Beginning a job – what does it mean to work

When I first started out after my exams, I did not know what to do.  I only knew that that I wanted to run away from my father asking me every day how well I had done.  Well I was fortunate because I was in UK and read adverts in newspapers.  I found an opportunity to go to Finland and “teach people English”.

The Finns are multilingual and highly educated. They required farm workers.  Totally innocent, I set out via Gatwick Airport.  Well this farm girl was faced with escalators, which I not seen before.  Someone showed me how to use them.  Then I was able to go through all the regular check ins and get onto the plane.

Was I scared?

Yet we arrived safely in Helsinki and I meet the oldest daughter of the family and she took me out to dinner and I slept in her flat before going on the train to Kovuola and Iiti to go to her familys’ farm.

First challenge – sorting out my pay with the family – resolved when mama understood that she was supposed to pay me!

Finland turned out to be a life changing experience, what with sauna naked and including males and females.

Then back to university and the most amazing Festival which included John Williams, Ravi Shankar and Pink Floyd.  A train ride to Moscow and back and a major fall out with my parents resulted in having to find a job.

The recurrent theme for a sixties woman was “You’re overqualified”

Women were supposed to produce children in UK and retire to the home.  Not me or my sisters.  We found and fought for opportunties to change the balance.

However my next job was at about R100 a month. I had to work up to another level.

Working is not simple – you have to start somewhere or you will never move forward.  The BMW does not happen at once nor does the high salary.   You have two options – work for someone and give them value that excites them or go out on your own and hope you attract a mentor.

If R3000 sounds too low as a junior programmer, ask yourself what will you do without it?  The company will put in a lot of time to educate you and reward you if you succeed.  It is the step up to your dreams – who knows, they may raise your salary fast if you turn out to be the person they really want.  Of course you can cop out and join a corporate.  That’s the rat race!

Small companies offer more opportunities than corporates so watch where you jump!

How high do you want to be?

Well remember – service and relationships are what really counts.  Working in a restaurant for very little teaches you so much – I speak from the experience of having done it.  Walking the streets for business and climbing up office blocks to find business makes you realise that this requires more than effort, it requires exceptional effort

How high would you fly?  You can fly beyond your dreams if you just start!


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