I have spent the last two months filling in application form after application form and sending out CV after CV to unsympathetic employers. I have a big entry coming up sometime soon about unemployment and the strange lethargising effect it has on people (which will also be an opportunity to skewer a Job Centre harpy I’ve been having running battles with over the last month), but that will have to wait. Today is about my “real” CV.
I’ve realised recently that I’m leaving out far more of my work history than I’m putting in. Most is left out because it is simply not relevant to the jobs I’m applying for, but there is a part of me that is still strangely attached to all the ridiculous jobs I’ve held over the years. They do nothing to help me get a modern grown-up job, but I can’t help feeling that in some small way they are more telling of the kind of person I actually am. The snazzy impressive job titles I now use on my CV to present myself as a capable, decent, proper human being (ha) are all fine and dandy, but I can’t shake the feeling that all this old irrelevant stuff is still important. So, below is a list of every job I’ve ever had and not just the edited highlights. It is a strangely interesting (promise) list…
1. July 2004: Classroom Assistant, Broomfields County Junior School, Warrington.
Helping out at my old primary school for two weeks. Adorably cute kids. One managed to slice his fingertip open under my supervision in arts and crafts. So mixed success.
2. December 2004 – October 2006: Potwasher, Stretton Fox Pub, Warrington, UK.
Cleaning, scrubbing, washing, scouring, disinfecting, preparing, mopping, slopping, chopping and having Si the chef throw steak knives at my head. True story.
I worked round the back. Reeked after every shift. But, altogether, not a terrible job. I can clean the fuck out of anything now, and you can quote me on that. To my face.
3. March – April 2007: Mail Sorter, Royal Mail Warehouse, Winwick Quay, UK.
Unsorted bags of mail came in, we sorted them, they went out. Eight hour shifts. Yum.
4. July 2007 : Drivers Mate, Wincanton, Runcorn, UK
(For three days before I was fired) Drove around Merseyside in a van with a surly driver, going to skips, rescuing thrown-out fridges (stinky) loading them onto the van and taking them back to base. Fired because when the driver found out I went to university he assumed I assumed I was “better than everyone.”
5. July – August 2007: Polystyrene Recycler, Comet Warehouse, Padgate, UK
Vans would deliver household appliances to people’s houses then drive the discarded (and frankly voluminous) packaging back to the warehouse. I put all the polystyrene from that packaging through a crusher and stacked the results. Eight hour shifts. I am still finding polystyrene balls in my car five years later.
6. September 2007: Shop Fitter, Boots the Chemist, Coventry, UK
The shop was getting refitted, so when it shut at 6pm we’d go in, move all the shelves so the tilers, sparkies and joiners could come in and do real work. Moved things between 6-9pm, foreman took us to the pub, moved things back between 12-3am, staggered home.
7. October 2007 – February 2008: Barman, Royal York Hotel, York, UK
Served the drunk nouveau riche of York. Shifts started at 5pm and often finished at 6am. No breaks, no food. Fridays and Saturdays. Saw some ugly stuff, met some ugly people. Pissed off the bar manager (who was fond of uploading videos of himself strawpedoing entire bottles of wine to the internet) by taking a day off. He stopped giving me shifts. I stopped going.
Despite the ‘ugly’ people, this one was definitely one of the prettiest places I’ve worked…
8. April 2008: First Travel Survey Team Member, No. 4 Bus Route, York, UK
(For one and a half soul-destroying days before I quit) Hassled bus travellers and asked them questions they didn’t want to be asked. Gave up, sat at the back of the bus and made up the answers to my own survey. Was told I’d done well.
9. April 2008 – April 2012: Freelance Copywriter, Greenlight Search, London, UK.*
Great gig. Wrote 300-word articles incorporating keywords and SEO terms. Paid per article. Essentially the dream-job for a student. This single-handedly bankrolled my university onslaught against my liver.
10. June – September 2008: Procurement & Supply Chain Intern, BP, London, UK.*
First big gig. Fed up of shit holiday temp jobs I talked my way into the corporation to end all corporations. The people were nice and I got paid a lot. Failed to secure a graduate role when, in the final assessment presentation on “How my impressions on BP have changed,” I opened with a slide on BP’s (widely-acknowledged accusations of) greenwashing. They were unimpressed. As was I.
11. March 2009: Shoe Labeller, Unspecified Warehouse, Appleton Thorn, UK
Stuck size labels onto plastic bags containing Clarks shoes. Eight hour shifts.
12. August 2009 – June 2011: Primary Teacher, CTLC, Nanshan 2nd Foreign Languages School, Shenzhen, China.*
Ran away to China to sit out the recession. Taught six, seven and eight year olds conversational English. Great job. Great city. Great country. But mad. Oh so very mad.
My home for two years, Coastal City, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, PRC.
13. August 2010 – June 2011: Associate Coordinator, CTLC, Shenzhen, China.*
In my second year I was promoted within CTLC to be the go-to guy for all the new teachers starting their first year. Coordinator/organiser/social planner/TA/TEFL lecturer/drinking buddy/counsellor/British-to-American translator. Arguably the best job I’ve ever had, meeting the coolest people I’ve ever met.
14. September 2011: Reviewer, MoreShenzhen website, China
Wrote a number of cursory articles for a start-up website that failed after two months when the co-founders credit card was cloned and he lost all his money. Muppet.
15. September 2011 – July 2012: Features Contributor, eChinacities website, China
Contributed two or three articles a month to the largest expat website in China. Cool little side gig. Learned a lot about China. The articles are here under published work.
16. October 2011 – July 2012: MARCOM Manager, Promate Technologies, Longgang, Shenzhen, China.*
Working for a maniacal Syrian man writing product descriptions and drafting marketing info about the company (international electronics giant). Cool at first, then progressively poorer. Arguably worst job ever. And that’s including the fridge van thing…
17. January – October 2012: Freelance Contributor, TALK magazine, Shanghai, China.*
Same deal as eChinacities, but for a different magazine. Great editor this time which made the work much better. Articles under published work as ever.
18. February – May 2012: Musician, Black Panda band, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nanshan, Shenzhen China.
Best gig (a-hah ha) ever. Resident Sunday night covers band at the Crowne Plaza playing to drunk Chinese millionaires who couldnt understand a word we were saying. Too much fun. Here’s a video of us. Most fun I’ve had and got paid for it. Monday mornings were hard.
I was big in China. So big in China.
19. April – July 2012: Musician, Kettlebrue, Rapscallions Bar, Shenzhen, China.
Regular Friday night slot at Rapscallions. Usually incredibly sloppy and extremely unprofessional but extremely good fun. Lucrative too. Thanks Rue.
20. September 2012: Musician, The Venue, Lymm, Warrington, UK.
Got the occasional paid gig at this great little venue (helpfully called “The Venue”) off the back of some really fun Tuesday open-mic nights.
That is a shitload of jobs. The five of those that actually appear on my CV are starred, but that is a quarter. Not a lot is it? I’m about to start a new job too, but I’m not allowed to say what is it is just yet. Exciting times. So blogosphere, what are the weirdest jobs you have done? Were you the secret Abercrombie and Fitch model or the golf beer-girl who was paid to flirt with drunk older men…? It’s always the quiet ones…