Friday, 19 October 2012

Staying Power - Who needs it?

 This week I have been for a job interview. It wasn't my dream job, and it was as much to do with research as it was to do with wanting the job, (i.e. nothing). But one of the questions I was asked is, "What other jobs have you done?" It took quite a while to answer because there have been so many...

My interviewers politely smiled and made noises about my ‘varied and unusual’ career but I could see them mentally marking me down as someone with no staying power. I didn't get the job.


It's not a good sign when the interview panel start on lunch whilst you are still talking.

Afterwards, I googled 'jobs of famous authors' and came up with an impressive list; for example, before he was famous, Douglas Adams worked as a hospital porter, a barn builder, a chicken shed cleaner, a hotel security guard and bodyguard. Jack Kerouac worked as a gas station attendant, cotton picker, night guard, railroad brakeman, dishwasher, construction worker, and deckhand. And Harlan Ellison was apparently a tuna fisherman, crop-picker, hired gun, nitroglycerin truck driver, short order cook, cab driver, lithographer, book salesman, floorwalker, brush salesman, and actor. 

‘Varied and unusual’ careers, but staying power? 

You bet. They had staying power in the thing which mattered most. Writing.

And I know an awful lot of other really GREAT writers, who for whatever reason have not yet been picked up by a publisher and shown the world their amazing talents. These are the people with real staying power. So let’s hear it for the unpublished.

“You only fail if you stop writing.” 
(Ray Bradbury.) 

And in case you’re interested, here is my own impressive alphabetical list of jobs … admin officer, baker, barmaid, book writer, canteen assistant, child minder, cleaner, clerk, cook, copy writer, dog walker, editor, elephant tamer, fairy, group leader, hypnotherapist, illusionist, jelly wrestler, kitchen porter, liar, llama’s back end, mother, nanny, opener of doors, picker, pill packer, queen, rocket scientist, sock packer, teacher, umbrella stand, volunteer, waitress, warehouse person, writer, xylophonist, yodeller and zebra.*   
*Some of these are made up*

What has been your most unusual job?

10 comments:

  1. My most ridiculous job lasted a morning. I sold pick n mix from a crap stall inside Manchester's old corn exchange. I was a teenager at the time. I ended up so bored, I was shouting obscenities at passers by. Needless to say, I was sacked by 11.30am. But I did at least get a fiver out of the horrible stall owner!

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    1. You were lucky to get a fiver. I did a shift as a waitress in a hotel in Sydney and dropped potatoes on a customer and a tray of glasses on a stone floor. They never asked me back, and I didn't get paid.

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    2. My worst job lasted an afternoon and saw me trapped in a tiny van with a racist ice cream man. All quite as horrible as it sounds.

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    3. Erk! Sounds dreadful. Glad it didn't last any longer. :o)

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  2. I worked in a smart restaurant once - and it was fashionable to drink Irish coffee - we had to make this downstairs, and carry it up to the restaurant without the cream sinking into the coffee. If we failed, we drank that one, made a second and tried again ...I didn't last long!

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    1. Ha ha - Now that sounds like a great job, if short lived. :)))

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  3. My previous jobs have included being a dental nurse and a sales assistant on the lingerie department at House of Fraser. So if anyone is in need of advice on oral hygiene and/or bra fitting, I'm your gal!

    Another interesting post, Wendy; hope the job hunting goes well.

    Kate, x x

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    1. Ooo - House of Fraser - very posh. And a dental nurse? Respect. Beats being the back end of a llama any day. x

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  4. I really wish I didn't have staying power sometimes. Then I wouldn't stay stuck in jobs that make me swear. Also If I wasn't a complete finisher at heart I wouldn't feel burdened by all the projects I haven't.
    Of your list of jobs, Wendy, i think I'd like to try jelly wrestling. It would certainly get me noticed x


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    1. Errr, yes, the jelly wrestling... Bit sticky though.

      But you have a completion complex? I have a cure for that. On a piece of paper, write down the thing you think you ought to finish, but don't want to. And then throw the paper away. Simple. Try it. You will feel like a new woman. x

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