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J is for Job

For some reason today I am going to write about Job or Jobs. Strange how these words end up popping up in my head… Maybe it’s because I am trying to figure out what will be my next move, my next step. 

Distributing publicity and babysitting

The first job that I can remember was helping my friend distribute the newsletter of her church. I don’t think that there was a real payment, once we were paid with a box of biscuits and 10 marks for both of us, so 5 per person. It was more a symbolic way of thanking us. Eventually we started distributing publicity, we weren’t old enough to do so, but her older sister was, so we “inherited” her contract, which continued under her name. I have no idea for how long I did this odd job, but I know that I quit just before my 12th birthday, because that’s when I left Germany.  It made me discover the not so nice neighbourhoods of our small town, those that are usually avoided. This weekend job didn’t pay too well, especially not by adult standards, but it was far better than vacuuming my dad’s car (which took hours) or polishing shoes, after all I got to spend a few hours walking around with my friend.

After a year or so of living in Pennsylvania I eventually started to babysit my neighbours’ daughter, this was a quite regular and well paying job, at 5$ an hour it sure is lucrative to play big sister. Other neighbours sometimes made use of my babysitting services too. I had always thought that babysitting was a normal job for most girls, but through conversations I have discovered that it isn’t all that common.

Once I moved to France I did continue babysitting. I had some amazingly nice girls, but I also discovered that babysitting can be really tiring especially when it’s 4 boys at once that won’t listen… I no longer cleaned my dad’s car, but I started ironing his shirts, seen the pile of shirts that there was to do this was an important income for a teenager.

Being an intern in a loved and not so loved position

I did my first ever internship, 3 weeks working at my dream job and my dream employer at the time and to a certain extent still today. I was lucky to work for a correspondent of The Economist in Berlin. Interviews, press conferences, book presentations, research wow I was overwhelmed. I just didn’t get the chance to write something. Even though this was in the Summer of 2005, the memories are vivid just as if took place yesterday. I absolutely loved it. This short but intense work experience shaped my decisions for what courses to study and what activities to concentrate on.

Once I graduated high school, I wanted to find out what it was like to work in a business. for a month I interned in the accounting section of a company. Maybe it was the mission, but it probably was the person telling me what to do, that made me think that maybe a corporate environment was not for me.

Radio, Radio, Radio!

Once at University I did not have a proper student job, my job was to study. Still, I joined the student radio station, NSR. I had my own radio show and started reviewing CDs and concerts and had the chance to interview many bands. This of course was not a job, it was a fun hobby. But then at the end of my first year I stood for election as Head of Music, an executive position within the radio. I was elected and started having a lot of responsibilities. Once a week my co-head and I organised a weekly meeting to distribute CDs, concert tickets, interview possibilities and remind people to write their reviews etc. I wrote emails to labels, band managers, and musicians, to ask for freebies, to tell them we had reviewed their music, or to just let them know that we existed. There was a blog to keep updated with everything that people wrote and send to us, sometimes that meant playing editor too. I absolutely loved what I was doing. I invested a lot of energy into the radio station, as I loved having my creative freedom of my own show, writing articles, and even managing a team. I was not paid a single penny, but I learnt a lot of things. How to contact people that I did not know, how to make people work and hand things in on time, how to work with other people with the same level of responsibilities. Maybe for many this does not look like a job, but for me it was a true job. I do guess had I not left on an Erasmus exchange in my 3rd year, I would have tried to run for the position of station manager.


During my holidays, Summer, Christmas and Easter during my 2nd year (and during the Summer preceding my 1st year of University) I worked as a waitress in a hotel’s restaurant in Paris. Sometimes celebrities would dine there, I was “lucky” to serve the Belgian Prince and bring the singer Martin Solveig his main course, as my colleagues insisted that I should approach him. My team was great and one of the managers absolutely adored me, which is always a good thing, especially if something goes wrong. But not everything was perfect, once one of the girls got really mad at some guys in the kitchen as they were not treating her correctly. Some clients weren’t the best behaved either, but that happens.


After graduating from my Master’s degree I had no real idea what I wanted to do. I applied for everything, really everything. One job was to be a receptionist in a rundown hotel in Switzerland. After having gone through all sorts of calculations I decided against it. When S found a job in Paris, we moved right away. I applied for various jobs, but at the same time I started teaching freelance, at first German English and French. For 3 months I thought high school German, and my love for teaching was confirmed.

Once I started to work again after my daughter’s birth, I tried myself at translating, but that was not my thing at all. You should not be scared of what you are doing as a job… I started to teach again, but only German, to fully concentrate on the language and it’s very complex grammar. I really enjoy teaching, and am happy that even though I have been doing this for a while there still is always something new to learn.

What jobs have you done? Which ones are you fond of? Do you have a clearly traced career or more a bumpy ride with a lot of fun?

Joyous Jim jumps into jelly in Jena.

During the month of April, I am participating in the A to Z Challenge, my theme is authenticity and eclecticism, which in my book go hand in hand.

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© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.