morning monday… a year in the life…

Happy Monday everyone! How are you today? So don’t hate me but I’ve actually got today and tomorrow off, and here I am sat in the flat that Stephanie loves, having lived here for a year last Friday, thinking about how time seems to have simultaneously flown by whilst at the same time, given me a life I feel like I’ve lived forever.

I guess the biggest thing I’ve learnt, is that no one piece completes the jigsaw. I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t expecting everything else to fall into place when I moved and started my new job, but I did. I thought getting the dream job meant that everything else would soon become dreamy too. But in truth our lives and ourselves are made up of more pieces than we could imagine, and it is ok, to be ecstatically happy about some of those pieces whilst still trying to figure out where the other pieces belong.

I’ve also learnt that I have no idea how to deal with workmen, that when it comes to bills I cross my fingers and hope for the best, and that the hardest thing about renting a flat is not being able to decorate it how you want. The washing up won’t do itself, and yes, you do need to own a hoover.

I’ve discovered that too much of my own company isn’t good for me, but if I have to I can rely on myself to get across Europe.

Friends can move to the other end of the country but you’ll only grow closer. And even when you don’t feel like they are just at the end of the phone, they are, and they want you to call them.

It turns out I can function on very little sleep… just about, which is good because sometimes when you have a job you love, it can keep you up at night, and that is something people very rarely tell you about your dream job. But just because you love your job, it doesn’t mean you need to check your emails on your days off, and soon you’ll realise that work isn’t the only thing you want to have to talk about.

Being healthy makes me happier than cake, but sometimes cake is much more comforting. I’m a person of extremes but I can find a balance, it just takes a little bit more work than it does for other people.

Nobody has all the answers, you won’t find them all on a blog or a book, but they are a good place to start, some others you have to go out and find for yourself, trip over them, be smacked in the face with them or dscover them in the most unlikely of places.

A year in a life, is a long time, and time doesn’t always play fair, or in a way that makes sense, last November feels like just yesterday but January was a whole other life. You can give a year direction, but you can’t neccessairily give it a route. I am exactly where I hoped I would be this time last year. Happy in my own lttle flat, loving my job, and finally some other parts of my life are falling into place, but I had no idea of the road those 12 months would take. And while yes, I am still looking forward, and trying to control the next 6 months of my life, reaching this anniversary is reminding me to let go of some of that control, and trust that if I work hard, life will take me to where I am meant to be.

Live life & don’t let the years fly by without taking note x

 Follow me on Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Instagram

Advertisements

why plan b may not be as terrifying as you or I think (and how to go about actually making it)…

wpid-img_20150404_174636.jpg

Hey everyone how are you?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or had a look at my about page, you’ll know that I am not only lucky enough to have always known what I want to do as a career, but to also actually be doing it. However, recently, what with the new (old) government in place, and the imminent cuts, which will no doubt be hitting the arts, coupled with the fact that my job is funding dependant, and that funding currently runs out in February… (deep breath to calm myself down)...I’ve had to face the reality, that my dream job is in no way a secure position.

This is something I have always known, but sometimes it is easier to forget than others. When I was waitressing and freelancing, I faced this fact every day. I faced the fact that my main income may never come from doing what I love and at that time I was ok with that. Now that I am lucky enough that all my income comes from the dream, it is a cruel reality to be facing, that soon that may no longer be the case.

This time around it feels even crueller than before. Because now I’m not sure I have the fight in me to go back to waitressing, and justifying my career choice to somebody (often myself) every single day, because I have grown accustomed, to only really having one job, having a regular pay cheque and having time to pay attention to other areas of my life. That’s not to say I am giving up it’s just saying that for the first time in my life I’m prepared to consider a plan b.

Plan b to me seems terrifying, I’ve fought so hard to do what I love, that even considering a plan b feels like a betrayal to myself.  Not only that, but Plan A is all I’ve ever really done, am I even capable of doing anything?

But panicky, idealist feelings aside, I know in my gut, that that just isn’t the case. I know that if I really had to, I could do anything, and that if I brought to it, my passion and creativity, I could even enjoy something other than theatre.

Over the past year in my current job, I have learnt that you get out of a job what you bring to it. On paper any job can feel lifeless. Guess why? Because you’re the one that will breathe life into it.

Sure, breathing life into something is much easier, if you actually want to see that job resuscitated, and of course there are jobs that breathing life into would seem like you were creating some kind of hideous Frankenstien, but in between those two extremes? There are hundreds of plan b’s that really aren’t as bad as you, or I, think.

The difficult part of course, is working out what that list of in between jobs might be. The ones that aren’t perfect but aren’t working in a call centre (that might be your dream, but that is my personal nightmare) and the other dilemma is: should plan b take up so much time, that it only gets further in the way of following the dream?

Here’s how I see it, and plan to… erm… plan plan b.

My CV needs work, doesn’t everyones? Whether I’m going for another dream job, or a back up plan, it needs to be the most up to date, shiniest sparkliest version of the skills I have and why some one should hire me.

So go to your computer and pull up your current cv, then open up a seperate document. In that document cut and paste all the skills from your cv as it currently stands. Try to make these skills sound as broad and as adaptable as possible, don’t tie your skills to a specific job. The idea is to see you for the bundle of talents you are, rather than the job you do.

For example my list might read in it’s broadest terms: creative writing, event organising, time management, project management, creative workshop facilitation, marketing, social media, community engagement, public speaking, youth work…

Once you’ve taken all the skills, you definitely have because they are already on your cv, is there anything else in life you do that isn’t shown in your current job description? For example, if you’re a perfume sales rep it’s very unlikely, that your cv covers the fact that you might also have a blog reviewing restaurants. We all do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time for that to change.

So then I might add… basic design skills, content creation, sales, diary management…

Now what you should have is a list of your skills in isolation. Read that list. From looking at that list, what are the jobs you COULD do? Yup, make another list. You’ll start with the jobs you’ve already done, the jobs you’ve been going after as part of plan A, and then move on to things that are closely related, but it might also be worth spending some time looking at jobs that are being advertised outside of your field. Does you list of skills match any other job specifications? Put them down too!

What you’ll have now is a list that is FULL of possibilities. Sure some of those possibilities might sound grimm (and those should be striked through – don’t delete them, it’s good to have a base point as a reference for things you won’t do) some of them will sound like the dream. Some of them will be plan A. Move those jobs to the top of the list. And everything else that your left with? That’s Plan B.

So my list might look a little like this:
Theatre programmer (the dream)
Personal Assistant (could be the dream if it was still in the arts or a related field)
Events and hospitality (ok, not the arts, and a bit more corporate, but if I could be creative in it then it wouldn’t be so bad)
Content Writer/Marketing (I’ve never done it before, but I probably could do it)
Sales  (just no)

Personally I think this is a good exercise to do even if you’re not facing plan b, because it will show you not only what the future could hold, but also how far you’ve already come. I also like to keep an eye on the jobs I would like in 5 years time, and compare my list of skills to those job specifications. What you’re doing isn’t giving up, your being realistic and open, and accepting the fact that YOU are capable of so much. Plan B isn’t a get out clause, or sign that you failed, it’s just another possibility to consider.

I am in in no way saying that you should give up on Plan A. I’m certainly not! If you truly want to do something, and are passionate about it with all your heart, then I’m a big believer that that is exactly what you should do. But if like me, you also have to face the reality of bills, or your chances getting slimmer, or maybe actually you have other things in life you want to focus on other than work, then it’s time to also start considering, and applying to Plan B. How about we agree on a compromise? Maybe 1 in every 4 applications could be to plan b?

And if you do end up with one of those Plan B jobs and it doesn’t work out, then remember no job is forever if you don’t want it to be, but every job is a learning experience. Even if all you learn is that that particular career also needs to be striked off your list.

Live life & don’t be too afraid of Plan B x

 Follow me on Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Instagram

monday afternoon… finding that illusive sweet spot…

P1000232

Happy Bank Holiday Monday everyone! How are you?

I was working this morning, but the miserable weather here in Pennine Lancashire scuppered out plans a bit, so now I’m back in my flat with the afternoon all to myself!

If you read my post on Friday, you’ll know I have a lot cluttering up my head space at the moment. In fact just thinking about how much clutter there is has been taking up enough space in itself.

Here’s the thing, it is in my nature to always be looking forwards, and while sometimes (times like this) this can lead me to sleepless nights and general stress heady ways, most of the time this is what pushes me to be the best version of myself. However when those times come along when I can only look forward and see no clear path, that’s when I loose sight not only of the fact that I want to move forward but also of what is happening right in front of me.

At the beginning of this year I had hit some form of a sweet spot. Having started to read more into mindfulness, and not having any imminent plans that needed to be made, for the first time ever I felt still. Not stalled, but still and calm and happy. Unfortunately, as we’ve crept further on into this year, the luxury of having no imminent plans to be made has disappeared. The stuff that is taking up room in my head, about the future, needs to have that room dedicated to it. I HAVE to think about possible new jobs and back up plans. If I don’t I will find myself in a much worse position in 6 months time, that the slightly stressed out one I’m in at the moment, and besides, I LIKE to look forward.

However, the balance has tipped too far one way. I’m so far into looking forward that not only can I not see the path between here and there (something only adding to the stress) but I also can’t really enjoy right now, or give it the attention it deserves.

I need to find a new sweet spot. A spot somewhere in between, looking to the future while also taking in where I am right now. After all, if I don’t have a solid footing where I am right now, how can I be sure that the path going forward can take the weight of me and my plans?

This weekend I have been making tiny adjustments in an attempt to slither my way back along the scales to a point of equilibrium. Things like tidying up my kitchen table and turning it into a little bit of a creative workspace rather than just somehwere to store the dirty washing up. Taking a look at this blog and remembering that spending some dedicated time here worked wonders in helping me get out of waitressing and stay motivated. Taking out my notebook and planning not only what I want my life to look like in 3 years, but also in 3 months, and in 3 weeks time. And then switching off all together, finally finishing off some of my ‘to sew’ projects, and going out for dinner and enjoying the company, and a good conversation not only about work and the big stuff, but boys and clothes, and new cafes too.

In many ways this post is a bit of an immalgimation of all the posts I’ve published in the past couple of weeks, as my brain has hopped from one topic or worry to the next. Hopefully it is now all coming together.

And now, after a morning of work, planning and blogging, I’m heading to late lunch with a friend. Because that’s what bank holidays are for, and I’m already feeling much more balanced for it.

Live life & find your own sweet spot x

Follow me on Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Instagram