It’s been a busy start to 2017 and I can’t believe that the first half of January is almost behind me. Having bid farewell to self-employment at the end of 2016, my salaried job role is taking up most of my time these days, which is really positive. There’s a massive amount to learn, and at times I feel as if my brain will burst, but along with the challenges there are more than enough rewards to make up for it, and being part of a team is a dream come true.
My shifts are longer than I’m used to, but this became a lot easier once I settled back into my new routine after the Christmas break, and the bonus is that I’m getting fitter. I’m slowly getting used to the sheer volume of business meetings I’m now attending, along with various training days, and although my schedule is filling up with work it’s also being filled with fun stuff such as the monthly team breakfasts, and will soon include an ‘away day’!
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that my life could change so quickly and dramatically, which just goes to show that you never know what’s just around the next corner. If you want to move upwards you have to move forwards…
When you receive an email from your new company offering fast-tracked promotions for a select few; and clearly you’re one of those they wish to promote; it comes as a bit of a shock, especially when you’ve only been working there for a year. To be honest, I had to read the email several times before it sank in, and even then I thought it had to be a clerical error, but apparently not.
My knee-jerk reaction would normally be to take up the offer, and within a week acquire a senior status. However, the reality is that with just twelve months worth of experience I currently feel under-equipped for the role, and I need at least one more year under my belt before I’ll be confident enough to take on such an important job. While the extra cash would be great, of course, and it’s a huge compliment to be asked, sometimes you just need to slow the pace down a little. Although I won’t be attending the required training this time, I haven’t turned down the promotion, I’ve simply put it on hold until I’m ready for the next big step. No matter how tempting, it’s not a particularly good idea to start running before you’ve mastered the art of walking.
When you freelance regularly for a local government organisation, there are times when the rules and bureaucratic necessities change so dramatically that re-training becomes essential. First and foremost I had to find the new venue, and that in itself proved to be slightly trickier than anticipated; although I did manage to arrive on time thank goodness.
Once inside it was a quick acknowledgement of co-workers before the new and complicated changes were explained. Fortunately, after the obligatory powerpoint presentation, with accompanying hard copies of every screen shot, all became a bit clearer; although I may well need to refer to my massive training manual to get to grips with a few of the finer points. It’s a good job they don’t mind paying us handsomely for all this additional work!
When you’re a member of a very grown up ‘Women’s Business Network’ you get offered opportunities to attend Learning Development courses, and today’s topic was ‘Voice and Communication’. The two very capable hosts were a voice and impact trainer in the business, government and health sectors, and a top social science professor, who’s an experienced public speaker and presenter of history documentaries for the BBC. The aim of today was ‘to develop more powerful communication skills through your voice, body language and conviction’.
We explored ideas around curiosity rather than ambition, confounding expectation, passionate involvement and thinking not about how confident we are but what we’re entitled to. Such topics could easily have been a bit dry had it not been for the extremely amusing anecdotes from the professional trainers, and the informal manner which the session took; especially when, at one point we were all standing in a circle re-acquainting ourselves with gravity while ‘huffing’! Despite these things being so far out of my comfort zone they’re practically on the horizon, I actually enjoyed the session so much I wish it had lasted longer. Hopefully they’ll run another course like this very soon, and when they do I shall make sure that my name’s first on the list!
I’m rather pleased with myself because I managed to nab a coveted spot on another free Professional Development course that my new employers run, and this time there was more in-depth training on the Health & Safety aspects of fire hazards, which goes hand-in-hand with my new role as a Fire Evacuation Steward. These are transferable skills I can use in any situation, including when I’m at home.
The highly experienced trainer pulled no punches and I have to admit his shock tactics worked. I now know that the majority of fires are caused by electrics, and that you should never use a multi-way for plugging in anything that produces heat (hair straighteners, fan heater, etc). I also learnt that it takes just two and a half minutes from the first wisp of smoke before you become unconscious, and that given the amount of electrics in bedrooms nowadays you should have a smoke detector in them, with an absolute minimum of two in each home. We were also warned that despite the romance of a candle-lit bath, fibreglass (which many baths are made from) is highly flammable and you really don’t want to find yourself sitting inside a ring of fire!
As landings, stairs and hallways are your pathway out of a burning building you should never have anything in them that would be a trip hazard in a dark / smoky environment. Also, closing all doors wherever possible is the best way to keep any potential fire at bay long enough for you to exit safely, and unless you’re a fully trained fireman, never ever attempt to put a fire out yourself or return to a burning building. The main message however was just three simple things; in the event of a fire, shout out, get out and stay out!
When your new employer offers a wide range of ‘Professional Development’ courses free to all staff, it’d be rude to turn down the opportunity to learn new skills, not to mention all the brownie points you gain (and it looks great on the CV too). That’s how I became a fully trained Fire Evacuation Steward!
I can now get everyone safely out of a building and to the nearest fire assembly point, and I know how to avoid potential bottle-necks, as well as identify and use a variety of fire exit locking systems. Hopefully, it’s one of those things I’ll never actually have to put into practice, however, should the need arise in the future I’m now confident I could rise to the challenge. Now, where are all those hunky firemen…?!
It’s been a few years since I was the ‘new girl’ at work, and today began with last-minute nerves and a touch of OCD as I checked, double-checked and triple-checked that I had everything I needed before leaving the house at stupid o’clock in the morning. I knew I’d completed the required training and that I’d read the work manual so many times I could probably sail through Mastermind with it as my specialist subject, but it’s surprising how easily your brain can empty during a thirty minute walk.
On arrival I nervously introduced myself to my Senior, who immediately put me at my ease by shaking my hand and giving me a very warm welcome to the team. All of my adult life I’ve secretly yearned to be a part of large and important organisation, and when a member of the public approached me, after noticing my brand new ID card hanging from my neck, and asked “Excuse me, do you work here?” I could barely contain my pride at being able to reply “Yes I do, how can I help you?”
Who knew you could earn so much money doing something that makes you THIS excited!?