Photo: Pauline Peeling – Health & Safety Manager
Where do we start…?
I was 15 and had just left school not really knowing what I wanted to do apart from going out with my friends. My parents, who were going away for a two week holiday, took me to a local career’s office asking for any temp work for me.
There was a position available for an office junior with a Printing Company based in Harold Wood who required holiday cover for their existing office junior and so they took me on.
Still do not know why!?
I had no experience and so was very nervous with not much confidence but it was a small company with around 15 people from the office, studio, plate room and print room. I really enjoyed the buzz and busyness of my two weeks and luckily for me, the girl never returned and I was offered her job. Excellent!
I started in the office doing the usual filling, making tea/coffee and answering the telephones for quite a while. Then a colleague found out she was pregnant and asked if I was interested in learning how to typeset on a Linotype machine as my typing was quite quick.
I picked it up quite easily and enjoyed working in a small room with one other operator next to the plate making room (and dark room) with a few young boys around.
After the birth, Julie returned to work part time and I helped out a bit more when I was asked if I would like to move into the office and learn estimating. I said, “Okay then, why not?”
This was not easy as I was never very good at maths although eventually I did pick it up and was allowed to do the basic quotes for the stationery. As it was in the same office, I also learnt about production and about different materials with their weights of gsm or microns, the Heidelberg and Guillotine etc when the opportunity arose to cover for another colleague whilst she was on maternity leave (Lyn). I was getting nervous – Was there something in the water?
I really enjoyed working with nice people, learning a trade like Printing and the buzz of being busy all the time.
I applied for and got a job with Print Direction, a company based in Walthamstow which was a bit larger than my previous company so more clients, more machines and more to learn.
I lost my mum in June 1995 and I changed. My M.D. was great and let me have as much time as I needed but I wanted another change.
Print Direction were bought out by a bigger printing company based in Romford and as I had learnt so much under my MD and friends felt it was my time to move on, I wanted to see if I could get a job elsewhere closer to London.
It was now eleven years later and I saw an advert in Print Week for 2 jobs. One in Hainault for a Filofax company (completely different from stationery and NCR sets) or Precision Printing in Central Street, London helping out with a large new client they were ready to start working for UBS Switzerland.
I had an interview with Gary Peeling and Paul Mason and later received a letter offering me the job.
I started on the 5th November 1996. I was terrified. I was not only travelling by train but the company with a staff of around 50 people, mainly men and my direct boss was an attractive, successful guy wearing Gucci shoes, Armani suits, driving a Porsche and whom I eventually married.
I worked hard and got stuck into looking after a few new clients for Precision and enjoying every minute whilst learning more and more about Printing.
I loved meeting clients (long lunches), controlling the stock, production and lots more for Precision.
I fell pregnant with my first child in 1999 and went back to work on a holiday/sick cover basis and then was pregnant with my second child in 2003 and didn’t return for a while as I was a little bit busy.
Once both of my boys were at school I was getting very bored. I had enough of coffee mornings with the yummy mummy’s, regularly going to the gym and was all shopped out and wanted to return back to work.
I was very lucky as I had married my boss and had the flexibility of working on a part time basis around school holidays, school runs, keeping a house and husband but always wanted to stay in the trade. I love it.
I am now the Health and Safety Manager for Precision Printing working two to three days a week.
I still keep an eye on the new technology within print and Precision has grown over the past 19 years from 50 to 125 staff members which I am proud to still work for.
I have learnt a lot since leaving school all those years ago and would not change a thing in my career. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of ups and downs, tears and walking out as I could not cope with the stress or because my works manager shouted at me as I couldn’t get my job on time or I messed up on the imposition which cost the company money to reprint etc etc etc
My eldest son is just starting his GCSE’s so he will be in my shoes soon but I know he will have more challenges ahead than I did.
I am married to Print shall we say!!!