Hard Times

I am sure I am not the only person to go through a hard time when the recent financial crisis hit. I had been in the same job for 8 years and while I didn’t love going into work, it was a pretty secure job and one which paid well. I worked in a local hardware store as the general manager. I left school and went straight into employment. The job in the hardware store was my first and only job, I had worked my way up from a shop assistant to a shift supervisor, then onto the store managers position.

The store was fairly busy and we had a loyal group of customers. Business was going well but things changed very quickly. A hardware superstore had opened only 5 minutes away and it soon took its toll on our little store. We were more expensive than the large store, they could buy in bulk and their prices reflected this. Soon most of our loyal customers were using the big store instead of us. Six months after the store opened, our shop was forced to close due to lack of business.

It was a sad occasion, and I was left unemployed. I had always had a job, even as a kid I had a paper round, so the thought of being unemployed was a miserable one for me. Because I only had retail experience and no college education, coupled with the fact that there were very few jobs available, my options were very limited indeed.

Odd Jobs

I decided to place an advertisement in a few local shops and newspapers as a handy man. I was good at DIY and could easily put some flat pack furniture together or undertake painting and decorating jobs. My new venture took off quite well. I was never going to become a millionaire, but I earned enough to pay the rent and put some food on the table.

I was pulling in about 5 jobs a week and I fairly quickly had some regular customers. One of them was an elderly man called John. He would ask me to do a multitude of things around his house, from fixing the fence to painting his decking. He told me that he was always a keen gardener but old age had forced him to stop maintaining his once beautiful garden. He asked me if I could mow his lawn and tend to the garden, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t have any gardening tools so decided to invest on a set. I bought various hand tools, a hedge trimmer and with the help of http://www.gardenplaza.us/best-lawn-mowers/ I bought myself a fantastic new lawnmower.

This area of my work took off and I soon had three gardens to maintain. Within six months I was only gardening, I simply didn’t have time for all of the painting and DIY jobs. The elderly customers recommended me to friends which was fantastic. I guess the older customers liked someone who they could trust. I tried to go the extra mile, little things like picking up a few groceries at the store on my way to the jobs. These little things are what got me the recommendations.

Expanding

A year after taking the gardening job from John, things had become very busy, so busy I employed a helping hand. One of my good friends had been out of work for a while, he was hardworking, polite and kept himself tidy, he was the perfect choice.

He went into the work with the same philosophy as me, helping customers in any way he could. He was shocked to receive so many tips at Christmas time, the customers really seemed to appreciate what we did for them.

When I look back at how depressed and worried I was when the hardware store closed down, I wish I could tell myself not to worry. I love my new job, the fact I work in different locations is brilliant, it really varies my day to day working life and probably the best part of my new job is being able to help the older customers out with small things that really help them maintain an independent lifestyle.