Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

The annual review provided by the Big Brother that is WordPress suggested that we revisit old posts and write about those subjects again. This seemed a bit counter-productive to me but as I trawled through some really old posts I began to see possibilities.

I blogged a couple of years ago about the first paid job I ever had, aged thirteen, writing up the new year’s stock books for my father. (If you want to read about that, you can do so here). This was lucrative while it lasted but it didn’t provide me with regular income and at that age, when the lure of Aqua Manda scented products and shops such as Chelsea Girl beckoned, money was all important.

Babysitting became the next option. A friend of mine, Viv, seemed to have a monopoly in the village which I was keen to break into. A recently built housing estate spawned plenty of opportunity and I began to get the odd Saturday night slot. I can’t say that looking after other people’s children particularly appealed – I wasn’t that bothered about taking care of my own siblings – but Viv assured me it was easy money and that most people had coloured TV sets and a never ending supply of biscuits.

Once the children are in bed, having read them a story, got them drinks, admired their Lego model, reassured them there are no monsters and Mummy and Daddy will be back soon, the evening is pretty much your own but sitting by yourself in someone else’s house is the weirdest thing. You’re not familiar with the creaks the house makes; the heating system might rumble on like thunder, the washing machine, set on a timer, may well spring into action to take advantage of cheaper electricity. There are likely to be small rodents somewhere in a cage running round in a wheel. You are on edge for four hours just waiting for the parents to get back and free you from this potential peril.

One household I sat for locked the telephone in their bedroom. What kind of family have locks on their internal doors – and who in their right minds locks a telephone away from someone who is acting in loco parentis? Did they think I’d be spending the evening ringing friends in Australia? What would I have done if an emergency presented itself? I never sat for that particular family again. In fact, I wasn’t very successful as a babysitter – I let Viv maintain her monopoly – but I stuck it out until I was fifteen or so until I was able to obtain a proper job: my first foray into retail. But that’ll have to wait until part two.

*My Brilliant Career – a 1901 novel by Miles Franklin about a young Australian girl, Sybylla, and her secret desire to become a writer. It was made into a film in 1979 starring Judy Davis. I’ve always wanted to use that as a title – and now I have.

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