Number 1. Egg Grading/ Raspberry Picking
Combined, as this was a summer school holiday job for a number of years at my Auntie and Uncles Poultry and Raspberry farm in southern Tasmania, Australia. The egg grading included gathering eggs from both free-range and battery chicken sheds. The eggs were placed on a large conveyor belt for washing and grading by size and imperfections and then carefully placed into egg cartons for delivery. The sheds were hot, smelly and noisy. Raspberry picking was back breaking, sweaty and at times scary as a large goanna or snake would poke its head out of the black plastic that protected the raspberries and assisted with irrigation - at least once a day.
Lessons Learned: Pride from being part of a process which took food from the farm and sold direct to customers. Work is hard.
Number 2. Cleaner
Helping my mum to clean other people's apartments, their homes, offices and hotel rooms after school and on the weekends. As a single mother, mum worked tirelessly on 2, 3 and sometimes 4 different jobs simultaneously while we were growing up. Mum was quick, efficient, practical and always worked to a plan. The goal was to maximise our time and make sure customers expectations were met - and always find something to 'belly laugh' about.
Lessons Learned: Immediate satisfaction on completing the job and restoring order. Organisational skills and systems are important to maximise efficiency and effectiveness. Work is hard.
Number 3. Hospitality
Helping my mum at our local Wheels on Meals kitchen. Mum was the chief cook and managed the orders, the preparation, cleanliness, organisation and the volunteer delivery drivers - always with a smile, story and a laugh. I was her volunteer helper, dishing up the meals but primarily washing up (which I hated). Mum and I were alone one Christmas Day one year and decided to cook ourselves a Meals on Wheels Christmas Dinner! I thought we were so very lucky - but on reflection it was a little sad..
Lessons Learned: Work can be very meaningful especially when serving others. Leaders support the great work of others first and rarely acknowledge their own contributions. Work is hard.