The employment roller coaster, where to next?

Now that I’m 25 and a little stumped as to where I’m going career wise I sometimes wonder about my skills, if I have any and if I’ll ever find my “calling”. Considering the long ass list of jobs on my CV I have to giggle at some of the experiences I’ve had.

I’ve always been a little worker bee and I consider myself a relatively hardworker. I think my mom and grandmother can attest to that by my keen interest, from about the age of 12, in housework. There is no explanation for it other than I liked to help… Okay wait, This makes me look like I have mother Theresa like qualities which is a little far fetched, it may have had something to do with the fact that I felt guilty if my mom arrived home after a long day of work to what she would call a “pigsty”. I was a suck up and found I was actually good at mundane things like laundry, vacuuming and dish washing… Not much of a skill set, while other kids my age where honing in on their athletic ability or practicing piano I was well…cleaning and attempting to do those things aswell. I found it oddly therapeutic and shortly after taking up these duties I became somewhat of an entrepreneur. I wanted to earn money of my own so I started charging my family members to clean their houses. This continued well into high school and I made some good money! I had all the opportunities that most of the kids in my school had, in primary school I was a real studious nugget, piano, netball, choir but in high school, for me, earning money was way more important, high school was a whole different ball game and being “cool” brought with it expenses. Seeing as I couldn’t get a legal job until 16 I did what I was “good” at and my family members were kind enough to pay me for doing chores! I was winning at life! Even today I sometimes consider opening a mobile cleaning service (my grans voice running through my head, “Chelyn you were the best house cleaner ever”) but with the low income it brings in SA and the fact that I’d like to travel more than ‘never’, I’ll give that a miss.

This was my first experience of earning money and I loved it! Who doesn’t like to earn a good buck or 2? By 14 the chores just weren’t covering my expenses (this is where my experimentation with alcohol began, a tender age but we are who we hangout with I guess), being a bit of a dork and wanting to fit in was tough on biweekly house cleaning gigs. I decided I had to find someone who’d hire me illegally, I was determined. Turns out there were a few places willing to hire a kid and pay the least amount possible but I was game! Where there’s a will there’s a way right, and I needed to cover my new found hobby… Drinking! Well… I tried out as a runner at a coffee chain and restaurant, both of which made me realise I wasn’t ready for the hospitality industry, apart from my horrific ‘crockery on tray’ holding skills, people can be real assholes! Then came my saving grace, a toy/baby store, it was perfect. They paid me minimum wage and that’s all I needed really, after a couple weeks there I felt like Donald Trump, the toy store and house cleaning pay combined was really tiding me over nicely! The toy store job was a lot of fun, apart from my lack of knowledge in the infant area. It gets rather awkward when a pregnant woman asks a 14 year old her opinion on the best nipple cream, breast pump and baby stroller, I learnt very quickly to direct them to the closest 45 year old coworker who had extensive knowledge in this department. Coworkers, oh coworkers… Did I not meet some odd balls there! I was however very young and impressionable and thought my 17 year old coworkers were the best thing since sliced bread. There was a girl and guy there that taught me things about the world that I had not yet been introduced to, quite an eye opening experience. After almost a year of working with them, we had become quite good friends, then things went pear shaped. I guess I’d become one of them and they decided I wasn’t too young anymore, one night the pills came out and my moral compass knew I was in the wrong place, thank heavens for moral compasses! That could have been a slippery slope. I handed in my resignation and moved onto the next job.

Take out delivery tele girl was a dream. I got to sit on my butt, answer phones, chat to the other awesome teles and earn more than the minimum wage. By this stage I was frequenting coffee shops more than once every two weeks and not just ordering a milkshake but a milkshake AND a meal, what a high roller! I met one of my best friends working there, 10 years on and we’re still close. I couldn’t think of a better job for that time of my life. I worked there for a long time until I moved to another suburb and was forced to find other work. From here it was a blur of jobs from packing packets into boxes for Fruit & Veg, video shopkeeeping, waitressing, promotions, bartending, call center sales and some that I’ve probably forgotten to mention, I was a bit of a harlot with the part time job market.

Now I’m in Korea and earning far more than I would ever have expected to be earning at my age. I travel every 6 months and I’ve met some fantastic people from all over the world… I really¬†am living the dream, but… A year and 6 months in and I’m restless. I’ve realised that teaching long term isn’t my passion.

Although I don’t know what my “calling” is or where exactly I’m going next I do know that all my job experiences from


such a young age have taught me some invaluable skills that will always come in handy no matter what I do. Each job has taught me something about myself and the most recent lesson I’ve learnt is that my heart wants to explore this world, I have a hunger for¬†travel that has only just begun to be satiated. Yacht stewardess or scuba instructor… I can’t wait to see where next year takes me.