Wednesday, 8 May 2013

My First Job

My very first job, if you can call it that, was a paper round. I had the most difficult round, as it was before school and I had to wake up at 5am. I managed to convince my dad into buying me a bike so that I could finish my round quickly (and have a bit of a snooze before school) and this made it a bit easier. I used to take my walkman and listen to my own cd mixes, which featured the likes of The Futureheads, Police, The Smiths and *cough* Razorlight *cough*. I love it when the weather was nice, there wasn't anything better than watching the sun rise. However, on bad weather days, my poor dad got roped into doing it for me - well, he could drive, after all. I got £10 a week, and it was the best thing to happen to me at 14. I really wish I'd stuck at it a bit longer, or was a bit more money savvy, but I guess at 14 I was just more than happy to buy Bliss magazine and get some sweeties.

My first 'real' job couldn't be more different. I hated it. I didn't like the majority of people I worked with, and they didn't like me. I started working at a fast food restaurant in November 2009. I only wanted to work a few hours a week as I was at college and I just wanted some extra cash. They kept messing my hours up and would then punish me if I didn't turn up during lesson times. When I (briefly) moved to London in 2010, they kept me on the books and kept ringing me to cover shifts. I lived 200 miles away, how on earth was that supposed to work?! This was nothing though, compared with when I fell pregnant. 

I wanted to keep working as long as possible, so that I could use my maternity once my child was born. It seemed pointless to take the time off before. I had to fill in a little health and safety questionnaire with one of my managers, and this meant that I wouldn't be able to work nightshifts or lift heavy boxes or whatever. This was all fine for a couple of weeks, until I checked my timetable. I was given one eight hour shift - nightshift. I wasn't happy about this. I was renting my own place, so how was one shift going to cover my rent and bills? Food? Hello, pregnant ladies are allowed to eat for two, you know!

I brought it up with a different manager, and it was ignored. I was told to find someone else to cover it or to do it myself. As no one would take it off my hands - and give me a shift in return - I had to do it. I turned up on the evening, and the group were disgusted. They asked why I was doing a nightshift, and I told them I had to. I hindered the whole evening, unable to clean the heavy metal equipment and unable to restock.

Another problem I had with them was clothing. We were given a uniform, and mine was never adjusted. I'm sure you've seen what happens to pregnant ladies, they get a bump, they get bigger and they can't really be on their feet for eight hours at a time. I wasn't given pregnancy clothing. I had to wear the same clothes I'd been given, and when I asked for new clothing, they told me that it would take too long to order them.

The worst thing though, was that during a rather busy summer day, I was working in the kitchen. One of the managers had let all of my side go for a break, leaving me by myself to continue with the orders. I don't really remember much of what happened, but I woke up outside with someone feeding me water. I had fainted in the hustle and heat. The manager, who stood in the doorway looming over us, barked at my friend for being outside. She came over, put her hand on my shoulder and then asked me if I was feeling any better. I nodded, so she told me to get back in the kitchen. I was pregnant, and she acted as if I was just messing about.

Once my maternity ended, I didn't go back. 

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