My first job was a grocery assistant in a supermarket from the age of 14. I was one of 10 that started at the time, all of us 14 with very little life skills. The supermarket was located in a sleepy town in Port Stephens where I grew up, a place we all wished hard to escape.
However, the grocery store gave me nine good years of employment, pocket money outside of school hours and enabled me to attend university.
I worked in many different roles. From ‘check-out chick’ to duty manager and money handler, before slowly moved up the organisation until there was nowhere else to progress…..but to eventually leave.
My co-workers were all roughly the same age, all working outside the 9-5 norm in order to study and leave as soon as they could. Friends who didn’t work at the supermarket missed out on the jokes and the funny things we would see, like drunken customers and the funny jokes we would tell whilst packing the shelves or between serving customers.
Many shifts started off fine, before finding out that somebody had called in sick and there was no replacement, and with other shifts people arrived hungover from the Saturday night before only to spend most of their shift hiding in the staff room. Nonetheless there was never a dull moment.
All sorts of weird and funny things happened, like snakes and possums running around the store, floods, break-ins, shoplifters, alarms, and all-nighters to prepare for Christmas and Easter.
This job taught me many things, such as the importance of time management, team work, and the difficulties of balancing work and study. I never would have thought that a casual after-school job could provide so many life skills.
If it wasn’t for this job and the things I had experienced, I may not be in the position I am in today.
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