I hope you don’t mind me asking. I’m currently at a tricky juncture, seriously considering the future of my working life and where I go from here. I’m genuinely interested in discovering what other people do for a living. I’m lacking direction and finding it hard to find the right path which compliments my family life, so I would greatly value inspiration and different perspectives.
I’m interested in the following…
Do you work from home or away from home?
Are you full or part time?
Have you been in the same career since leaving school/college/university?
Or have you changed jobs a lot?
Does or has illness or disability ever affected your work/career?
Have you ever had dramatic career changes?
How do you juggle work and family life?
etc, etc, etc…
I’ve been working since I was 10, no really! I babysat for pocket money in our village when I was 10. At 13 I worked as a stable hand, then for the rest of my teenage years I worked as a hairdresser’s assistant, a waitress, a fish and chip shop girl and some more babysitting.
I struggled at school because of undiagnosed ADD and years of bullying. As a result, I left after A-Levels feeling despondent, lacking in confidence and with no direction. I excelled at literature, creative writing and art, but as a result of very poor career advice, went to college to train as a beauty therapist!
Beauty therapy didn’t stick, I quickly became bored and uninspired - it just wasn’t me. Then because of a fluke meeting, I spent the first half of my 20s working as a live in nanny for the rich and famous in London and Boston Mass, with a few other odd jobs in between such as picture framer, shop assistant and a life model for a sculptor.
At 26 I became a manager of a private nursery school in Gloucestershire where I was advised to train as a teacher by an OFSTED inspector. So at 27 I began a three year teaching degree at Bangor University and absolutely rocked it. I felt I had been made for teaching and enjoyed an amazing stint of voluntary teaching in Africa. I was a top student and got head hunted by two local schools before I’d even graduated.
First teaching position was tough. An hour’s commute, a class of 31 with a wide range of abilities, one autistic child and no assistant. Then I got bullied by another teacher. The bullying went on for a year and broke me. The school handled the case very badly. I eventually left under the wing of the teaching union who were adamant I should take the case to court, but I had nothing left to give and had an emotional breakdown.
I tried to go back to teaching - part time at a secondary school. But I’d lost all my confidence, found discipline difficult and only lasted 2 years.
For three years afterwards, I went into retail and marketing, working for local businesses and retraining to fit the role. Then the 2007 - 2008 financial crisis led to the business I was working for at the time, close down. I then became pregnant with Angharad, so unemployable.
This is when we started SSiW.
Since then I’ve been the woman behind the man, have helped with SSiW, have done some supply teaching, lots of volunteering and raised two kids who are now in full time education.
So here I am, wanting to be of use again and needing to raise income. I’m tied to an extent because of the school run - we’re a one car family and live out in the sticks. I also give my elderly parents two days a week (one being a Saturday). My mother is disabled and I help with cleaning and errands and general emotional support when times are tough.
I’m beginning to embark on a writing career in Welsh - but this is fulfilling a dream and an ambition, not an attempt to pay the bills. I would love to spend every day writing, but life doesn’t allow for that kind of indulgence!
I’m very creative, I can draw and am crafty, love to write, love to cook and garden, love interior design. I’m social but not extrovert. I’m sufficiently tech savvy. I’m not always the most confident of people. I have a secret desire to be the lead singer of a rock band, as well as a serious stage actor. I love wildlife, especially birds and would actually love to be paid to narrate stories to children.
I guess in an ideal world we would have our chalet completely renovated and I would run mini Bootcamps and skill sharing weekends for Welsh learners, from home. But I first need to earn the money to renovate the chalet!
So, where do I go from here, I wonder, and what’s your story?