I’m so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Sunshine of A Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet but I’m very excited to!
Until then I have a guest post from the wonderful author herself!
Dreadful Jobs: A History
Unless one is extremely lucky — and why blow that kind of luck on a book deal, rather than on Lottery-winning numbers? — one doesn’t simply tumble straight from school into a red-hot publishing contract. Hold tight, dear readers, and travel with me down the magical wormhole of Terrible Jobs I Have Done Before Being Published.
- Temping assistant at a major pensions investment company
Pros: Didn’t have to go outside to smoke, only needing to travel to the smoking room three desks away where the air could be sliced off and chewed for later nicotine hits.
Cons: Terrifying Ready Reckoner chart revealing that pensions needed to be paid into regularly from the age of 12. (Pensions I currently have for old age: 0. Ways in which that makes me want to cry: 72)
- Bookseller at Waterstone’s
Pros: Books. Colleagues who loved books. Customers who wanted books. Books.
Cons: Ruined me for all future jobs. Also, any customer who was really angry and insistent about getting a book when they couldn’t name the title, author, cover, synopsis or where they’d heard about it. (Fun fact: it was so long ago we had a box folder with actual Bookseller clippings about which books had been in the media that week and when. Do bookshops still have this? I do hope so.)
- Theatre assistant at the Edinburgh Festival
Pros: Great larks, often working from early in the morning until late at night building the theatre spaces, with only several litres of Irn Bru and a few barrels of sausage rolls to sustain the teens and early-twenty-somethings working there. Carrying huge sheets of wood/electrical equipment/scaff bars up and down the Royal Mile with nary a care for such frivolities as ‘health & safety’. Pre-social media days, so no one could compare notes with the wider world and wonder if maybe our pay-free ‘employment’ was a bit of a racket.
Cons: Real danger of red gloss paint on hair, face and clothes. Being hit on/ignored by semi-famous performers.
- Office assistant at major estate agents chain
Pros: Wage enabled me to eat food from shops
Cons: The customer who screamed at me in front of a full branch for leaning forwards to pass him a document and accidentally revealing part of my bra; the staff at HQ who would watch us on CCTV and call our desk if we were sitting incorrectly; the agents who would chant ‘BUYERS! ARE! LIARS!’ upstairs at each Monday morning meeting; the people who would wander in and order a Coke and refuse to believe the branch wasn’t a bar; having to tell people I worked there.
- PA to Creative Director
Pros: Great job; Creative Director was great, colleagues were great, work environment was great. An inspiring place with an inspiring boss.
Cons: 100% inability to do the work required. Would constantly mis-book meetings with major authors. Once sent out minutes that were simply a poetical free-form direct transcript of the entire meeting. In that job, became more stupid and incompetent than I was as an actual baby.
- Writing Books
Pros: Get to write books! For other people to read! For money!
Cons: Previous jobs never included global platforms for strangers to give me star ratings for my work. Lonely; tendency to start talking out loud to self; few people to admire dazzling new jumper. Money made from one book almost all spent on biscuits eaten while writing next one.
In conclusion: Everyone should work in bookshops.