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#A-ZChallenge E for Employment

April 5, 2018

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is an annual challenge put out to bloggers to publish a post from A-Z every day in April, except for Sundays. April 1 is A, and so on throughout the month. The theme I have chosen for 2018 is The Story Of Me

I started working in a milk bar, after school, at age 15. I really enjoyed the independance that earning my own money gave me.  Even though it wasn’t much, it was enough to be able to buy myself a few extras that I couldn’t expect my parents to pay for.

The milk bar work was after school and on weekends, so in the school holidays I would always take on another job. Quite often, I’d be racing from one job to the other.  Dad would pick me up after the all day job, and take me to the milk bar, where I’d work until closing. Thinking back, finding these jobs was never at all difficult. It definitely was a different time back then.

On leaving school, I went to work in the office at Ibis Milk Products, the local dairy, and one of the biggest employers in Shepparton. It was a large office for a rural city, and I learnt much about farming, and the challenges it presents.

After my marriage, and very shortly after the birth of my second child, we established our automotive business, specialising in automatic transmissions, which were very new technology at the time.

When I think back, this was a crazy time with a new business, a toddler and a new baby. I handled all the admin duties and most days would be in the office trying to work while keeping the toddler amused and hoping the baby would sleep for a couple of hours until I had finished. Often at night, I would head off to the local TAFE college to learn about the new technology of computers that was about to hit. We were the first automotive business in Shepparton, to computerise our accounts system.  I remember the comments we received. Most people seemed to think we were crazy to get involved with computers. There was a lot of suspicion about whether a computer could be trusted to remember data about debtors.

This is the way my life seemed to roll along for a few years, especially after the third child came along. It was a very busy time and I’m really not sure how we survived it. Over the years, the business grew and became very successful. We were constantly expanding and employing more staff to keep up with the extra business that was coming our way.

In the 80s, we decided to employ admin staff, so that I could have a life away from the workshop. I did continue to work there, but my hours were much reduced. At the time, I was heavily involved with the local gym, so I studied and became a qualified gym and fitness instructor. Very quickly the gym offered me a position leading fitness classes and also working on the gym floor. I was also teaching water arobics and going out to football clubs for private fitness classes. Eventually, I became manager of the gym, a position that I held for about 6 years.

At the time, our business was growing very quickly and it became obvious that I would need to go back to being hands on every day, which I continued to do until we sold the business to my son, in 2001.

After moving to Bendigo, I eventually went back to working in automotive for a few years until I decided to buy a local cafe that was for sale. This was a huge learning curve for me. But I absolutely loved it. I loved the long hours, and the hard work. I loved all the people I was meeting. After two years, I sold the cafe, as it was time to move on again.

I thought that would be the end of being employed, and spent a short period of time in retirement. I was then very surprised to be offered a position at a local supermarket. So for the past 8 months I’ve been a check out chick! I know it sounds silly, but this job is a perfect transition to retirement. My employment is casual and there is a huge variation in the hours. While in retirement,I was offered a job as a Nanny to two adorable children, and this continues today for just a few hours a week.

Between these two jobs, some weeks I might work 15 hours and others I might work 30 hours and more. This gives me the opportunity to enjoy life away from work when the hours are light on or really throw myself into it on the busy weeks.

Please visit again to see my story unfold. 


2018 A to Z Challenge

  1. You have certainly had a great variety of roles and adapted to the changing world.
    I like the scepticism about computers remembering debtors. Now we wouldn’t dream of trusting a paper-based system

  2. You sure had a steady stream of such a variety of jobs!

  3. What a great resume Jennifer. My regret is that I didn’t do a fitness trainer course a few years ago. I started my working life as a ballet teacher at 15 and then went into a dance studio partnership with a friend when I had children. When we moved to Qld I became more involved in Admin and studied a Diploma in Accounting. I’ve worked in Admin Management, ran a H&R Block office, was a recruiter for accounting staff and worked for a not-for-profit. That is me in a nutshell!

  4. Jennifer you are amazing – to have held such intensely responsible positions and to have succeeded in all of them is something you should be incredibly proud of. The two jobs you have now sound like the perfect way to keep involved outside the home, bring in a little bit of money on the side, and have some social interaction – win/win!

    Leanne |
    E for Enjoy Life Today

    • Thanks Leanne. And you’re right. My working life is perfect for the stage in
      Life I’m at and a great transition to retirement

  5. A varied employment keeps you broadminded. Well done.

  6. I think having a job, or jobs, that still engage you and that you enjoy can be a great option in retirement especially when you still have the free time to explore.
    Weekends In Maine

  7. I had many jobs in life. My Dad hated his job (wanted to be a carpenter) but liked having the security for his family, so he always told me if you don’t like your job, quit. Which I did haha!!
    Worst job: when I was 15 working in the summer in a plastics factory where the machines got up to over 250 degrees, they made those little plastic trays that chocolates and cookies come in. I made $1/hour and worked 9 hours a day, unpaid lunch. Best job: at a place that bought and sold sailboats and rented out kayaks and boats. It was a joy to go to work every day near the water and never knowing what I would be doing that day, meeting new people, arranging sailing classes, buying for the store.
    My Genealogy Challenges

    • Diane your job at the sailing place sounds like a dream. I love the water. But your plastics job sounds dreadful. Those conditions would never be allowed today.

  8. I was a “check out chik” for about six months when my second child was a baby and my husband’s employment was rather sporadic. I LOVED it!! The work was fast-paced and the for the most part, the customers were friendly.

    I’m enjoying your Story of Me series (and might do something similar for myself this summer!) I am showcasing Boston for this year’s A-Z Challenge.

  9. It’s funny how jobs evolve and change. I was always a teacher although I changed schools every three to five years. When I retired I went to Weight Watchers to lose a bit of weight. They asked if I wanted to be a leader so I did it for a year. I enjoyed working with adults but the pressure to sell products I found unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong. I think their philosophy is great. Now I don’t work but that year was a good transition to full time retirement.

    • I have a friend who was a WW leader and she had same frustrations as you experienced. Enjoy your retirement

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