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18 March 2013

the a to z of me:: j

j is for jobs

*lengthy post incoming*

it probably feels like i've had more jobs than i actually have, although in reality, they've all been fairly much the same thing. i started work as soon as i legally could, because my dear sweet mother wanted to teach me about the value of hard work, and learn the value of the dollar. i worked after school and weekends for a discount department store in australia called big w. in the school holidays i would work a lot more - when they needed an extra set of hands, and in no time was moved from tidying the kidswear department and covering the make up counter to a supervising role where i got to boss people around a bit. i especially loved that. after 2 years of working there, i was finally register trained. (they don't know it, but i was using the registers a looooot sooner than that) back in those days, it was muuuuuch cooler to work in a department than to work on the check outs, so i think i actually was pretty lucky to have had that sort of start. beats working at mcdonalds anyway. although, thank god for my friends that did work at mcdonalds.

once i finished school, i took a bartending course so i could get some experience working in a pub so i could fullfil my childhood dreams of working in an australian themed bar in london. but seriously, that was never my dream, so i don't know what i was thinking. (mother dear insists i wanted to play netball for australia. i remember wanting to be a teacher, until i realised how much i hate kids.) in reality though, i learned how to mix 5 cocktails, and how to deliver silver service. two things i never, ever, ever needed to know again; and i still managed to score a job in a local restaurant, waitressing and generally having a ball. i was just turned 18 and working days in a small town restaurant with some great people for terrible pay, and i had an amazing time doing it. because i couldn't bare leaving my friends, i kept my first job for probably another year or so, and only worked late nights and one weekend day, so that i would still have a sunday off.

after a few months of the day shift, i started helping out with the night shift, waitressing and a bit of bar work. oh my days, the fun that came along with the night shifts! during the day, we'd have locals in for lunch, or coffee and cake, but at night! it was a mess! parties, weddings, beer garden drinkers - you name it, we had it. and it was FUN. and right next door to the restauarant was a pub. a good pub. we had a reputation for finishing work, having our one free bevvie then heading next door for some cheap drinks. fridays and saturdays were the most fun, and how i managed to get up and go to work again the next day, i will never know. soon though, the second job fell by the wayside. i had some great friends there, friends who have gone on to bigger and better things, but we're still in contact and we still reminisce and have a laugh about it all.

i was about 21, and bored of the lazy days in the restaurant, polishing cutlery and wiping tables. I didn't see any sort of progression in that job, and i was starting to feel a bit left out - all my friends were finishing uni and getting decent jobs, while i... was still waitressing. i started working as an assistant manager of a clothes store called cotton on. i hated it, and left after about 6 months. i was expected to work for terrible money and no complaints. well, that's just not me! i voiced my opinion, then left before they thought to fire me. i moved to another store called jeanswest, closer to home, and in only a casual role at first. i was picking up more day shifts again in the restaurant and pretty unhappy with my life, despite all the lovely material things i surrounded myself with! (i was totally emo at this point, it should me noted. the friends i made at the restaurant were all skater bois, and my boyf at the time was in a pop-punk band. my life was awwwwesome) i was working my butt off in that store, and while i was there i was sort of... moved from store to store to help out as needed becuase i had a bit of a 'sales gun' reputation. the store i worked in was raking in money and new customers, probably all down to me ;) pretty soon, i was managing, and making big girl money! i was still taking one or two shifts behind the bar, but pretty soon it was all too much, and something had to give.

well, with that chapter closed, i found i wasn't seeing many of my 'friends' anymore, but those that kept in touch are still my dear friends today. work was hard, and long, and as well i as i was doing, i always got the impression someone wanted me to do better. after a holiday to new zealand one year, i decided i wanted to leave adelaide. just like that, i spoke to my manager about a transfer overseas (thankfully jeanswest is an australasian company so there were plenty of opportunities there for me!) and within a month, i was managing wellington's flagship jeanswest store. i rented a room in my cousin's flat, and made some 'insta-friends' (necessity) both in and out of work. i loved my job! i was picking up the figures and making a name for myself, and soon i was moved into the city store - old and derelict, because it was floundering and they needed my help. i was happy to help... for a fee! they bumped my pay, and i was making the most money i ever had - almost $10,000 more than i was making back home, even with the conversion! god knows what i was spending it on, cos i had a tiny run-around car, cheaper than cheap rent... oh yeah, the shopping addiction. i forget about that.

i was well known by the country's manager, and was invited to join the training team. i was sent on conferences, and training courses - all paid for, and got to stay in swanky hotels and meet new people and generally, my life was finally what i thought an adults was supposed to be! i was loving the training aspect - it got me out of the store and into the office, and i knew this is what i wanted to be doing. i spoke to my regional manager, who was a dick - let it be known, who felt that i was thinking too far in advance, and should focus on what i do best: selling. with that sort of enocuragement, i'm not surprised that every single one of my staff quit on him within months of me leaving the company.

isn't it funny how one bad experience can really rattle a wholy great one? i kept some great mates from that job too - one of which is the reason i even moved to the uk. so, thank god for me hiring erin!

i moved into a bank's call centre. it was 9 months of hell. the job offer was less than what i was getting, but it came with a bonus for sticking out the whole term of the fixed term contract. that should have been indication enough that the job would suck. it did mean that i could save up quickly to move back to australia. i was coming up to two years away - the first time i'd ever lived out of home, and i'd only been home once in that time. i was homesick like mad, and just focused on saving as much as i could in that time to get home.

once i got to melbourne, i was back on the retail hunt. i scored an assistant manager role for a store that i absolutely LOVED called dotti - and in the first few months made one of the bestest friends i've ever had in my life. racey stacey came in one night to help us out from a sister store. she and i hit it off, and since then she has saved my life so many times that i am certain she is my guardian angel. i was asked to apply for a manager role for another of the company's sister stores, just jeans, which was a 4 minute walk from my house, and more money. it meant leaving my friends again, but it offered so much potential for me - career wise.

i loved that job. i had the best team (give or take one in particular who was more than a handful), and together we had a laugh and in was smashing figures again. my kidswear department was number one in the state, and i was the merchandising queen. the regional managers were delightful, and i never worried about work. well, i always worried. i could never leave work at work, and would pop in on days off to make sure everything was ok, and the guys were doing ok. over protective? anal. it was tiring! and i was probably the most annoying manager, but i strived for perfection! nothing's changed. i really did love that job. the girls i hired were some fab girls, and i keep tabs on them still to make sure they're all doing bigger and better things now that their just jeans days are behind them. they all are :)

handing in notice the month before christmas in retail is a biiiiiig no-no. but, it had to be done. my flight to london left christmas day, and in the weeks coming upto it, i was bricking it. petrified. i'm pretty sure i lied, and said i was going home because melbourne was making me homesick. that could not have been further from the truth, but it got me off the hook. in hindsight, i wish i had gone about that better; i would really like to work for that company again one day... the first few months in london were a nightmare. i couldn't get a job to save myself, and every single store needed me. customer service is unheard of in this country, and no wonder when the minimum rate is £6 an hour. my experience was not of enough value to get me a managers gig here (quite rightly! i'd gone from maanging 6 to potentially managing 60!), so i was fretting i'd never get anywhere. i registered with a recruiter who took one look at my cv full of customer service and decided there was potential in there to get me something decent, albeit temporary.

after one phone interview, i secured a temp role in a music licencing company. inbound customer service, nothing technical, just a lot of product knowledge. i had it in the bag... 2 years, 1 boyfriend and 3 promotions later, here i am, writing a blog post while i should be working in my lunch break. and better yet, now there's no more customer service calls for me! i'm now in debt collection - well, i liaise with debt collectors from behind the safety of a computer screen - i'm really just a glorified administrator. but, it's a million miles away from where i started, and nowhere near where i thought i would end up. but this office is unlike any other! 200 music mad employees, all keen for a laugh and a drink after work - i hardly feel like i do any work at all. i've a great bunch of work mates, who make coming to work even better, and really - for a basic monkey job, i haven't done too badly!

if you're still reading, well done!