Let’s take a trip down memory lane!
What was your first job like? Great? Awful? Dull? Exciting?
I was lucky with mine. I worked at a little independent video game store in Hythe called Control Zone.
They had a store in Lymington that I’d been to a fair bit but when they opened up their second shop a lot closer to where I lived I became a frequent customer.
I was friendly enough with the guys who ran the place that they knew me by name, it helped that they had a rental service so had me on file I guess, and would often talk to them about whatever we were playing.
When it game time to do my work experience for school, a work placement system where instead of going to lessons you go to work for a week or maybe two, I asked if they’d have me. They were happy to and it was all set up.
I’ll never forget the piece of advice my brother, recently returned from working at sea, gave to me before my first day as it’s still something I adhere to today; “Be ten minutes early, otherwise you may as well be ten minutes late.”
I’m not sure where he heard that nugget from but it stuck with me.
That said, it was totally irrelevant as there I was, stood outside the back door of this little video game store in a sleepy little waterside village ten minutes before my start time waiting for the guys in their mid twenties who ran the place to show up. About fifteen minutes after the store was meant to open they showed up, and from then on I knew this wasn’t going to be a particularly difficult job.
They showed me the ropes, how to use their till and computer system, what the procedures were for taking in deliveries and so on and that was about it.
Customers would come in and for the first day I just watched and learned. After that I just got on with it and it was all good.
The real fun would come when there wasn’t any customers around. In those times we would use the tv that was set up in the store front and the two or three that we had out back to have tournaments of various games, in those first couple of weeks we mostly played Perfect Dark on the N64.
There was also a lot of shenanigans that went on, one of the N64s broke at one point so we took it apart and put it back together in a much smaller cardboard box. The thing worked like a dream. The Cardboard64 was a staple of that store until after I had stopped working there.
Then there was the various skateboarding that would happen in the store, mostly just fucking around with ground tricks as we didn’t have a lot of space, but the front counter was also used from time to time if we needed a little height.
I carried on working there after my work experience, just doing Saturdays for barely any money, all cash in hand as I was still only fifteen at most.
The biggest benefit was that I got to have my pick of all the new games before they were officially released and they were cool letting me have anything and paying it off out of what I was earning. I still have the GameCube I got from that job, though I don’t think I ever paid more than £40 or £50 for it.
I left there when I was seventeen, working multiple jobs between college and learning to drive. They couldn’t afford to take me on properly and I needed the time to put into the much much more soul destroying job of working at Tesco.
I remained a customer for a while but a few years later they closed down after a couple of break ins wiped them out and it was easier to close up than try to rebuild and compete with the bigger stores in town. Funnily enough all of those stores have now gone too, so it was only a matter of time anyway.
I was really lucky that I enjoyed my first job. I think it helped install in my a decent work ethic. I can imagine a situation in which you hate your first experience of the real working world and it putting you off for life. Thankfully that wasn’t me.
Oh yeah, I mentioned my brother earlier in this post so I just wanted to highlight this picture he took this morning and sent to me of his little doggo at sunset where they're living in Spain. It's pretty cool!