Monday, May 28, 2012

Blog posts past: Rubbish student jobs

IT'S been 11 years since I left uni, and those hazy, happy summer breaks, starting in late June and running all the way through to early October, are just a nostalgic memory. There are many things about university I miss. The student bar. The vodka jelly parties. The atmosphere of academia that pervaded the hallowed corridors inspired the urge to learn within me. Honest. But it’s the long, long summer holidays that I miss the most. Even now, I spend the entirety of August feeling like I really shouldn’t be at work. It’s just wrong.

Mind you, it doesn’t take a lot to make me feel that I shouldn’t be at work. On returning from honeymoon, there was a strange sense within me, call it ancestral memory if you will, that I should be throwing in the towel on my career to become a homemaker. Didn’t last long - I’m rubbish at housework. And cooking. And keeping up any reasonable standard of household hygiene.

Of course in reality I didn’t spend the whole of the summer holidays lazing in bed (I had the term times to do that). In fact, I worked quite hard. Well, some of the time. I spent several summers as an office junior for one of Berkshire’s biggest companies (no, not THAT one) which made me vow never to follow a profession where I’d have to work in an office. Unfortunately, offices are quite hard to avoid if you’re vocationally no good with your hands (and 10 years at the NWN confirmed that journalists don’t spend most of their time in pubs. Not during working hours, anyway).

And then there were my waitressing stints, most of which were spent in the pub kitchens enlightening the chefs with the rudimentary basics of Descartesian philosophy (vegetables are a great prop for demonstrating Descartes’ theory about the intangibility of colour).

There was also several youth camp holidays, as a leader, which were fun but challenging, particuarly as my little sister was one of the delightful scamps under my care.  She and her mates obeyed my every command, as you can imagine. One year, the hunky leader who everyone fancied was a guy called Chris Simmons, who went on to be Mickey in The Bill. It’s not a big claim to fame, but thought I’d share it with you anyway.

Oh yes, and I almost forgot the one day I lasted in a refrigerated dairy factory. I had to stick six-for-four barcode labels onto yoghurt pots. My hands were so cold that most of my labels went on wonky. The nice thing was, I was able to go into Sainsbury’s the next day and identify which labels were mine from their rakish angle. Lovely (and hardy) co-workers, though, and they let me take home some bottles of Yop.

So as I drag myself to my desk tomorrow (early mornings are another thing I haven’t got the hang of since leaving uni) I will remind myself that August has never been a month of complete rest and recreation. It’s not as if the weather’s nice outside, anyway. Think I might buy some jelly cubes, though. And some vodka...

  • First published on in 2007

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