I’ve had an amazing summer with my daughter – the 1st one ever that I haven’t been working. But now as she settles into her new school and autumn is most definitely upon us I turn my thoughts to work…
It hasn’t exactly been the most productive year for me so over the next few months I’m muttering my daily mantra “PERSEVERANCE & POSITIVITY” as I knuckle down and reconnect with old work colleagues, attend networking events and apply for roles which have my name written all over it – (apparently not judging by the number of rejections I have had this year). But as the-font-of-all-knowledge (i.e. my hubby) puts it; it’s a numbers game. When he said this to me the other day it was like a slap round the face as I was licking my wounds about a rejection. It pulled me up short but he’s true. There’s work out there just for me but I’ve got to hunt (stalk?!) it down.
However I take heart form the article I read this morning on The Pool about a 48 year old mother being given an internship at The Spectator. How awesome is that? What’s even better they did not request a CV, name, age or qualifications but they recruited purely on a set of tasks the applicant had to execute.
So where does that leave me as I turn 48 this week too? A friend of mine who used to be in recruitment suggested that I should dumb down my CV if I want to go for less senior, more hands-on roles but I’m not sure how I’m meant to pare back over 25 years experience. Or if I really want to…I don’t mind taking a step back but it’s finding the companies who are forward thinking about recruiting the right person with the best cultural fit irrespective of age, sex and background.
It’s going to be a tough gig but I’ll get there by by-passing the traditional recruitment agency route and and approaching growing brands and agencies where I see myself fitting in and who, in return, will hopefully see the benefit of my experience.
Wish me luck!
Perseverance, positivity, perseverance, positivity, perseverance, positivity, mutter, mutter mutter….
P.S If a recruiter thinks they can help me then I’m all ears
I had my 30 year school reunion last week. My arm was twisted by a friend – the only one I regularly keep in touch with and, as she was coming down from Cumbria and she needed a bed for the night, I couldn’t really refuse. However it was with trepidation that I entered the wine bar partly because the last one I went to well over 10 years ago was so hideous.
And you know what it was actually quite a pleasant experience. I’m sure fueled by too much rose, adrenaline and nerves. I looked around the room and everyone looked the same although weirdly a lot taller than I remembered (I was always a titch). As I stood back and observed, people mingled and then resumed the cliques we had had back at school. We were and are a right mixture of personalities and professions (& I include full time mums in this) but those 7 formative years of boarding school have given us an underlying lifetime bond. If I think back to the previous one we were all in our early 30s paving out careers, families and a place in society and had something to prove which made the event, for me, wholly uncomfortable. This time round there was a much greater acceptance of who we are giving a far more relaxed a day enjoyable evening.
I think the same thing applies to our careers…
In our 20s and 30s we want to get noticed and we strive and stick our elbows out to get there. We may not have all the experience but we strut and talk the talk to get what we want perhaps to the detriment of others and putting those solid work foundations in place. Fast forward to women and men in their late 40s who have had the ups and downs of a career but can offer knowledge, transferable skills, insight and maturity in making business decisions. We might not be the trendy bright things of today (although we were!) but we shouldn’t be overlooked at work. We are the voice of reason. We still want to learn and progress and be excited in the jobs that we do, it’s just that we may not look particularly hip and trendy. The young can learn from our experiences whilst we can learn from theirs and discover their world of what’s hot and what’s not, emerging trends and technologies whilst we can help shape a great future for them and the businesses we work for.
I’m having a week off job-hunting this week. I need to draw breath and focus on other stuff. It can be soul destroying as you send off your application full of hope and then it seems to get lost in the ether never to be found again. I wish that companies would send out a standard response saying if you don’t here back from them in a certain period of time then it’s a thanks but no thanks. Just to manage my expectations; that’s all.
In an ideal world l’m trying to find a part-time or flexible role so I can focus on other parts of my life but again these seem so few and far between, especially at my level. There seems to be plenty in the press about the rise of flexible working and job sharing but I ain’t seeing much in my sector even though I’ve signed up to Capability Jane, Timewise and Ten2Two! You never know, something might be around just around the corner. However on a positive note this leads me on to this week’s topic of volunteering…
I’ve started volunteering for a local charity for the elderly, CHEER and have the greatest pleasure in visiting Valerie once a week. A very bright, articulate lady who lives in Claygate. I so enjoy my visits as she tells me about the history of the area – I had no idea that the America Air Force was stationed in Bushey Park during the war – and we seem to cover every topic under the sun so there’s always a good debate to be had. Valerie has also had an idea on my social enterprise project which I’m developing (more about that when it’s further down the line) and I’m sure I will be picking her brains further! We chat alot about how she is getting old and the fear and anxiety which sits alongside ageing. As Valerie so succinctly puts it you spend your whole life working towards something; university, work, marriage, children, retirement and then what…death? It must be the strangest feeling not having a focus in life and the loneliness that comes with it too.
From the elderly to the young; I’m also hoping to do a few hours a week of PR & marketing for The Flying Seagull Project which I mentioned in a previous post. They are a troupe of clowns, magicians, circus performers and musicians taking smiles to those in need giving children some precious time to be children. They’ve got some great fundraising events lined up and no doubt I will be thrown into the deep end but it’s for a great cause. BTW they also organise the most amazing kids parties so if you are thinking of entertainment, do get in touch as all the profit goes straight to the charity.
So you see where’s the time for work? I’m sure I’ll be able to fit it in somehow although I am relishing the shift of focus in my life!
Happy New Year to you all and I can’t believe I haven’t written a post since October. Note to self – must try harder this year!
This week’s topic was provoked by a conversation I had with some friends. We all like the familiar and the routine and it seems, as we get older it becomes even more importantant to us. I always had a wry smile when I was working PT or on mat leave and trying to organise meeting up with my mother. We rarely managed it as she was sooo busy playing golf, bridge, Tai Chi, hair appointments and the gardening club. I was delighted she kept herself busy (and still does) but frustrated that she showed no flexibility but these dates were as important to her as a business meeting would be to me.
So what happens when we step out of our comfort zone or our everyday routine? Naturally we feel anxious, not sure if it’s the right thing to do, doubt our ability and the project’s success. And (as I sometimes do) try and adapt the plan to suit me. However if you go with it, the rewards can be far greater. On reflection you realise what you’ve achieved and learnt and despite the anguish, blood sweat and tears you went through, that sense of achievement is so much sweeter.
It’s not just about work but homelife too – grasping that “sod it” moment and doing something you really want to do rather than what you think you should be doing. In my case a challenging walk (don’t think my husband and daughter even realised I’d gone!) or deadlifting 80kg both of which I was nervous about but felt fab afterwards, amazed by my level of fitness – even if I did fast asleep by 9pm on a Saturday night. My life rocks!
So take baby steps and see what’s outside your comfort zone – you never know what you might find. Try something new, push yourself that little bit harder, challenge ideas and thoughts at work and who knows what you may achieve. For 2017 I’m going to join a choir (no rude remarks please!), set up a new working lunch forum and reinvigorate my business. Am I going to have some down days? Hell yeah. Will I feel anxious and overwhelmed? Of course. But I hope to come out smiling at the other end.
Here I am again, facing the dilemma that so many working mums have…taking a step back (or maybe sideways move) from my career path to have greater flexibility with work and to be able to spend more time with my husband and daughter.
I don’t begrudge it and I know it’s the right thing to do but I have ambition coursing through my veins and its time I quelled it. Or should I?
I admit I’m never going to be a Helena Morrissey (the thought of 9 children and her punishing schedule bring tears to my eyes ) but as I implied in my previous post on a curvy career, I flourish when learning new skills and taking on new challenges. My work very much defines who I am.
However I need to take stock; as a friend said to me I’m never going to look back on my life and take satisfaction in the amount of hours I worked. Most likely I’ll wish I’d spent more time with my husband and daughter. Plus I do believe if both partners are working full time; something has to give. We can’t have it all. Well we can if we can afford the live-in housekeeper, chef, roster of nannies and our lives are timetabled up to the hilt. But where’s the fun in that and why have children? (sorry my 20s Milly Tant is coming out) And if you read about some of the most successful business women who work full time, invariably their partner is the one who can offer greater flexibility in their work. Again back to Helena whose husband is the lead parent.
Also, as I get swept up into working life I have to remind myself how much I wanted a child and I have to make the most of the hugs and cuddles before it’s not cool to have PDAs with your mum.
However I can’t complain I’ve had a great few months working full time at Spark at The Telegraph. A lovely bunch of people and I now know my Double MPUs from my leaderboards, exit puffs and content blasts, tags, trackers and sticky branding and in return I hope I’ve managed to pass on some of my content marketing wisdom.
So now it’s back to the drawing board and it’s at this point I have to praise my hubby, being the font of all knowledge and wisdom. He so rightly says that I can channel my energies into other things so work doesn’t have to be quite so important to me. And I think that’s true whatever stage you’re at in your career. I can gain personal satisfaction from finally having the time to do some voluntary work visiting the elderly – and maybe I will enrol for that pottery course and pour my energies into moulding a lump of clay.
If there’s anybody out there who needs some content and PR support – let me know. I’m free!