Here the theme is "When I Grow Up, I want to be......."
My father was keen for me to go into a bank, as he thought that was a good job for a girl (it was the 1950's!), As I was hopeless at maths, I knew this would not be for me. I also knew I could never be a nurse, (a popular career choice at the time), as I had a great fear of anything to do with hospitals.
Becoming an Air Hostess was regarded as the glamour job of the day and I rather fancied the idea of travel - but realistically I knew, even at that age, I did not fit the image - being child who wore glasses and had straight hair in plaits or a pony tail.
So what did I become? A Librarian - and yes I did conform a bit to the stereotyped image - the glasses did it!
Does anyone remember the Smirnoff vodka advert where the librarian (dowdy clothes, hair in a bun and of course wearing spectacles), whips off her glasses, loosens her hair shaking it into a tousled look, shortens her skirt, undoes her top buttons - and gets a new look and new life? I can't say that was me, though I did have a spell at wearing contact lenses.
Instead, I spent my time trying to counteract the image that all librarians did was a boring task of stamping books!
My favourite was a bookshop where I enjoyed tidying the shelves and making sure everything was in order from the Pan and Penguin paperbacks in their familiar white and orange covers to the Classics, bound in mock midnight blue leather. One Christmas I worked in a general stationery store that sold calculators and was clueless when facing questions such as "Why was this one more expensive and what did it do?"
I can't recollect receiving anything that could be called "training" - you were just expected to turn up on time, wear an often ugly uniform, pick up procedures, work hard, have plenty of stamina to be on your feet all day, be respectful to superiors, especially if there was the dreaded visit from Head Office, get on with the job - and sink or swim. Life could be boring if there were not many customers around, but if the shop was busy, it became a good source of anecdotes when I met up with fellow students, as we exchanged horror stories of our holiday jobs.
Stuck in a Snowstorm - I studied history at university, and as a student had various Saturday and holiday jobs in Edinburgh City Libraries, most memorably getting stuck in a mobile library on a hill in a snowstorm!
Dumbo to Dinosaurs - I was a stay-at-home Mum, when a newsletter from my daughter's primary school announced that a school auxiliary had been asked to set up a library in the school. My professional hackles arose - obviously a job that the head teacher felt anyone could do! So I got in touch, took on the role, and I was back classifying the school collection and creating a catalogue. As it was a voluntary task, I could take my time and have a good look through all the books, with dinosaurs seeming to be the most popular topic - not one I could relate to.
Was the Abbey Bombed? This was one of the very many quirky queries I faced when working in the local tourist information centre network for over 20 years. It was never dull as we helped visitors get the most out of of their holiday and was a source of many humorous anecdotes. And the answer to the question? Well - the 12th century Jedburgh Abbey was destroyed in 1544 by Henry VIII's army which invaded south Scotland in what was known as the "Rough Wooing" as Henry tried to enforce the marriage of his son Edward to the young Mary Queen of Scots - some 400 years before World War Two fighter planes. I loved this job - meeting people from all over the world, answering questions, preparing displays and compiling fact sheets.
|The Heritage Hub, Hawick, Scottish Borders|
[This article has been adapted from a posting in 2011]
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