The week before we left school someone from the youth employment  service came to see us. It all seemed rather superfluous as we all thought we had our futures mapped out by then. Most were going to university, teacher training college or hospital to do nursing, physiotherapy or radiography. I think we all thought we were going to have a nice long holiday until the autumn when the various courses would start, but we were in for a nasty surprise when she told us that we should have work experience so she was there to fix us up with jobs!  

She decided that the most suitable job for me was as a packer in Boots surgical warehouse and before I knew it I was arranging to go for an interview. She was all for me starting on the Monday after term finished but I managed to persuade her that I should have my pre- arranged holiday first!

I duly presented myself at 8am on my first day, shown how to “clock in” and handed over to a lovely lady called Ida who showed me “the ropes” The huge warehouse room was divide into two halves, surgical and veterinary at one side and babies and household on the other. There was a pile of orders from the various branches. We had to take the next order on the pile whether it was for one item or a hundred and this was strictly adhered to. It surprised me to see that odd items could be ordered, I had always assumed they ordered in dozens at least. We trundled up and down the aisles picking up the items and then packed them in wooden containers. The women were mostly middle aged and very friendly except for the very bad tempered, sour supervisor “B” who prowled around the aisles making sure no one stopped for a chat. We had a 15 minute break mid morning when the tea trolley came round. At the end of the 15 minutes “B” blew a whistle and yelled “Back ter wuk”

We had 1 hour for lunch which was served in an excellent canteen at a very reasonable price. After lunch we had to “clock in” again until 5pm. By the end of the week I was shattered, but somewhat lifted on receiving my first pay packet, £5.5s for a 40 hour week, which was quite good in those days

This job certainly got me used to being on my feet all day and working under a bad tempered supervisor. I also learned how many different types of scissors there were, what catheters, bedpans and douches looked like and how to dodge out of sight when expedient!

I made several friends there and managed to save a little nest egg to take with me to my next job—–nursing training.

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