Just Say No

I’ve had a much needed week off work. The more I have time off the more I accept that I don’t want to work for other people and it gives me the incentive to look into working for myself creating knitted products and beads. I’ve no idea if it will be successful but I have to try. However with a mortgage and bills to pay I can’t just walk away so I need to compromise. I have a meeting next week – the usual annual review nonsense and I think I am going to ask about dropping one day and reducing my hours from Sept/Oct. That gives me 6 months to try and clear some bills and work on creating stock. Just making the decision has resulted this week in the creation of 4 items and plans for more. For the first time in ages I feel like I have a work plan that would actually make me feel like getting up on a morning.

The week started well, I got to visit the new shopping centre built in the city. The mall is the only one to be built in Europe this year at a cost of £350 million according to the blurb. I’d like to say I was impressed but the domed roof was built in sections which create a wind tunnel effect and there were no doors! In the middle of a freak cold snap I just wanted to go somewhere much warmer. Maybe I will try again in the summer

Wednesday saw me take part in a business event volunteering day at a local High School. This is the 3rd time I’ve done this here and each time I’ve felt a boost from it (not enough of a boost to make me want to be a teacher though! Spending time with 10 teenagers for 5 hours is much different from a full week of trying to teach unwilling kids). The business event is a mix of X-Factor and Dragons Den and the kids have to learn to work together to create a new pop group, making all the decisions from who they want in the band to creating the merchandise for them and planning their first concert. This is followed by a 3 minute presentation asking a select panel (well 3 teachers!) for investment money to help promote this new super-group.

It works really well, the idea is that the kids can see what goes into applying and preparing for a job, why just because they may not have all the attributes it still may be worth applying for the job and as scary as presentations are they are a fact of business life and it’s good practice  Plus they are put in mixed groups so are working with others they may not normally spend time with. This happens in the world of work – it’s only in the ideal world where you get to work with your friends all day. There are always natural leaders in the group and ones who are just happy to take part. I always assumed it was only girls who checked out each others outfits but last year I saw things from a different perspective. As all the teens have to come in business dress I watched the boys checking each others suits out and comparing who had the most expensive. But also who’s suit set them out as potential leaders of business. It was a fascinating view into the world of the modern teenager. We never had these opportunities as kids and I wish we did. My career (if you can call it that) has been based on whoever would give me a job at the time and practically falling into each one I’ve had. It’s only in the last few months that I’ve actually made plans based on what I really want. Not good for someone who spent 5 years helping others find jobs!

I highly recommend volunteering as a positive step. It doesn’t have to be with children, it could be care work. In the UK at least, there are opportunities for so many things including dog walking for guide dogs. If you are computer savvy, charities can use your support. There is something for everyone. For me, it helps keep my positive mood up but for others it’s something to add to the CV and fill in gaps where illness has stopped them working. I know of many people that have ended up with a paid job that started off as volunteer work. I cannot big it up enough!

Good Friday involved spending more time bonding with my mum. We’ve been researching our family tree and for the last 250 years the females in our family have mostly worked in textiles including my mum when she first went to work. We went to check out the city’s textile museum. Normally this would be fun but there was an extra pathos this time reading the history blogs on the walls; the stories of children crawling under dangerous machinery to clean out jammed material and the diseases they picked up, this could’ve been my relatives. I felt a sadness walking round that I wouldn’t normally have. My mum had her own (funny to me!) sadness. She’s only 58 but several of the machines were still in use when she left school and worked on them herself. She kept asking if it made her old too!

But we did have fun, the visit sparked lots of memories for both of us. We had a beautiful chat about spending time with our granddads (mine being her father) which has inspired a (half finished at the minute) poem. Plus a drive to the house where she was born (the street behind my high school which I never realised) culminating in a funny story of my mum getting her head stuck in the railings and having to be smothered in butter to get free but getting a scolding because her mum had had to use her best butter! There’s always one child in the family that constantly attracts trouble even by accident. It was me but there’s an extra bonding moment when you see it was your mum too. I used to think we didn’t have much in common but we are more alike than I ever realised.

So this week has been made up of helping others and family time, a very positive want to spend my time.


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