Proper Job

It’s not the first time I’ve had a job, obviously – but it’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve had a ‘normal’ job, and the first time that I’ve ever worked shifts.

I’ve been just over three months in my new job as a kitchen designer for a major DIY chain. You know, the job I had to get after my husband walked away from our marriage.

I went into teaching in 1996, and I’ve been running a business with my husband since 2011. Neither of these are normal jobs!!

There are a few differences between this job and teaching – and between this job and working with my husband –

  • When you’re a teacher, you don’t get to choose your holidays. Yes, you get a lot of holidays (13 weeks, give or take) – but you have no choice at all over when exactly you take them. And it’s always when the air fares are at their most expensive…
  • When you’re a teacher, you don’t get to choose your breaks – when the bell goes, that’s your break. Unless you’re on playground duty of course. Or need to set things up for the next lesson.
  • When you’re a teacher, there’s no-one to talk to during the working day. You’re on your own with a class of kids, and while generally speaking children can be OK, you can’t really have a conversation with them.
  • When you’re a teacher, you always, always, take work home with you. You never get to the bottom of the marking pile, the planning is always hanging over you. Evenings – and lunchtimes for that matter – are taken up with marking. Weekends are spent planning and organising resources.
  • When you work with your husband, holidays are something of a rarity – if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you go away for a week, it doesn’t just cost you the price of the flights and the hotel, it costs you the money you would have made if you hadn’t been away. That can make an ordinary holiday into quite an expensive one.
  • When you work with your husband, you never get away from the job – it’s what you talk about even if you’re on a day ‘off’. Not that you ever really get a day off.
  • In my new job, we have to book our holidays – we can actually choose when we want to take our holidays. I’ve only just realised how much that means to me!!
  • In my new job, there are lots of people (grown-up people) to pass the time of day with, discuss a problem with, have a laugh with. Again, not something I’ve been used to. I like it!
  • In my new job, I’m not expected to take work home with me. No more lugging a crate of exercise books back and forth. No more discussing clients over breakfast. I go to work. I come home. The two are quite separate. I like this.
  • In my new job, I work shifts. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that. I work 5 hours a day, 5 days a week – I start some days as early as 7am, and finish other days as late as 9pm, with any combination of start times in between. It means that every day is different, there’s no set pattern or routine. I like that too!!
  • It’s also the first time I’ve worn a uniform. No more trying to decide what to wear. No more having to spend money on buying clothes for work. This is also good.

I’m enjoying my new job, I really am. It’s good to have a proper job, for oh so many reasons.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. LittleDreams says:

    I can confirm that teaching is, indeed, not a proper job! I think it’s more a “proper”lifestyle choice; one that I love but it’s not for everyone and by heck, it’s tough. It consumes you but you either love that or hate that!
    Glad you’re enjoying your new job though, do you find yourself mentally judging people’s kitchens and redesigning them better in your mind? I try not to do that with people’s children..! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the idea of redesigning people’s children!! I loved teaching, until the day I didn’t any more. It’s very sad that it happens to so many teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. anglosvizzera says:

    Good points made! I’m really pleased that you’re enjoying your new job – it does sound very satisfying and fun too 🙂

    I do think that teaching really has to be a vocational choice – none of my jobs have been as a teacher, but I did work in schools after having my children for convenience of having the same holidays. I worked as a part-time lab technician in a secondary school, which meant I finished at 1.30pm and had that blessed couple of hours to be able to go shopping (or whatever) unhindered! More recently I worked as a TA and realised how difficult it is to try and fit things in outside the prescribed holidays. My mother died, for one thing, but I was allowed a day off for the funeral. Then one of my children was unwell and I needed to go to hospital appointments – luckily my line manager was understanding and able to juggle things around for me, but the time off was unpaid. Having worked in those schools I have profound admiration for the teaching staff – they have a lot to deal with, especially these days.

    A uniform is great! I was a radiographer years ago and to be able to roll up in my tatty jeans etc and get changed at work was wonderful. I actually hate having to ‘dress for work’ in any other context – I’m far happier dressing for my own comfort and ready to do anything like digging the garden, walking up a muddy hill or even popping out to the shops without having to get changed. I lived outside Florence (Italy) for a while and was amazed how some women tottered to the supermarket in their finest clothes and stilettos. I’m sure I must have been regarded as a scruffy Englishwoman by them…probably why I only stayed for 6 months.

    I’ve never been self-employed but I am probably too lazy to do that in reality. I’d procrastinate all day and never get anything done.

    Shift work can be quite stressful if you have to work nights as well – but shifts within a reasonable period can be quite fun. I did similar hours to you when I worked at a language school in Bath and had to stay late some evenings when they had classes, but it meant I could have a lie in on those days and take my time window-shopping (or actual shopping) on the way to work.

    The only time I really ‘did’ nights was working at weekends in A&E as a radiographer. The system wasn’t great though – after a full Monday-Friday’s normal work, you started again at 9am on Saturday with a colleague. Then they went home at 5pm and you were ‘on standby’ at the hospital from then until 9am Sunday morning. There was a room to sleep in, but in reality you tended to get woken up every couple of hours to x-ray someone (or be bothered by various junior doctors fancying their chances!)

    Sunday was much the same – but then on Monday you had to work a normal morning in a complete daze, before being able to go home at lunchtime. You can imagine how it felt getting up for the 3rd time in the wee small hours of Monday morning, sleep-deprived and trying to do quite a responsible job with a patient who is likely quite ill and unable to co-operate very well. Back then, in the 80s, the equipment wasn’t as automated as it is now so you had to think quite carefully about the settings to use to end up with a decent image. It wasn’t like taking a photo where you can repeat it; the radiation is potentially harmful so you really had to try and get it right first time. Weirdly, Sunday nights were far busier than Saturday nights – usually men having chest pains, probably at the thought of going back to work on Monday!

    I did do some ‘on-call’ shifts too – that system was that you could be at home, or wherever, but available at any time to come in for x-raying inpatients. So you were on tenterhooks all the time, especially after having gone to bed. If called, you either had to drive to the hospital or get a taxi, switch everything on (having stamped on the cockroaches that ran for cover when you turned on the lights), arrange for the patient to be brought to the department (or drive the mobile x-ray machine miles down the corridors at snail’s pace to the patient), do the job (probably half-asleep), repeat if necessary (often for the mobile x-ray patient as it was less powerful and prone to blurred images), turn everything off again, lock up, get a taxi or drive home again. And then the whole process might need to be repeated a bit later the same night! I did not enjoy that one bit.

    If only I could afford a new kitchen….


    1. New kitchen?? You can do it…


  4. Inkplume says:

    Good for you! More proof that something new can be scary and turn out to be so positive.


  5. SisterStay says:

    If I was your new employer, I’d be pretty happy reading this blog. Everyone likes an employee who is pleased to be at their work! It’s great to shake things up with something completely different from anything you’ve done before. Go you.


    1. A change is as good as a rest!!

      Liked by 1 person

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