Ladies Camera Club

4 May 2012

Doors close, windows open

As somebody who is self employed and freelances for people/businesses as jobs come and go, I have seen a huge shift in how my jobs have evolved - especially after today.

Let me take you through my personal CV.........

My first ever job was a paper girl, at 12 years old.  I used to get paid a penny for every paper I delivered.  Come rain or shine, on a Friday after school, I'd deliver The North Wales Chronicle to 400 houses.  Yes, my friends, for that 2 hour job, I got paid a stonking £4.  This was before Walkmans were popular so you can imagine, it was the dreariest, most skull numbing thing EVER.  Some of the paths and driveways up to the front door were practically 20 miles long.....for each house.  To prevent me from impaling myself on some of those swanky houses railings, after the sheer monotony of walking up and down 400 pathways, I'd dream up stories in my head.  One day, I promised myself, I'd write a book.

The next job I got was as a washer-upper in a cafe at 14 years old.  My Mum got me the job as she worked there as a cook/waitress.  She was dead bossy to me.  I mean, she was bossy as my Mum but wrap a pinny round her (a la waitress styleee) and she turned into Attila the Hun.  And let me tell you that standing at a sink for 8 solid hours, whilst plunging my hands into molten lava hot water, was not a teenage dream either.  I got paid £1 an hour for skivvying in that greasy spoon, which......when you think about it, I got paid less per hour than I did delivering those crappy papers.  Before long, I was promoted to Waitress and then Cook - at 15!!!  Of course my hands had blistered so badly by that time, I couldn't pick anything up.  This called for me to be inventive, so I'd stir food with spoons held in my mouth and butter bread with knives in my toes.

I did love it, secretly, though.  I used to work with a girl called Susan Coleman and we'd shove all our fave Motown cassettes that played throughout the cafe and have a right old laugh as we dished up oil slick coated chips and burgers made with meat from what looked like rat.  I worked all day Saturday, half a day Sunday and two nights after school - I was rich beyond my wildest dreams (actually it was £16).  I'd often stretch to splurging 99p on a litre bottle of sweet Woodpecker cider.  In those days, my friend Tracy and I would beg someone to buy us a bottle.  I mean, its hardly special brew and to be fair, I'd only swig 4 mouthfuls and I'd be utterly wasted.  I was such a lightweight in 1986.  Still am, come to think.

I left home at 16 to join the RAF - on the YTS scheme.  That was one hell of a culture shock.  Its like I had matured 10 years in one day.  I got paid £26 pound a week but the RAF took £10 off for my food and lodgings, so I was left with £16 a week - for a full time job plus lots of weekend. The robbing gets. Thats less per hour than working 16 hours in the cafe.  Was I ever going to feel the benefit of a decent wage??!!!  To be honest, I can't fault the job in the RAF whatsoever.  I was one of the first RAF gilrs to be taken on full time from the YTS scheme at 7 months in - namely becuase I was so freaking awesome at my job.  I did, however, get into some right old scrapes, met many wonderful friends and travelled the world.  Well, actually.........I just went to Germany and Ascension Island.  LOL.  I served 9 years and had a good-then-ugly long term relationship with a guy called Chas and some years later engaged to some knob head called Chris.  Both taugt me lessons I find utterly valuable to this day.  Luckily, my Marko came to the rescue and before I knew it I ended up landing well and truly Preggo with Ellie aged 24.  But fear not, all ye of little faith, I got married when I was 16 weeks gone.  And yes, I wore cream.  Im a good girl, I am

I went back to work when Ellie was a year old.  I don't relish the fact but it was something I had to do at the time.  I did some temping work for Select Appointments at Transco in Killingworth.  I quite liked it but you were not really allowed to have fun.  Answering the phone to people with suspected gas escapes was pretty serious stuff but we made our own fun but rather like in a silent movie.  IT WAS HILARIOUS.  You just had to stifle your laughter by shoving your fist in your gob as tears would stream out of your eyes.  The monitors would look at you in sheer disgust so we' all pretend to be having a mini breakdown by crying more realistically; as you get more empathy for that as opposed to having fun.

Somehow (and don't test the cut of my jib) I got promoted to being the on-site Temporary staff consultant.  I can only put that down to being just an all round awesome person, to be frank.  This meant I got my own desk, overseeing the staff and surveying my kingdom with my feet on the desk.  I absolutely loved that job although come payday, I'd have a queue of staff threatening to behead me because payroll had got their time sheets mixed up....and I was in the firing line.  Cash bribes were not an option else I would have been bankrupt with the amount of complaints I'd have to deal with.  But I still loved it because I'm all about the power for the people.  Rock on.

We moved not long after and I did a few little jobs.  One of them was working in a pub (my head just about counter height).  I LOVED that pub.  My Dad grew up in that pub, in Bridlington.  If any of you have been to Brid, it's The Seabirds - on FortyFoot.  A lot of old timers would tell me their sob stories as they'd sink pint after pint of Camerons Creamy bitter (oh how it stank).  Then they'd buy me a drink and I'd get wasted with them and end up crying into my "half a fosters and lime" with them.  I was a top barmaid, I was.  In fact, I was awesome.  I also had a spell in a Fabric Shop (its since disbanded, it might become clear why....).  Im going to be honest now and tell you that I HATED IT.  My boss, a nice-but-often psychotic woman was too highly strung for me.  She gave me all the horrible jobs but I was just too awesome to work there and be made to paint 400SQ feet of walls in cheap magnolia paint and be paid £3.80 for the sheer back breaking monotony.  I shall never forget that short spell. I dreaded walking into the shop in fear my boss would spontaneously combust over a piece of paper being bent in the corner.   She told me off for singing, too (in my DINNER BREAK, in the kitchen.....on my DINNER BREAK).  How can anyone tell you off for singing on your DINNER BREAK?  I bet Lady Ga Ga doesn't get told off for singing. Needless to say that it wasn't long before I handed in my notice to go and be awesome with people who totes appreciated the fact.  And a place where I could sing in my DINNER BREAK.  Sheeesh.

At the same time, to make ends meet, I worked in a sandwich shop.  I LOVED THAT JOB.  I could have whatever sammich I wanted for my lunch.  Imagine that - ANY SAMMICH I WANTED.  That's a proper perk, that is.  At home, I'm lucky if I have a choice between Ham, Cheese or Tuna.  But at the butty shop, I could choose creamy chicken in mayo with sweetcorn or seafood salad.  I could feast on Beef and Horseradish or maybe just plain old peanut butter and jam.  What a luxury.  Free drinks in the pub and free sammiches in the butty shop, I tell ya - it was corking.

I used to serve a woman in the butty shop from Specsavers.  She was dead nice to me.  Her name was Wendy.   Don't ask me how but she ended up asking me to work in Specsavers with her.  Again, I put it down to being totally awesome that these things happen to me.  I LOVED working in Specsavers.  I worked in the admin office doing all the TDR's (Im screwed if I can recall what that stood for) but basically it was data input.  Wendy was such an ace manager.  She even gave me experience working on the shop floor by fitting spectacles and finding out Optical Centres (woo, check me out).  Best of all, I got free contacts (coloured) and glasses ....... and get this...... I DIDN'T EVEN NEED TO WEAR THEM, I had 20/20 vision back then (unlike now, almost blind as a bleeding bat).  But I could choose whatever I wanted so that it put customers at ease and show off the brand.  Downside was thst the uniform was HIDEOUS and made purely of 100% naff POLYESTER........eeeeeew.  Static shocks every 3 seconds and my hair stood up on end.  Not a good look.

I don't know why I left but I did hear that a local business was looking for an awesome Office Co-ordinator.  Hello....ME!!!  I'll take it.  I LOVED WORKING THERE.  It was for a very manly prefabricated building installation company in Beeford.  Chris, my boss, was utter hilarious but after almost a year, I had to move as Mark got promoted and posted down south and Chris kind of went a little doo-lally about it.  Of course, he was losing his totally awesome office girl, I understood.  And when I said I had to leave, he practically shoved me out the door there and then.  It was not the coolest of times but, you know, I sent him a christmas card for 8 years after that to show that I still loved him (in a worky worky type of way, of course).

I moved down to Salisbury in 2000.  I didn't work for a while as Ellie was in and out of various hospitals.  Before long I did a couple of little jobs as Mark was on really good money at the time and I didn't need to work.  I did a spell as a dinner lady, though!  That was ACE.  I just looked after the reception kids as they dined in a separate hall and cleaned up after them and loved them.  Ellie was in that class too so I got extra specially hugs at lunchtime as well as kids flicking raisins at me when I wasn't looking.  I had them imprisoned in the art cupboard as punishment but nobody ever found out.  Hope they let Maddison Maddison out after I left.  And yes, that was really her name.  Her Mum remarried and her new hubby adopted Maddison.  You just can't make it up, can you?

In Salisbury I also did a 6 week temping job as a data entry clerk for the Conservative party.  IT WAS THE WEIRDEST WORK PLACE EVER.  I was super fast with my data entry, the supervisor's jaw would smack the floor at how many Conservative party questionnaires I'd filter and enter into the machine.  As I'm a proper northern bird with working class ethics, what she didn't know was that I'd be entering any old thing into computer as the conservatives are pompous old Etonians on a power trip.  I'M KIDDING.  Well, I am about the computer thingy anyway.  I kind of loved that job in a way as I met a lovely girl who I found on facebook two years back.  We'd spend our lunch breaks going on walks around the estate and talk about everything and nothing, to break the monotony of data entry.

Then I moved to Leeds.  I got a job working with my Auntie Suzanne as an office clerk.  I LOVED THAT JOB!  I did all sorts and when the accounts girl was off, Id step in and do some SAGE stuff for the head of accounts - I was proper computer geeky (still am).  That place was the best laugh ever.  I mean PROPER hilarious.  If I could go back there, I totally would.  But times change and my Auntie doesn't work there anymore so it would be probably poo without her.

Then I moved to Wigan in 2004.  It was at the start of the Cardmaking boom and I set up a little business called Dies to Die for.  I LOVED THAT JOB.  Id never been self employed before and I loved the hours I chose to work and what I did to make it work.  I grew it into a lovely little business but because my crafting had evolved from cardmaking to scrapbooking, I found myself wanting to take photography seriously - to harmonise, in a way.  So I sold the business (and its still going today!) and freelanced as a demonstrator, teacher and photographer.  The demands of photography state that you should use photoshop for retouching.  But I hate retouching, its just not natural.  But what I did love about Photoshop is the way you can create graphics.  As the years have passed Ive become very involved with graphics (and animation and iMovie).  I even bought Illustrator and taught myself how to use it through and YouTube.  I LOVE MAKING THINGS from a graphics pen and tablet........essentially drawing from nothing.  I LOVE the UK Craft industry and tried fitting computer work into the fold and I do - I write blogs, I design stamps, I created 5 CD Roms for shopping channels, I create business cards and website graphics. Ive just designed 24 rolls of washi tape PLUS Ive even been given the illustrious opportunity to create designs for Snapfish (a Hewlett Packard company). I overhaul blogs, I still take pictures (but at my leisure rather than as an entire career).  I LOVE LOVE LOVE banging out shapes and patterns and sleek designs.

This leads me onto the title of this hideously long blogpost: doors close and windows open.  These past few weeks jobs have gone and jobs have come.  Its a usual pattern for me.  I can't cry if its game over with one client because its the nature of the beast.  The reason why I don't fret about it is when a door closes, a window really does open.  And these past two days, two windows have opened.  That's like getting a whole load of fresh air in this stinking, festering pit of an office.  LOL.  Its just the way my work evolves.  So whilst I thought I'd be content being a cardmaker for the rest of my life in 2004, Ive gone onto scrapbooking, mixed media, teaching, photography, blog writing and now graphics.  And I haven't even finished my Diploma in Visual Communications.   I've also recently started a course in Surface Pattern Design.  I could also do with having a skeg at HTML in depth and perfecting my currently rubbish CSS.

I'm trying to fathom what evolves from here on in.  Maybe directing movies, perhaps?  I mean, that shit really could happen........... can't wait for my next exciting role in the movie of my life.  OH!  And that book I'd said I'd write when I was 12?  Im actually writing it.

PS:  Don't forget to check out my post below for my new shop additions and DSLR training on tour


Sue said...

By heck, I needed a cuppa after all that:)

Whatever life throws at you, I hope you want to catch it and run with it:)

Catriona said...

Will it be a talking book, Kirsty?lol Seriously, that was an excellent stocktaking post of your busy life so far. I know you made light of all your jobs but you have such talent that you share and that's where we all benefit. Sorry again about missing Glasgow photography day-perhaps some other time. Tell Ellie I thought her bouquet was fabulous and I loved the photo of her.

Judi said...

Don't know about Sue needing a cuppa - I'm off for a nap! Brilliant concise story of your life. You are living proof that you can be whatever you want to be, you just need to believe in yourself so well done on all your achievements Kirsty xx

Dawn said...

No wonder your writing a book, that was a fab fast passed read I loved it.

I paid for a photo course but I haven't heard anything off you yet (no surprise busy girl) But can you get in touch. Love Dawn xx

Bettyann said...

Wow...wanna read the book also..each of us has an interesting book in us...

Jaki Morris said...


Susan M said...

I do really like visiting your blog! Your creations are always fresh and different and love the chattiness of your posts and reading about your gorgeous Ellie.If your book is anything like your blog it's going to be great!

Anonymous said...

Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.... :-D You should be writing book about self-motivation as well.... I loved this post. Jude.xx

sparklygirl-Tina said...

Wow what a varied career you've had so far..... lovely to read and get more of an insight into you!

Looking forward to you sharing with us your next lot of endeavours and to reading your book!