2018 – A Year of Change

The post below was written in November 2018. I didn’t get around to posting because I was so busy, and I was feeling guilty about leaving the blog for so long! Enjoy the trip back in the Enough Time Machine.

Life’s Been a Whirlwind (November 2018)

I almost can’t believe I haven’t posted since June, but life’s been a whirlwind since then, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s difficult to know where to start! Let’s dive into what I allowed to take priority over blogging.

Volunteer Work

Now before this turns into a Frugalwoods controversy, let me make it clear that I do not volunteer for a charity, and the work I do is entirely unpaid. I volunteer for an online literature publication. Another member was unable to proceed as editor for an issue as planned, so they asked for someone else to step up. Having had no experience as an editor, I said I would do it as long as someone else co-edited. Also, it had to be done by September, as we were going away. Oh. My. Goodness. I had no idea how much work went into editing and production.

My colleague was amazing. I was constantly in awe as she managed to take a piece of writing, and pare it down to beautiful sentences that succinctly expressed ideas without losing the voice of the author. Every change she suggested made perfect sense after the fact, yet if I’d have been presented with the original, I’d have been mostly happy with it as it was. She tightened and clarified and generally acted like a fairy godmother to Cinderella. With a wave of her editor’s wand, there’s a princess standing before you. From this I’ve learned the value of a good editor for any piece of writing, and that I’m not an editor. Now I know!

Beyond that, however, there is still a lot involved. Before the editing process, we needed to read articles from the pool and decide which ones we both wanted. Once chosen and the editing process started, we communicated with authors, drew up contracts, organised signing, scanning, found illustrators, more contracts, sorted payments, proofread, and a range of other requirements, all to a deadline. I’ll be honest, this took up every spare piece of my time for nearly 2 whole months, and that was co-editing! As an experience, it was definitely worth it. I would probably even put my hand up to do it again (2021 edit – no, never again. I think the trauma hadn’t caught up with me when this was originally written!). Just not when I have an overseas holiday to plan for.

One of the images we chose for our publication.

Overseas Holiday

We went to the UK for nearly 6 weeks. It had been 15 years since I was last there, and we’d been planning to go for quite some time. When I say planning to go, I mean just talking about it. All we’d done was book the annual leave and our plane tickets. I was so busy with the volunteer work, I didn’t have any time to plan the holiday, which is very much NOT like me. Sadly, this meant that when we went to book the cottage we’d found last year, which had formed the cornerstone of our plans, it was too late. We’d left it too late.

I’m usually not one to worry about things like that, but this upset me. I’d had this cottage at the edge of the Dales in my mind for nearly 12 months, and because of our actions, we’d missed out. This bit especially hard, as I am a planner and always organised. I’d just suffered the consequences for not doing so in this case. I guess this acted as a catalyst, because we sat down and planned where we wanted to be on what dates. Then, Mr. ETT did all the work. He found accommodation, car hire, figured out how we would move between places, what activities we could do, and what family we could visit and when. Without his work, the holiday wouldn’t have happened, because I’d overcommitted. Thanks Mr. ETT! I won’t write anything more here, as I’ll do a couple of posts on the holiday itself.

An English country garden seen through rain streaked windows.

Back to Work… For a Week

Another thing that took up my time in the lead up to our holiday was applying for a new job. If you read my last post, you can see that I was frustrated where I was. I didn’t hate it. I liked all the people, but the job itself was frustrating me. Then I found the perfect job. When I ran down the requirements, I could tick every one. More importantly, the entire job consisted of the favourite part of my current job. I’ve developed experience in my field over the years.

What I first trained in is not what I do now. I have a small formal qualification in it, but I’m mostly self-taught. However, the industry has caught up, and there are now people with Bachelor, Masters and PhDs in my field. Mostly, I can’t compete with them, and I choose not to go back and get yet another degree (or not yet, anyway. I like Uni and studying).

This job wanted someone with my breadth of experience, not the specialisation of someone newer to the field. So in among the volunteer work, I wrote the best job application I could, submitted, then waited. And waited. Time for the holiday was fast approaching, yet I’d heard nothing (applications closed 2 months before we went away, so I thought that was plenty of time). Just as I was gearing up to let them know I’d be out of the country, I received an invitation to interview, 7 days before we were due to leave. Aargh! Now I had an interview to prepare for as well.

The interview was great. I immediately felt comfortable, these people spoke my language, and they were setting up their new unit with common sense and using a lessons learned approach. Also, it came with a pay rise. During the interview, we spoke about the fact I had 6 weeks’ leave booked, and I’d be out of the country the next week. Thankfully, they were willing to wait. Later that very same day, they called to offer me the job!

A park near my new job. Stunning.

A New Job

I was ecstatic. But what about my current job? I didn’t feel comfortable handing in my resignation while I was overseas, then never turning up again. Luckily, in negotiating my start date, the new company allowed me an extra week after my leave. I had already trained a colleague to do my business as usual tasks while I was on holiday. As I have a good relationship with management, I decided the fairest thing to do was give them warning. I made it clear the offer wasn’t formal yet, but that I was likely going to resign while I was away, in order to give the requisite 4 weeks’ notice.

This allowed me to spend the last week before going away ensuring that I had handed over and documented the main body of my standard tasks, and further teach my colleague. I’ll be honest, there’s far too much that I do in the project space for me to hand over. Also, there are some tasks I complete where the skills required don’t exist in my current business unit, and were way too complex for me to explain in a procedure. I offered to keep myself available by phone so they could ask for help when the time came. I returned from holiday, prepared more frantic handover materials, and then left to start my new job the next week!

There’s a little more to it than just starting the new job, but I’ll share that in my next post.

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