by Zoë Colville
My first taste of working life was in my teens and like the majority of the country it was working in the village pub with a side of babysitting for your mum’s friend (her kids not her!). Even though it was mainly washing up which, aside from hoovering, was my worst job on my rota at home, I loved it. Now I’m older, I can look back and realise what I loved about it was the feeling of growing up, the freedom and also the freedom of earning my own regular money to do what I wanted. I’d receive a little brown square envelope on a Sunday after service, mostly it would contain about fifty quid with some coins from the tip jar too. I’d clutch that little envelope of opportunity in the front seat of my dad’s Mazda as he drove me home.
When I got to the final years of secondary school, aged 17, we did careers day and learnt about different industries. I remember feeling frustrated as I didn’t want to be a teacher, in the police or a lawyer. I wanted to do something creative. Something with my hands. Something exciting. I decided I wanted to be a hairdresser. Admittedly, mainly because I loved going into the salon and having my own hair cut. I was advised, in not so many words, it was a waste of my academic ability so not wanting to break the mould I followed the rest of my friends and studied some qualifications at another school. A real mixed bag of subjects I enjoyed with no real plans or aspirations. I did know I wanted to just “get on with life”. I was desperate to be a grown up. I ended up dropping out to do the thing I loved, hair. And hand on heart I feel if I hadn’t suddenly and unexpectedly lost my father, I may still be in front of that mirror, scissors in hand making someone feel more beautiful than when they sat down.
“Do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
It wasn’t until the first lambing season after I’d fully committed (and invested) in the livestock and the farming life that I remembered a plaque I’d seen in a gift shop by the seaside on a caravan holiday maybe a five years previous. The little motto flashing to the forefront of my mind as I sat on the bonnet of the truck and watched the sun go down. Lambing season is the hardest month to six weeks in the entire year for us. Physically it’s tough, pushing your body to the limits but mentally its tougher. The weight and enormity of the career I’ve fallen into is greater than I ever imagined I was capable of handling. Yet here I am , working in a team of three, my other half, my dog and me. Not feeling like I’m ever “working”, just living the life I love everyday.
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