My First Job


Prompt 11 and my last post before my break for the 30 Day Writing Challenge is:

Write a short non fiction piece about your first job.

My first job was when I was 16 and was at a Printers in Peckham, South East London. My job title was Receptionist, but I soon discovered that that meant I had to do everything. I was the only female in the company, which, although this entitled me to door opening and apologies for swearing, it did mean that tea and coffee duties fell on me.

I operated a PMBX 4×18 switchboard…wow…how mad does THAT look now?

I had an electric typewriter (an IBM) remember these?

But the thing that set this job apart from any other ive ever had was the working conditions! OMFG you should have seen my office lol. In one corner the ceiling had come down and we were using a red fire bucket to catch the water when it rained. It was absolutely disgusting, and as the months went on we started to have more and more pots and buckets dotted around the office catching the drips. But I never complained. I had my own (slightly damp) office where I could smoke at my desk and have the radio on (it had to be turned off when the phone rang…a few times I forgot!) and was pretty much allowed to just get on with my work (answering the phone, typing letters and invoices and sorting out the post that I posted on my way home….if there was loads I got out early).

The boss, a real creepy bloke who would put his arm round me at any opportunity, was out quite a lot so when I wasnt busy I would sit and read at my desk.

I wish id taken some pictures but I didnt own a camera and back in 1984 we didnt have computers let alone digital cameras lol

I got so fed up with it I only stayed for 9 months. The dripping water and smell of damp finally got to me. I started job hunting and found a job through an agency who wanted me to start the next day. So the following morning, really early, my grandad drove me and The Hubster (who was the fiancee at the time) to where I worked and I cleared my desk and left a note, all before the boss arrived at 9.

I felt bad about doing it like that, but I didnt claim the wages I was owed and I knew my boss would make things difficult for me if I gave him the weeks notice id originally agreed to. In those days you didnt have contracts, and had no rights as an employee…things have changed a lot over the years.

Beleive it or not I look back on that job quite fondly. I felt so grown up! A proper job! It would be nice to say that if the working conditions had been good I would have stayed, but I heard through the grapevine a couple of years later that they had gone bankrupt. Spooky when you consider I ended up marrying the fiancé and we now own a Printers lol

So my first job was pretty boring….What was yours?

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15 thoughts on “My First Job

  1. I remember those big ole electric typewriters from my High School typing class!
    At least you’ve got some good stories from that job, with it’s leaky roof and creepy boss. :)

    My first job not working for my family was as salad bar girl at the Western Sizzler when I was 16. I still remember the big spooky walk-in freezer I was afraid I’d get stuck in. :)

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  2. That sounds like a job you were well shot of. It is funny that you end up owning a printers now though. I have a lot further back to think than you and seem to remember being 15 in the January and allowed to leave school at Easter. My first job was as a page-boy at a large hotel, complete with pill box hat. I spent a lot of time carrying suitcases as big as me. All tips had to be pooled and the lions share went elsewhere. I only lasted a couple of months and by June was working in a bookmakers calculating winnings. Jobs wee a lot easier to come by then so I was 18 before I joined the RAF and then later settled on a career in working for Local Government in a variety of capacities. I even lived and worked in London for a while.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  3. My first job was in a shoe shop, unless you count a paper round. We were a concession in Miss Selfridge which was a concession in John Lewis. We got 20% discount off the shoes and 10% discount off the clothes. Those who worked in the clothes store got 20% off both. I was only part time so my wages didn’t really allow me to buy anything even with the discount, but the best bit at 16 was that the uniform was Miss Selfridge clothes, real ones. I felt like the bees knees dressed up in my Miss Selfridge outfit. I think the rumour was at the time that Madonna wore clothes from Miss Selfridge, or at least I thought that.

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  4. My first job was for a Financial Planner who had two offices and a kitchenette above a bike shop. Like your boss, Vikki, he took any opportunity to press himself against the back of my chair and be TOO CLOSE! His wife used to scream at him and I could hear them throwing things in the office next door. Nice! Didn’t stay long! ;-)

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  5. When I was little, I loved to pretend I was an assistant, working in an office, and I’d play with my mom’s type writer. It always made me feel grown up, too. But I never envisioned that kind of working condition. That is just horrible! But it’s kind of neat that you now own a Printers. Life is funny that way.

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  6. Sorry, hit the wrong key – ignore previous post :-) Was trying to say it would be fun if your ex-boss turned up online, wouldn’t it, Vikki?

    My first Saturday job was selling shoes in a little shop in Erdington back in the 1960s. Can’t remember the name of the shop, but can still visualise some of those stilettos!

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  7. Sounds like a neat job, despite the bad working conditions. My first job was pretty standard around here for teenagers. I worked in a restaurant as a waitress. Definitely gave me an appreciation for waiters and waitresses. I also crocheted baby hat and bootie sets to sell for a little extra money.

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  8. Ironically, my first job was at the library. :) Oddly prophetic, I think.
    And just so you know, I mentioned The View Outside in the Oh, How I Miss You blogfest. Please don’t go! Happy Nanoing! :)

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  9. My first job was on a hop-pickers conveyor belt. I shared a caravan with a schoolfriend, we were fifteen and it was a shock to have to get up at 5.30 every morning and spend most of the day taking caterpillars, baby birds and various debris off the belt as it went by. Evenings in the oast house were rather romantic though.

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