The Journey to Headship (part 1)

Hi, so this is my first blog as a new headteacher, in the end of my first deputy headship. It’s been an interesting journey to this point and one which I have certainly enjoyed. How does the story go………

I left school at sixteen, disillusioned with education, out of touch with any form of career and  unsure as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I took up a job at a local supermarket, part time to begin with but after 12 months I was full time position. It was interesting work. I say interesting but it was actually work that involved retrieving trolleys from three car parks and returning them to the store. I loved it. I was outside everyday, sun, rain, wind or snow. We would visit Greggs Bakery to buy sausage rolls or warm up over a potato and butter pie. It was a simple job, no thinking required and no work to take home. Pints after work in the local pub and Saturday nights out with work colleagues were the order of the day.

Days turned into weeks, weeks to months and months turned into years. A stop gap job was fast becoming a career. I collected trolleys from those three car parks for two years before moving to a customer service position. I was now indoors and my visits to Greggs had to stop. Dealing with customer complaints and the Great British public became a major part of my role. Refunds for out of date chickens and mobile phones the size of bricks that had stopped working, were now the focus of my day. I would work five days a week with one in every three weekends off. Often working the odd Sunday for what was then double time. It was monotonous work, relentless work that was never complete. Each day brought the same faces, customers and staff. The same problems; lack of change for tills, lack of carrier bags, no trolleys outside (it was never the same after I left my position as chief trolley collector.) these were my challenges now. The social life was maintained a pint after work to discuss the trials and tribulations of the day were now a regular theme and Saturday nights out were now whole weekends lost in Manchester. I was 19 and no clearer on where my life was going. I was paid £500 a month, received a bonus if the company performed (I usually took shares which was the better option at the time) as well as a Christmas bonus at that very festive and very busy time of year.

Each day was the same, start at 7, open the tills, deliver the change, put through the staff canteen order, serve the public for the day, take a break at 9:15, lunch at 12:30, finish at 4 (or three when you had an early finish), pub after work. Day after day. No thought process was required, I was programmed to deliver a service and delivered that service accordingly. It was simple, enjoyable and hard work. Minutes seemed like hours and hours seemed like life times. It was as if the time was in slow motion. The seasons seemed to last forever. there was relentless planning for busy periods such as Christmas or Easter. Approximately 18 months after starting my customer service role I was promoted to Chief Display Assistant.

It was meant to be recognition for my hard work with the company. It was to be my first real learning curve in adult life. The store had a new manager. I had a new job. I was about to learn that there were very different ways of leading. I was about to learn that leaders can have a dramatic impact on your life. I was about to learn this new manager was not the sort of leader I would want to become. The seed had been planted. The journey had started.