Ah, work. Everyone’s favourite topic (not). I personally think we can learn and grow a lot from the jobs we do in our lives. Some teach us a lot about ourselves. Others teach us a lot about what we want to do (or don’t want to do). Some just drive us to our wits end but whatever it is, I think each job and experience is important to us as a human. Some people have a varied job history and some people have been in the same job all their life (like my dad). I think I fall somewhere in my middle, although I am only 25 so I have a lot of time to mix up my job still. 

1. Pottery class assistant: This was my first “job” and I was so proud of myself for getting this. Basically, in year 11, I took art for GCSE. My teachers were opening an after school art class for year 7’s to practice pottery and wanted some help from older students. They were also going to pay you. Albeit, it was like £2.50 an hour but at 15 years old and being picked over 60 other students, that was pretty amazing! We had to apply and say why we think we should get it which looking back, was actually quite good because it gave us a tiny small sense of what it might be like in the real world.

2. Retail assistant in Primark: This was my first proper job and my gosh…. what a job! In all honesty, I don’t look back over my time in Primark with regret. I had some great times, made some great friends and certainly made some good memories working there. Like the time there was a fire in store but we were still made to go to work and tidy up among the debris (yes, true story). It was mind-numbingly boring, always too hot and I never got to work on a decent department (I was on shoes… I have literally picked up more shoes in my life than anyone else I know) but it was my first job when I was in sixth form, earning a bit of money to go out clubbing. It wasn’t all bad.

3. Admin assistant: I worked on and off as an admin assistant in a hardware shop where my mum has worked for years. I would sometimes do 1 day a week, get a bit of money for it and it wasn’t difficult. Lots of filing and posting things. I could eat when I wanted, chat to my mum occasionally and sit on my bum all day. So not too shabby!

4. Optical assistant at Vision Express: Leaving this job was one of my biggest regrets (the next pointer will show you why I left). I’ve always loved going to the optician. I’ve always wanted glasses (I have them now, my eyes are so bad!) So being in that environment was amazing. I really took to this job. I picked everything up super quickly, was good with customers and selling them their frames. I think I could have done really well had I stayed there.

5. Teaching assistant: But I left because I wanted to start college and become a teaching assistant and a part of that course was having a placement in a Primary school to practice what we were being taught and getting first hand experience. I thought this was it. This was what I wanted. How wrong I was. I couldn’t hack it. I was frustrated and I already had anxiety at this point and it was just making it worse. I hated the kids (no offence), I hated the staff (some were nice – the teacher who shouted at me for wanting to open a window in his green house of a classroom wasn’t) and sigh. That was a bad time of my life and a huge waste of money.

6. Blogger and online business owner: It’s taken me a long old time to get to where I am now. I’m still grafting, I’m still learning and I’m still growing but I think I’m in a solid place right now where the only way is up. I started my blog purely as a hobby, reviewing books because I had nothing else to do. And here I am, 4ish years later with my own online business, a successful blog and actually earning money from it. And earning more money than some of the jobs I’ve mentioned above. I’m very proud of myself but I still have a long way to go in this whole self-employmet journey!

I’d love to hear about your job history! What do you do now? What’s been your best or worst job? Any nightmare bosses? Let me know!

119 Comments

  1. This was such an interesting post! I enjoyed reading about your working life – good and bad… I can’t believe he yelled at you for wanting to open a window! My first “job” was working for my parents. They had their own business selling handmade jewellery at craft markets and trade shows. I helped out at the shows themselves, made up signs, posters and business cards for them. In Paint Shop Pro! How I wish we’d had Canva back them, lol. I also got to help select new stock and go on supplier visits. It was so much fun. But sadly they both had full time jobs to so they took priority and the business came to an end. 🙁 My first proper job was in Stead and Simpsons! So I know all to well about picking up shows. Customer’s make such a mess. My current job is in an office as a sales admin; I do quotes, process orders and work with couriers and customs.

  2. Love the post!! Best job: Managing my husband’s Chiropractic office; I loved the patients that we got to meet. Worst job: Working as a legal assistant in a place where office politics had reached a new level of animosity.

      1. Yes, like everyone else. The worst had fourteen women in the office and they chose sides; those working in the civil division were against those working in the criminal division. Another girl and I were in the middle in a private office working on estates and conservatorships. We could practically see the volley of fire as it went back and forth each day!

  3. Wow, that’s so inspiring. I’ve had a lot of different jobs, and am now trying to figure out how I can work for myself and make enough to live on. It’s good to hear about someone who’s making it work!

  4. Wow that’s a lot! Anyways, its also nice to teach online. We used to teach English in foreign countries but now we teach online, make 4X the money, and no lesson planning! Y’all can see our pictures at teacherdevantravels.com

  5. As someone with an extensive and eclectic job history like you, I understand this post completely! I am happily a Toddler Teacher at a fantastic school and I find the support system you surround yourself with makes an extreme impact 🙂

  6. Wow! You’ve had a long job history girl lol. Well for me I’ve been a nanny/babysitter, cashier at rite aid pharmacy, uniqlo, and Zara. I’ve also been a student teacher (this wasn’t a job, but it felt like it!) I hope to become a full time elementary teacher by the need of the year💕

  7. Funnily enough, my sister and I were discussing this exact topic last night. I worked with my mum and dad at their business during the summers, but the worst job I ever had was at the local pub, where the owner had such a miserable expression and didn’t care about the customers. I worked 4 hours every Sunday which was rubbish hours and really only did it for the money. I was so glad when I went back to uni!

    But I love my PR job I’m doing now and my boss is such an angel, she really cares about me, my welfare and how I’m getting on. For example when I left the Christmas party early, she texted me really worried bless her. Glad you’re enjoying self-employment, and I wish you the best of luck with it!

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

  8. I love hearing about other people’s job history, I find it so interesting – and yours doesn’t sound too dissimilar to mine! My first job was a counter girl at a Chinese takeaway when I was in sixth form (£5 an hour and free food – dunno why I left!) I then worked at Carphone Warehouse & Next during my time at uni. My first full time job was in a gym working as a sales consultant and I’m now in sales & marketing for a start-up company! I’ve got some hilarious stories – especially just because in what I do you meet so many people! xo
    Sian | http://www.siankathrine.co.uk

  9. I would have loved a job as a pottery assistant! That sounds like such a cool and fun job! Even though I’m an aspiring conservation scientist, I do wish sometimes I went down the creative route.. I haven’t had that many exciting jobs though I did work at a horse sanctuary once and that was fun! xx

    http://www.whattabithaloves.co.uk/

  10. I think that what you are doing is great! I’d love to get to a point where I can make a living from my writing and speaking. I’m working on it!

  11. Aw and so you should be proud of yourself for going freelance and earning from your blog! It’s no easy feat setting up your own business but you’re doing it! You should be v proud. Claire x x x

  12. The pottery class assistant sounds interesting! I don’t have a very good job history but I enjoy what I’m doing at the moment. Love your blog and it’s great that you can do it as part of your job! Xx
    chloewritessometimes.wordpress.com

  13. This is a lovely blog post …Because I’m very keen to know what other things bloggers used to do apart from blogging …Because even I’m in the same queue quite not sure this will work that way I’m supposing it to ..
    So thnk you …

  14. Jenny this is such a fun post! You’ve had so many interesting jobs – I’d love to be a pottery class assistant, and pretty awesome you beat sixty other students to it, too! Such a shame your TA role didn’t work out for you, I know how it feels to be disappointed by a job 🙁 and especially when that job exacerbates your anxiety! That said, its so lovely to see you’re now doing what you love – no wonder you are so successful at it!
    Kate x
    http://www.findingkate.co

  15. You’ve worked everywhere babes! I’ve only ever worked in Hospitality you make me look so boring haha xxx Much love for you babes

  16. It’s always interesting reading about other people’s working life. Call it the nosy parker in me 😀 I think work really does help you grow as a person. It makes you stronger and also teaches you a lot! I can understand about the teaching assistant part. I’m a primary school teacher, and on my placements, some teachers were just not nice. I started my working life at a local supermarket, moved to a cafe, moved back to a supermarket and then started teaching. I always found working retail was interesting and I met one of my best friends in my first supermarket job. We sometimes pop into that shop and are amazed that our old buds are still there. I really enjoyed reading this post 🙂 It brought back a lot of memories for me! I can’t believe you had to go to work after there was a fire!

    1. Awh thank you for the lovely comment. I admire you for being a primary teacher! That was the plan for me actually but when I couldn’t hack being just an assistant I would never have been able to handle an actual teacher.

  17. This was so interesting to read (probably because I’m so nosey lol!) It’s funny how we often wind up somewhere completely different to where we thought we would, and how, what we thought we wanted, often turns out to not be what we thought it would be. I’m so glad you’re now in a career you’re happy in – and a major round of applause – it’s not easy to ‘make it’ in the blogging world!

    http://www.whatevawears.co.uk

  18. This is a really interesting post to read Jenny! You’ve had a lovely selection of jobs here! I think I may do something like this on my own blog x

  19. We’ve got quite a big range of experiences there. I feel like all my experiences where in the same industry. But variety really helps me you realize what you like. My best work experience is happening right now and my worst one was my previous job!

  20. Great post, what an interesting read! I haven’t had much job experience myself unfortunately but I really would love a job, especially for the Summer months and even at weekends during college. Do you have any tips for getting jobs?

  21. I love that already you’ve had such a diverse career. I was a teaching assistant/special needs aid for almost three years and it was one of the reasons my blog began. It’s an amazing job but so very hard too!

  22. Oooh you’ve had some jobs! Primark sounds fun but hellish at the same time haha.
    I think my worst job was working via an agency in a call centre for a telematics company. I was so good at my job and doubled my wage with my bonus, but they treated me like crap and it was horrendous for my mental health. I was like a different person when I left!
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

  23. Love this post. It’s so funny how you see all the links from one thing to another in hindsight but at the time you feel so lost and confused and question everything you are and aren’t doing. My job history ranges from waitress, art seller, recruitment consultant, account manager in a design agency, interspersed with bouts at uni studying photography and curating. For the last couple of years I’ve been looking after my kids and supporting my husband in building where we are now. I’ve always been drawn to writing and blogging is something I’ve always enjoyed on and off and now that’s what I’m doing as a hobby and as a springboard for business ideas in the future. Trying to balance everything in life is one of the hardest things to learn and achieve I think! Xx

      1. But still in the variety I see how one thing was linked and opened up the next. In the same vein as ‘everything happens for a reason’ every experience affects what comes next, the hard thing is having faith in yourself and the future!

  24. Good for you that you’ve made your blog into your business and full time gig. That is a tremendous goal to accomplish and one I have for myself, as well. Also, for anyone who works retail, you are the real MVP because sometimes working for and with the public in the content of a retail job can be very grueling. You’ve come a far way. Great work!

    Jess || https://www.learningfromstrangers.com

  25. What a great idea for a post. Like you I have a varied history of jobs, some I liked others not so much, but haven’t really had a career as such because of the gaps in my employment when I had the kids.
    I’m so glad that you have found your place blogging and running your business I’m sure your experience in you other jobs especially the admin on have helped you with what you do now!

    Melanie | http://www.frasersfunhouse.com