I got my first job when I was 16. That's probably old by some people's standards.
Dad had left in the summer and as we came up to Christmas Mum explained that things weren't going to be easy money-wise - it was time for me to go out and earn some cash of my own for presents and going out and for all the other things which are essential to being a teenager.
I don't even remember how I applied for the job - a shame because what exactly do you put on a CV when you've never had any work experience before? Either way I obviously passed whatever test they had and I found myself in House of Fraser in the men's department ready to start work.
It was work as a Christmas temp - so Thursday evenings and Saturdays and Sundays were my working days.
I remember feeling incredibly intimidated by those that worked there full time. Imagine working all the days in the week and getting paid for it? It was the first time that had never really crossed my mind - "work" was still a vague concept to me up until that point but here it was in reality.
I mostly remember feeling bored. Feeling really incredibly bored. If I learned one skill it was that of being able to be completely lost in my own thoughts whilst retaining an outer appearance of looking interested and not as if I wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. God knows how many miles I would walk each shift as I paced around whichever clothing brand's section I was on that day - straightening jumpers and putting clothes back in size order. I'm not sure why I was bothering, everyone else was engaged in idle chit chat - but I was 17 and not with the confidence to barrel up to people and start talking to them straight away.
Being a Christmas temp meant Christmas working and one of my shifts was Boxing Day for the sales. I will never forget the total chaos that faced me as I stood, bewildered in the middle of the department, as clothes went flying past my head as bargain hunters rummaged. It was the one day that I was definitely not bored, my shift never passed as quickly as it did on that day as I was employed in the neverending task of trying to keep the displays tidy as the sale-goers tornado raged through the store.
My best day was January 1st 2000. That's right. The very first day of this Millennium saw me at work. And no, nobody came in. I think I served about 5 people that day. It was also the day I finally found a friend. A guy who had been working upstairs in womenswear who was brought down to the Ground Floor for that day. We spent the whole day talking about nonsense and rolling up carrier bags to store under the tills. It was brilliant.
That day I was called upstairs and told that they wouldn't be keeping me on after Temporary Christmas contract expired. I had had no plans to stay anyway so that probably makes it the only time in my life when I was relieved to find out that my job would be ending.
I look back on my few months there and scour my brain for the life lesson that I must have learned. There has to be something surely? It was my first experience of the working world.
But all I can come up with is that it is incredibly important to double check that you've taken the security tag off people's clothes when you run it through the till. They get really mad when you don't do that.