why i need 9 jobs!
When sarah Moore, 26, from north ronaldsay, ditched city life and a dull job, she’d no idea what she’d be taking on…
Rushing around the stockroom, I was up to my ears with deliveries as usual. Busy, yes, but… This is boring, I thought, miserable.
It was May 2014, and I’d been working as a stockroom processor in a clothes shop in Edinburgh for almost three years, hating every minute.
I popped out for lunch, but my mood didn’t improve.
Cars beeping, people rushing around… I’d never been much of a city girl.
‘We’ll be off on holiday next week,’ my mum Jennifer reminded me later.
Mum, my dad John and I were going back to the Orkney Islands for the second time – a group of 70 beautiful, peaceful, remote islands north of Scotland. My little piece of heaven… ‘I can’t wait,’ I sighed. Stepping off the plane a week later, I felt a rush of happiness.
Surrounded by blue sea and rolling hills, it was hard to believe all this was just an hour’s flight away.
‘I just love it here,’ I said. ‘I know you do, love,’ Mum said, smiling.
The next two weeks exploring the islands were incredible. There were no traffic jams and no queues.
With a population of just 22,000, you could go ages without seeing anyone.
But thoughts of life at home were like a black cloud hanging over me.
‘I can’t face going back!’ I cried on our last day. ‘Back to reality,’ said Dad. I felt crushed.
But an idea started to form… The minute I was home,
I got out my laptop. How to live in the Orkney
Islands, I typed into the search-engine bar. I read that an ageing
population meant the islands were crying out for young people like me, to go over there and work!
‘This could be the answer,’ I told Dad.
‘We all want to escape the rat race,’ he sighed. ‘But it’s harder than you think.’
I knew it’d be tough, but I’d nothing to lose.
At 23, I lived with my parents, hated my job and was desperate for a new start.
Prepared to try my hand at
anything, I knew that I could find work.
I’d my heart set on moving to one of the smallest of the islands, North Ronaldsay.
But, with a lack of housing there, the hardest part would be finding somewhere to live.
So I signed up to a housing website and, meanwhile… ‘I quit,’ I told my boss. Walking out, I’d never felt so elated. I was finally free!
‘You did what?!’ cried Dad. It was hasty – but, within weeks, I found work at a local kennels. Then, in December, I got the email I’d been waiting for. A two-bed bungalow had come up for rent on the island.
At the bottom of a hill, with just one other house nearby, it looked cosy and idyllic.
‘I’ll come to see it with you,’ Dad said to me.
‘Coming round to the idea, then?’ I smiled.
‘Let’s see this place first,’ he said, rolling his eyes.
When we arrived, the bungalow was even better than the photos.
‘I love it!’ I cried. ‘Won’t you get lonely?’ Dad asked, worried.
‘No,’ I replied. ‘But I’ll miss you and Mum.’
The island was tiny, only five miles wide with a population of just 45! But I knew it’d be easy to meet people by visiting the other islands, too.
‘You’ll be the youngest person here,’ grinned the estate agent.
‘As long as I have plenty of work,’ I said.
As luck would have it, he knew an old lady who needed some help.
And so my decision was made.
In February 2015, feeling terrified, I moved into my little cottage on North Ronaldsay.
What have I done? I thought, struggling to work the boiler.
But, later that day, my new neighbour popped over to help.
‘How do you feel about sheep?’ he asked over a cuppa.
With over 2,000 on the island, they desperately needed people to help herd, shear and care for them.
Before I knew it, I had 20 sheep in my back garden!
My care job involved making breakfast for an elderly lady each morning, leaving plenty of time to be a shepherdess, too.
And, as I met more islanders, more job offers came in.
Before long, I was a carer, a shepherdess, and I worked at the airport a few hours a day.
There, I had several roles – as firefighter, baggage handler and air-traffic controller!
A couple of years on, I heard the postman was retiring. It wouldn’t take more than an hour every few days to deliver the mail, so I applied – and got the job!
Since then, I’ve taken a job as the town clerk, I drive diggers on a farm and I do tours of the lighthouse. That’s nine jobs!
It may sound crazy, but I’ve never felt so free. Nine jobs here is better than my one dull one back in Edinburgh!
Last October, my parents retired out here. I’m so happy, I’ll never leave this island.
Yes, juggling nine jobs is a handful, and I don’t get much time off. But, to me, every day is like a holiday!
Prepared to try my hand at anything, I knew I’d find work
Looking for a postie? I’ll deliver!
In need of a firefighter? That’ll be me Shining light! Cleaning the lighthouse lamp Hot wheels! Yes, I drive diggers, too
Herd about my job as a shepherdess?