I’m still trying to make sense of my incredible journey. While my journey is a personal one with an ode to my parents and heritage. I wish there was a way to squeeze every likkle detail that matters to me into this post, but sadly, I can’t. 

Instead, I will ask myself, “ Where did it all start?” and take it from there. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Albeit a short one. Yuh Ready?

Di Dream Guh Suh – The Making Of A Dream

The actuality of who I am today lies in the realm of an unfinished dream of the ones before me — an inherited dream. A dream wherein blood and work are inseparable. One that runs in my veins alongside good Jamaican blood. In Clarendon, Jamaica, the dream unfolds and sets sail to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

the-empire-windrush-ship-virtual-click

My beloved parents were born on the beautiful Island of Jamaica. They travelled from the Caribbean to the UK. After WWII, many people from the Caribbean travelled upon a request to rebuild Britain. The majority intended to return to their home country after a few years. Circumstances changed, and many were not able to return. We became part of a rich British Caribbean community. 

Cultivated by the presence of warm and hardworking family members in a home that instilled the mellow rhythms of reggae, heritage and cuisine that would revive any soul — not just Jamaicans. 

I was born in Bristol and Christened as Doreen Jones. My household was a typical British-Jamaican home. Although, typical is very relative. I suppose what I should say instead is that my siblings and I enjoyed a culturally rich, Jamaican upbringing right here in the UK.

illustration-of-little-girl-in-yellow-dress-the-virtual-click
Illustrated by J S Adam

Mi Miss Dem Deh Time Wen… I Truly Miss Those Days

I remember, every Sunday — my mother would dress me in my Sunday best with a beautiful white silky ribbon for my hair. After my siblings and I came home from Sunday school, we would have the traditional Sunday meal. Jamaican chicken, rice and peas — washed down with a glass of nice homemade carrot juice.…. I remember those days like yesterday.

Patois was the main language spoken in my household. Patois is part of my identity — Patois is where my roots lie. I will never forget where I came from. Actually, there’s no way I can forget because I constantly mix up my English with Patois! I put “h’s” where they don’t belong and eat them where they do. You ‘ear me, now? I used to feel embarrassed for constantly mixing them up, but I realised it’s a sign of my parents’ hard work and perseverance. It’s here to stay and I’m embracing it in full force.

  

A Me, Me’ah Wuk PanWork Is My Identity

As far as I can recollect, I have always tried hard to benefit others– naturally, after I have learned and mastered a skill or craft. Essentially, this is the core of my work spirit.

My work spirit is a blend of the best of two worlds. Mum and Dad; warm-hearted and hard-working, respectively. I dedicate my eventful journey to them. My siblings were equally influenced by the same work spirit like me. 

The earliest memories of my father working were of him coming home each evening covered in coal dust. My father ran his own business as a coal merchant and delivered coal to houses back in the day when most homes did not have central heating. Over the years, he changed his career path and was the owner of two restaurants.

I’m A Boomer, Baby!

Great things happened in the 60s. The world was changing. Not because of me — although that would have been a remarkable milestone. The music took a significant turn and was a foundation for many years of great music to come, voices standing up for freedom and individuality ✊? 

People were over WWII. All in all, a great decade to be born in.

My imagination was limitless as a likkle girl– I loved reading and making up my own stories. For these stories, I liked to dress up in my mother’s elegant stilettos. They were, naturally, too big for me, but who cares?!  I had to look suitable for the role in my tales. Oh, how I miss that likkle gyal.

Not everyone appreciated my great imagination. Looking back, I can only see it as a gift. A gift that paved the path for my future. It taught me to dream big and never settle for anything less.

Let’s do some bizniz, shall we?

They call what I am about to describe hustling. I, strongly, beg to differ — if that’s alright with you. I was slowly laying the foundation for possibly every successful outcome in my business career. Nothing went in vain. Let’s call them small-big jobs, instead.

Fish ‘N’ Chips, Anyone?!

illustration-of-fish-and-chips-in-newspaper

I remember my very first attempt at doing business like it was yesterday. I believe I was 9 or 10 at the time.

This was when I first learned to observe the art of making good ol’ British fish ‘n’ chips from a true expert in action: My own mother. 

I observed, took mental notes and soon applied all that I’d learned by making and selling fish ‘n’ chips– to my neighbours!

It all started when I was playing curb ball with my friends. After playing our little hearts out, we got hungry. DING! DING!. That was my lightbulb ? moment. I went inside and decided to feed my team.

I made them fish ‘n’ chips. They loved it! The next day I thought to myself, why not sell it this time? So I did—my first business ever! Until…

Dareen!!, “Cum yah! – a wadi…..  Bless you, mum 

My mother found out from our neighbours since I violated all food safety protocols by selling the food wrapped in old newspapers. This just made me chuckle as I’m writing– what an inspiring likkle gyal. I got in trouble alright, but this was certainly not the end. It was only the beginning as part of a journey of small-big jobs.

I was always doing something; if not studying then working. Some call ‘em side hustles. I beg to differ; they were small-big jobs with big dreams. 

In all honesty, I would have liked to give all credit to where I am today to my partners in crime; chocolate cake, lattes and seafood. With deep disappointment, that is simply not true. They have, however, always been there for me. I love you guys.

Dreams And Hopes

As I’m writing this post, I realise how much I have in common with my father. I get my passion and innate motivation for work and business from him.

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My Dad and his great-grandson

My father, Mr O.B. Jones Esquire, is a hardworking man. My parents travelled from the Caribbean to the UK for a better quality of life. They came with big dreams and hopes. My father’s main goal was to get us ready to fit his dreams. The dreams and hopes he left his homeland for. He made sure I did well academically and pushed after school activities to cultivate creativity and expand my horizons.

I remember that one of those activities was piano lessons; I failed miserably and cannot stress how much I loathed those lessons– I know how to play “chopsticks”, though. My father also enrolled me in typing lessons, which I absolutely loved. Those typing lessons served me well in my future. Appreciating what our parents desired for us is never clear until we are old enough to understand. Bless you, dad.

Oh, by the way, Mr O. B. Jones Esquire is 90 plus and still going strong! He’s probably at the allotment as you’re reading this. It’s true what they say “Old habits die hard”, being from agriculturally rich and green Clarendon, Jamaica, never really left him. I suppose it’s also what kept him going all these years was his rich, healthy Jamaican diet. That will be a topic for another article. 

Back To The Future IV

illustration-of-black-women-dressed-in-the-seventies-virtual-click
Illustrated by JS Adam

“Welcome back to our show; What decade is iittttt!”

“I’m your host, Jamila Jones, live from the Virtual Click Studios.” 

What decade is this? I’ll give a few hints; Afro, Wedges, Disco Fever, ABBA and Bob Marley. What decade is it?…

Ding, ding, ding! We got a winner!             

Ah, what can I say about the ’70s? Disco, funk and soul–I looked fly with my afro, ABBA was blasting from every radio, and Bob Marley (finally) gave the world a look at my heritage through his music. There was no sign yet of technology taking over my life yet. 

Hold on now– how can I forget the coin-operated TV! It was called the telemeter system. ‘Tis too complicated for you millennials and Gen Z to get.  Ask your uncle Google or aunt Siri!

However, I would like to think that technology and Disco are somehow related. Disco was in, and before we knew it, it was out! Same with technology; one day it’s in, one day it’s out…or rather, it evolves into something new! I’ll stick to technology, thank you very much! 

Let’s move on to the next question! Michael Jackson’s gone “Bad”, E.T. finally went home; the A-Team were real-life heroes — not. But most importantly, the fall of the Berlin Wall. What decade is it? 

Yep, another correct answer!!!

Honestly, let’s not mention 80’s music– something went terribly wrong during this decade. Fashion-wise, things didn’t do any better either. Anywho, does anyone remember Amstrad computers and floppy discs?! That was my very first computer and my very first Virtual Click.

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This old lady is called Typewriter

Although, I would like to think it all started when I laid fingers on my typewriter for the very first time. This was my first small-big job. 

I used my typing skills to type students’ research papers and dissertations; for a quid per sheet! 

Personal Secretary

Later I joined the Secretary School. Yes, that’s a thing. I was then hired at the University of Bristol as a Personal Secretary.

secretary | ˈsɛkrɪt(ə)ri |

noun (plural secretaries);

A person employed by an individual or in an office to assist with correspondence, make appointments and carry out administrative tasks…

  • For the Millenials and Gen Z lot. You’re welcome! ?

Moving on to the next decade!

Clinton and Lewinsky had been naughty, Mandela became president of the most racist country in the world, and Margret Thatcher finally called it quits. 

You guessed it! It’s the 90’s! 

The ’90s is when I had my beautiful and talented children — a boy and a girl. I loved being a mother, but that didn’t stop me from my small-big jobs. I sold unique children’s outfits. They sold like hotcakes and became popular in my neighbourhood. Seeing all the children running around in the same outfits was so funny. I also did some home-based bookkeeping as a side gig. It’s all part of the process of becoming Jamila. 

You will win a year of posting free comments on The Virtual Click blog posts if you answer this last one! That’s right, a whole year!

What is the year that had the biggest software bug in history?

Yesssssss!! The year 2000 or Y2K!! Comment away for a whole year!!!! ? ??

 

Clickety Click – @thevirtualclick

Ah, where have all the years gone? It seems just like yesterday when that likkle gyal was selling fish and chips to her friends and got caught. I just closed my eyes and saw her playing hopscotch. 

I’ve grown older, wiser with bigger dreams. I’m more settled and feel relaxed. I’m at peace with my new lifestyle and embracing the Islamic Faith. This is when Allah brought all his blessings to me. I am glad He did. I became Jamila, which means beautiful. 

Y2K brought with it extreme changes. Everything is moving so fast in the world of technology. After fixing the glitch, technology was unstoppable. 

Every other person had a mobile phone and was playing snake. A few years later, smartphones came out. The rest is history. Technology was no longer a tool, it became a necessity. I pivoted and shifted along with this great movement. Technology became a part of my life. Both on a personal and professional level. The Virtual Click finally made it after being in labour for four decades! Haha! 

From Amstrad to MacBook

From a coin-operated TV to a flatscreen. From my manual typewriter to touch screens. From Clarendon, Jamaica to Leicester, UK. 

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Illustrated by JS Adam

From Reggae to Quran.

Like the rest of the world, I started spending more and more time online. Being the person I am and how I was raised, I don’t like to waste time being idle. I learned how to work technology in my favour. Home-based work had taken a different stance after the internet became widely available. I made sure to take advantage of this.

Not long after, I was connecting with freelancers everywhere on the globe. It still gives me chills!

No matter what I write about my journey, I am thankful to God for every single step. I hope to inspire you after reading this. 

Much peace,

Jamila Jones

I would certainly hope you liked this journey with me through the virtual click. I can’t wait for your input, so please let me know by leaving a comment below. Don’t forget to share my writing with others who might find it interesting too.

Want to earn money from home? Then get a copy of the 30 Jobs You Can Do From Home As A Freelancer below. It goes over all of the different types of jobs you can do at home for money.

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