The Work and Family Show 2014 – Shouldn’t we be Balancing Everyone’s Work-Life?

Yesterday I spent the day at ExCel London visiting The Work and Family Show 2014.  I have never been before (the irony being that I never had time before of course), and decided to let fate decide if I should attend by entering a competition for tickets being run by Chiswick Mum on her blog.  Luckily I won and fate let me go (Thank you @Chiswick_mum!).

I was at the show all day and enjoyed some really interesting panel discussions including fine-tuning your job-applications, how to borrow money to start your own business, balancing your life and working flexibly.

Although some of the workshops covered Diversity and Gender issues, The Work and Family Show 2014 doesn’t specifically promote itself as a Women’s event, and a couple of the most interesting panel members were men, so where were all the menContinue Reading →

Who Needs Courses When There’s Networking?

multi coloured men and women networking culture

According to a number of research sources, 60- 70% of all jobs are not advertised and are found through networking or existing contacts.  I have discovered that I like meeting new people and over the last few months I have met many amazing and inspiring individuals.  For someone like me who has sat next to the same person 11 hours per day for the last 10 years, this new found pleasure has had the biggest impact on me.  You can call it networking, but that sounds very clinical.  As I have mentioned before, this is about getting to know people on a different level and sharing the journey. Continue Reading →

Five Job Applications, Five Rejections. Must Try Harder

       Since the start of the year I have been applying for a few jobs in the hope of a smooth transition into new employment.  I have only three parameters that are important.
  • I want to avoid working long hours, five days per week, unless it is for an internship . I have a lot of new experiences and course I want to fit in and I want time to myself and for my family.
  • I do not want to be a tiny cog in the enormous grinding machinery of large Bank or Corporate.  I want to have a voice and feel that what I am doing is important.
  • I want to enjoy the work I do and believe in the product/business. Continue Reading →

5 Positive Changes After Leaving My Job

Umbrellas in the Rain
       I have just come to the end of strange limbo period called Gardening Leave. As of last week I am now Unemployed For Real.  I had been pretty relaxed about things until now, but I woke up on my first day of Real Unemployment and felt different inside.
       I have been employed in some capacity or other since the age of 14, and this past week I have an edgy feeling that something is not right.  When my mind is empty for a few minutes I feel very uneasy, my stomach lurches and for a split second I feel panic.
So, this week I am focussing on the positive changes in my life over the last three months and how my life is slowly improving for the better.

Now I can… Continue Reading →

Thinking of a Career Change in 2014?

 I certainly don’t have all the answers yet I’m afraid, but I can tell you that you are not alone.
       The Institute of Leadership and Management recently carried out a poll of 1000 employees.  19% expected to change jobs this year and of this 39% would like to change career and try something new.  Almost exactly one year ago I had started to come to the same decision.  Like anyone I had sometimes thought about changing jobs before, but this feeling was different. I knew it was time for a complete change.
       These are my first 3 steps for planning career change. You can take these steps now and it will help you start to feel it is at least possible. Continue Reading →

There are Courses…and there are MOOCs

Last week, I started two very different courses and they are worlds apart.

Firstly, I am doing a web design and WordPress course at a Local Authority College.  The ‘Digital Suite’  is a very small room with a very large radiator, belting out heat.  There are ten tiny workstations wedged into the room.  Fortunately, only seven people have signed up, otherwise we would struggle to squeeze in.  We will all be sitting in this tiny room for 3 hours every Monday afternoon, trying to get to grips with the heat from the radiator and building a website.  As with all group courses the pace of study is likely to be determined by the slowest person, and I am hoping it’s not me! Continue Reading →

New Year Hopes Not-Resolutions

I have never broken
a New Year’s Resolution…fact.  Truth is I have never made any to break.  Rather than give up drinking
in January, I did once pledge to drink every day for the whole month.  Something that I achieved way too easily.  However, since I am currently at what can only be described as a turning point in my life, I am allowing myself a few very simple ‘hopes’ for my new life in 2014. Continue Reading →

I’m doing a MOOC..yes a MOOC

I am allowing myself plenty of time to achieve my career change and one of the luxuries I am giving myself is the chance to do some courses.  Some are aimed at improving my skills and make me more employable, some will be an attempt to reignite my long-defunct creativity, but one is just for my own self-indulgent pleasure.
Next week I am taking part in a MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course.  The Introduction to Forensic Science course is being run by the University of Strathclyde and will be the first course to be run by Futurelearn, a private company owned by The Open University.  There is no formal qualification, the courses are purely for pleasure and for me this is simply an itch that I needed to scratch.  Continue Reading →

2013 – What did I learn?

I didn’t expect much from 2013, just another year grinding away in the same old job 11 hours a day, a bit of commuting and then all my ‘real life’ squeezed in to the periphery.  I knew I was fed up,  I even hoped that I would be made redundant to spur me into changing my life, but each round of redundancies left me untouched, sitting, staring at my wall of computer screens.

My back ached all day, every day, from being slumped in front of a screen for more than 20 years.  For 18 months I had physio for my knees, knees that simply didn’t work anymore as my legs had forgotten how to work properly.  My physio pointed out that I wasn’t alone, I am part of the first generation who have sat still for decades, we are the guinea pigs that prove that technology might save time and headcount, but when you reach the point of conducting your whole life from a screen then you are no longer living your life…or using your body parts.

Mince Pies…and Cardboard Boxes

      Enough procrastination, and on to the first phase of my career change project.  I quickly realised that voluntary work was going to be a way to sharpen up any ‘real world’ skills I might have, to have fun and to widen my network.  What I didn’t realise was that working for free is a very competitive marketplace and I would be the oldest intern in town!  My CV was so dull that I was forced to delete the phrase ‘transferable skills’ as it slowly dawned on me that these seemed a little sparse.  I knew it was important to feel inspired by the project or cause if I was going to be a useful volunteer, and after a few weeks of trawling through Escape The City, Enternships, and CharityJob I found the ideal project: The Mince Pie Project 2013. Continue Reading →