I was having a chat earlier with colleagues and we got onto the subject of different jobs people have had.
It seems like I’m the odd one out, in that most of them have gone education —> sales
Where as my pattern has been rather mental.
I can start at 14 with a paper round, that’s pretty common. I was a monster at it though and figured out quickly that no one cared if their paper never arrived so most ended up in the bins or put through the letter box of a house I presumed no-one lived in because the windows were all ‘boarded up’ and covered in bin bags.
About 2 weeks before I stopped doing that, a lady came out to tell me off for putting so many papers through her door each week! Whoops. Lesson learned, I mixed it up a bit then delivering multiple at a time, before just sacking the whole thing off.
I then worked in retail for a bit, with Boots, their Warehouse, Morrisons, and waiting tables on a Food Court all until the age of about 18.
My dad wanted me to sort myself out as I was leaving college. He told me I couldn’t find a job doing nothing all day, so while he was away one week I applied for a job at the local council, literally doing nothing.
I had to ‘manage’ a block of flats. It had more to it than perhaps ‘nothing’ but being an 18-20 year old I did what I needed to and spent the rest of the time enjoying myself.
I can safely say that those 2 years pushed everything out of my system and by the end of it I no longer enjoyed going to clubs, partying and so forth and I was ready to do something a bit more serious.
My sister was applying to be a nursing student and I had a chat with her one night about how fed up I was and with her help I decided essentially to tag along. It’s a proper career, meaningful and important.
I got about 18 months in and was so extremely skint that turning up for a lecture with my last tenner spent on train fair to find it had been cancelled kind of snapped my mind.
I called the uni and quit, citing lack of funds as the reason, some of it was also due to the fact I had a few deadlines to meet and it was a lot of work for £500 a month funding whilst trying to make ends meet.
I’d loved this job, the care side of it was great and keeping busy felt kind of nice after 2 years of literally nothing.
I dabbled a bit helping out at a local old folks home for millionaires where my wife was working, that was a bit mad but made me think about how none of these people had exactly worked in public sector to get to where they were in life, and that at the end of it all their quality of life was much better than the people’s I’d worked with in nursing homes during my course.
That sounds a bit selfish, and perhaps it is, but from there I kind of went off on a tangent into sales.
(As an aside, 6 months into this tangent, Hertfordshire University called me to ask where the hell I was as I hadn’t turned up for my placement. I referred them to the fact I’d quit 6 months prior and they updated their notes accordingly.)
I wasn’t looking for a sales job, I was just looking for something with a low barrier to entry but an opportunity to learn and scale into bigger money long term.
I did a customer service job helping people with queries on their car and home insurance, and for 12 months I was consistently in the top 5 for up selling new stuff to people who called in. I had a nack for it and was making nice bonuses each month.
I got moved across to sales within the year and whilst it was a tough learning curve going from established customers to new customers I adapted and again made some great headway and was consistently high performing.
Then I started to get incredibly home sick. We were living in Peterborough and it was a bit boring, so I wanted to move back to Essex.
Things went my way when my wife (then fiance) was pregnant with our first kid. So to save money we decided to move back with my folks for a bit because we were halfway through saving for a wedding and suddenly bills were getting tough!
I moved to an insurance underwriting job, thinking underwriting would be a good route into making some bigger money long term.
I worked for an absolute Nazi though who hated men and used to treat me like turd so I hated it there. The commute was 2 hours each way too which was mental.
After passing probation I had some time off for the baby being born, and then caught Labyrinthitus, and was essentially off work for a couple of months. I felt great once I’d got over the virus, and went back, only to feel destroyed again within days of being back.
At this point I had another chat with my sister about how fed up I was and how I needed a change.
I said to her I’d already tried to go back to nursing, but they wouldn’t have me – I found out later this was because Hertfordshire Uni didn’t quite update their notes to say I’d quit 6 months prior to their call.
They’d just stated that I quit there and then, and had not turned up for 6 months. So my relatively decent attendance record (which ok wasn’t perfect) was obliterated by the 6 month A.W.O.L period.
So with nursing off the cards, I felt lost. My sister advised that a degree was easier to access than perhaps I was aware. So I had a look and spoke to my wife.
She said that we couldn’t really do it what with having a new born and needing to live near someone who could baby sit.
I took her by surprise a bit though by discovering that Peterborough had a university opening that year! She reminded me I hated Peterborough and had relocated us down south to be near my family, but that didn’t matter at this point, we were off to Peterborough!!!
It’s funny at this point because both Kev and I have similar stories in that we applied for multiple degrees and IT came back first, and we both figured we could do IT so we both accepted and signed up. We arrived on the first day thinking we’d just give it a crack because it was easier than work.
I assumed I’d have to work hard to catch up with everyone else on the course, soon we learned that all we had to do was work, no one else was experienced either so we winged it and came out with Firsts.
During my second and third year I got a job as a glorified ‘careers adviser’ going into a local school to tell year 10 kids to AIM HIGHER which was also the name of the initiative.
I only took it because it paid £50 per half hour session, but I really enjoyed it, and got on well with the kids so started looking at teaching as an option.
I reviewed my options for post uni and thought that a job in programming was unlikely to work out very well.
I’d always wanted to do something ‘meaningful’ so I thought Teaching was a great shout.
At the same time Kev was thinking it seemed like a decent option for a career, and we convinced our friend Fardin to come with us to do a PGCE for a year because it was something he thought he might want to do at some point in the future.
All 3 of us trained to be ICT Teachers, and then got jobs in teaching.
As you know I ended up blowing out of that career after about 15-16 months with stress, anxiety and depression. It took 3 years to recover from that!
Teaching is a great job, ruined by awful politicians and irritating teachers who pile too much on inexperienced teachers.
Kev had a better ride because he refused to let it clamp down on him. But ultimately Fardin is the only one of the three of us who still teaches!
When I left teaching I had a month to find a job and coincidentally a friend was starting a company and asked if I wanted to come in and keep busy while I looked for a new job.
I turned up and worked for nothing for a couple of weeks just seeing what I could do to help.
They needed someone to do sales, so by the end of my 2 weeks of just helping out I’d agreed to become their sole sales person and that has been the past 3 years of my life.
I’m quite good at it and I think as far as careers go it seems pretty solid in that there’s room for growth and the more accounts I collect up the more money I’ll make.
I’m learning a lot about business as well and long term I’d like to come up with an idea and do my own thing when im 40+ and my home life is more settled, the kids are older, and we’re generally secure enough for a risk like that.
I count 13/14 jobs there in all I think, if you count changing departments/jobs during some of my time at these places. I’ve learned such a mad variety of skills, and whilst some of the instances at the start were a bit
On top of this, I’ve obviously made money in writing books, writing articles, writing for people.
I’ve built websites and other bits and bobs, and I’ve built a pretty good little indie media platform for our gaming nonsense with Kev and the gang.
I’ve learned tons about media, reviews, acquiring stuff from companies to review and or give away. Selling and buying things, getting us competitive advantages to help us stand out and so forth. It has all been a big learning curve throughout.
I think this is why I get frustrated during the down times when I’m not doing something like that.
I know how to do it, I know what to do. I just spend too much time doing other stuff or not doing it.
Going back to the original conversation, my colleagues think that is a mad thread. 13/14 jobs, a ton of side projects, 3 separate stints as a student. Living in multiple counties throughout, and having a wife and 3 kids at the age of 32.
I’m being badgered to start a YouTube channel next. I’m in two minds, as its another thing not on the list above that means more learning and more growing into it, but at the same time that is fun. One day when I do try and start a business it’ll hopefully all come together and every skill will contribute to me becoming the next self made billionaire…