Life on Hold

Two weeks ago I drafted a blog post about how my new life was shaping up. I had just started another freelance role with a small newspaper and alongside my part-time charity role I was starting to think that this might be the portfolio career I had been looking for. Although the newspaper role was as Editor’s Assistant, it would also give me a chance to do some features writing and get published — something that I had increasingly been drawn towards during the time I have been getting to know myself again.

On the 7th July I went to my first press conference, wrote about it and managed to get my article published. I was feeling very excited about what was to come and had started my packing list for the big family adventure to Borneo. I was so busy that I didn’t get around to finishing the blog post.

On the 9th July I was told I have breast cancer.

In the space of a few seconds everything fell apart. A month ago a mammogram had been clear and a biopsy carried out ‘just to be sure’, but here was the doctor mouthing words that made no sense….’there is a tumour….I’m so sorry….it is in your lymph nodes too…surgery….ER+…HER negative…24th July…you need to cancel your holiday’.

By the time I left the hospital 30 minutes later I had joined a new club, been given the membership pack and had a head buzzing with questions. How do I tell people? What will it sound like when I say it out loud? My kids….what do I tell my kids? Continue Reading →

Happy ‘Leave Work’ Anniversary to Me

Happy Leave Work Anniversary

Every day I receive updates from LinkedIn – often they invite me to congratulate friends and colleagues on their Work Anniversary. I find it a strange concept as I don’t know anyone who actually celebrates their own Work Anniversary. I can’t remember balloons and flowers appearing in the office to mark another year’s service for anyone, but judging by the ‘Congrats’ messages that now appear on LinkedIn this has become an acceptable date to have in your calendar. LinkedIn also seems to have created a new word as the majority of LinkedIn users seem happy to click the ‘Congrats’ button — the word irks me, ‘Congratulations’ sounds more fitting, more celebratory.

One year ago today, after months of feeling miserable, I woke up feeling brave enough to ask to leave my job. Of course if you have read my previous blog posts you will know that I didn’t actually escape in June, but nonetheless I started the process. Even saying it out loud was enough to make me feel a fire inside that had been missing for so long.

So, Happy ‘Leave Work’ Anniversary to me, and say Congratulations to me for stepping off the wheel and to trying to make it on my own.

The biggest impact of this change has been on all the relationships in my life… Continue Reading →

Look Up, Look Back, Look Inside, Look Around

My name is Clara Lawrence and I am a Career Changer…

Is there a support group for Career Changers? Should I start one?
My head is so busy that it feels like a tumble dryer stuck on a never-ending cycle, churning ideas, fears and desires. I seem unable to open the door and take one single item out, every time I open the door, just the tiniest bit, everything comes crashing out and I have to forcibly tuck it away again. It’s been a week of turmoil, but I have worked a few things out… Continue Reading →

Working from Home – The First Month

I have now been self-employed and working from home for almost one month.  Prior to this I spent the last 25 years working in huge, open-plan Trading floors of Banks and Broking companies surrounded by 100-400 ‘close colleagues’.  To all intents and purposes a battery hen leashed to the desk by a length of telephone cable.

Now, my home is my office.

So how does working from home feel?  What are the differences, good and bad?

Clearly I no longer commute (this is good).
I don’t object to using public transport, I just don’t like using it at the same time as the rest of the population of London.  Continue Reading →

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 →