I have reached the stage in life where I no longer see the need to list things such as exam grades or part time jobs on my cv. Were I to do so, there is one job which would take some explaining.
At one time, Royal Mail would willingly take on students to help deliver the mail at Christmas time. As I remember it, I didn’t even have an interview for the role, I just received a letter telling me that I had the job.
The lead up to starting work was fraught with anxiety. As was quite common in those days, the full time postal workers were threatening to go on strike. In one respect this was quite logical – if you want to have success with an industrial action, pick the busiest time of the year to hold it. On the other hand, it also struck me as being very selfish. People might not get their Christmas cards and presents. More importantly, I might not have a holiday job.
Fortunately, the strike was called off a few days before I was due to start, so I was able to report to the sorting office at an unearthly time of the morning. I was given an armband to wear over my ski jacket, to show that I was an official temporary employee, and assigned to a full time postwoman who had actually only been on the job a few weeks herself.
I really enjoyed the few days that I spent wandering the streets of Leamington. My ‘walk’ was right on the edge of the town centre, so I didn’t have far to carry my bag (we ‘casuals’ were not allowed bikes for some reason), I got to talk to people (and work out which poor ones were getting very little post) and there was even the added bonus of working alongside two people I had been to school with – Aprumpal Gandhu (one of only two Sikh boys in my year and one of the regular mail workers) and Dawn Stallard (a Christmas casual like me).
But then, after barely a week, it all went wrong. It seemed that the public had planned well ahead for the proposed strike and posted their Christmas cards early, meaning that there was no need for extra staff any more. In the end the strike had scuppered my Christmas earnings after all.