It never ceases to amaze me how fast social media trends come and go. Long gone are the Myspace days and even Friends Reunited fell by the wayside, however, I’m trying my best to remain ‘in the loop’ as social media skills are highly transferable in the workplace nowadays.
I must admit, that conversations with my tech-savvy daughters about what’s currently in or out of favour is a bit like navigating your way around a foreign country with an extremely limited knowledge of the language, but I’m doing my best to keep up.
Alongside the essential Facebook and Twitter accounts, plus LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube, WordPress and Blogger, I recently found myself signing up for Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. It’s now becoming so time-consuming updating everything that I’m having to use a social media management tool! On the bright side, that’s another new ability to add to my technical expertise…
Since re-vamping my home over the last couple of years, including installing dozens of new house-plants, I’ve inadvertently created a lovely hobby for myself; indoor gardening. It’s amazing how these things can escalate, but if you buy a couple of spider plants here and some peace lilies there, before you know it you’re living in a fabulous jungle. What’s more, there’s something quite cathartic in snipping off the odd dead leaf here and there, and keeping everything looking luscious.
I used to have house-plants many years ago but life, family, work and so on got in the way of tending to them, and inevitably, as each one bit the dust I just didn’t bother to replace it. Now I have fewer distractions and have more disposable income to spend on the things I really enjoy, which means that not only does the house look green and fresh inside, thanks to the purifying qualities of plants the air I breathe is better too. It seems that the more I look after them, the more they look after me!
Well, after thirteen months in the department my ‘temporary’ contract finally came to an end I’m now taking the opportunity to have some much needed R ‘n’ R before I begin the next phase of my career.
After an emotional final week, when I was treated to a fabulous night out with the girls, followed by a cooked breakfast in the canteen and then a third treat; a G&T in the bar where I was unexpectedly presented with gifts and a card; I’ve shut down my lovely new PC for the very last time and am now taking a bit of time out to decide what my next step will be.
I’ll continue to do a bit of casual work here and there so I have a few pennies coming in, but it’s important that after working so hard to build up my experience, (and my bank balance), I now step back, re-focus and look forward to the next exciting job opportunity.
For now, however, I’m just going to sit down, relax, and enjoy what’s left of the British
Just had another departmental night out on the town. It’s a hard life getting chauffeur driven to parties, all paid for by your employer, but somebody has to do it.
We’d all met up for pre-meal cocktails at a nearby bar before inflicting the unsuspecting Mexican restaurant with our raucous laughter at snapchat while wearing sombreros. Enid Blyton would’ve had a field day writing Six Go Mad in Mexico, although it clearly wouldn’t have been a very suitable read for children.
It was a vegetarian delight to see so many different options on the menu, so it would’ve been rude not to try as many of them as was humanly possible (thank heavens for elasticated waistbands). The tortilla chips and salsas were a welcome appetiser while the cheese quesadillas with chilli cheese fries certainly soaked up the tequila margaritas (and beers!) There was only one dessert I was interested in and that was the tequila sorbet – oh my poor liver.
Benjamin Franklin famously once said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes“, and in recent weeks I’ve experienced both. After chasing Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for well over a year I finally got my tax rebate – hurrah. It was a relatively small sum of money, but it was the principle that mattered most to me. It was MY money and therefore I didn’t see why anyone else should have it. On a sadder note, I experienced the passing of a very dear friend who I’d known for the past twenty years.
While I realise that anyone reaching their eighties is judged to have had ‘a good innings’, especially if they’d suffered bouts of ill health during their twilight years, it’s still upsetting when the inevitable happens. At times like these it makes you more aware of your own mortality and the preciousness of living. It also makes you realise that you only get one life and you mustn’t waste a single moment of it. Ted taught me many lessons, but the one which I will cherish the most is nicely summed up by British author and poet C. S. Lewis; ” You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream“…
Rest In Peace.
Back in 2008 I missed my own graduation due to the fact I was still recovering from major surgery, so when the opportunity arose to attend the ceremony for the department where I currently work, I jumped at the chance.
On the day itself, campus resembled Hogwarts as hundreds of little ‘Harrys and Hermiones’ gathered in the squares wearing black robes and mortar boards. The air of excitement was tangible as the Professional Services team made our way to the venue to watch the latest batch of students to go from undergraduates to graduates with a firm handshake from the Chancellor; The Right Honourable Baroness Shami Chakrabarti CBE; in front of proud friends and family members in the audience.
After the new graduates were led out of the lecture theatre by a procession of fully-gowned academics, we sprinted up the hill so that we could welcome them all into the lakeside marquee for the less formal celebrations with bubbly and canapés. Maybe it was all the excitement, or quite possibly the booze, but I’ve now made the decision that for 2018 I’ll mark the ten year anniversary since I became a BA (Hons) by gowning up as Alumni. A year from now there will be a very, VERY excitable, middle-aged peroxide blonde running around campus, beaming from ear to ear and yelling “I’m a wizard!” …
The University where I work was recently awarded a Gold award for teaching the same day as a Gold rating in learning, so along with various other celebrations on campus there was an invite extended to all staff and students to attend a thank-you event in a woodland marquee. Obviously, never one to turn down a freebie, I booked my Golden ticket and spent my Monday lunch-break rubbing shoulders with the Vice Chancellor and various other senior management and department heads, as you do!
With the sun beating down and several hundred people crammed inside, it quickly turned into a sauna, so knocking back liquid was the only way to keep hydrated. Partaking of Prosecco in a posh tent certainly beats scoffing a couple of cheese spread sarnies with a coffee at my desk, although booze at lunchtime probably wasn’t the best way to ensure that anything remotely productive happened in my office after 2pm. Hmm.. I can see a theme emerging…