I work predominantly from home, which is something I would never have considered pre-pandemic, but it’s become a permanent state of being for me.
The pandemic forced us to close our doors and be much more local (except if we needed to make a quick trip to Specsavers), and that gave me an appreciation for working from home a lot more – it allowed me to focus on my son during his home learning. That said, I quickly adjusted the home learning style I originally adopted – hour-long “lessons” on different subjects because, although that was how my mind works, it wasn’t right for Bryan, so we figured out something different. Managing that whilst holding down a job wasn’t easy, but it was the best thing for both of us.
I mention this because I think it’s taken me a long time after the world began to open up again to figure out what was right for me, work-wise. I tried a permanent move back to the office, but that didn’t work quite right for me or the team I was working for – it was the right thing for me to do to leave after a few weeks with some lessons learned; a blend of working styles was right for me. I do occasionally pop into an office, and it’s nice to have that time, but it’s important for me and my family that, for now, I work mostly at home.
I’ve worked pretty much all my life from the age of 16; I’ve been “between jobs” for a week or two every now and then, but I’ve been fortunate to land on my feet pretty quickly. There have been jobs I’ve not particularly enjoyed – alright, there were a couple of jobs in the long-distant past where I thought, “What the hell have I done, moving to this role?” – but, thankfully, those were few and far between.
My first job was at Waitrose back when I was 16 and looking for a Saturday job. Given that half my family had worked there at various points (my mum, two aunts, one uncle, and three cousins at least – there might even be more), the interview process wasn’t particular onerous.
Following two years there, and a brief month at the newly-opened Asda (that was a mistake), I spent a lovely three and a half years at various local libraries. A manager and I didn’t gel at all, but other than that, I rubbed along nicely with pretty much everyone there; twenty years later, a couple of people I worked with are still there, and it’s lovely to see their faces when I pop in. I remember a lot of laughter from my time there, and people who were kind, friendly, and accepting of anybody and everybody. If my son worked with people like them in the future, he would probably be on to a winner.
Bryan asks me from time to time what I’ve been doing all day; he doesn’t fully understand all the details of my day-to-day work, but I don’t expect him to. He’s still interested in what I do, and I’ve found that I need to pick out a couple of key examples that then help him put things in a bit of perspective. He won’t mind me saying that, at the moment, he wants to either be a dancer or a cashier when he’s older. I can’t really help him with the dance route, aside from funding his dance lessons and being immensely proud of all his moves, but I tell him stories from my days in customer service and try to make him laugh. I like making Bryan laugh, although he is definitely funnier than me!
It’s taken me time to find a good balance, working at home, but I think I’ve started to really balance it out now; I’d be interested in hearing how other people manage that balance as well.