Tell us about your work history..

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
Seeing the explosive thread reminded me of a job i had years ago...

Here's my rough working history since 1977.
Left school, one O level and several normal GCSEs, no idea what i wanted to do.
First job...Little Chef, waitering and cooking. After 6 months they offered me a trainee managers course..:tongue: not for me guvnor :biggrin: Wished i had gone for it somehow,
At 17, joined an American surveying company, looking for coal in the Vale of Belvoir. One of the most mental jobs ive had. 17 year old, driving a 3.5ltr landrover, full off road setup, laying cables and recording instruments and explosives detonator. brilliant job in the summer, bit of a mare in the winter.
I tried to get onto the deep drilling rigs that followed us...too young :sad: The pay was brilliant. Surveying i earned £50 a week in 1976...most of my mates were earning £22 a week. On the rigs it was £200 plus a week...astronomical money in 1976 :ohmy:
Then spent a year or two on building sites till my back gave out...thanks to the massive paper round i had as a kid :becool:
Became an engineering storeman for a frozen food producer in 1977, brilliant crew, brilliant job, average money, but the responsibility grew till i was responsible for budget reports, invoices, and was effectively the engineering buyer with a budget of £250,000 PA. Did that for 23 years although i was bored after 20 :biggrin:
Made redundant in 2000, switched to engineering itself, and am now the only maintenance engineer (there were two of us...i was well trained by my former colleague) responsible for 13 packing lines in a citrus packing factory.
I work abroard 2 or 3 times a year...ive even worked in Spain helping them to set up particular jobs...its a bit like selling coals to Newcastle, the industry there is massive, they manufacture the machines and yet were asking for our help :biggrin:

One O Level, several meaningless GCSEs, an NVQ2 in business administration....thats all i have. I really wonder how ive always been lucky in work sometimes.
Oh, and never once signed on, never been out of work...god knows, ive never really had a plan in life, but always put 100% into whatever i do workwise. My current job proves you really can change your career if you want to, with a lucky break and a lot of hard work.

How about yours ?
 

XmisterIS

Purveyor of fine nonsense
I have worked in a dildo factory since I was 12.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
After flunking A levels, and having no real burning Uni ambition, I got a job at Bejam, until I'd worked out what I wanted to to do.

12 years and one third class OU degree later, I finally got out, and came to Uni in York. During my Archaeology BSc I got into cycling, and a bit of casual work on bike tryout roadshows. Carried onto an MSc, still doing casual stuff on roadshows, and some odds and ends of teaching in the Department, and then went into Company of Cyclists fulltime, as an admin assistant and then into operations, taking on more responsibility for individual shows.

Got PhD funding after a year, so went back to Uni fulltime. Various teaching stuff was a condition of the grant, so I did that. Also, picked up one day a week working for the fabulous Velo Vision magazine: admin, writing, general stuff. Also, casual work on the local community recycling project, collecting at the kerbside.

Life got in the way, and I never completed the PhD. More or less the week I quit, I heard of a 4 day a week post with the recycling guys, applied, got it.

So now I'm fully employed, 4 days physical outdoor work, one day office based, but also the odd weekend away at bike shows etc. And the nicest bunch of colleagues you could hope for. Not rich, but relatively happy.
 

Gixxerman

Veteran
Location
Market Rasen
Flunked my A levels due to having hepititus at the time.
Was too disillusioned to take them again.
So left school with lots of CSE's and O levels, mostly in maths / sciences.
Did all manner of dead end manual jobs both part time and seasonal farm work, with a bit of dole in there as well when work was hard to come by. This went on for about 3 years. Then one day I thought what am I doing this for? I have a good brain in my head and I ought to be using it. So I went to the local tech college to see what my options were. They suggested taking a part time ONC course in engineering, as that would let me continue to work a bit and would also give me some idea of what I was capable of and if I would like it. It was a 3 year course but I was exempt from the first year due to my existing qualifications. I passed this OK. They then suggested that I do a full time 2 year HND course in engineering, which I did and passed in 1989. I then got a job at the local gas turbine manufacturing plant in Lincoln (Ruston gas turbines as it was known then). I was firstly doing applications programming, then eventually moving into software design engineering. After 10 years I left as they were not paying me what I thought I was worth. I went to a small firearms training company that specialised in making firearms training systems for police / army and went from £19200 a year to £27000 a year. This was a great job as I wrote the software to mimic the bullet trajectory and fall of shot etc. The best bit was testing, especially the live fire system that we designed. I was there only for 18 months as the chap that run the firm died of a heart attack (allegedly whilst on the job with his secretary whilst on a business trip). The second in command took over, but he was an arse and abused his new position. It was at this point that my old firm was getting in touch with me as they wanted me back. Obviously I lied and told them that everything was great at my current job and that I was not interested. They kept upping the money till it got to £30000 which I couldn't refuse. So I went back to my old job (which I always liked) after 18 months of fun for a very nice pay rise of £10800 a year. I am still there now and I am their top software engineer and my salary is now very close to £40000 a year.
 

vernon

Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Location
Meanwood, Leeds
School:
Paper boy
Tattie picker
Sixth form:
Supermarket shelf filler
Paper boy
Seasonal horticultural worker
University
Seasonal horticultural worker
Xmas postie
Part time warehouseman
Graduation:
Seasonal horticultural worker
Full time warehouseman
Warehouse manager
Trainee teacher
Maths and Science teacher
Maths teacher
ICT teacher
Physics teacher
Head of Science
Head of ICT
Cross curricular ICT co-ordinator

Current career ambitions:
Train driver on a preserved railway.
Supermarket shelf filler.
Painter of spots on double blanks in a dominoes factory
 

numbnuts

Legendary Member
Location
North Baddesley
Left school at 15 with 5 O Levels
Worked at Marley Tiles for a few months
British Rail apprentice Blacksmith
Fully trained went to Australia for 3 years Blacksmith/explosives engineer (shotmaster)
Husbands shipyard - Blacksmith charge hand
Self employed - Blacksmith
British Rail - Blacksmith - Shop Steward
Vosper Tornycroft Shipyard Blacksmith and GRP laminator
1989 accident and damaged my spine - pensioned off
 
Thanks vern, a useful template that:

School:
Golf caddy at Moor Park. (Fab money!)
Sixth form:
Export packer and container unloader at Windsor & Newton artist materials suppliers. Also, some work in milling 'Alkyd' paints and working in extra hot temperatures = increased bonus.
Art School BA
Painting, anything freelance arty, theatre backdrops and pub interiors (perusal of) mostly.
Graduation:
Labourer for a friend's building Co. (I did this instead of doing an MA at the Slade :smile: )
Art School Staff - Design Dept @ St Martins...freelance exhibition stuff RCA etc - odd bits and bobs here, there and everywhere. :sad:
Teacher training PGCE in Design & Technology...
...'Full-time parent' - ie Self-employed/work from home.
Self employed / property design/refurbishment
Went to work for one particular client.
Regretting it now.

Current career ambitions:
To work with someone who merits respect and is not trying to board the ego-trip train at every station.
To retrieve underused talents.
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
30+ years self-employed
1 year self-unemployed
 
I left one of the best Sixth Forms in the country with no A-levels and talked my way into university to study photography. About six months into the course I realised it wasn't actually leading anywhere, and certainly not to a job, most of the lecturers were only there because they couldn't find employment.

I started working in an 'alternative' clothes shop and from there ended up moving to Camden to work on a shop on one of the markets and after a few months we opened a sister store on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood and I went over there to run that until we recruited a manager. Upon my return to the UK I had a little bit of a (drug induced) breakdown and moved back to be close to my parents.

After getting myself back on my feet with the help of an amazing woman, I worked for a local photographic business doing odds and sods in the shop and back room developing and printing, even pointing a camera at people occasionally. This began to stagnate after a few years, the wonderful girl who'd been my salvation left me and I received some bad news about a family member.

I decided to go back to uni so I could do something a bit more meaningful, hopefully make someone, somewhere proud of what I'd achieved. I'm currently in the second year of a radiography degree having failed and re-sat the first year. I'm about to fail this year due to consistently poor marks, the practical side of things is no problem but as my lecturer points out, they don't give you a degree for actually being good at doing things. (So yeah, bare in mind the next time you're in hospital; the people treating you didn't get there by being good at what they do, they got there by being good at writing about what they do.)

So this brings us up to this week where I'm looking for jobs which require no qualifications and no experience aside from standing behind a till. I've been looking for part time work for over a year with no success, if I scale down the quality of positions I'm looking for any further I'll be applying for work as a piece of furniture, which I won't get.

ETA: That really does sound like a self indulgent whinge. I do apologise.
 

postman

Legendary Member
Location
,Leeds
I never had any drive or ambitions.Started working for my dad aged 11 during the summer school hols.1961 that was .

In 1966 with nothing in paper qualifications joined Barrats shoes as third sales in a town shop .Missed the 1966 World Cup cos i was working that saturday.

So stuff that not going to miss watching Leeds Utd .
Got an admin job with a Sheffield based firm called British Relay a TV company ,in their Leeds office .
Packed that in when my dad who had been really ill.Needed some help .So i became a Painter and Decorator until Dec 1971 .When we had no work .
Royal Mail had been on strike during 1971 and had a big recruitment drive early 1972 .
So i joined .What a brill job .Nearly all the staff had been ex forces and how they worked .A brill set of lads and lasses.Well in 1978 got married and realized outdoor delivery work was not going to pay the bills .

So in 1983 i went inside to earn ,with overtime some good money .Well by 2006 the job had gone pear shaped .
The ex foirces people had either died off or retired .And they began to employ some right crap .Also they began many changes not forgetting the biggest cock up .CONSIGNIA ,wasted millions .And the public were forgotten in the rush to make profits .
Job became crap so when they offered EVR i put my hand up aged 56 got a few quid and my pension ,best move i ever made .
Health has improved and i do voluntary work ,and cycle loads .
 
OP
gbb

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
postman said:
I never had any drive or ambitions.Started working for my dad aged 11 during the summer school hols.1961 that was .

In 1966 with nothing in paper qualifications joined Barrats shoes as third sales in a town shop .Missed the 1966 World Cup cos i was working that saturday.

So stuff that not going to miss watching Leeds Utd .
Got an admin job with a Sheffield based firm called British Relay a TV company ,in their Leeds office .
Packed that in when my dad who had been really ill.Needed some help .So i became a Painter and Decorator until Dec 1971 .When we had no work .
Royal Mail had been on strike during 1971 and had a big recruitment drive early 1972 .
So i joined .What a brill job .Nearly all the staff had been ex forces and how they worked .A brill set of lads and lasses.Well in 1978 got married and realized outdoor delivery work was not going to pay the bills .'

So in 1983 i went inside to earn ,with overtime some good money .Well by 2006 the job had gone pear shaped .
The ex foirces people had either died off or retired .And they began to employ some right crap .Also they began many changes not forgetting the biggest cock up .CONSIGNIA ,wasted millions .And the public were forgotten in the rush to make profits .
Job became crap so when they offered EVR i put my hand up aged 56 got a few quid and my pension ,best move i ever made .
Health has improved and i do voluntary work ,and cycle loads .
My 23 years at Christian Salvesen was working with mostly ex servicemen. They have a brilliant outlook on life and work. Theres a maturity about them. You're right, as they slowly retired at Salvesens, it was all youngsters that came in...which had its benefits...a lot of horseplay, but the job became harder overall.
 
automatic_jon said:
ETA: That really does sound like a self indulgent whinge. I do apologise.
No apology needed, jon. Good luck with what you find to do - carry on with the course perhaps - although you are maybe talking yourself out of it once too often.

We can all imagine what we would be great at doing - but it's different 'out there'.

(I'm just going to check my lottery lucky dip now...) :biggrin:
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
School holidays: worked for a tropical fish and reptile supplier, and also did some watercress picking. University holidays: door-to-door canvasser, and Capitol Hill intern, for a leading US environmental and consumer rights group. After university, worked for a few months on a primatological research project in Kalimantan, Borneo. Then did a whole series of things for short periods: working for various charities and campaigns including Oxfam during the Rwanda crisis, Undercurrents (video activists) and a tribal peoples' rights group. At the same time, I was doing some roadie work for bands and booking for clubs. Then worked teaching English for a year in Japan, came back and did a Masters (paid for with the money saved in Japan!), and then was offered a funded PhD (Geography-ish). Didn't want to be an academic but found I was good at it. Went on to a Postdoctoral Fellowship, and then a permanent Lectureship (in Urban Planning), and am now an Associate Professor in Canada. But I spend as much time in my garden, if I can...
 
I spectacularly and very successfully failed my A-levels!

Applied to the Met Police as a cadet, but the (positive) reply had taken too long to arrive and I had started a job as a sales clerk, which lasted two years.

After managing to escape, I started to travel (aged 20) to France (worked for a month near Bordeaux) and Germany for four months.

Helped a friend with his successful business for two months before landing another office job in the accounts dept. When they said they wanted to send me to night school to study accountancy I handed my notice in and went to doss on a kibbutz in Israel for nine months (aged 23).

A brief (and final) spell back in an office before working on a farm in central Norway for 18 months (aged 26).

A handful of short-term jobs before working as a hod carrier on building sites in Essex and London. saved enough for a round-the-world trip, including six months in Sydney (initially to play grade cricket - but it rained most of the time) so worked as a furniture remover; earned good money, saw a bit of a big country and got fit.

Back to building sites, before going back to Norway again and worked as a youth leader for disadvantged kids (aged 33).

Met a Swedish girl and studied at uni for four years, before moving full-time to Stockholm where I worked as a gardener/caretaker at a hospital, did some translating and eventually started work on a golf course there.

Stayed another four years in Stockholm after my relationship finished, before being made redundant and losing my flat.

Applied to a golf course here in Oslo two years ago, where I'm still happily employed.

The future? Who knows, but as long as I'm healthy and happy, then I'll have no (major) complaints.
 
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