The Jobs I’ve Had Before
A Short History of My Employment
As I work tirelessly to become a Designer, I thought I would take some time to reflect back on the jobs I had before and the steps I’ve taken to get to where I am today.
My first ever job was as a paper boy for my local newsagent. Every morning, come rain or shine, I’d cycle down to the corner of my road, load up my bag with the papers for the day, and cycle at least one or two routes around the North End of my hometown, delivering papers.
A few times, the papers got soggy or blew away because of bad weather. And one or two were definitely eaten by excited dogs that ran to the door as I forced the paper through the letterbox. But, overall, it was great being able to buy my own sweets when I was just starting secondary school.
Warehouse and Admin Assistant
For most of my life, my Stepdad has owned one business or another. When I was a teenager, he owned a company called DMS that sub-contracted from Sky, the UK satellite TV company. At the weekends, I’d go with him to the office and help dish out the stock, route the work for the following day, and make sure the warehouse was kept in good order.
It was a family business, so I often found myself working with my uncle and my biological father, as well as my stepdad. And lunchtime pizza was always appreciated. As well as the breakfast baguettes from Rocky’s — just around the corner from out unit on the industrial estate.
Golf Course Assistant
When I was 16, my girlfriend’s dad was the Head Greenkeeper at my local golf course. So, obviously, I got a job there when one was available, so I could afford to do the stuff I wanted and buy my GF presents.
Every morning, I’d get up at 5am, walk around to the golf course, and tend to either 9 or 18 of the fairways and holes, making sure that the tees were set, the bunkers were raked, and that the green was clear.
I’ll never forget driving through a thunderstorm, at 6 in the morning, in a golf buggy with near-zero visibility. Sixteen year old me loved it.
Library Customer Service Assistant
When it came time to do work experience at school, I was paired with Deal Library. I’d never really been one for using libraries, but I quite enjoyed my week working there. Making sure that everything was correctly categorised and stored. Helping people find the information they were looking for. And getting to use a REALLY old DOS-based system for categorising, lending, finding, and returning books.
I worked at Deal and other KCC libraries for nearly 4 years in total.
My second week of work experience was as an accounts assistant at a department store. Sat in a musty-smelling office at the back of the shop, I checked and imported financial documents into the stores financial system, ensuring that everything was inputted quickly and correctly.
Something like this should have been quite daunting, but by the end of the week, I was teaching the accountant software features she’d never known.
As I stepped out of my last A-level exam in the summer of 2008, the head of ICT at my secondary school was outside of the exam hall waiting for me. As I passed, he said “Sam, would you like an job in IT? And can you start on Tuesday?”.
My answer to both questions was a resounding “YES!”. I had always planned to take a gap year before university, but was unsure what work I would do. This gave me something to fill the time and earn some money. I started the following week, and over the year I was there, I setup and trained students and staff on the school’s new online learning platform.
I occasionally visited the school even after I left, to help with any Mac-based issues they may have, and to see how Moodle was being used and adopted through the school.
After a year as an IT Technician, and just before I originally thought I’d be going to University, I was offered a job as one of the first 40 O2 Gurus in the UK. And, at the time, as the youngest O2 Guru.
For the next 4 years, I’d spend everyday helping people from all backgrounds better understand and use technology — to benefit themselves, their loved ones, and their businesses. I would train hundreds of people on how to use the latest in mobile technology, and have an impact on the development of the Guru platform in Kent and beyond.
I never did go to Uni…
Apple IT Technician
After leaving O2, I went and worked for Apple as an IT Technician. Based in their UK head office, just off Regent St, I spent 3 months triaging and fixing problems with Macs, iPhones and iPads, as well as training new Apple employees on the software and hardware they would use in their everyday lives.
I surprised my mentor when I led a New Starter Training session all on my own, on only my third week with the company. And two weeks later, when I led a session with 12 new starters, I surprised him yet again.
After 3 months commuting to London everyday, my anxiety and depression got the best of me. Unfortunately, I had to resign.
Community and Communications Manager
A few months after I left Apple, I was offered a job as the Community and Communications Manager at a small startup in Barcelona, called Typeform. After spending a week in Barcelona to get to know the team and the product, I returned home for about 10 days before packing everything I needed into a suitcase and moving to Spain.
I was at Typeform for 6 months, before differences in approach led me take on an opportunity that presented itself.
After 6 months at Typeform, a good friend of mine, Ted Nash, offered me a job as a copywriter at his startup, Tapdaq. Working remotely from Barcelona, I would craft the voice and messaging of the platform, whilst occasionally visiting the London office to spend time with the team.
Unfortunately, after just 3 months with the company, Ted and his partners decided they no longer needed a copywriter, and I was made redundant.
Since about the age of 16, I’ve dabbled in doing my own thing on and off and with varied success. I’ve tried making websites for people. I’ve written copy for companies across the globe. I started my own technology blog with a local radio segment. I’ve helped people be more mindful of how they design and who they are.
Through this, I’ve learned so much, that it’s sometimes hard to remember all that I’ve done and put it down in words. So, let’s just call it “Freelancer” for now.
And that brings us up to today — 2018. I’m currently studying Art and Creative Design at East Kent College in Folkestone. I’m working with them on projects. And I’m searching for the next step in my career.
Looking back, the next 15 years have to lot to do to beat the last 15.