365 Day Blog challenge Day 22 – Day in the Life (work) #365daychallenge

I was hoping to do this but realised my work life could well be incredibly boring for most people & so this will probably be a short blog! I spent many years as a work coach for the government helping people on benefits into work which I loved but you can only do it so long before burn out so in early 2016 I put in for a promotion and was lucky enough to get through. I now spend my days delving into benefit systems analysing how they and people work within certain topics and looking for ways to improve this. Once done I write a report which goes to senior leaders who then have the ability to make the changes I suggest.
I’ve been doing the job for 15months and I probably hated it for the first 10 months. It’s been a huge learning curve. Having spent a work life time working face to face in customer service roles I was now behind scenes and away from the general public. Funny how you miss the things you once spent each day complaining about!
I had to learn Excel and PowerPoint from scratch as I’d never written any reports before. I had to learn to stop getting upset when I had to re-do sections of my reports after Quality Assessments. It took a long time for me to accept that different audiences would like things written in different styles. Why can’t everyone like my style and deal with it? Not the thing to say to senior leaders who report to Government ministers apparently….
I’ve had to learn to push myself forwards and not be a wall flower which after years of depression was my natural state. In this new department it’s all about making sure people know you’re name and good work so that the leaders and developers offer more. It’s about being visible. It’s not easy to achieve when you spend your life trying to be invisible and go un-noticed. I battled against it for most of the first year.
But eventually something clicked. I started to get into the role, enjoy the research and the presentations of the work. I might be a wall flower but I wasn’t always and it’s pleasing to see my old abilities come back even if I am out of my comfort zone for now. But it gets easier each month. I still hate writing reports but accept that tweaks and changes need to be made and to tailor to my audience. I try and find out now beforehand who the intended audience is and how they like to see things.
So hopefully who know? Maybe this time next year I’ll have even more positive things to say about my job

365 Day Blog challenge Day 14 – Cheat Day 1 #365daychallenge

Having a lazy Sunday (to go with the lazy Friday I just had) and so having written two book blogs today I’m going to cheat and share them with you rather than write a thrird blog. Enjoy



365 Day Blog challenge Day 10 – The Impossible Dream #365daychallenge

I’ve run around so much today with work & some early Xmas shopping I’ve not planned a blog so I thought I’d share the lyrics of one of my favourite songs. There are many, many versions of this. I have two favourites; the first is Elvis at his Las Vegas best. The other is the first time I ever heard the song. It was my 19th birthday  and I’d gone to see an Indie band Carter: Unstoppable Sex Machine and they played it as an encore. For some reason there was an outbreak of hugging among the crowd. It just felt like one of those perfect moments and it’s a memory I treasure.

I hope you love the words as much as I do

“The Impossible Dream”

originally from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not goTo right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

365 Day Blog challenge Day 8 – Books Part 1 #365daychallenge

Day 8 of the challenge and so far I’ve managed to do a blog a day even if sometimes I forget until nearly the last minute.

In my first post I linked to my book blog. I love books and love the fact that I’ve been able to turn something fun and enjoyable into a (sort of) paying business. By paying I don’t get actual cash. I get something better of you are a book worm – free books!

A few years ago one of my friends who had just got a publishing deal turned me onto a website where you can request books to download free in return for an honest review. I was already blogging reviews & as I have mentioned many times cash is scarce due to a debt plan so for me a really good way to get new books without cost and in return doing things I already do.

It’s been amazing. I’ve had publishers thanking me for reviews and in return offering me yet more books. A couple have sent me paper copies of books as a thank you. The next step for me is to accept some blog tours from authors and build my page even more. That’s my 2018 go

All this led to my friend then telling me that her publisher had a tasting panel and did I want to join. With this I get books before they have been accepted by the publisher and rather than just a review, it is for me (and others) to comment on the Point of View, the relatability of the hero/heroine, overall story and any possible tweaks and changes. That’s quite an ask and responsibility especially as I have to say whether I think it should be accepted for publication. But I think it helped me grow as  a reviewer. I’ve learnt to think about not just whether I like it but whether the general public would like something.

I always feel bad when I have to recommend turning something down. I am well aware how hard it is to write a book and put your heart and soul into something so I only do this if I absolutely know it won’t fit in with the publishers ethos.

Sometimes turning a hobby into more of a business doesn’t have to be financial, it can be just as rewarding in other ways

365 Day Blog challenge Day 5 – Dream Jobs #365daychallenge

One of the items on various blog challenge lists is to talk about ideal jobs. I’m 45 and still haven’t figured this bit out! I never had much of a dream about work when I was younger except maybe do some writing. My best school friend wanted to be a teacher and a teacher she became for over 20 years. I just wanted to bet out of school and had no thought beyond that.

Over the years I’ve done several different styles of jobs but the one that keeps drawing me back is ‘helping people’. I’ve been a mortgage seller helping people afford a dream home, I’ve been an employment adviser and I’ve worked in the community helping those with homelessness and addictions move forward with their lives. I even looked into starting my own business in holistic treatments and while it’s on hold I may go back to it n a few years time.

I’ve been in my current job for the last 15 months. It took me  along time to see that it does fit into the ‘helping people’ description as I’m now really far removed from seeing customers every day. I research benefits, find issues and write a report for others to fix. It’s only now that the identified problems are being resolved that I can see how I’ve been able to change something for the better. So while it’s not an obvious helping role I have the opportunity to make lives better.

I don’t think I’m ever gonna have the perfect job in terms of a title (teacher, nurse etc) but as long as I can feel I’m making a difference I’ll be happy in my work 🙂

365 Day Blog challenge Day 4 – Don’t Worry Be Happy #365daychallenge

Tonight I’ve been to visit a friend who has just come out of hospital after a seizure. They did all sorts of tests and in the end after discussing her lifestyle have decided that the seizure was brought on by too much stress and worrying. My friend has basically worried herself into hospital.

Its quite scary. Now she has had a year from hell so possibly not surprising she’s now ill but it does make you take a step back and check your own worry levels. Years ago I would worry about everything then I had some Life Coaching and it turned out I worried about things that were not due to take place for another few years. Since I realised this I managed to let go of many things and am quite the laid back person these days.

So today for you some wise words about worrying less:

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy