About my life and work in London in recession of the 1980s. That's me buying roast chestnuts in Trafalgar Square :-)

Fade Out & Torn template album

Garden Mystery kit

After finding a flat the immediate priority was to find work. A friend of XX’s from the Vic Uni library told us about the “Task Force Pro Libra” agency and we went along to register (and do the library card filing test!) The next day we walked into a small agency we passed on Kensington High Street, and they immediately gave me a job at Storecard Ltd - a large organisation in Hammersmith that handled credit cards for lots of department stores. XX got a job through TFPL in the library of a docklands Polytech where the students all loved watching Australian soaps and thought he was very exotic and cool. At first I felt lucky working just down the road from the flat, as I could pop home for lunch and to check the second post delivery (back then the mail came twice a day!) but after a while I felt a bit stuck in Hammersmith, especially as I kept getting more jobs with Storecard. The first one was in the secure area (all windows and doors locked) destroying returned credit cards. We listened to BBC Radio all day and opened envelopes, while the man who operated the card-mulching machine chain smoked. The best job was taking calls from people applying for cards
and doing credit checks on them. But after a
while I begged TFPL for a job and I was
sent to the National Union of Teachers
as a library assistant. The work was dull
(and I felt like they didn’t have enough
of it to justify my role) but the people
were nice. My job was being advertised as a permanent role and I helped sort through the applications - from Oxford and Cambridge graduates. That was a scary eye opener to the realities of my employment opportunities in this recession. I was applying for permanent jobs and getting occasional interviews, but the jobs always went to graduates from UK universities and I was told “we really liked you and if doesn’t work out with them we’ll get back in touch”. Eventually in 1989 I came to the difficult decision to save up and travel, then go back to NZ for further study or find a career role. My last job was with the XXX Research Centre in Lambeth, where I found real friends, making the decision to leave the UK even harder