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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