Life throws things at us all that we deal with as they happen. You kind of have to or you sink! It is interesting to reflect on how different thing would have been if we had taken different decisions. Now, I am not living a day of what ifs and if onlys. I have been making jam this morning. Something I love to do. There is a real sense of achievement when you get it to set just right, and the level of sweetness isn’t too over powering for that of the fruit. If we had enough money, I would love to make jam for a living, like a cottage industry sort of thing. Alas getting my kitchen to a high enough standard to use in commercially is not in the budget for the next 10 years or so!
Along the way, I have had various jobs, and thing I have wanted to do but have either not done, or ruled out for one reason or another.
When I was at school, I wanted to teach music. I studied music getting 2 A’levels in it, but I would never have had the patience to teach. I don’t have the right temperament. Also, I only did music, because my parents had made me learn it through school, as my brother did it. I hated practising, but luckily was a very good sight-reader! I wish I’d kept it up as a hobby, but I still remember the theory. We have a keyboard in the house, and recently D has shown an interest to learn, and so I am removing the cobwebs from between my fingers as I try to remember enough to teach him the basics. If he shows an interest, then we will look at getting him proper lessons, but I wont force him if it’s not something he really wants to do.
I was dead miserable through my A’level years, and when they were over, I applied to study catering, which is something I had always had an interest in. Suddenly I felt I was doing something I enjoyed. It helped that the course was continual assessment, as I am terrible at the pressure of exams – just because someone doesn’t have instant information recollection doesn’t make them academically stupid! I wasnt getting on well with my parents at this time, so like most teenager, I wanted to make a statement to them, the world, and myself, that I could do and be whoever I wanted to be. I therefore moved to the middle of know where in North Wales – as you do! I worked in a lovely small hotel, where I was a Jane of all trades. I learned the business, from bar, to restaurant, to kitchen, to housekeeping. It was hard work, and VERY long hours, but the commandery in the hotel was fabulous. I stayed there a year, before moving back to civilization as a Bars manager in a hotel in Bournemouth. I hated it! There was no real sense of team work and it was faceless compared to what I had been doing.
It was then time to evaluate what I actually wanted to do. I loved the food industry, there is a real buzz about dealing with Joe Public, but I wanted to do it in a happier environment. I therefore decided to sell my soul and move into fast food. Better hours, better pay, sounded good to me!
I worked for Pizzaland International in Windsor for a couple of years, before joining Pizza Express, back home in Basingstoke. I was there for many years, as Assistant Manager, as well as Manager. Then the company was sold, and they changed so many working practises that I was happy to be offered redundancy (I blew my total redundancy payment on a three-month trip to Canada, maybe I’ll tell you about it one day!).
I then drifted a bit, doing various odd jobs before joining Spudulike. Who made me redundant within 6 months! But a company I enjoyed working for, and returned to a couple of years later and worked for until I moved up here. It’s just a pity there wasnt a shop up here as I would have happily transferred! Working in a food court as I did both times I was with them, is great fun, as you have your units team, but all the units as one big food court family, even though they are in business against each other! In between times with Spudulike, I worked at various places including a supermarket cafe, self-employed, as well as other fast food outlets.
When I cam up here, I worked for Bakers Oven. It was long hours and hard work, as they were constantly squeezing for fewer people to make more money. I miscarried while working there and had a breakdown. I was unable to leave the house, and was signed off by my doctor, and eventually never returned to the job. Instead I worked freelance as a merchandiser and sales rep. I wasnt very good at the sales rep side of it, but I certainly got to see a lot of this part of the country, regularly travelling up to Inverness, or down to Dundee.
When M finally arrived, the work dried up as I wasnt prepared to travel so much, but I still did odd jobs for a while.
So you see, I have never really planned my career, I have just fallen from one thing to another. They say when one door closes, jump through the next before it slams in your face,or something like that! I think I have made the best of the opportunities that have come my way. When I have got bored with a job, I have moved on. I always worked on the assumption that nobody was in the perfect job, and often looked at the situations vacant pages, even if I was happy in my job. It never hurt to know what else was out there! I also worked hard. Work was doing a job, and getting it done properly. I once said to an area manager that I felt I was being paid to do nothing, to which he said that proves I was doing my job correctly! I gave him a quizzical look and he said that the effort I had put it making sure my staff were as good as they could be at their jobs meant I could step back and let it happen. Probably one of my proudest working moments, knowing the boss thought I was doing well. He did then pull me out of that shop to go and sort out another one, but that’ll teach me to keep my big mouth shut!
Who knows what the future will hold as far as employment is concerned. I do know that right now I am a full-time Mum and carer to 2 boys and one old person, and then there’s Hubby too!