My Life In Jobs – From Working In a Clothes Shop To Self Employment

I’m taking a new step in life. Leaving the job security of being employed, to the world of self-employment. I’ve been reminiscing on my life in jobs, so I thought I’d write it down.

My life in jobs

I was 15 when I first got a Saturday job. Working in a clothes shop for around £2.50 an hour rising to £3.00 before I left at 18. it really was slave/child labour! But it gave me that first step of financial freedom. When I started college doing my A-Levels I had a £30 a week government grant as well that was around back in 1999/2000. With both I had £48 a week which was loads as a 16-year-old! I used to save quite a bit of it. Its what got me into money saving and earning as much money as I can. Earning money is just so exciting!

At 18 I got a place at uni to study biomedical science. I went up for a weekend and hated it. I didn’t even make it to the first class. Being alone that weekend made me stop and think. Reassess the situation. What am I doing here? Racking up student debt that I will probably not pay off or spend years of my adult life paying it off. Being away from my family. As you know I’m an introvert. Being in a house full of strangers is scary. I couldn’t even face leaving the room for the whole weekend.

After that first night, I decided this isn’t for me. I’m going to pack up and get the train home on Monday morning. Then look for a job.

That’s exactly what I did.

I got a job in Big W just down the road from my parent’s house. I started off on 20 something hours part-time and worked my way up to a full-time supervisor in the cafe there. I used my earnings to learn to drive and saved the rest after paying dad some housekeeping money.

I made a really good friend there called Tanya. We used to have such a laugh. We worked until 10 pm on Friday nights. Sometimes I went back to hers after and we went out clubbing. It was the best time. I knew then I made the right decision for me. I was earning money, saving money, and enjoying life.

As you know Woolworths and subsequently Big W went bust in 2005. I was made redundant at 21. Tesco who took over our Big W building offered us jobs. When it would open up later that year. So I knew I had a job to go to. Nevertheless I knew I couldn’t sit around for 6 months using up my redundancy money so I got a job at Safeway’s (which was turning into Morrison’s at the time). I got virtually the same job there. A supervisor in the cafe. I actually hated every minute of it. The people are worked with we’re older and had been there for donkey’s years. They didn’t take any notice of what I said. But it didn’t bother me. I was going to the competitor in a few months! I used to sneak out at lunchtime and go up the road to the Tesco recruitment centre to get my new uniform, training packs, and info. They thought it was hilarious as I was in my Safeway’s uniform!

I started working for Tesco’s at 22. I honestly thought I’d be a lifer! After about a year at Tesco’s I got promoted to a Team Leader. I loved it. At first I was a checkout Team Leader then I moved to non-food. I tried the management scheme but it wasn’t for me. I got asked to move onto the fresh food counters. It was scary as I didn’t have a clue how it worked but I loved the challenge.

I was a Team Leader on the counters for around 7 years until they took the role away around 2015/16. But this didn’t bother me as I was going to have a baby and I didn’t fancy going back to the role full time. So after maternity leave with L I went back on 32 hours as a customer assistant on the deli. Then when I went back in 2019 after having little Dottie I was on an 18.25 hour contract. So over the past few years I gradually decreased my hours there as my blog and self-employed income rose.

Me and L

Which brings me to now. Leaving Tesco’s after 15 years. At 37 years old I’ve joined the scary world of full-time self-employment! Working for myself. Having no boss to tell me what to do. The freedom is real. No longer do I dread going to bed knowing I have to get up at 4 am. I don’t have to worry myself sick if the girls are unwell, and letting down work colleagues for not going in. I don’t have to feel guilty about going to work if they are poorly. I won’t have to juggle my shifts with Mr B’s job. With L starting school in reception, I won’t have to miss any of her school assemblies or school activities.

I know there are people out there in a similar position. Missing school things, but I’ve worked so hard to get into this position to be able to be here for my girls. Getting away from a low paid job like retail is hard. It won’t happen overnight, but if I can do it anyone can.

Going to work instead of going to university had enabled me to save up and buy a 4-bed townhouse at 26 years old. When I was 34 we made enough of a profit selling our first house to put down a deposit and buy our forever home. So not going to university has worked out well for me in life. But I do think about it every now and again. What if I did go to uni and made it stick? I would have probably not met Mr B and have the life I have now. You make your own decisions and way in life for sure.

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

5 thoughts on “My Life In Jobs – From Working In a Clothes Shop To Self Employment

  1. I love reading this!!! I often think could I have got further if I had have got a job straight away instead of going to university!!

  2. I really enjoyed reading your story. It made me smile in the part where you were working for Safeway and sneaking off to Tesco to get your uniform and trading packs. I wish you every success as a self employed person.

  3. Aww lovely photo. I love to read about how people started off with their jobs. I myself was a Saturday girl for a cake shop. This ended up being good for me, as when I left school, I got given more hours and they became full time. At 20 I became first sales and became a mom at 21. Since then, I have two daughters, age 20 and 14. I was a stay at home mom. Now they are grown up, I started working in a primary school as a dinner lady, then the cleaner for 5 years. I got the courage to become an adult learner last year in college. I passed and became a learning support practitioner (TA) and I love it. Lovely photo too of you both.

  4. What a lovely post! Delighted to read that you are taking the step to self-employment and wishing you well with that and, in particular, with this blog.

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