Chris Dury is general services manager at contract caterer Sodexo.
What has been your worst job?
As a teenager growing up in Somerset, not far from Cheddar, I was offered a holiday job working at a local cheese factory. It was close to home, fairly well-paid for a casual job over Easter and situated on the banks of one the finest trout lakes in Europe - thinking back it all sounds delightful.
What was so bad about it?
The job involved collecting huge blocks of very mature Cheddar from the cold room, scraping off the bloom (mould!), cutting them into wholesale-sized blocks, then bagging, vacuum-packing, weighing and relabelling them.
The place had a very heady stink - enough to make your eyes water. By the end of the day we all smelt as pungent as the cheese. I dreaded the walk home just in case someone I knew stopped to offer me lift - it was that bad.
What did you learn from the job?
The main thing that I learnt quickly was to juggle tasks, as it was important to stay one step ahead of the game, anticipate the demand of cheese from the fridge and keep the process going along the production line.
I also learnt the importance of ensuring a thorough induction for new starters, regardless of how long they are going to be with you. Ensuring all staff know the importance of their role and how the part they play contributes to the overall business is vitally important - even the smallest cog in an engine has its purpose.
What is the best bit of your current role?
The best bit of my job is the variety. Looking after house services for an international headquarters encompasses responsibility for everything from front-of-house reception right the way through to the management of waste services, housekeeping, food and beverage service and corporate events.
A visitor recently commented that my job was like running a five-star hotel where the bedrooms have undergone a metamorphosis into offices. Our customers have very high expectations and we thrive on delivering them every day.
The great thing about working for a company like Sodexo is the breadth of potential opportunities. The arena of blue chip and prestige environments is where I have my roots. I would like to continue to share my passion for quality service and to create innovative service solutions for discerning clients.