Happy Jobmas!

This time last year I indulged in the memories of public sector Christmas past- the celebratory meal at the local Italian that did a lunchtime special for less than a fiver; the Michelin star quality of the canteen Christmas dinner (‘she wants vegetarian gravy!’) and the jolly office Christmas card.

Another jolly public sector party

I was also panicking about my future post 31st March and not sure what I’d be doing with the twenty three hours a day that Homes under the Hammer wasn’t on telly. Post redundancy like the infinity of space was hard to imagine without collapsing another synapse.

It’s not, however, been as doom-laded as I imagined. Since April I’ve set up a business with a colleague and recruited lots of schools. Phrases like ‘tax deductible,’ ‘e marketing’ and ‘business networking’ are part of my working vocabulary and I’ve retired public sector favourites like ‘stakeholder engagement,’ ‘best practice’ and ‘benchmarking.’

I’ve had some work as an independent trainer, have worked for a consultancy and have written for a well-known supermarket chain. I’ve continued my blog and been interviewed for a Guardian article without having to be anonymous.  I’ve also networkedlike a fiend and met some amazing business people.

Worth being made redundant for.

I had been told by a lot of people that being self-employed is a lonely option but I’ve not been lonely at all. I’ve met up with colleagues for coffee on a regular basis and in setting up our business my business partner and I have had to meet a lot, our favourite office being a branch of a well-known coffee chain. We make phone calls, send emails, sign cheques, check out eBay, plan training and design learning resources in our ‘office.’ NB: one of those items is not strictly work related.

It was after one of our meetings that I checked my phone for email and found and interesting message from a local head teacher. It said something along the lines of (and I may be paraphrasing here):

You know how you said you’d rather chew your own leg off rather than go back into school? You’d better sharpen your teeth and break out the salt and pepper because I’d like to offer you a job.

She went on to offer me the acting deputy headship at her school while her deputy is on maternity leave. Perhaps I’d like to meet her for a coffee in the ‘office’ and talk about it.

I discussed the proposition with Mr R who was very supportive. I then phoned my mother who said, ‘excuse while I faint,’ and then fell about laughing. Thanks mum.

I met with the head teacher and we worked out a deal: I’d take the job for three days a week so I can continue with my other projects and will remain self-employed to make the tax/national insurance/pensions thing my responsibility and so as not to confused HMRC. A few days after I accepted the post, the head teacher found someone to fill the post the remaining two days.  I’ll be very busy but it’s not class based and I’m very much looking forward to it. I like to think that maybe the universe has come good after a crappy start to 2011.

So my 2012 is set to be busy, challenging and exciting. Just don’t ask me what I do for a living if I bump into you at a party.

Happy festive season and a happy new year to my readers. Thank you for your support over the last fifteen months and I’ll see you next year.


A little inspiration

At the end of this month my job finishes and it’s been a long hard slog in redundancy limbo for the last few months so a little inspiration at this point goes a long way.  I haven’t posted as often as I should but that’s mainly because –and how’s this for irony- I’ve been exceptionally busy at work. It may be because people have suddenly woken up to the fact that the free support and advice they’ve enjoyed for years is finally going but I’d also like to think it’s because they need and want my services too.

CV: It’s hard to get excited about writing a CV but I’ve been inspired by the support I had at a one to one CV writing session. One of the perks of redundancy is being able to access loads of training and support. This session was funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and I came away with lots of ideas.

Photos: Another colleague whose job is going has turned his hand to portrait photography and offered me a free session. I now have some swanky photos to go on my new marketing materials and website. And facebook. It took about twenty frames for me to stop looking like a startled meerkat but he got some great pictures in the end. In some he even managed to make me look attractive. Hoorah!

My new business partner: I’m going into business with my colleague. It’s part of that big fat portfolio career I promised myself a while back. We’ve sorted out our logo, planned our business cards and opened a business bank account. NB: we were messed around by banks offering deals on business accounts so we went to the nearest bank, walked in and asked to see the small business manager. We had to wait for a while and passed the time discussing whether the title ‘small business adviser’ was misleading and whether it should really be ‘adviser for small businesses’ but as it turned out, the small business adviser was actually quite small so we let them off.

World Book night : My business partner was one of the lucky few chosen to give out books on World Book Night on Friday so we picked those up on the way to the bank. After our appointment we rushed up to Trafalgar Square to take part in the launch. It was like a music gig but with books. When Philip Pullman came on stage people actually screamed and jumped up and down. It’s inspirational that people can still get that excited about books. I came away with Nigel Slater’s Toast.

Work: I’ve also run some new training and meetings. I can now add these activities to my list of things I can offer in my new life and I still get inspired and excited by my line of work. I promised myself at the beginning of the year that it was time to stop being miserable and look to the positive in 2011. It’s March, I’m days away from redundancy and I’m still here and still smiling.

Bring it on!

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