Somebody mentioned to me the other day how difficult it is to find work when your main occupation is looking after your small children. I had to agree with this, as I spent 3 years looking for permanent employment when my two sons were young in the 1990s (I’m not one to give up easily). However, in-between applying to job adverts I did manage to earn pocket money by doing a variety of jobs either at weekends, evenings, or when my sons were at school. I thought I’d make a list here of all the jobs I did to earn a few pounds. They are not in any particular order – just as I thought of them:
Kitchen Assistant: I worked in a care home every other weekend making meals for the residents and washing dishes. I liked this job and stayed there for 5 years until we moved up to Suffolk. Eventually I was promoted to a care assistant post, and used to sing old 1940s songs to the residents while giving them a wash. They always joined in, bless them.
Relief School Dinner Lady: Covered for sick staff in the kitchen. All the women hated me because I couldn’t wash the dishes fast enough and there wasn’t a dishwasher! They weren’t allowed to go home until everyone had finished and they always had to wait for me. What a nightmare that was…
Dog Walker: I had to steel myself for this one, as I’m not too keen on dogs. However, my friend used to pay me £10 a time to walk her dog when she was at work. In the end the dog and I became reasonably fond of each other.
Childminder: Over a period of 3 years I looked after Edward and Stephanie until they were old enough to go to school.
Mushroom Picker: I came home reeking of mushrooms three evenings a week for at least 18 months!
Office Cleaner: I did this for quite a while every evening, and eventually started up my own cleaning business and employed 2 women to work in people’s homes. I gave it up when some of the customers started inventing damage done by my ladies in order to claim new furniture on insurance. One claim was dated before either of my ladies had even begun working for me! I think I started to become very cynical during this enterprise.
Avon Representative: Yeah, it was me putting those catalogues through your door…
I eventually found permanent office work in 1994 and stayed there for 5 years before moving on to other work (which was another nightmare) and eventually to the hospital where I’ve been for 18 years. The boss from my first office job gave me a good referral, and it was somewhat easier to find employment after this. The referral helped of course, but my boys were older by then and my mother had moved up to Suffolk the previous year and lived only 5 minutes walk away.
I thank my lucky stars that I was born in an age where married women were allowed to work and didn’t have to be content with having their wings clipped, leaving them no option but to be an unpaid drudge.
What strange jobs have you done to earn a buck?