Sunday, 22 April 2012

New job = no more retail.

So I got a new job. This is a very exciting time for me; it’s my first non-retail job and, in theory, will mark my transition from retail into big girl work forever. That is if I get a publishing job at the end of the year. Although this job will exist until around 2014, so I guess I’m set to not work retail again.

I've been working since I took over my sister’s paper run in Taupo back when my age was a single digit. Since then, I’ve worked in a bakery, sold home goods, made smoothies and salads, given advice on a variety of sporting goods, as well as sold books, organised your post and taken your coffee orders. There’s also a chance I’ve also yelled at you if you were undergrad at some point in the past two years.
I quite like my CV, it shows the crazy amount of things I’ve done since 2004, and there’s never been a job I didn’t like – just ones that didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d have liked in the end.

ANZAC Cove, from my school trip in 2006. 
So this new first non-retail job of mine is at Archives NZ. Fancy, I know; I even get a swipe card with my picture on it. I’m in the Digital Copy Centre from 7-9am every weekday scanning NZDF World War I soldier files, so they can be uploaded to Archway. From here, anyone can access them. I’m an easily distracted person, so I listen to music while working in an effort to concentrate better. However, that doesn’t stop random words and sentences jumping out at me from the files.

I had the file of a soldier who had previously served two years in the Army but had been discharged; the reasons for this weren’t given. However, he was deemed medically unfit to serve in WWI due to problems with his eyes; I assume this may have been the reason for his discharge. Just his willingness to serve for his country made me think a lot about what must have been running through his mind when he signed up and was told he couldn’t fight. Makes you wonder.

The other day I had my first Killed in Action soldier. Which was followed by another one. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about these men, who had both died early into the war, how they were just young guys that probably thought they were invincible, going off on their daring adventure and never returned. Since that red ‘K.I.A’ stamp was struck down on the yellowed paper, there’s a chance I’m the first person since then to touch this record. The NZDF have gone through and put some of the papers on to microfilm, so those chances are greatly diminishing, but there’s still something special to me about being the person that gets to digitalise and immortalise on the internet soldiers’ lives and service records. People use Archway every day; families to find their loved ones, schools for projects, and I have no doubt Historians use it for research.

A poppy wedged in to the NZ Memorial
at Gallipoli, 2006.
However, the one soldier that has really jumped out and stuck with me was a gentleman who began his service in 1918, but was discharged in 1919 due to being “no longer physically fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on Active Service”. Bit of a mouthful. The main reason this man stood out at for me, though, was his occupation. Neatly written at the top of his history sheet was ‘Bookbinder’. Bookbinder. There are thousands of files to scan, and I happen to pick up a bookbinder’s. I thought it tied my current study and his life together quite well.

I said earlier this scanning job will exist until 2014; Archives have said they will digitalise all NZDF WWI personnel files by 2014 – the centenary of World War I. This job fuels my love of History while I’m busy studying to be a publisher, instead of doing History Honours as I intended. This beautiful balance between work, study, and lifestyle is more than I could ever ask for; 2012’s coming up great so far.


  1. What a great job to have! Alas I am still stuck in retail... I've been on the Archives website a couple of times, but I'm a newb and can't figure it out.

    1. It's quite hard to use, I just do what I've been shown, but the idea of everything going digital and free on there is quite the excitement. Don't worry, you won't be in retail forever! Also, keep blogging - your pictures are always so pretty.