My Dad told me that at my age I would never be able to find a job. At 14, I was determined to prove him wrong. Plus, I was a well-seasoned worker. I delivered newspapers when I was 10 years old – but would that be enough to get me the job and financial freedom I needed?

I was in Scarborough Town Centre plopping my brief resume in the hands of potential employers. One place hired me on the spot. It was the Orange Cup, and I was thrilled to get the job despite the disadvantages. The work involved late nights of cleaning the orange-cutting machine. I also had to try to smile while my friends laughed at me for looking like a leaf in the huge plastic orange while wearing a green apron.

It didn’t take long for me to hate the job and I wanted to quit. However, every time I got my check it gave me a rush to see how much I made with $3.50/hr. For a young woman with no worries about rent, food, etc., it seemed like a lot.

It turned out my end with The Cup was freakish.

On my last night of work, it was taking longer for me to clean the machine. I had to drag that heavy thing from The Cup to the backroom hidden from drinkers-view. Thank God for them it was. My Mom kept rushing me – she needed to get to work the next morning. Understanding this fully and sympathetically, since I was on the early shift tomorrow, I decided to come in early and finish cleaning.

My ears must have been plugged when I left.

I left the water on. It was running in a basin with the machine there. Overnight, the water overflowed and flooded the backroom. It also flooded Marks & Spencer’s store which was underneath the room.

For a week, I had no idea this had happened because I was not there. Another woman I worked with called me early the next day and said I didn’t need to work. She didn’t tell me I didn’t need to come in ever. I called my boss at the time (he looked like David Bowie) and the phone must have rung about 30 times before he answered.

When he answered, he sheepishly told me what had happened and that I was no longer working for The Orange Cup. He also advised me to get into retail or some non-food related work.

I bounced back from the blow quickly. Two days after that, I was working at Bargain Harolds. That turned out just fine. Plus, I have worked in the food sector again – and that has worked out fine too. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. The beauty of a job is that it’s a job.

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