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Working 9 to 5

Dolly Parton – from The Big Issue

When I think of “Working 9 to 5” I think of Dolly Parton. She looks pretty good for 73 y.o. She has released 64 studio albums, has a stack of awards, appeared in a number of films – and perhaps most impressive, is that she has been married to the same husband for 54 years.

It prompted me to think about all the jobs that I have had. This is in approximate chronological order. Many of the jobs were when I was a student:

Started delivering newspapers when I was 12/13 y.o. in England. Had to ride my bike down to the newsagent around 5.30am, pick up and sort the papers, ride back to our suburb and deliver them. Rain, hail, snow and even some nice days! The thing I remember most from that time is that at Christmas time I got a “Christmas box” from some customers (a tip they would leave for me). The biggest, fanciest homes I either got nothing or very little. The more modest homes were generous. Did this until I was 15 y.o. – then I could work in a supermarket.

The first supermarket I worked in was Woolworths in Grantham, UK. Woolworths as it existed in the late 60’s, early 70’s does not exist now. It was a department store. One such department was a Lighting Department, where I worked. Mostly, I sold light bulbs. Before I sold every light bulb I tested it! It’s bizarre to think of doing this today.

Onwards and upwards. I went to work at Tesco’s. I had an office all to myself. People brought me all the material I needed. Sounds good, doesn’t it?! And I loved it. My job was to break up cardboard boxes and put them in a crushing machine. Mint job! I suppose they had to share the good work around so I was put on filling shelves. Confession, ** if you are of a sensitive dispossession please skip this – you have been warned ** It was thirsty work. Me and my mate (you always have to have a partner in crime), would open bottles of fizzy drink, have a little sip and put the top back on. All good, not really. I hope that former Tesco’s managers are not reading this.

For some reason I got transferred to the butchery department. Minimal (no?) training given and I was to cut meat up to proper cuts for sale (taking bones out, cutting between joints etc.). I quite liked it because it was like surgery, but I was ridiculed for being too slow and treating the meat like a surgeon. You just can’t win sometimes.

All for now.

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