When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was a secretary. I used to spend hours playing office when I was a little girl. I’d play ‘office’ in my bedroom, in my garden house, at my grandparents, anywhere I could. I was obsessed with answering the phone, writing notes in my notebooks in different coloured pens and making up office scenarios to play out. The best times were when I could rope my cousins or my friends in too. When I was 9, my Mum and Dad bought me a garden house and inside was like my own little office. I had a desk with an old phone on it, shelves, and a children’s laptop (which I would play spelling games on). I loved it. Every time anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always a secretary.
At school, I wasn’t really the academic type. I did OK; I was an average student – always preferring English to Maths (I’m still terrible at Maths now). I wasn’t really the type of girl who wanted to spend all my days studying but when I went to college, I still wanted to be some form of secretary, so I enrolled for the OCR Certificate in Administration and Secretarial Procedures Level 2. I really enjoyed the course and passed with distinctions and merits in the different sections. I’d enjoyed it but that was as far as my studies went. I didn’t go to university as I wasn’t given the option at the time. Back when I was 17, I wasn’t overly bothered about not going to Uni, but it is something now that I deeply regret, not only from an academic perspective, but also the social aspect of it. I’m by no means a drinker so the going out partying didn’t and doesn’t appeal to me (I actually hate being drunk), but I mean more so for the friendships I would have made and what I would have gained from it. I often wonder where I’d be now if I had have gone to Uni because I just kind of fell into a career in Customer Services.
Over the last 12 years, I’ve never been without a job and have always done OK but I feel like there’s something missing, like I’m not reaching my full potential. I first started at the company I work for now in 2009, I was made redundant in 2012 and I came back in 2013. Coming back was a massive step for me. When I’d first started at the age of 22 I was in customer services, I was ambitious. I would always strive to be the best; I wanted to know everything about my job, why we did things, how we could improve things, and what other departments did. For a good couple of years, I really enjoyed it. It also happens to be the place where Michael and I met. Around the time Michael started, there was the opportunity to apply for a more senior role. I was hesitant to apply for it, but all the team leaders in the department and even the manager encouraged me, saying I would walk the interview as I knew the job inside out…I didn’t get it. I was devastated at the time. When I was given feedback as to why, it wasn’t constructive (I’d been told I’d used a particular word too many times during the role play escalated call I’d done and I’d crossed my arms in another of the activities on the day). No matter how many times I asked for constructive feedback and what I could do to improve, I wasn’t ever given it. I was given nothing to work towards. It was the beginning of the end of me wanting to ‘be the best’. It massively affected my confidence and that’s when I stopped believing in myself… Sure, I’d been for jobs before and not got them, but this was different. I’d really wanted this and worked hard for it.
After a few months, a job came up in another department which would ultimately be working to make the company the best place to work and keeping staff happy. By this point, Michael had moved out of customer services in to HR, so our hours were different as I worked shifts and he worked Mon-Fri 9-5.30. I went for the job in the other department, and I got it. I felt like it was the perfect role because I was passionate about the company and I really believed in what I was doing.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be as the recession hit hard and I was made redundant, after just 5 months. I was so upset and to make matters worse I was also four months pregnant. It was a very stressful time, but luckily, things worked out fine as I got a job working where my Dad worked which was on a three month contact which saw me through to my maternity leave.
Going back to work when Alfie was only nine months old was very scary and daunting. I just wanted to be at home with him, but I couldn’t afford to be a SAHM. Lady luck was on my side again as I got a temporary job working with my friends two days a week. They had just started up a business and my friend was also on maternity leave and she was doing a phased return, so the days I did were to cover her days off. The job I did was actually managing the social media accounts for their clients. Two years ago, I didn’t know enough about social media to know the best times to schedule posts or how to attract bigger audiences or which hash tags to use. That said, I loved the job, really loved it, but I felt like I was out of my depth as ultimately the company was a digital marketing company and everybody had experience in what they were doing, whereas I was from a customer services background and didn’t have a clue about marketing, content, blogger outreach, building websites etc etc. After three months, I was told that they were going to extend my contract for a month as they didn’t know if they were going to continue down the social media route. As it happened, my old company, where Michael was still working, were advertising for a part time role on their delivery team. I applied and got it. I was thrilled and I’d be working with the manager and team leader I knew from my first time there. It not only meant a lot more money (about £400 a month more, plus bonus) but I would be working with Michael again, it was close to home and meant we wouldn’t need to get a 2nd car.
I’ve been back about 18 months now, and I’ve increased my hours from 20 a week, to 40 hours a week back down to 32 hours a week (due to childcare). I don’t dislike my job but is it what I want to do for the next 10, 15, 20 years? Probably not. I’ve never kept it a secret that given the chance, I would rather be at home with Alfie than have to go to work and leave him as it was not part of the plan for me to go full time until he was at school. One expensive wedding later and having to put him in nursery for 13 hours a week, means that I didn’t have a choice. We can’t afford to live off Michael’s wage.
Over the last couple of years, since I’ve become more active on Twitter and discovered Mummy blogs, I’ve been in awe at how so many people can actually earn money from having a blog. And I’ve realised it’s what I want too, not necessarily to be making a living from Blogging. I don’t believe I could ever do that, but I spend hours reading blogs, admiring them and wishing I could create something half as good. The main reason for starting my blog, like so many others have done, is to have a record of our lives to look back on with Alfie and any future children we may have but it would be nice if I could also earn a little bit of money here and there too. I’ve read Kerry’s post about quitting your job to be a full time blogger, (which I know I’m years away from yet), but it still makes for really interesting reading and I am looking forward to other post’s in the series. Kerry blogs over at Oh So Amelia and her blog is beautiful and I would really recommend heading over there for a read, if you haven’t stopped by before.
I know it’s not going to be easy and I know it will probably take years and years but I’ve done a lot of soul searching this month, and working in a call centre, whilst it’s great for some people, I just don’t think it’s for me. My dream would be able do something where I can work from home and be there to take the children to school and pick them up and not have to sacrifice precious family time at the weekend. Since I started back where I work now and went full time, I have to work every Sunday 8am to 5pm. I’ve done this now since October, and I absolutely hate it and it’s something that I am really struggling with. I am very aware that Alfie isn’t going to be little for long and I’m very mindful of the fact that I won’t get these years back and it’s just so difficult only having one day a week together as a family.
So, I bit the bullet and signed up for a CPD Accredited course in Social Media. It was actually my friend Emma, who blogs at Life according to Mrs Shilts that signed up for it 1st and passed the details on to me, which I’m extremely grateful for. I’ve realised that I need to start believing in myself more and to work towards my dream of being able to work from home – I’ve lacked confidence in the past few years and have stopped believing in my abilities so I need to work hard to get that belief back.
I’m two weeks into the course and really enjoying it. Whilst it is very business orientated, it’s still really interesting and I feel like I’m learning a lot. If it opens doors in the future then fantastic – and if not, at the very least, it will look good on my C.V. and I will have learned something new, which can only be a good thing, right?
I need to do this for me, but also my family.
There’s a quote which I see on Pinterest quite a lot – ‘she believed she could, so she did’ I need to start living by this and believing in myself more!