In our regular series, important people reminisce about their first jobs
Hi, Natasha! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Natasha, and I’m Managing Partner at haysmacintyre, an award-winning firm of chartered accountants and tax advisors.
What was your first McJob?
I come from a family of business owners, so I was heavily involved from the age of 12. I’d help my dad with the VAT receipts at his accountancy and tax practice. I’d sweep the floor at my aunt’s hair salon, where women would come in for blue or purple tints and sit under these big hair steamers. And I’d be on the front counter at my uncle’s Greek bakery — who made the best Greek koulouri [sesame bread rings], apple turnovers and hot cross buns — which required a lot of mental maths and a 5am start! But my first actual job — where I got an actual payslip — was waitressing at Pizza Hut while at Reading University.
What did you have to do?
Wait my allocated tables, set out the infamous Pizza Hut salad bar, tidy up at the end of the night and help get ready for lock up.
How long did you work there?
I did various shifts over my final two years. One of my housemates and another uni friend worked there too, so it was great fun doing shifts together.
What’s the funniest thing that happened?
One of the other waitresses’ ex-boyfriends came in to the restaurant with his new girlfriend, so she spat in his potato skins!
What skills did you learn that you still use now?
My dad, aunt and uncle sold their successful businesses and are now finally retired. I loved watching and learning the way they would engage with their customers. Many of the customers at both the hair salon and bakers were regulars and my aunt and uncle would know all about them, their children, and where they go on holiday. I’d like to think I’ve learned how to engage with customers and make them feel welcome, settled and looked after.
Are you still in contact with any of your old colleagues?
Only through Facebook, but it’s lovely to see each other’s families and support each another. My old housemate from uni ended up getting together with the pizza chef and now have a daughter together.
Why is alumni so important to you personally?
Alumni are the product of our training and development. It’s great for the current team to hear our past employees speak so positively about their experience of working with us.
Why are alumni important in business today?
Alumni are great supporters and representatives. Some have referred work to us and many have even returned to work with us.
What would happen if you tried to do your old jobs today?
I think I’d still enjoy being on the restaurant floor, speaking to the customers, because I loved getting the tips, although I’m not sure my crockery balancing skills are still up to scratch!
If you could do back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Self-doubt can slow us down. So dive straight in. Don’t worry what people think. Working in a male dominated environment can make you question what you can achieve. There is no cookie cutter approach to raising a family — you have to find what’s best for you and your family unit.