National Careers Week – My First Job

National Careers Week – My First Job


To 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.

Today, it’s the turn of our Product Manager, Simon King.

“I left school in the mid-80s; when the job situation was dire.  Luckily, my dad was able to get me my first job working in a factory making concrete beams.  Unfortunately, the factory was over 30 miles away so I had to get up at 5:30 every morning and cycle six miles to the nearest town to catch a work bus – tough going for a 16 year old.  It was always cold at that time in the morning and the bus was warm, needless to say, I always fell asleep.  

Back then, I never wore a watch and on my first day I almost missed the bus home – lesson learnt, I’ve always worn a watch since.  

My main responsibility was to strip and repaint a massive pair of wooden doors; they must have been at least 20ft high.  Having been given some pretty poor tools, I don’t believe that I ever finished that job. The fun continued as my remit grew to include cleaning the toilet block: three toilets that had to service almost 200 grown men.  This is neither the time, nor the place to go into detail, safe to say,  it was not a pleasant task!

My remit widened further to include dealing with other waste on site, namely shovelling it into a dumper truck which I then had to drive over to the furthest corner of the site and dump. Fantastic fun for a 16 year old, though I’m sure it wouldn’t be allowed now.   I started to get quite confident driving the dumper truck until the day I went round a corner too fast and had to hit the brakes hard.  I came to a stop with a fork lift truck just in front of me and the concrete beam it was carrying not more than six inches from my face.  Another lesson learnt!

When the store manager was off sick, I used to (unofficially) act as his deputy and complete the orders for the factory floor and keep the stores stocked.  Eventually the store manager found another job, and as I was doing such a good job in his absence, they didn’t bother to replace him for about six weeks.   

I learnt many lessons in that factory; time-keeping, responsibility and about team working (at 16 being able to spot someone in a bad mood is a lifesaving skill!)

It also taught how important education is and how the right qualifications can open doors. My early work experiences have never left me, cleaning toilets will do that to a man, and when I later went on to gain a degree, during the course I felt the benefit of my previous work experiences.

However, the biggest lesson I learnt was simply to start.  It doesn’t matter what the job is, just start doing it.  And no matter how hard, or dirty, or boring do the job to the best of your abilities.   Then look at what you’re doing and think about it – can you do it in a different way that achieves what you need to but that makes it quicker, or easier?  And it’s this ability that has allowed me to start a new job in a new company and to always improve and move on but you have to start first.”

Happy National Careers Week!


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