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Just over two years ago I stepped into James Villas HQ as a social media executive and set to work on helping to develop the brand’s social channels. I was so excited to have been given the opportunity and I embraced it with open arms ready to get stuck into any task that was thrown my way.

It has been the most incredible journey where I have learnt so much!

Working as part of a team and having my copy proofed and checked has been a good wake up call, who knew I was so keen on long sentences? I have learnt to slow down, take my time and re-read my work. I hope you are starting to see these small changes coming through.

I have learnt to think more closely about images – do they reflect what I am saying?

I have learnt that social channels are fickle, we don’t own them ‘they’ do. Facebook might only show a tiny percentage of your followers your hard work, it’s incredibly frustrating and I can often be found ranting about Facebook…

I have also learnt that working full time alongside running a home, family and life outside of the office doors is a real struggle. My main challenge came with trying to cover the school holidays. The girls get 13 weeks off and I had 21 days. It was this, that led me to hand in my notice – something I never believed I would do. I had imagined working until my retirement at James.

When I was reflecting on my life and how to make it better I started to search for jobs that would compliment being a mum.

I needed a job that fits in with school holidays and school hours. That would allow me to take the girls to after school clubs without skidding out of one door and screeching into the next, red-faced and often having forgotten something or even worse – arriving at the wrong time.

I had always pushed teaching to one side as I didn’t think I’d be good at it but as I started to look more closely at the opportunities in local schools, I saw our local primary was looking for a TA. The more I thought about the job, read the role description, the more it became a very exciting prospect.

I applied for the job and was successful – I start work on Monday morning!

I am swapping the weekly business meetings for a classroom of 8 year olds.

I am exchanging my snatched half hour lunch to who knows? Playground duty, lunchtime clubs or getting to know the teachers in the staff room?

I shall be helping out with reading and maths, chatting about geography and science. I shall be doing all manner of tasks to assist the teacher and doing my bit to help these young fresh minds find their way.

I shall also be grabbing back a bit of time for me. I want to pick up my blogging, tidy my house, read a book, help Alice learn to sew, help Bessie learn to play the piano. I want to get back into cooking again, not just quickly pulling a meal together to feed the family.

I am also going to start the 0 – 5k challenge as I have managed to put a stone since working full time.

So many things to do but my heart is lighter and I think I’m on to something good here … what do you think?

Port Isaac, cornwall, tea shop, Doc martinThis morning after the school run I had to go to the post office to post a few letters. I arrived early and the post office doesn’t open until 9am so I stood patiently behind  two other customers already in the queue.

We stood for some time waiting and at 9 am on the dot the lady turned up in a fluster ‘Sorry,’ she apologised ‘I got caught chatting and didn’t realise the time.’

Easy mistake it happens to all of us, by this time there were a few in the queue behind me too. The lady efficiently started up her till in no time at all and started with the first customer.

Then a second lady came towards us dragging her feet from the direction of the back of the shop … the staff room/storeroom?

‘Is she in?’ she asks to no one in particular, ‘I came by and there was no one there.’

‘I haven’t got any keys.’ she added, continuing a justification of her tardiness.

I watched as lady 1 quickly stood up and opened the door to let her in. It then seemed to take lady 2 a long time to get her till open – or was I fed up of waiting? Or could I have done it quicker than her? It seemed every one of her actions was long and drawn out, needing so much effort and energy. It was clear she didn’t want to be there.

The dragging of her feet and her poor excuse of being late had already got my back up and the first thought to cross my mind was

‘If you don’t want the job, let somebody else have it.’

Let’s face it Britain’s economy is struggling at the moment and there are an awful lot of people who would LOVE that job, they would be grateful for a steady income, a paid pension and all the other benefits that go with working for a company like Royal Mail.

If we rewind 30/40 years people took pride in their work. They arrived on time, they were courteous and did their job efficiently. Sickies being pulled as people couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed were unheard of and employers could rely on their staff.

What has happened? Sadly I bump into employees all over who really hate their job and do the minimum possible just to secure their weekly wage packet.

Are we a country who don’t have pride in our jobs anymore?

I went into Boots the other day looking for Karvol strips for the plug in we have and couldn’t find them anywhere. I asked a young man if he could help and he couldn’t have been more kind and considerate informing me the company were having problems locating any Karvol stock, which is annoying for me because I needed them but I had an answer to my problem.

What a difference it made, what an abyss between the two kinds of service offered.

Have you ever seen people in good jobs who aren’t pulling their weight? What do you think about it?

Curriculum Vitae
Numbers of unemployment in the UK now stand at 2.51 million the recent rise in the three months to July this year being the largest increase in the last two years. In fact the BBC graph shows figures haven’t been so high since 1994.

Youth unemployment rose from 78,000 to 973,000, the total of men unemployed rose from 39,000 to 1.45 million and women out of work now stands at  1.06 million from a previous 41,000. The highest figure since 19988.

So let there be no doubt, getting back into the work industry is a tough challenge not to be taken lightly.

Only a few months ago Brit Mums asked me to create a vlog around the question Are the budget cuts affecting your family? And I find it frightening that since then when times were tight but we were still holding it together on one wage just how increasingly difficult it is becoming day by day. We received a letter from our utility suppliers yesterday and they are increasing our direct debit for gas alone by £19.00 A MONTH. I know electricity will follow suit and water rates, well they’re already astronomical.

Our weekly shopping bill has also taken a battering and is at least £25.00 extra each week and that no longer includes little treats and luxuries such as chocolate, cakes and munchies. I have had to eliminate all of the extras allowing myself a bottle of wine for the weekend and some beers for the man of the house.

We have come to the conclusion that now the girls are at preschool I should get my CV out there and try to get hold of a job. The hours I can work are limited to weekends and evenings once Paul is home. To be honest I don’t mind stacking shelves, working a till, cleaning or ironing, I just need to start earning some cash to make sure we don’t go under over the next economical period as my bones tell me it’s going to get worse before it’s going to get better.

So my first step was to blow the dust off my dormant CV which has been unused for so long I actually lost it and had to start from scratch! Now the first time I compiled a CV was in the 1980’s and the second round was whilst preparing my return to the UK from Italy in 2004 when a friend of mine sent me hers as a guide and I used it as a base for mine.

I strung it all together, struggling to remember which grades I got for which ‘O’ levels and what job did I do between the burger joint and Le Gavroche restaurant in Mayfair but once completed I sat back and thought, not bad girl!

I mentioned I was updating my CV on my Facebook account and one friend got back to me and offered to give it the once over for me if I wanted. Why not? I always think a second opinion is useful and seeing as times are so tough out there, more brains on this the better so I emailed over my work of art to her to see what she would come back with. Here are bullet points of Sue’s invaluable help

  • Name in bold, address, phone numbers and email at the top
  • Opening paragraph needs to sell you and show them what you’re about in a snapshot. Sell yourself and tell them what you’re looking for often this is all they look at. Do not include any negatives.
  • Add in two spaces after a full stop as it makes it easier to read
  • At our age experience is much more relevant than our education. Education moved to below Career to Date
  • Do not mention redundancy, stick to the positives, if they need to know anything they will ask and by then you’ll be in front of them dazzling them
  • List jobs and bullet point responsibilities and achievements quantifying as you go
  • Max length 2 pages, whittle early jobs into a paragraph if necessary

So CV ready, thank you Sue Love for all your help I have been to Bluewater and started ‘doing the rounds’ only to find most stores these days only accept applications made online!

My advice prepare your CV keep it to hand and search, search, search online. Fingers crossed something will come up and remember there are a lot of people out there doing the same so prepare yourself for a long hard search.

Good luck!

The best job I ever had was with the people you can see here in the photo and it has to be said they are the loveliest people to work with.

This job was my lifeline out of Italy and back to the UK. It was the job where everything started to fall into place for me and for my life, at long last, to start going right and it was the job that restored the confidence in me that had been chiseled away over the years in Italy.

I moved from Italy on the 31st August 2004 and first day at work was 3rd August, the following Monday. A turn around that still today defeats all belief. How did I do that?

My role was in the Travel Trade Relations Department. I was to work alongside Diego (not in the photo but on holiday in Thailand at the time!) and it was our job to promote Italy with all of its beautiful destinations to the Travel companies that you bump into everyday with the hope they would put more and more destinations in their brochures for you to choose from. From Thomas Cook to lastminute.com, they all came under our umbrella.

In order to promote Italy to its best, we had to have contacts with the Italians of course and the tourist departments in every region would call us up with ideas to promote their corner of the peninsula. So you see it was our job to connect the two together, the regions would run workshops and invite members from various travel agencies to their homeland. They would organise flights, accommodation and entertainment and in the few days they hosted these new contacts they would show off their towns, resorts, museums and restaurants to the best of their abilities. Of course the best bit was frequently we were asked to go along too, in order to help with the hosting, the translation and the organising.

Have you had the pleasure of The Italian Experience? If you have you’ll agree it’s one you’ll never forget, if you haven’t make sure it’s on your list of ‘Things To Do Before I Die’. I promise you won’t regret it.

An amazingly open, friendly bunch of people, and they adore children making us look so stern sometimes. Their food, their ice cream, their wines, their art. I could go on forever, please go there and see for yourself.

I personally helped out on a trip to Rome another to Venice and my favourite a ski trip to Trentino where I had previously lived for so long. Not to mention all of the events organised in London, around the UK and Ireland.

I left the company as Paul and I wanted children and time was running out for me as 40 had been and gone. After losing a baby at 21 weeks of pregnancy and a succession of two more miscarriages, I opted to find a job closer to home so my body stood a better chance at getting pregnant and holding on to it.

I miss the job which brought the best out in me, I miss the buzz of working so close to Oxford Street with the flagship Topshop store just over the road but most of all I miss my wonderful colleagues. I’d give my right arm to go back tomorrow but this cannot be whilst my girls are so small and maybe wouldn’t be right. Things change, people move on. I could probably never recapture that time again so it remains a favourite memory with the badge of Best Job Ever.

If you have a quick mo, visit their web site which was one of the last projects I was working on before I left. Italian Tourist Board

This post was writen for Josie’s Writing Workshop I chose prompt 2 and am so pleased I have had a chance to remember these wonderful people in my blog. Writing workshopThanks Josie :)