To say I was cock-a-hoop when I was offered a job at the BBC would be an understatement. I was ECSTATIC. But I noticed my boyfriend had gone strangely quiet and asked him what was up. “I’m worried you’re going to turn into a w**ker,” was his sulky reply. Reader, I did not marry him.
But it is true that our job can transform who we are and our lives beyond the 9 to 5.
When we join a company, a new world forms around us. There’s a unique culture to understand and find our place in. Sometimes an unfamiliar language to get to grips with (especially if the new place is a fan of the dreaded acronym). There may also be a new town, area or office to explore, alien at first but that one day will feel like home.
What’s most exciting is the countless opportunities that open up every time we move somewhere new. Artsy by nature, my husband has just joined a science organisation, and is already going to lectures and planning family trips to the events they run. Wherever you work, it’s an immersive experience that can draw in the people around you, if you let it.
As a freelancer, I’m destined to be a traveller – hopping from one land to another, squirrelling all the best bits in my backpack. The Sir Walter Raleigh of the work world.
But you’re probably still wondering if I turned into a w**ker. I’ll leave you with a photo of me dancing behind Cher on Top of the Pops and let you decide for yourself.
When you hear the word ‘network’ what images does it conjure up? A room teeming with tall tables, coffee cups and business cards? A glass of wine after hours with trusted peers? Or the world inside your phone, where thousands of friends, acquaintances and strangers are standing by to react to the thoughts that come out of your thumbs?
This is my first month of being a freelance writer. After 11 years with my feet firmly under the same desk, I’ve plunged headlong into a lonely world of job insecurity and payment chasing.
Or so I thought until I joined a handful of Facebook groups and fully embraced LinkedIn. I found I was instantly part of a vibrant and generous community, where everyone treats each other as allies, not ‘the competition’, and happily shares their collective years of experience.
Want to keep track of your hours? There’s an app for that. Need to have a difficult conversation with a client? Learn from the success and failure of others who’ve found themselves in a similar situation. Having a bad day? Be buoyed up by all the positive wishes and advice that pour your way.
I’ve worked in some fantastic teams, but none has been as responsive, giving and encouraging as the 73,175* people in my online networks. I salute you!
It’s a day of firsts: my husband’s first day in his new job, the 18th anniversary of my first day without a cigarette and – behold! – my first ever blog.
Everyone knows that a new day (I’ll forego the bafflingly cheap but delicious Wetherspoons fry up tomorrow), week (I’ll start the job hunt next week), month (I’ll put some money aside next month) or year (my new year’s resolution is to try swinging) has a psychological allure.
Like a chameleon shedding its skin (yes, they do that too), we cast off the ‘old us’ and dabble with a bit of minor character reinvention. Usually nothing too racy, but enough to make us feel that we’re making healthier choices and taking the plunge in ways that move our lives forward.
But why choose one moment over another? For me, there’s the ‘license to chill’ factor – will power be damned! Picking a fresh and shiny (though, ultimately, arbitrary) date in the future is giving yourself permission to indulge in whatever frivolities tickle your fancy in the short term – because YOU HAVE SET A DATE TO BE A BETTER PERSON. They knew what they were doing when they tacked new year’s day onto the end of the Christmas period.
And remember the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) objectives we’re urged to make in goal-setting season? A fresh page, line or square on the calendar helps us neatly visualise the time frame we’ll use to judge our success.
Thus, October becomes ‘the month I started blogging’ in my universe. What do the next 31 days hold for you?