Key Points:

Tony Lambert

Director, Italian Film Festival

What was your first job?

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Putting together drivers' licences - cutting the piece of paper, adding the driver's photo and then laminating it. Totally manual. This was in Harare, then Salisbury, in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia. It was 1972-73, and I was 17. I have no idea of how much I was paid, maybe $1 an hour.

I think my father found me the job. I stayed six weeks. I left the country before I got called up to fight a losing war!

Did you enjoy it?

It was an eye-opening experience as I had not worked before. I worked in an office, an alien environment, as I had been to boarding school in the bush.

I worked with black people, with whom we had limited contact in those days. Rhodesia never had apartheid, so please don't compare us to South Africa.

What did you learn?

That earning money is hard. But this job had nothing on my second where I got paid 1.75 an hour in the UK but had to work 12-hour shifts, five days a week, always at night watching a huge machine, that would go wrong at least once every night. That was awful and really messed me up.

I did that for three months before going to university. Maybe that job gave me the drive to never let myself get into a position where I had to work in that environment again.

Any advice for someone starting out?

Be patient. Someone has to do the boring stuff in every company and as you are the new guy, you will do those things. But learn from the experience.

Show people that you can do a good job, no matter how boring, trivial or limiting. Show commitment.

The Italian Film festival runs from October 1-15 at the Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket, and Bridgeway Cinemas, Northcote Pt.