‘From teacher to newsboy: The jobs I’ve done to put food on the table’

Sep 17, 2020
A Jill of all trades! Julie recalls the plethora of jobs she's had over the decades. Source: Getty

How many jobs have you had? As I wander down memory lane, I look back on jobs where I always worked hard. When we, the Baby Boomers, left high school there were many job opportunities, even for women.

I first worked as a clerical officer in the Public Service. None of these schoolies holidays. My late endearing Mother expected us to have a job and start work the first Monday after exams. Plus we had to keep our jobs!

I sauntered off to university to pursue an education. But on the first set of holidays, Mother sat me down with the local paper opened to the job vacancies pages, saying: “What do you need a holiday from? Reading books? Here, ring up for these job interviews. I’ll drive you. There and there. You are not going to bed tonight without a job!”

So I obtained a job in a local pottery factory. This was a messy, dusty job. I worked hard. It was interesting to see the birth of a cup and saucer with all the kilns pumping hot air in the middle of summer. I became very fit and my foreman kept me on for weekend and holiday work, which helped with university expenses.

I was employed with some lovely ladies who were supporting their growing families. It has all vanished with the demise of the Australian manufacturing industry. That job gave me an appreciation of the history of china and porcelain. I still treasure a little Wedgewood plate imported from England.

Upon graduation with a degree and a diploma, I became a classroom teacher and catechist for quite some years. Later, I became a part-time tutor, then had a break. Teaching at any level is very rewarding, educating the future of Australia. Teachers end up with grey hair and kind smiles.

Along the way, I acquired a physical disability. However, I still needed a job for a while. Thus I delivered catalogues for a home shopping company. I did a good job and my team became the top distributers. It was not highly paid, but it was some extra cash. Again, I met some lovely people, the clients, all in our district.

Then my employment path in life changed to become a newsboy – or newsgirl, I guess! Yes, I met a newsagent and I signed on to work reading daily delivery sheets, flinging newspapers from an open car window. All in the rainy mornings of this blithering suburb at 4am. On a daily basis, all rugged up, like good hobbits, all the newsboys in summer or winter, would head off home for second breakfast. Just call us cuddly from now on!

I did a good job there too. I helped deliver 393,000 newspapers, with only seven errors. Then, at the age of 60, I thought I had better do something else, so I achieved a third degree. These days, I specialise in tutoring international students studying in Australia. In addition, I assist tertiary students with academic writing and editing in several fields of study.

But one interesting job I still advertise is my services as a resume writer and job spotter. I sound like my mother. This is only modest part-time employment, but it is online work at home, making a job helping others to find employment. It’s very satisfying, doing a good job.

Sue's sassy!

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How many jobs have you had in your lifetime?

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