Friday, 28 June 2013

Nothing Will Work Unless I Do*

It's been three weeks since that initial awkward conversation with my boss. Three weeks in which the actual work I have to do has pretty much dried up completely, and I find myself in what I can only describe as a strange state of limbo. There is still the minutest possibility that another internal job may come off, but as time passes and that possibility fades into the distance, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may soon find myself unemployed.

The timing is actually rather fortuitous, meaning that at least I am unlikely to have to worry about childcare over the summer holidays. Brilliant, right? Finally loads of spare hours in the day to get around to tackling my paper mountain, or licking the house into some kind of acceptable shape. I even have time to blog more regularly. Um. However, despite my previous protestations, I'm more than aware of the fact that the life of a stay at home mum can't be mine on a permanent basis. The past couple of weeks have given me a very brief insight into how it might look. Apart from the odd day of unusual productivity decluttering the kids' toys, I've come to the conclusion that I'd just end up eating too many biscuits and spend too much time doing online shopping. So much for economising.

The need for money and mental stimulation therefore mean there is only one thing for it - I will have to find some kind of gainful employment. I can't deny that the prospect scares the hell out of me. I've worked out that my last "serious" interview was probably around 14 years ago. Realistically, much as I'd love to find something flexible, I fear my only real option would appear to be to go back to a full-time office-based role.

Or maybe it's time for a complete change of direction? Get off the treadmill, escape the rat race and start something of my own? The problem is what? I'm too much of a generalist to specialise in selling any of my services. My childhood dreams included an acting career (I fear I may have missed the boat on that one), writing a novel (not self-disciplined enough, even if I thought I had a talent for it, which I'm not sure I do), or owning a bookshop. And sadly headlines declaring the "end of the bookshop" appear all too common. Plus I don't really fancy working weekends. I fear my other interests of gin, cheese and interior design are already well covered in the marketplace...

The return to a cubicle farm beckons. Unless anyone has next week's lottery numbers?


Have some pretty flowers. Don't they instantly lift your spirits?

(*attributed to Maya Angelou - Nothing Will Work Unless You Do)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Getting away from it

When life gives you lemons, made lemonade, or so the saying goes. Well, I don't know about lemonade, but I've always found lemons to be a useful little extra in gin and tonic. 

It was a good job, therefore, that we had a camping trip booked for the weekend after my redundancy bombshell. 

Say what you like about camping, but it's certainly a fabulous way to forget about the stresses and strains of everyday life and be a bit more primal...

After all, how could a view like this not lift the spirits?:



...plus eating (and drinking!) too much is one of my favourite pastimes...


...and I defy anyone to not feel warm and cosy by a campfire.



So, sometimes, you just need to remember that a sunset may mean the end of one day, it also means there's a new dawn around the corner.

A view from the magnificent Thistledown Farm


Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Call

I've been waiting for the call for months. The only surprise has been that it has taken this long.

So when the Outlook invitation pops into my inbox, I hardly flinch. The subject line is vague. A "chat". We don't really do "chats". It can only mean one thing.

I dial in at the appropriate time. He's late, apologetic, flustered. I'm calm, collected. I know what's coming before he even has time to clear his throat. He launches into the usual platitudes. "Difficult business conditions...ongoing restructuring". I hear the words and inwardly I laugh. It feels funny being on the receiving end. I've uttered those words myself too many times. I recognise the awkward tone...it's apologetic, polite, but definitely wanting to have the conversation over with. Must follow due process. Must follow the script.

He quotes numbers. I'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. "Don't worry", I say, "I totally understand". I do, you see. I'd be doing exactly the same in his position. There hasn't been enough work to go around for a while. I'm still smiling. If I keep smiling I can keep my tone upbeat. So funny.

"Call me if you want to chat about anything", he says, and we say goodbye.

It's only then that I burst into tears.

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