Hope you all had a lovely Easter break. A bit of nostalgia this morning to ease ourselves back into the working work, prompted by mum recently telling me the same woman still runs the salon where my sister had her first Saturday job over twenty years ago. Blimey.
My first Saturday job was in retail. I’d completed two weeks Work Experience in Topshop which to be honest I had found really quite boring as I spent most of the time cleaning mirrors. At the end of the two weeks my supervisor filled in my report. If I remember rightly it was a multiple choice and all was going swimmingly until she got the line that read ‘Relationship with Manager’. She been on training for most of my stint and decided that because she had been around so little while I’d been beavering away with my duster that she wouldn’t be able to give me top marks. I returned back to school and remember everyone flashed their glowing reports. I was devastated.
Anyway despite my red flag on my report card I got a Christmas temp job at Next. If anyone has ever worked at Next during the sale period it was pretty brutal. One woman was enthusiastically looking for her half price shoes and the contents of the shelf came tumbling on my head. I finished my stretch there covered in bruises, vowing to avoid the Next sale forevermore.
A few months later news spread that Gap were opening a couple of stores in Meadowhall. Seemingly the whole of my college turned out for the interview process which I remember being a cringe-worthy group interview where we then got carted off for individual interviews if we met the grade.
A few weeks later I received a contract through the post. I was going to be a Sales Associate at Gap Kids with a probationary pay of £3.60 an hour. I had hit the big time.
While most of my friends were wearing black trousers to their Saturday jobs I donned my Gap bootcut jeans (bought with our 50% discount) and spent at least a quarter of my shift stood at the door welcoming customers and telling them my name. This was fairly novel back then and most people looked utterly bemused at this very American way of customer service. I felt like an idiot. However it soon became clear why you had to give your name to all and sundry as we had pretty high sales targets to hit. Sales are not my forte but somehow I managed to get by and I had a lovely set of regular customers. The highlight of my time there was when David Beckham popped in with a very small Brooklyn to be decked out in Gap’s finest.
I left Gap when I started Uni as I moved to Nottingham. Instead I found myself behind the checkout in Sainsbury’s wearing a Moshino inspired blue shirt adorned with various types of fruit. There was something about wearing the blue square Gap badge on your chest that meant the majority of customers treated you with respect, this was not the same when I was wearing one of your five-a-day. The customers were terribly rude and I’m sure one woman used to pick up obscure vegetables every week just to test if I had the intelligence to put it through the till using the right code. Ever since then I’ve been very polite to checkout staff as the experience has really stayed with me.
I left retail behind after Uni and delved into waitressing before landing a job as a Marketing Assistant which led me into the world of web marketing and then my career took a few twists and turns before I ended up here.
Do you remember your first job? Any nostalgic moments that really stand out? What did you buy with your first pay packet and did you stay in the same industry for the rest of your career?