It’s school holiday time, a time when you wonder how you did without Xbox and even perhaps look back fondly at your school holiday jobs. Now if you’re over forty, you probably grew up when it was pretty standard to have a school holiday job. You might even remember it rather fondly, a time that was less about work than it was about gaining a new experience and money which was yours and yours alone. Now it might seem more complicated for your children (the paper round doesn’t exist anymore) but most of the people we spoke to seem to have found their jobs by word of mouth through parents talking to parents.
Here at goHenry we’ve cast around friends, relatives and assorted others for those stories of holiday jobs that were just a little bit special. We asked them what made their job a cut above the rest.
The Custard Tart Filler
“When I was fifteen (you were allowed to have a job back then), I worked in a bakery during my school holidays and I had a specific job: to fill the custard tarts. The custard was loaded into this contraption and I squirted it out into the pastry in a perfect dome. It was very satisfying to see them all lined up so neatly and of course I got to eat lots of baked goods.”
The Christmas Postman
“This was one of the most sought after part-time jobs for university students and for some reason, the money was amazing (or seemed that way) especially at Christmas. You basically spent a few hours each day riding your bicycle around and dropping off letters. There was no real pressure as there were quite a lot of us so we didn’t have huge areas to cover. “
The Rental Car Picker Upper
“This was one of those jobs you don’t know about until someone tells you it exists. I lived near the airport and I had a driving licence so when a local fireman (yes, truly) tipped me off that there were jobs going driving brand new rental cars around the airport and parking them, I jumped at the chance. We worked in four-hour shifts. You sat in a warm heated office doing your reading for next term until a phone call came and a car needed bringing around to Arrivals. You put a number on top of the car and hopped in. The cars were the latest models (mostly Fords I remember) and had that new car smell because they’d just been cleaned at the car wash, where we were based. You arrived to find the traveller waiting for you, hopped out, asked their name and gave them the keys. Then you went inside and collected the keys to a dirty car that had been left in the car park and drove it back. Sometimes early in the morning or late at night we drove round the airport several times just for fun, especially if we got one of the more expensive cars.”
Girl With Clipboard at Nightclub Entrance
“It was the dawn of the fashionable nightclub era back in the 1980s. I guess I had the right look for this nightclub and I was tall which seems to help with most things. Anyway I was at university and this left my days free so it was doubly brilliant. Basically I was in charge of deciding whom to let in. I was the Door Police. Women were always put on the door as it was thought that hopeful clients would not get as upset if they were rejected. Of course I invited all my friends so it was really like hanging out with them every night. The money was amazing but mostly I never thought of it as work. Now I look back I think how silly it was: an eighteen year old in charge of deciding who is allowed into a nightclub to spend money and earning money for doing it!”
Golf Ball Retriever
“My Dad got me this one as he belonged to the local golf course. It was at sounds: a job picking up golf balls that went astray. I wandered around with my Walkman on my head and just really did what I wanted to do. Nobody cared if I picked up two or twenty. They just thought they should have someone doing it and paid me for it. People always bought me food in the clubhouse as well.”
“When I was little my mum had taken me ice-skating a lot as she’d had this vision that I’d be a famous skater one day. That never happened but it meant that when an ice rink opened up nearby and I was sixteen, looking for a holiday job, I was the pick of the bunch. It was called ‘ice-patrol’ but really you just skated around chatting to your mates and doing clever tricks that made the patrons look at you.”
Clown at children’s parties
“I fell into it by accident. This posh agency normally supplied nannies and household staff but the owner had this sideline in children’s parties. She needed a clown and the pay was three times that of a nanny. Well of course I said yes and she gave me this costume to wear. I didn’t actually have to be funny or anything. I just had to greet the children at the door, and show them in to where my colleague, the magician, was waiting for them. I said a few silly things, made them laugh and the job was done.”