In our regular #MyFirstMcJob series, graceful swans remember with they were still hapless ducklings
Hi, Sheri! Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Sheri and the founder of Harley Therapy, which is one of the UK’s largest psychotherapy group of private clinics in Harley Street and online throughout the UK. I'm very passionate about therapy. I've been in therapy since a very young age and am now working with some very talented colleagues who offer the same benefits to their clients.
What was your #MyFirstMcJob?
Working at a pub during my first year at Oxford.
How did you get that job?
I had a boyfriend who was working in nightclubs while studying at university. I thought: “Oh, that looks fun.” He suggested I should start working at a pub, so I walked around various pubs and asked if something was available. There was a cleaning job, essentially mopping floors and helping out. I think there's a word for that ...
That would be it.
What did you have to do?
Clear glasses, mop floors and eventually serve behind the bar.
How long did you work there for?
What were the perks of the job?
I'm sure there were drinks available, but I'm a non-drinker, so that advantage bypassed me. I think the exposure and opportunity to feel busy and earn was valuable.
Did anything particularly memorable happen?
I remember a regular customer who would sit at the bar, share his life story, drink profusely, once blanked out and had to be taken off in an ambulance. That was an eye-opener to me about the effects of heavy drinking. I wonder if that’s why I ended up working as a trainee counsellor in an alcohol advice centre!
What skills did you learn that you still use today?
The world I'm in involves listening to people. Especially when I was out front serving the drinks, you’d get lots of chatty people divulging their worries and their difficulties. Part of the job was just hearing them out. That's a fundamental skill in counselling.
Are you still in contact with anyone you used to work with?
I am not. There were a lot of transient staff; people didn’t tend to stay for long.
Why is alumni important to you?
I think Alumni becomes more important as time goes on. Relationships are valuable for human connection. It makes us feel good when we stay in touch. It’s mutually beneficial because they might be able to do something for us and vice versa, like giving recommendations. They also can spread goodwill about the place you’re working in by sharing positive experiences.
What would happen if you went back and did a shift working at the pub today?
I relish even the small jobs because I do see opportunity in mostly everything. Even if tasks can seem mundane, I can learn how to do it better or faster, or add a little glow to someone's day. I would probably approach it with maybe even a little more zest for learning than I did then.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?
Just keep going. Keep figuring it out. Be easy on yourself. I didn't know what I wanted to do at the time. I was uncertain about future career prospects at the beginning of university where there was increasing pressure to choose a career or a path in life. Meandering and just trying out things in unrelated fields is fine also.