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My First Job: Tom Bale, author

PUBLISHED: 10:41 20 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:13 20 February 2013

My First Job: Tom Bale, author

My First Job: Tom Bale, author

Tom Bale is a Sussex-based author. His latest book, Terror's Reach is out now (Arrow, £6.99)

I left school after my A-levels. Ambitions for university were dashed by the discovery that every English degree course required a Maths O-level. Id been hopeless at Maths, having spent the main exam plotting out the novel I intended to write that summer: a diversion that wouldnt bear fruit for another 25 years.
Besides, this was the Orwellian-nightmare year of 1984, with three million on the dole. After a brief period of unemployment, and some temporary work assembling cardboard boxes in a factory, I landed my first proper job as a sales assistant in a family-owned electrical retailer in Seaford.
There were the usual trials awaiting the new boy. The guys in the workshop sent me to a hardware store over the road to buy sky-hooks. I fell for it, of course.
At 18, living with Mum and Dad, what I knew about washing machines or tumble dryers could have been written on a clothing label with room to spare. I was on firmer ground with televisions and audio equipment.
Roberts radios were a big favourite with the crusty colonels and their haughty wives, who made Seaford in those days feel like an outpost of empire, with me in the role of hapless servant. But I met a lovely interesting mix of people, and the role of salesman really helped to bring a shy teenager out of his shell.


Terrors Reach by Tom Bale is out now (Arrow, 6.99)

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