First jobs

First jobs

By Mike Edwards, Managing Director

From a 5.30am bread van run, to postie feuds. Red meat and vinyl to dishwashing and apple pies. Between picking strawberries in Sussex and running errands for ad agencies in Liverpool. Our own Mike Edwards shares his stories of first forrays into the world of work.

We are Kaleidoscope. And we shape experiences.


Our social media expert, Alannah has recently asked us for our first jobs. I was surprised at just how many I had before starting in the industry.

My first experiences of work was when I was 12 and used to help my neighbour on a Saturday to deliver cakes and bread in his bread van to businesses and households. It involved getting up and out at 5.30am. Not even sure it was legal looking back...

The next job I had was as a paper boy at the age of 13 (until I was 15) - another early start, maybe this is why I like a lie-in these days! I remember one of the shop assistants saying I was trying to do them out of her job. When the papers came in, she used to write the addresses on each paper, which meant that five paper lads had to wait for this task to be done, often adding another half an hour to our round. After a few weeks, I'd had enough, so I made my own addresses list up for each morning and afternoon. I just said "give me the papers and I'll go off with my list". All the others thought this was a great idea but it was firmly stamped on!

I also - at the same time - worked in a butchers on a Tuesday after school and a full day on the Saturday. I have hardly eaten red meat since, but the great thing about this job was that it was next door to the best record shop ever. I used to spend most of my meagre earnings on second hand vinyl.

At 16, I was at art college and worked over the Christmas holidays at the Royal Mail as a seasonal postman. Another early start - what was I thinking? I did that for two years running, it was great money too. Again, I alienated the other postmen; we did two rounds, one at 7am and one at 11am and I used to go back to the sorting office at 9.30am, as I'd finished. They advised me I was showing them up and best to go for a cuppa or go home until 11am!

Next up was a summer strawberry picking in Sussex, which was great fun and very sociable. This was rather distracting and I was constantly told off for not meeting my daily quotas, as I was starting too late!

When I left art college at 19 and couldn't find a job, I went to work in St Ives with a friend in a restaurant, stacking up the dishwasher. Again, I had a great time and stayed for five months, having been promoted to making apple pies!

My first proper job was as a junior designer in a small art studio, which involved running errands and delivering jobs to clients (no PDFs in those days). I didn't get to do any real design work, but I obtained enough experience to leave after six months and go and work in the creative team of one of Liverpool's largest advertising agencies. I can happily say that I loved every day of my various jobs over the next 36 years and still do.

Looking back, I do think that those early experiences helped me soak up the ethos of hard work and always striving to do things differently and more efficiently. Through all of these trials and tribulations, my sense of character grew. It meant that I have been able to run and develop KADM since 1988. Without this vast array of experience, I certainly wouldn't be who I am today and the business wouldn't be what it is today. Everything has contributed to Kaleidoscope and 28 years later, we're still going strong.