This week's Listography is My Top Five Worst Jobs I've ever done. Now, I feel a bit embarrassed to admit I've never really spent too long in the workplace. Ian's job allows me to be a 'kept woman' aka stay at home mother to his children. This has saved me from having to take jobs through necessity. So to pick my Top 5, I have to look way, way back into my dim and distant past!
1: Bar Wench
At the Holiday Inn Heathrow, I spent a few months working in the bar as a 'wench' as they liked to call it. My hours were 8pm to 3am. This was when I was 18 and in the sixth form at school doing my A'Levels. I'd left home to live with a ne'er do well boyfriend and was supporting him with my bar work. I remember working until three then having my History exam the next morning. It was a miracle I got my results!!
The job itself was OK but shortlived. I loved chatting with the businessmen, golf pros and other people passing through enroute to sunnier climes. I loved it when American businessmen who were returning home to the USA would tip me with all the UK cash they had left, thanking me for looking after them all week. I'd stuff the money in my bra to avoid putting it into the tip pot that was shared amongst the other staff (half of whom were so, so lazy it was untrue!) A bit naughty, but I earned it, not them! My eldest sister thought I was turning tricks for the extra pounds!! hehe
2: Laboratory Assistant
I worked at Horlicks testing the raw ingredients that went into the products. I sometimes got a bit bored just weighing, measuring, drying out and burning products. So I used to 'play' with the chemicals. I'd pop over to the fume cabinet and mix up a few acids etc. Not my best idea! I was six months pregnant when accidentally added too much of something to something else (goodness knows what it was!!) and it exploded. I was showered with acid that burnt holes through my denim maternity dungarees. I was so upset by what might have happened. I was an absolute idiot! Thankfully I left to have my baby Joe, and never returned to a lab again!
3: Gift Wrapper at Boots
I was a Saturday girl at Boots when I was 16. I worked in a few departments, Baby, Cosmetics, Electrical etc. By far the worst thing I did was when I was told to work on a gift wrapping stand at Christmas. People had to pay for the service and there I was with no experience armed only with my Sellotape and a roll of gift wrap. I was mortified as I made an utter hash of other people's pressie wrapping...I was under such pressure. After about an hour and a half, I was told to go onto a till instead. Someone must have complained...oh the shame :(
4: Telephone Lineage Representative
When I was 20 I had a boyfriend in sales. He was right fancy and drove a Porsche. He kept a box of cash under his bed. I think I felt I had to be as 'good' as him and so I had my son childminded by my sister while I went to work at Thomson Directories during its heyday (pre-Google!!) I worked with the lineage advertisers, designing pictorial adverts for them to sell them up into the leagues of the big spenders. We were trained to do this and I passed the exam with 99% (damn me for getting a date of some market research wrong!) I went into the job believing the hype of the sales training. The very first call I made was to a solicitor's office. I launched in with the patter...but the person on the other end of the phone was obviously not privy to the stock answers I had heard in my role play! He was down right rude and did not want my product!! No one told me that was going to happen! From that point my bubble burst...I never bothered with the pitch again and became a "do you want to advertise or not?" type of salesperson. I probably did just as well as I would have done had I followed the script, and saved myself any further embarrassment! But my heart went out of it from that point. I left within a year! And split with the fancy pants boyfriend too!!
The only job I've done in recent years, working around having the kids is that of a Specialist Teaching Assistant. This has at times been an inspirational and rewarding role. However for one year it was an absolute nightmare. I was put to work with a NQT which I thought was a great opportunity. However this odious creature proved to be an absolute nightmare to work with. I hated the way that the children were treated, they never knew where they stood. One minute, teacher was like a children's entertainer, next minute teacher was a tyrant yelling into their faces with spit flying everywhere. I was reprimanded for comforting a sobbing child. I was made to do jobs that were not my responsibility. I was asked to cover for the teacher's mistakes. I had to listen to malicious talk about fellow members of staff. I had to report them and still face them each day...it was horrible. I ended up off ill with stress. Thankfully contracts were not renewed and evil teacher was gone. The experience really killed my spirits.