Sep 30, 2011

My PC Life

"Despite what my children think, I was not always a mother."
So Dr Bronwyn Harman starts her post "My PC Life" about her life pre-children. I hope she won't mind that I have "borrowed" this idea for my own "PC" post.

Check out Dr Bron's blog The Modern Family for her "PC" post and more. She does great work researching family life and presenting the results in layman's terms on her blog.

So here is a run-through of my life pre-children.

The last stage of my PC life

I grew up in Melbourne, Los Angeles and Auckland.

I studied Social Anthropology at Auckland University and also Spanish. I was fluent in Spanish once but can't speak it now.
While I was at school and in the first year of uni I worked one day a week shelving books at my local library and I sometimes worked full time there on the holidays. In my second and third year of uni I worked part time at a shoe shop in the city and loved it so much I started there full time after graduating.

It was the nineties recession and there wasn't a lot of work in New Zealand for Spanish-speaking Anthropologists who specialised in Melanesian cultures (there's nothing like free tertiary education for encouraging esoteric study choices).

I had a great couple of years in Auckland then moved back to Melbourne but not having lived there since I was a child I didn't really fit in that well. I worked for awhile in a pub and then got a job there hosting children's birthday parties. I absolutely loved it though I had no idea about kids and didn't always know what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun. I was not at all clucky and most people I knew thought it was very funny that "I" was working with kids.

In 2003 I went backpacking to Europe with my cousin and her friend. After travelling for a couple of months we set down in London and I lived and worked in a pub at Twickenham for a year. That was a fantastic time and I made great friends there; unfortunately this was all pre-Facebook and we lost touch over the following years.

My cousin did more travelling and we arranged to work for a summer in the Greek islands. We ended up staying in different parts of Santorini, her at one of the beach resorts and me in the main town. I worked for awhile as a cook in a big restaurant, at first helping the real cook and then working the kitchen by myself when he stormed out one day - until I stormed out one day a couple of weeks later. I worked one more cook's job and then scored a great gig waitressing evenings only at a beautiful restaurant on the caldera. I absolutely loved it and stayed there the whole season. Halfway through I met my future husband, who was on a working holiday from Thessaloniki with some childhood friends from his village.

So that was that. After the summer he and I went to Rhodes for a holiday then Thessaloniki, and I spent the next 3 years going back and forth between Greece, London and Melbourne as I could only stay 6 months at a time. We worked on Santorini every summer and I worked at the same restaurant each time. My second year was the hardest, working 12 hour days 7 days a week at the restaurant. My third year was the best: I started working in the cafe bar attached to the restaurant and that was far cushier - fewer hours, I could wear my own clothes, and much easier swanning around in my new stylish Euro clothes with a drinks tray than running back and forth with plates of food.

After 4 years overseas though I wanted to come back to Australia and get "proper" work. We got married in my husband's village (civil marriage at the town hall only - no way were we spending our hard-earned Santorini money on a wedding), and came to Melbourne.

Not being qualified for anything else I worked a couple of years in restaurants which I enjoyed but it was hard work physically and I knew I couldn't do it forever. I decided to become an English language teacher which I had toyed with in London. I got a TESL qualification at RMIT but again my timing was off - the Asian economic crisis hit and the influx of foreign students to Australia slowed to a trickle, and teaching work dried up. I worked for awhile in the RMIT library, did some exam invigilating and emergency teaching work, and got a term's contract classroom teaching, but I could see it was going to be very difficult competing with experienced teachers for the little work that came up.

I went to a temp agency and got an admin job at a stockbroking division of a bank and there began my glittering career in finance.

After a few years I got a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and thus completed my tertiary education I believe.

So the jobs I did pre-children are:
  • library assistant
  • shop assistant, then assistant manager
  • receptionist
  • bartender
  • children's party hostess
  • cook
  • cleaner
  • waitress
  • English language teacher
  • personal assistant/administrator
  • stockbroking operations roles, then supervisor, project manager and other manager roles

What about you? What was your life like "PC" ?


  1. How interesting, Jackie! Such wonderful travel opportunities, and great memories

  2. Thanks Dr Bron! I didn't travel everywhere I wanted to go in the end (never made it to Israel, Egypt, China, Japan or South America) but the experience of living in Greece for 3 years was more than enough to give me a lifetime of vivid memories and cure me of the travel bug for some time. I often think of my life in blocks of time, and the blocks called "LA", "Auckland uni and work", "London", "Santorini" and "Thessaloniki" were formative and the best times of my PC life.

  3. Wow, that's a very, very interesting PC CV you have there, Jackie! I think that recruiters would have looked on your cooking/bar work/waitressing gigs very favourably as it shows that you're not only a smart cookie with a degree but can also work hard. Very hard. I might just have to steal this (with a link to your good self of course) for a future blog article.....

  4. Thanks Kath. I will hold my head and CV a little higher thanks to your comment!
    Steal away, I stole it myself after all...

  5. I have loved reading this and the rest of your blog. I only found it last week and I have spent hours enjoying it. Thanks so much for taking the time to create this xx

    1. Thank you so much Karlene and welcome! Your lovely comment has made my day :)



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