Which Box?

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A week or so ago I met with someone who asked about the types of work I find myself doing these days. I ran through a list of projects, what role I’d played and the outcomes for each and they said something that I hear a lot:

It’s not easy to fit you into a specific box, is it?

To some this is a problem; to those that understand what’s happening in the world of work and what the future holds, this is good. It got me thinking about all the jobs I’d done over the last 30 years or so.

And I thought I’d list them, to show how diverse my work life has been. All of these jobs have given me something – training, skills, different ways to think, new methodologies. These are all jobs I did for at least a week, or if they were weekly for at least six months. Here’s the list:

  1. Paperboy
  2. Gardener
  3. Washer-upper
  4. Car washer
  5. Tuck shop owner
  6. Shop assistant
  7. Shop supervisor
  8. Commis chef
  9. Toilet cleaner
  10. Electrical goods smasher-upper
  11. Handyman
  12. Cleaner
  13. Babysitter
  14. Baker
  15. Chef
  16. Sous chef
  17. University lecturer
  18. DJ
  19. Heathland ecologist
  20. Diversity recordist
  21. Barman
  22. Glass collector
  23. Session guitarist
  24. Backing singer
  25. Litter picker
  26. Waiter
  27. Courier
  28. Hospital gown packer
  29. Delivery driver (van)
  30. Delivery driver (7.5 tonne lorry)
  31. Golf ball retriever
  32. Painter
  33. Landscape gardener
  34. Forklift truck driver
  35. Envelope stuffer
  36. Bed maker
  37. Labourer
  38. Copywriter
  39. Content writer
  40. Information architect
  41. Product owner
  42. Creative director
  43. User experience director
  44. Strategist
  45. Strategy director
  46. Company founder
  47. Book-keeper
  48. Mentor
  49. Salesman
  50. Accessibility consultant
  51. Art director
  52. Front-end developer
  53. Musician (composer)
  54. Publisher
  55. Dave Birss stunt double

These are all the jobs I can think of that fit the criteria I set. It’s a lot to have in 34 years, although some of them, clearly, are childhood jobs. But not all. And it’s true that each and every one of them (and those that I’ve forgotten about, or suppressed) has taught me something.

They’ve made me the person I am today, given me the skills that I make my living from, and enabled me to fit into more than one box.

Or rather, to not bother with boxes at all.

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