Friday, February 15, 2008

20 Something Debates (II)

What made you feel more like an adult, your first job or you first car?

Another week, another 20 something debate. Perhaps my attempts at hypothetical debating will offer less offence than my personal observations of a foreign trip.

As with the other debate to which I gave my opinion the situation is hypothetical because I have never owned a car. Yes, Little Miss Rachel, retired Primrose Hill Princess (or whichever moniker one prefers to lift from my comments box) has never owned a car. In fact, she can probably count the number of times she has driven one on no more than her own hands and feet.

I passed my driving licence on my first attempt the day after A level results (something which I perhaps should have given more thought to when I booked the test) despite suffering from shaky knees and, briefly, closing my eyes as I drove onto a dual carriageway. Passing the test was merely forethought for convenience in later life; I had no intention of having a car - bpth parents and a boyfriend had one already so all my lift needs were covered but one day I thought I might want to drive my children around. Plus my parents paid for the lessons. All good reasons. I disappeared off to university shortly after and, apart from occasionally driving the boyfriend's car to keep my hand in, so to speak, I barely drove at all. The year after the boyfriend disappeared to study in America and there ended the car: I had driven two or three times on the motorway and still had trouble parking. There was a gap of three or four years until my youngest sister turned 17, passed her test, bought a car and then realised if she drove she couldn't drink. Somehow she persuaded my mother that if I were on her insurance that my mother could stop providing a taxi service and persuaded me that what I really wanted to do for an entire holiday period was to act as her personal chauffeur. Holidays over, she finished school, started a gap year, sold the car and went off travelling. No more car = no more insurance = no more driving. As we live in London there is no need for us to have a car and on the rare occasions we need one, M borrows his work delivery van.

Logically therefore it would seem that I must have felt more grown-up when I started my first job. Depends on your definition of first job. First time I earned any money or first time that I had to have a job to pay the rent and the bills? My first paid job, as I had always dreamt as a small child during endless games with my sisters, was selling shoes. For £3.53 p/h I worked on the shoe concession in Dorothy Perkins, running up and down stairs to the stockroom and doing the figures for my manager (a 24 year old with a 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter) so she could pretend to her manager she had done them herself. I worked for 6 hours on a Saturday afternoon, coveting the latest shoes which I could purchase at 25% discount and reserve my size the moment that they came into the shop. Once the shop had closed, been tidied and re-stocked I would walk round to Halfords where my boyfriend worked and he would drive me home for supper and so I could change before we went to wherever the gig was that evening. He was the bassist in a band. I may only have been earning £3.53 but, after shoes, it paid for beer. I felt very grown-up.

Looking back on it today, I smile inwardly at how young I seem in the memories and how different things are, 9 years on. My first 'proper' job where if I didn't work, my rent wasn't paid came immediately after graduating from law school in 2005. Suddenly, after 5 years of university where I had worked summer jobs and spent the proceeds on holidays and term-time drinking, with a loan to cover rent and bills, I realised what it meant to work because I had to. I came back from Glastonbury to the end of my student bubble. I was 23 with 2 degrees, an LPC, no job, no money. Life in it's reality kicked in and I started applying for temporary work. 7/7 came and went and I managed to line up a variety of legally related temporary work, mostly reception and switchboard cover which served not only as a money earner but a daily reminder as to why I had gone to law school and fuelled my desire for a training contract all the more.

Obtaining my training contract, finally, at the start of 2007 was the first time when I went to work feeling an adult. A year and a half of work (I managed to get a semi-legally-related permanent job in September 2005) had allowed me know what it was like to work, to be tired, to have deadlines and to achieve them. The start of my training contract was more than a new job, it was the job. The start of my career.

1 comment:

Raindrops to Rainbows said...

Hi Rachel,
I came across your blog earlier this week and i liked your 'about me' section so i thought id take a read.
Ive just read some of your posts and comments about the whole finland saga and i felt compelled to leave you a message and tell you that im angry at the comments left even though i dont know you! Another blogger i know has also had a similar experience - family finding his blog and then back-lashing on him and causing him to almost pull out of the whole blogging business. (thats one reason ive kept my blog 'secret' from anyone who knows me in the flesh.)
I just hope that things can be resolved between yourself and the opinionated 2 who upset you.
Take care, and hope to catch up with your blogs again soon,
Lindsay x