I started this job just over 5 months ago.
I’ve always been interested in kitchens – in the way they’ve evolved from basically a fire in the middle of the floor. I love visiting big houses, and the best bit for me has always been the kitchen. I collect copies of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. Seeing the way cooking and kitchens have changed since the book first appeared in print in 1861 just fascinates me.
So, here I am, on a totally different career path once again.
First career was insurance – claims negotiator for a major insurance broker. I had household-name clients, dealt with the third parties directly, and basically argued for a living.
Second career was teaching. Primary, mostly KS1, but a stint in KS2, then I re-trained to teach English as a foreign language and taught mostly adults. Loved it – until the stress out-weighed the job satisfaction. It became clear that if I didn’t give it up, my mental health would take a down-turn. There’s only so much crap a person can take. I was lucky – we’d started our own business a couple of years previously, and there was enough money coming in for me to take a salary from the business. Made sense at the time.
So my third career was running a business with my husband. I’m still involved with the business, but now that he’s left it’s just, well, complicated. He does the work, I do the books, basically. I’ve always said that a woman should be able to fend for herself independently – but I didn’t follow my own advice on that one. It was only when he said he was leaving that I realised how vulnerable my position was, because my only source of income was entirely dependent on him.
So kitchen designing it is. Career number four.
Not just kitchens – I design bathrooms and bedrooms too.
I’ve been doing it for five months now, and I just realised the other day that the end of my first six months in the job will coincide with the anniversary of him leaving – 20th February. It’s been a quick six months. It’s been a quick year.
There was a lot to learn – designing the kitchen (or the bathroom, or the bedroom) is the easy part!! I needed to learn the system for converting a design into an actual order, the system for applying for credit, the system for arranging a delivery, the system for booking holidays. There’s a system for everything, and it all had to be remembered.
There were times when I wondered if I’d ever be able to remember it all – but bit by bit it all started to fall into place. One day someone asked me a question, and I knew the answer!! Whoop!!
It’s good to be stretching the brain muscles again. It’s good to be working with people. It’s good to be earning my own money. But best of all it’s been good to discover that I can do this.
At an age when a lot of people are either already retired or seriously thinking about retiring, I’ve just started a new career – and it’s good. Really good.
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