doors.
Hotel room sales: 1989ish. I moved to London in 1989-90 and this was the first job I got, answering queries from travel agents booking hotel rooms for their customers... I can still remember how we answered the phones - 'Superbreak MiniHolidays....' in a sing-song sort of voice. No computers in those days, we worked off pages with small blocks that you marked off!
Press Reader: 1990 -94ish I moved on and got this unlikely job reading newspapers for a client index that was kept on a computer, so the first job I had that involved them. I really loved reading the papers in such depth, although it was knackering reading so much stuff every day. Nowadays it's done by computer. Longest job length too, I lasted until 1993/94 when my eldest son was born & I decided that Ireland might be a better option to rear him. I became very handy with a pair of scissors.
Press Reader #2: On returning to Ireland I managed to get the same job with a Dublin based employer. Not as well-paying as it had been in London, but that was the difference between the two countries at the time. I loved travelling to Dublin every day.
Litho Technician: 1995 I left the previous job to go to a well known micro-chip producer - great job, great pay, great prospects... but I was pregnant with child #2 and after maternity leave and returning to work, I got pregnant with child #3! Not much chance of me staying there :( I don't mind, the white suits we had to wear inside the room where the work was done were a real pain to put on, not to mention being hot all the time from the 22 degree temperature they kept it at (at least that's how I remember it).
Newsletter Editor: 1997 After child #3 I really wanted to go back to work, but knew that part-time was really the only option. So I worked in a local arts centre. Although the job description was Newsletter Editor, I had to muck in on reception for evening activities and it helped me to cement relationships with the writing/theatre/art community in my locale. I still have friends from that time that I cherish. I had really taken writing seriously for the first time too around this time, and a first pamphlet of poems got published too, thanks to a grant from that arts centre. Ah, God be with the days...
Receptionist/Bookkeeper: 2003-4ish. So, there were the twins, followed by the baby of the family, which meant a huge gap in proceedings. But in 2003 I got a position as a receptionist for a community organisation that worked with underpriviledged women. The supervisor recognised my potential and got me to train up as a bookkeeper. I discovered that numbers were a lot easier than I remembered and really flew at this job, until our family relocated to another town in 2005.
Civil Servant: 2006. I only lasted four months at this, as I was juggling six kids, studying for a degree coupled with a two hour commute to Dublin... I loved the job, but just couldn't keep everything going... so something had to give.
Telephone customer representative: late 2006. Part time hours in the evening meant that I could sort of juggle this one around, but it was more of a stop-gap to earn sponduligs to pay the fat red man at Christmas.
Administration Assistant: 2007... again only lasted four months at this job. I loved the work, but everything started to fall apart at home again, so I naturally caved again.
2009 - I have a couple of CW classes on the go, which might help pay for the children's books going back to school in September (if I don't need to plug any financial gaps before then), but not a lot else. I am looking for something, but I think most employers see my CV as being a bit patchy/higgledy piggledy these days... So that makes about eleven or twelve jobs, if you count the current position... no, these are not really the sort of thing that you write down when you're young and say, 'When I grow up, I want to be...'