Blog a Day 145of365: Previous Jobs

I hate resigning/leaving jobs. That makes it sound like I do it regularly and admittedly I don’t any more. Between 2006-2008 though I had four different jobs, none of them lasting longer than 9 months. One of them, a ‘lovely’ job with a hard selling mobile phone company only lasted 6 and a half days, 5 of which were spent on a training course in Leeds.

Regardless of how long I was there for though, I hated the actual process of telling someone that I was off. I always felt as if I was letting someone down even though I knew that I had to do it for whatever reason.

The first place, I adored the job. Loved the people. Paid well. Good hours. In hindsight it was one of the best jobs I’ve had. However, I had to leave. I was moving to Stafford in September 2006 to do a Masters. I couldn’t get a transfer to the Stafford branch so that was that. My two managers (I worked between two stores) were incredibly understanding and supportive. They were happy for me and I had a brilliant leaving do. Hated telling them though.

The second place was the aforementioned hard selling mobile phone company. It was a horrible sales environment and it was clearly apparent just from the 5 day training course that it wasn’t for me. A day spent out on the street ‘luring’ customers in simply compounded my view that this job wasn’t for me. My two workmates seemed alright though. One was kind enough to give me his card and said to keep in touch. I lost the card unfortunately which was a real shame. The manager was very much towing the company line though and when I told her that I was leaving this early on, she was far from happy which reinforced my view! She had a go at me for ‘wasting’ the amount of money the company had spent on training me. It’s a huge company and is still doing very well so I don’t exactly have remorse! As it was I knew it was for the best that I left now. Fortunately I was in a position where money wasn’t vital.

The third place was a good idea at the time. A call centre for a bank. I’d never worked in a call centre before, nor will I ever again if I can help it! Again the people were decent but the job was the most stressful I’ve ever had. You’d have 6 seconds between calls, sometimes not even that. You were timed if you had to go to the loo. In a 10 hour shift I had 6 minutes allocated to ‘bathroom’ time. I did also have an hour’s lunch break and two 15 minute breaks but they were timed down to the second. Turn up a minute late and you got in trouble, no matter what the excuse. Also the breaks weren’t evenly distributed. They changed depending on the needs of the business. Sometimes you’d start at 9am, have your first break and lunch break by 11am then have the last break at 1pm leaving you with 5 hours in a row of the most mind numbing but intense work I’ve had.

Everything was heavily targeted with even the likes of credit cards and loans pushed onto customers that really couldn’t afford it. Throw in the abuse you’d suffer from the customers and the emotional blackmail from the despairingly poor customers and it was awful. I only worked weekends but they were horrendous enough that I dreaded them all week. I was mostly working with 16-18 year olds just doing it to earn some extra money through college or GCSEs. I was the oldest person there that wasn’t a team leader.

One memorable day, we’d just returned from our lunch break. One of the guys who had been constantly trying to leave but forever coerced into staying, handed a note to his team leader. It was his resignation. He didn’t say anything to her; he just picked up his stuff and walked. I still remember him leaving vividly. I’ve never envied anyone so much.

In the end the decision to leave was taken out of my hands. I ended up falling ill with a very nasty virus. So nasty that it made my heartbeat briefly irregular. It only took 6 weeks or so of rest for it to correct itself but the doctor enquired why I could be so stressed. When I explained she suggested that maybe it wasn’t worth my health. The day I returned from being signed off, I handed in my month’s notice. I still felt bad though. My team leader was a lovely woman and my workmates were good people too. I pitied them though, they didn’t realise how crap it was. Or maybe they did, but they didn’t have the option to leave.

The fourth job was a graduate, office job. It was glorified data entry really. Monotonous too. I was very good at it though and I like to think I could have gone far in it if I’d chosen to. I’d bring in cakes for everyone on a Friday and threw myself into the role.

It was also the job I was in when my Dad died. I was off work for 6 weeks. When I returned, I walked into the door and everyone stopped and stared at me awkwardly like they had no idea what to say. So they didn’t say anything. I sat at my desk quietly and my manager came over. She said it was good to see me back but made no mention of anything else. Then I was left to do my work. It was soul destroying. I felt completely alone and a complete social leper.

The next day I phoned to say that I wouldn’t be coming back. I didn’t have to serve my notice and that was that. Admittedly I didn’t feel any real remorse for that one. I had my own life to deal with. I’m still in contact with one of my co-workers there but that’s it.

I’ve been in my current job for 19 months now. The longest I’ve ever been in the same job. I never would have thought it when I first started. It’s very far from my perfect role; it pays very badly with my hours being very few these days. The people though are fantastic. Some of the best people I’ve ever met actually. We all look out for each other and genuinely care for each other’s wellbeing. I have good fun with them and we all make each other laugh. While the job itself might be tedious, we make it interesting for the most part.

Now if only it paid better!

3 thoughts on “Blog a Day 145of365: Previous Jobs

  1. Rachel

    Ooh good post! May end up doing one of those at some point… though my list is rather longer, heh. All the money in the world doesn’t make up for a nasty job, bad employers, or unpleasant co-workers… it’s a real shame yours doesn’t pay better, but having a nice bunch of people to spend the larger part of your day with definitely tops the priority list in my books!

  2. Pete Davison

    In my experience, the worst jobs have had the nicest people. At least that’s true in school-teaching. The most difficult schools with the horriblest kids are the ones with the closest-knit staff communities. But sadly, the latter doesn’t make up for the former.

    I did some temporary office work for a while. After about a month I was literally bored to tears. I mean, I actually hid in the bathroom at the office and cried. I could feel my soul being sucked out. So office work (drone work, anyway) is not for me. I’d be happy sitting in an office if I was doing something creative, like writing. But typing up endless reams of insurance documents? Enough to make me want to slit my wrists.

    I haven’t yet settled into a job I really like. I love writing, as you know, and I would love love LOVE an opportunity to do that full-time. I’m making a very small amount of money from it right now, but not enough to live on. I hope that will change!

  3. Haly Post author

    I know what you mean Pete.
    The dull office job was soul destroyingly dull, but it was also full of people who had no idea just how easy it was compare to other jobs! They seemed to think they had it hard but they really didn’t.

    My current job while terribly tedious is also surprisingly physical (lots of lifting heavy boxes. 50 boxes of popcorn in one huge box is surprisingly heavy for example!) and it’s non-stop. Yet the people there still make more conversation and general consideration than the people who just sat around typing up documents :/ Bizarre.

    Hopefully one day me, you and Rhiarti will all be doing things we love! Fingers crossed eh? 🙂

Comments are closed.