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Employment 101

Some people have a job history, others just have the one job for life, others still work at home raising kids or from home running a business. Mine is quite a history. In fact I suspect my first few jobs instilled the distrust I carry around for sales people today. See post on salesmen here.

My very first job was in a country where teenagers work- England. The thought of working at the age of 17 was both ludicrous and exciting. So as I came across the ad for what I thought was a telephone canuasser (the writing on the display window was bad and the v looked like a u) I felt I could handle it, whatever that job meant. How hard can it be? I can dial, I can talk. The pay was £3.00 per hour and the job entailed going through a list of some 100 names,  calling each one and telling them “wow, your name was picked out of our draw and you have just won a trip to Turkey!” I had to sound excited and genuinely pleased that the gods were indeed in their favor as they  had ‘won’ this all expense paid trip to a dingy Bed and Breakfast somewhere in Turkey. I worked 3 hours per day and on my 3rd day I was “let go” as ‘head office’ decided to cut costs by closing the East London Office.

“We have to let you go Toks.” It was the first time I had heard that phrase.

“No, I’m fine you don’t have to let me go, I like it here.”

“You don’t understand- head office have decided to cut costs…”

Ahh! So that’s what let go means.  They told me they would stop by the next evening with my pay of  £21.00.  Besides learning the new term of being dismissed, by the end of the week I also learned  through experience a new word- ‘Naiveté’  as they never showed up with my £21.00.

I got my next job a few days later working for a double glazing company. This was where I learned that “commission based” was a euphemism for “voluntary”. That job lasted all of 2.5 hours. It was in 1990, the year of the worst winter for 27 years and the snow reached close to my knees. We were told to knock on doors asking for an appointment for potentially free Double Glazing. With the assurance that most sales men in the company secured a minimum of 4 appointments daily and at the rate of £25 per appointment, it was a steal.

Armed with visions of my new car, new wardrobe and  house I trudged along expecting to have 10 appointments that evening.  I didn’t have a single one. In fact no one wanted to see us.  To tell the truth I couldn’t really tell who had double glazing and who didn’t -something about an aluminium strip was mentioned earlier when the manager explained but I didn’t get it. When we returned to the base, the same guy who told us top sales people in the company made up to 10 appointments per night now said Monday nights were notoriously slow as people chose to stay in watching Coronation street. When I realised there was a soap on television every single night from Emmerdale to Eastenders and what-not, I faced up to the fact that I was working with cowboys and fled the scene of the crime.

This is a 2 part post so do come back to learn about my stint at Wimpy’s, MacDonalds, Woolworths…

Thank you for reading! Don’t hold back from sharing your thoughts in the comments box below 🙂

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