National Careers Week – My first job

National Careers Week – My first job

NewspaperTo celebrate National Careers Week, we’ve asked members of the CASCAID team about their early experiences of work and how those experiences have influenced their careers.

Yesterday, our Interim Chief Executive, Annette Wade, recalled some of her earlier work roles and how the skills she developed then have been used virtually every day throughout her career. And yes, we’re still waiting for her to perform her S Club 7 dance.

Today, we hear from Gaye Rowlson, our Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator.

“My first job was working Saturdays at the local village newsagents; it was 1980.

 There were no online newspapers or magazines then so, Saturday morning was always very busy with customers coming in to pay their weekly bill. Generally, it was men coming in to pay their weekly paper bill, buy cigarettes, tobacco and quarter pounds of sweets for the week.

 There was only a very basic till, usually three or four of us behind the counter and the till drawer left open so that we could all access it at the same time. I remember having to add everything up in my head or on a piece of paper to work out the total bill, sort out the correct change and then, when it quietened down, having to input into the till so that we could balance at the end of the day. Plus, having a shop full of customers all wanting to get served as soon as possible, meant that you got very quick at doing this and you made sure your calculations were right first time.

 Maths was never my strong point but this really helped with my general arithmetic skills. At home and in work I still use these skills, from working out my shopping bill in the supermarket to calculating open and click rates for marketing campaigns or costs of events & exhibitions.

 Once the newsagent quietened down in the afternoon, it didn’t stop there for this ‘Saturday Girl’ … next came the cleaning and re-stocking. Jars of sweets had to be replaced and bags of sweets weighed up ready to sell. All cards and magazines had to be tidied and re-stocked. Everything in the shop window had to be taken out, the window and contents cleaned and then the display put back in place. The stock room then had to be tidied and a list of low stock provided for the owners so that they could replenish and re-order.

 This organisational skill has remained with me throughout my working life. I try to keep on top of things and keep order when working on different projects in order to maintain control and efficiency. This comes in especially useful when planning for events & exhibitions, from deciding on equipment and literature requirements, to planning travel & accommodation – then post-event, following up contacts.

 After a couple of years, my final job of the day was marking up the papers for the afternoon ‘paper boys & girls’ to deliver. Attention to detail and a methodical approach were essential here. If the papers weren’t marked up in the correct order, it meant the ‘paper boy or girl’ would be wondering up and down a road to find the right house which would waste their time and the paper would be late being delivered to the customer. Also, I needed to make sure the correct paper was marked up so that the customer didn’t get the wrong paper either.

 It’s not until recalling these memories that I’ve realised what a valuable job this was. It developed my confidence, expanded my interpersonal skills and provided me with a good work ethic. It was a busy Saturday job but there was a sense of pride when all the jobs were completed and the customer happy with the outcome …. Something I still strive for here at CASCAID.”

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