Picked cotton as a young teenager. Not for long though - that is a tough job!
Part time “mechanic and welder” at a Triumph repairists in Kingston while I was a student.
First “real” job in an experimental foundry trying to make metal matrix composites. Aluminium at 800 degrees C with 20+Bar injection pressures, with the dies heated to over 500C…… what could possibly go wrong?! That had its moments…… nobody died, but more luck than judgement at times.
Then a short stint as a technical author at Haynes. Mis-timed as it turned out as I got made redundant after about 9 months (last in first out), when they noticed they weren’t making any money! This was inconvenient as we’d just bought our first house….
Then a few months odd-jobbing followed by 6 months as a welder-fabricator for a fruiting picking machine company (apples & black currants mostly). Not quite as bad as picking cotton, but close!
Then managed to use the contacts and experience gained in my first job to get into technical sales with the controls company I’d worked along side then. Very useful experience, but not very exciting and not well paid.
Then technical sales/estimator for a specialist butterfly valve company. That had its moments also, including a week in Baku representing them at an exhibition (no one else wanted to go!) and then an involuntary shift into project management (no one else wanted to!), looking after the biggest order the company had ever won…. Suddenly dealing with foundries, machine shops and actuator manufacturers. Very high stress…. Surprising how few choices there are when you are trying to get 82” bore valve bodies cast in aluminium bronze and then machined…. Had to go to France for that.
Looking for a quieter life I then moved to an investment (lost wax) foundry as an estimator. That wasn’t my best idea and not long after that I got a technical sales job with a local specialist pump company and I’ve been involved in that technology and it’s application for more than 20 years now. Did a lot of service work in my first few years with them, most of that on sewage works. Not always fun but very “educational”. One of the more fun aspects of the job is that it gets you in to all sorts of interesting places. The list includes,
many and varied sewage works of all sorts and sizes,
anaerobic digestion plants (the food-waste eating ones tend to be much nastier than sewage works!),
veg and fruit processors,
sewage pumping stations and even the occasional waterworks.
Plus others I’ve forgotten no doubt….