Category Archives: Work

Post 2013 Workfest – What happened next.

I attended Workfest last year, having won tickets and you can read all about the day here.   It was a pretty inspirational day and I left thinking the cost of the ticket (had I paid) would have been well worth it.

It was perfectly timing for me in June 2013 because I was starting to think “What’s it all about?”  Why was I working where I was working, what was my goal?  Did I want to continue with 4 days a week, go shorter, go longer?  Did I want to reignite my passion for Psychology or find a new company to inject some passion into what I do?

It was a fantastic day and although I didn’t attend the “Build your Confidence” session, I really didn’t need to. Every session did that and all the large group seminars at the beginning and the end made me feel less alone in my dilemma.

So I walked away, armed with a lot of information and food for thought and I talked about it a lot with people in my lives for a month or two afterwards.

In September 2013 we had “The Students” move in next door which caused us quite a lot of anxiety, coupled with our partying neighbours on the other side, work and home were becoming a bed of worry for me.  We started talking about what we wanted to do.

So the decision was made for me to find a new job and use that to springboard us to a new location in the country.  Although that didn’t happen in the end, because although I wrote up a pretty impressive CV using some of the info I had gained from the Workfest day, I started having doubts again and was feeling the pressure of being responsible for our move.  I found a lot of part time jobsites, which has been really helpful but I couldn’t find the ideal job for me that was partime and the right salary.

So we rethought our plan and decided to look for a house in Hampshire and I was going to speak to my company about going down to 3 days a week and commuting/staying over with family.  It seemed the perfect solution until…

One of my CV applications from 2 months previously for a full time job resulted in me getting a phone call and request to attend an interview.  I ummed and ahhed about attending. One day I was going, the next I wasn’t, but in the end armed with the confidence I had gained from the day, I decided to go.

Cut a long story short, I got the job.  Well not the exact position, but a position that would allow me to work up to the position I wanted, a fantastic supportive company that I was open with from the moment I applied.  They knew I couldn’t work more that 30 hours a week and still saw me for the job.  Not only do I get to work 30 hours a week I also get to work one of those days at home.  Perfect.

I haven’t started yet. I start in August and we will have hopefully moved out to a small village in Wiltshire by then (conveyancing currently) but I have every faith that this is the move I needed to do. Both work and home.

I’m not entirely sure I could have considered any of this without that day in London in June.  I really did and still do have it ringing in my head every day.  Did you know that 90% of all companies allow flexible working?  They just don’t advertise the fact.  That kind of spurred me on.

After attending we were asked to give our honest feedback on the day, in great detail so I would hope some of the things that didn’t work so well will be off the agenda this year. It should be slicker and contain more relevant material for everyone.

I’d recommend it anybody who is umming and ahhhing.

Workfest 2014


Reblogged — Our Update on the BIG move

It’s been such a long time since I last posted which gives you a bit of an idea of the head space I’ve had available.  I’ve been incredibly stressed about lots of things, but let me give you the update.

I went for the interview in Swindon.  It lasted 4 hours and I was pretty sure it went very badly.

The following week they called back and offered me a job.  YAY.

The week after that, they called back and offered me a lower paid job.  Not so YAY.

I went back to negotiate a little on the salary.  They came back, via my voicemail and met me half way. YAY.

We ummed and ahhed and weighed up the pros and cons and I finally decided to take the job.  YAY.

So straight away we had to switch our search area. The negotiation had taken place on the Friday, the day before we were due to go on holiday, but by then we had started looking for houses to visit. We cancelled 2 we had planned to visit en-route to holiday and threw in a different 3.

On the Saturday we packed up for our hols and headed off early to view the properties.  One was just outside Newbury and was really lovely, very detached, big garden, but it was very isolated with no community around and a drive to a primary school, the noise of the busy road behind.  We had a nagging feeling about it, not least because the family selling were doing so to be closer to Newbury, presumably as they weren’t in a good catchment for schools (we looked it up).

One house in Malborough was just very unsuitable. On a busy road and the garden had been photographed to look bigger. Grrrr.

The final house was just lovely. Big house (5 bedroom) with lots of receptions and a decent garden. However, it was in Pewsey which we thought might be ok, but after chatting in the car, decided it was just too far out from family.

So we went off and had a lovely holiday. I accepted my job via email whilst away and we did a couple of planning evenings, picking houses to visit on our return visit.  Hubby headed up to a higher place to make all the calls (we had no mobile) and booked 7 visits.  arghhh.

So we left our holiday on Friday and after a visit to friends en-route and a tyre blowout on the M4, we spent the night at family near Newbury.  My Mother in law came over the following morning to take the children and we began the mammoth task of visiting these houses.

I can tell you a valuable lesson.  If a garden has more than one photo and doesn’t look big, it’ll be big.  If a garden is shot in 1 photograph and looks massive, it’ll be tiny. TINY!  Bloody estate agents.

The two houses we liked the most were the surprises as far as gardens go.  One would require a big building project and the other none at all.

One of them is getting a second visit on Friday.

house drawing

The Interview

I haven’t had a lot of head space recently, what with the planned move and the pending interview.

The interview was yesterday, so I guess that’s one thing I can tick off the list.  Gotta find the positive somewhere.

It didn’t go well.

It ended up lasting 4 hours.

It started with a group discussion about a project.  The 8 of us were split into 2 groups and had to plan a budget to resolve an issue. They didn’t really care about the outcome, but we had 8 people observing us (which was weird) and they cared about how we went about resolving.

At the time, I thought it went quite well, but on reflection I think I was a bit too set in my decision.

That was my best part of the day.

The next exercise was being given a case study. I had 30 minutes to pull out the relevant information for a presentation that I had to deliver in 10 minutes.  Despite panicking at the last-minute when I’d spent too long looking at something irrelevant, that part went ok.  He told me I had raised all the relevant information. However the Q&A at the end of this went very very badly.  I panicked and started throwing terms at them because they were expecting a specific answer and for the life of me I had no idea what it was.   I could see one of the interviewers lose the will to live.

I knew when I had the answer right because he nodded and said “yes”.  I only saw him do that on one occasion though.  He didn’t look impressed or interested.

The third part of the day should have been the easiest. I had time to prepare for it, I knew I had to answer a set of competencies and I was given those competencies in advance. I had to provide an example of each one.

Inevitably though, the question was phrased in such a way that half of my prepared questions no longer fitted.  I felt a little deflated and then couldn’t get my shit together to say anything relevant.  I flapped about talking about examples that didn’t specifically meet the question.  I felt completely incompetent.

By now it was 4.45pm. I had been at the venue since 12.15pm. I was exhausted and just wanted to run away.

I drove home, numb and feeling very very stupid.  90 minutes later I was home and drinking a large glass of wine and giving my Mother in law and husband a post-mortem.

I feel even worse today.  I can’t even grasp a single good thing that came out of it.

I joked too much. I showed too much of my personality.  I floundered.


At least we can start looking in our original area.  No Swindon job for me.


Parking in a residential area

Dear Resident,

Thank you for your recent enquiry, delivered to me on a cool, bright morning, on the kerb of your local park.

I appreciate that you are doing your “public service”, in fact you felt it necessary to mention it 3 times to me during our short conversation, but I’m not sure that harrassing a woman on the pavement IS in fact a public service.

You see, although you kept banging on about your friggin “Public Service” and asking me whether I was coming back to my car “shortly”, I did understand your bloody subtext.  Basically you wanted to say, “if you don’t live here, you shouldn’t be parking on our road.”  You see, I’m pretty clever like that. I know what you really mean.

The problem is, my dear, (you don’t mind if I call you dear, do you? Because if I don’t write that, I may well write a different word, a naughty word and as you are elderly, that wouldn’t be very polite would it?) this isn’t YOUR road.  It’s a public road and I’m well within my rights to park here.

To be honest I’m pretty sick to the back teeth of you and the other residents deciding to “pop on over” to have a chat with me.  Given the choice I wouldn’t be parking there at all but my company no longer deems providing parking spaces for their employees a good idea and in order to get to work from my house I would have to catch a bus and 2 trains or walk and then 2 trains.  It not only takes longer, is more prone to delay and is physically painful for me (see below) it also costs alot of money.  In order to pick up my children I need the car, so until you sort things out with my employer, I’m parking here, love, whether you like it or not.parking park

Now obviously, due to resident parking permits creeping further and further out of town, I park so far away from my place of work I then have to unfold a Brompton Bike and ride in. THIS actually helps my knee condition (Ankylosing Spondylitis), because I’m excercising and stretching my legs without it being weight bearing.  All told, it’s actually a good solution for someone with my condition as I can’t stand for very long (as I would on the bus and sometimes on the train) and even when sitting I can’t stretch my legs out in front of me on a crowded train.

However, I have to do it come rain or shine and sometimes, frankly, I really wish I didn’t have to.  So after a car journey in and then the unfurling of the bike and layering of high vis jackets, bicycle clips and a helmet, the last bloody thing I need is to be given the 20 questions by an old busy body like you.  Given the choice I wouldn’t be here, but otherwise I would have no choice but to leave my job.

I live near a row of shops and a short distance from a train station (not one I can use) and often can’t park outside my house.  You know, this happens IN LONDON, get over it!  I’m not even parked in front of a house, having purposely parked further away, alongside a park, because of the last bloody resident who harrassed me outside her house.  I just know you’re picking on me because I look like an easy target. I bet you aren’t clamouring to get out your front door when the blokes pull up in front and park up.  The houses opposite where I park all have driveways too.  What the hell is your problem.

I’d always promised that if asked if I’m staying all day, I’d lie, just to end the conversation.  Of course I hadn’t counted on you piping up with “oh, I thought I’d seen you before”. Bloody hell woman, are you doing surveillance? Have you got a notebook marked up with all the people who park nearby. Get a grip!

Next time you wander up, I’m ignoring you.  I’m going to pretend I’m deaf.  If you persist, I’m going to say “Talk to the council. Leave me alone”.  I really can’t be doing with it. If you don’t want people parking on your road, pay your council for permits, but BLOODY WELL LEAVE ME ALONE!

Yours with no regards




Taking the Plunge

Well, not literally.  I suppose it’s just as well we have no cliffs in London because the last few weeks at work would have certainly made the thought of it very appealing.  The trouble with having a difficult time at work is that it inevitably creeps into your home life too.  Hubby and I were arguing more and I was losing my patience with my children.  Nobody likes to be “that” mum.  The whole thing ends up spiralling up until you really don’t think you can take it anymore.

You may have remembered that I had a bit of a “losing it” moment with a senior executive a couple of weeks ago.  Well, not content with having one emotional angry moment I decided to book end it with another.  This time with my bosses boss.  This isn’t generally seen as a good career move, but I think it really summed up my general mood at the time.  Thankfully this man has a bit more emotional intelligence than the other guy and pressed me to the point where I was in fight or flight mode.  I was either going to shout “Fuck off” to him or walk out and even I was a bit apprehensive at which way I was going to go.  He saw the whites of my eyes, backed down and wandered off.  I knew I hadn’t won.  I had been lucky though.  I could have really made a mess of that.  We met the following Monday, much calmly and sorted out the disagreement in the right way.  Thank goodness.

So I’m at a cross roads.  I’ve been here 10 years in March and I recently decided I was going to find another job.  I’ve got lots of obstacles to getting there, but none that can’t be overcome.  I just need to break this all done in nice manageable chunks.  I’m concerned I’m going to miss out on my long service leave in March.  An extra 2 weeks holiday on top of the 4 weeks (Pro-rata for me, but works out the same).  It may take me that long to find the job I want, I can’t let that be a reason to hang on.  “I won’t earn as much” – Well, you never know.  “I won’t get the same benefits” – you never know, and at any rate, being happier is much more important. “I haven’t got a CV” – schedule the time to work on it.

The plan was that I start to look for a new job and then that would dictate where we might move out to.  We really want to move.  I feel stifled where I am.  The trouble is I don’t want to get a job somewhere only to discover all the areas around it I don’t want to live in.  We are, therefore, planning to go and do a bit of snoop around in areas we might like.  Hubby knows these places quite well, but I’m been a Londoner for 17 years and have never been to most.  First stop is this weekend.  Off to Hampshire to sample the delights that this county has to offer.  I’ve got a couple of villages recommended to me by people on Twitter (we nearly went on Sunday with hangovers, but some friends cancelled a weekend with us this week, so we thought we would use that), so we are going to check them all out.The Woods

We are making a whole weekend of it and will be staying overnight at relatives in Newbury which also gives us the opportunity to have a look West of Newbury too.  I’m really excited about it.  If we find an area we like I can find out about school and other amenities and then look for jobs that sit somewhere between there and where I am now.  Then I can commute for a while from here, hopefully with some flexibility and Pickle can complete Year 1 at her current school without me feeling guilty for pulling her out early.

All sounds so simple on paper though doesn’t it.  I’m hoping it pans out that well.

Any advice on what to look for in a new area, other than good schools?  What do you think makes a good place to live?