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 →

I’m A Freelancer!

There are lots of websites out there offering sensible advice on how to become a freelancer.  This blog isn’t one of them!  But if you ever decide to throw all your cards up in the air and start again, then maybe my way will work for you.

Back in January I set myself a few ‘Hopes’ for the year.  Two months in to 2014 and I can check one off.  I have just signed my first freelance contract and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Continue Reading →

Being Five Years Old – Part One

Five Years Old CandleSon 3 is the magical age of 5, just on the verge of turning into a miniature person with his own preferences, ideas and friendships.

Being Five there is a simple rhythm to your life, your school days are all the same, no nasty exams or tests, you just turn up and see what has been laid on for the day.  You don’t need (and can’t use a watch), your days are punctuated by play times and lunch.  At the end of the day (well, 3.30pm), you have a play date or watch TV.  These rhythmic days roll up into school terms that ebb and flow with the seasons. Birthday parties, School fairs, Sports Day.  All come and go, year after year.  Being Five you will have forgotten what the last event was like, so all these events seem fresh and exciting when they come around.

Although I had my two older sons very close together, Son 3 didn’t pop along until more than 10 years later.  Being an older (and now unemployed!) Mum, and having such a large age gap, has made this age more enjoyable and yet more poignant for me.

Short of someone appearing on Dragon’s Den with a ‘Grow Your Own Baby’ kit, I know that Son 3 is my last child. After 30 years of potential motherhood it is over for me.  I can’t remember 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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.

Procrastination….and Meatballs

       Although I had a few months to prepare for being made redundant I somehow didn’t seem to manage to clear my ‘To Do’ list in order for me to sit back and take it easy for a few weeks.  Today the rain is throwing itself down and even though I had the day mapped out, I managed to walk into the leg of a chair at 8am and break my middle toe.  The day I had set aside for running around to organise my son’s 5th birthday party is abandoned and I am at home with a loudly throbbing foot.
       Never mind, I have lots to do in my search for Happy Work, so I can do some research, work on my ‘network’, draft a CV etc.
I spend an hour on Facebook. Continue Reading →