The World of Work?

really well organised – I wish…
I have a pupil from a local secondary school on work placement with me this week for three days. Two days we are working in a primary school making banners for the school hall with the children, and on one day she will be working with me from home, learning what life is like running a small business.
 Last year I had a student from Manchester University on work placement with me (she was doing the same degree that I did in Embroidered Textiles ), and when I used to lecture at a nearby college – I would do talks about my work for the Professional Practice Unit. It makes me feel somewhat odd – what do I know?  If I can give them an insight into my career and it helps them, even a tiny bit, then I’ll feel happy, but can anything really prepare you for the world of work ? 

When I left college I went to work at a high street clothing store, it was initailly to pay off my overdraft, but I ended up being there for five years. It taught me how to deal with the public, customer care, how to dress a window, how to fold a tee-shirt ( yeah right – major life skill!), until eventually I thought “What the bloody hell am I doing here? This is not what I want, I need to be being creative!.”
So I left, but I don’t regret working there for one minute, it fuelled my fire.
I guess I feel I just do what I do. I created a job for myself out of a desire to be creative, but I also desperately wanted to be there whilst my children were (are) growing up. It has been tricky at times, but I have been self-employed now for over twelve years. I was lucky because when I set up in business so did my local Artist-in-Schools agency, and we have been constant companions ever since. I knew early on that I wanted my career to be two fold, going out working in schools and the community, but also trying to sell my own work. I have sold stuff in shops, but have found that selling over the internet is perfect for me, and working to commission is also something which I love to do. Now the children are all at school I feel that my business is ready to grow.
I remember my first work placement, it was with a graphic design company. Creative -yes, but not really my bag – too precise, and not messy enough. I remember working on a logo for an insurance company and being really pleased, because one of the designs I came up with was used. I also remember a bloke there who told me that the world would end in six months (this was twenty six years ago), but being the little sensitive soul I was, it completely messed with my head. Twerp.
I met another very kind and happy young man there who was eighteen and just starting out in graphics. He now owns the companywho made my website – how funny that our lives crossed again all those years later.
I  worked for a bridal designers whilst at college, where I could look through their vintage pattern books, and mess around with calico on the tailors dummy – but still it didn’t ring my bell.
What I do now does, and I know that I am well blessed to be able to say that.
I just need to sort my Etsy shop out. Lots of views, but no sales yet. My work sells really well at notonthehighstreet, so I thought that Etsy would follow suit. Not so. Apparently the American market can be quite hard to break into, so I’m going to get help. Hopefully over the next month or two there will be some sales!!!
So really – the world of work – I’m still learning all the time.
Top tip – know your weaknesses – I’m pants at maths and my accountant is worth every penny!
Any interesting work placement stories – do you love your job? Would love to know.

10 thoughts on “The World of Work?

  1. what a wonderful work space and nice to hear your history with jobs. I too, love what I do now and enjoy teaching and working in art with others as well as having time and excuses to make my own art . . . most of my life I have been free-lance, but it hasn't been easy juggling a home, erratic income, and kids . . . . still in the total thick of it and at times I wonder what's harder.All my work has been part time, but no money can account for the 'soul food' from doing art. I just wish my children appreciated what I do, because I get called 'selfish' at times for not going out and having a 'proper' job and stable income, however I am a happier mummy (although maybe not less stressed!;)How did you get people to do work experience with you . . . . .? Mind you I don't think I know the full story about your work now. . . . .Thanks for sharing.Amelia.x

  2. Amelia – The student from Manchester Uni contacted me after finding my website, and the current student knows my daughter, and is doing textiles GCSE. Tom – Thank you. It says there are no comments but when I have looked, there you are. Received, approved and posted.

  3. You got O'level Maths! I salute you. I got an "unclassified" in my O'level, but got a beautiful C.S.E. Grade one – which was supposed to be the eqivalent. Ha! as if… anyway it got me into sixth form and college. I still count on my fingers to this day, and am the source of amusement to certain members of my family 🙂

  4. Don't think Maths and Creatives go together naturally do they? I failed my 'O'Level Maths twice at school, but then took it twenty years later at Nightschool to prove to myself that I could – and got Grade B ! Miraculous.

  5. potterjotter: I am impressed by your "B" 🙂 My husband bought me "brain training" for the DS, and I think it is just practice and applying yourself (but then it does say age 3 and up on the packaging!).

  6. Hi Suzanne! Just wanted to say your studio is beautiful! If only becky and I could keep ours that tidy!Hope works going well for you, we should catch up soon!Love Sam x

  7. I always think it's interesting to hear about people's first jobs and then see where are today. I think what you said about not regretting working at the high street clothing store as it "fuelled your fire" is an excellent way to view and appreciate that experience and time of your life. After all, it's those types of stages of our life that help shape who we are now.

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