I recently ended my month-long stint, which got me to thinking – I’ve done quite an interesting variety of holiday jobs.
I’ve a great deal of respect for people in really any occupation, mostly because I’ve done some weird stuff myself, and I think it’s important to have gone through them to understand.
- Parents’ Event (semester break)
In my first ever, I helped out at a bank’s event, which invited the overzealous parents among its customer database to take their kids along to a talk. This talk was by a guy who was made famous, because he devised strategies for kids to remember things better, and thereby do better at school.
- Stick-on Bras (semester break)
A cousin also had a business dealing with stick-on bras. I helped load/unload the products as I followed her around to departmental stores selling them to the team and ensuring they were well-displayed. At 15 or any age, this is weird.
- Tea ladies (a random weekend)
Sometime later, a friend and I were at an expo as tea ladies. We had to serve tea to a bunch of hotshots in the conference rooms of this mega expo. We also served a batch of tea without realizing that the water was in fact not hot at all.
As a person who hated having tuition in her younger days, I ended up tutoring a total of 3 kids in 4 years. Not sure how I did it but I did it!
- Customer Service (the long break before university began)
Then the new terminal of our beloved airport opened. I was stationed at the visitor center to answer all sorts of questions and meet all sorts of travellers. Some yelled at me because somebody somewhere was mean to them, some wanted to tip me and upon rejection decided to write in a feedback form that I deserved thrice what I was paid. (I didn’t receive a pay raise.)
- Salad Bar (before commencing full-time employment elsewhere)
As a graduate, I worked at a salad bar. Up until now, I never received weird looks for my holiday jobs but here, I did. I was shredding chicken, serving coffee, making juices. I also received delicious sandwiches and had so much fun.
- Cafe (while learning German)
Over two years lapsed between the salad bar and cafe stints. This was at the language school I was studying at in Berlin, and turned out to be a great decision. I rehashed my love for making coffee, serving customers and got to practise my German at the same time. Plus it was like I owned the place, so it was just so much freedom. Loved it.
- Editing (while in Berlin)
I also started editing articles for a friend, who convinced me that I do a great job editing without being a typical snobbish freelance editor.
- Supermarkets (awaiting my visa)
So my most recent stint was to merchandise for an FMCG firm. For that, I was running from supermarket to supermarket checking out if the outlets did have the list of products, and they were sufficient for the next few days, and they were displayed well and matched the prices and expiry dates weren’t due. I also stocked the items on the display (i.e. the role of a packer) and answered queries to passers-by and lightly encouraged them to try these out (i.e. the role of a promoter).
Interestingly I bumped into someone from the university while at the last stint, and he basically tried to hide that he thought it was ridiculous that I was doing such a job but failed. He looked down on it.
And to be honest, I wouldn’t give any of these experiences back. Because every single one of them taught me something. And they definitely taught me not to be a pig about a fancy office job because their jobs are tough.