Writer, 2011 - present
Finally working on the books that I've wanted to get published as well as on new ones I hadn't dreamed of writing.
National Mission Office
Research Assistant, 2008 - 2011
Three years of finding information for my boss by sitting in front of the Internet...learned as much as he did!
Manager, 1989 - 2006
Seventeen years in this shop, most of the time as Manager. Like many bookshops it began to struggle as Internet bookshops took over, and regrettably closed in 2008, two years after I resigned. Met hundreds of great people, made friends with a number of them, and am still in contact with quite a few.
Dunedin City Council
Worked in the Enquiries Office, which was mostly focused on Electricity Accounts enquiries. Managed to survive the fact that half of the dozen staff smoked continually throughout the day.
State Insurance Office
Clerical, 1960 - 1965
My first job, as a 'cadet', a job in which we were trained in all sorts of office procedures, most of which have long since ceased to exist due to digital workplaces. But a good grounding in spite of the fact that I hated the pretence that we were benefactors of people who paid their premiums.
NZ Opera Company
Repetiteur, 1965 - 1966
Worked as a repetiteur (rehearsal pianist, coach, and occasionally conductor) on contract. Toured around New Zealand doing a 'piano tour' of La Boheme, in other words a basic cast of singers, no chorus, minimal scenery, and a different small town/village every night. Great fun and a wonderful way to see the country. Later toured with a major production of Die Fledermaus - the works: stars, chorus, ballet, orchestra (from Sydney, no less). I played the triangle and the glockenspiel in the orchestra each night. And read The Hobbit in long gaps when I wasn't playing.
NZ Opera Quartet
Another nationwide tour, this time with a soprano, a mezzo, a tenor and a baritone. We went to almost every secondary school in the country, sometimes three performances a day, and travelling in between. Longest drive on this trip? From the top of the North Island, over on the Ferry (overnight) and down to the most southern city. Crazy organisation!
Postman, 1974 - 1976
Worked as a postie on two occasions, once as a holiday job and later for about two and a half years as a full-time job. Sunshine, snow, hail, rain, wind...but the mail must go through.
Brief job selling door to door. Not my most successful occupation, and extremely hard work.
International Telephone Exchange
In London. Men worked the night shifts, while women worked the day shifts, so we only ever met as one shift was finishing and the other starting. All manual calls to most of the world, except Europe, which was handled by the French division (still in London, on a different floor). I was there the day China finally became open to toll calls. No one rang.
National Children's Home
One of two jobs I had in the residential child care area. NCH had a huge 'family home' north of London, and almost everyone lived on site. The children were divided up into family groups, one on the lower floor, one on the upper floor, each with different staff. I lived in a wonderful little cottage with a huge field outside the window. I later worked in a London Children's Home, which had its own peculiarities, but was a wonderful training place.