Back to work: My new job starts today and I’m ready for it!
I start my new job today! Today my career moves in an entirely new direction. I’m not going back to my old pharmacy job in the NHS. Instead, after a career break of 16 months, I start my new part-time job as East Midlands Operational Support Manager for the national debt charity, Community Money Advice (CMA). It sounds fancy, doesn’t it?! Essentially, I’ll be working 16 hours a week, supporting 13 of the 140+ Debt Advice Centres affiliated to CMA. From what I can gather so far (!), I’ll be out visiting the centres, reviewing their files and offering them help and support in person or over the phone. I’ll also be helping manage the CMA’s social media accounts. I guess I’ll learn more about the role when I attend my induction in Shrewsbury later today. Eeeks! Exciting stuff!
As I said in an earlier post, (I’ve got a new job! I might be able to ‘have my cake and eat it’ after all!), I feel very blessed to have this job because when I started job-hunting in January, I wanted ‘the moon on a stick’! I wanted a job that would fit in with my family, my current role as a volunteer debt adviser and my writing. Thankfully, amazingly, I’ve found that rare as ‘Steak Tartare’ job: It ticks all the boxes on my wishlist.
Ticking all the boxes.
So why am I so excited about my new job and why is it special?
- It’s not pharmacy. I worked as a pharmacist for more than twenty years, latterly in the NHS. However, I don’t want to be a pharmacist anymore.
- It’s a debt advice role. I’m passionate about helping people who have money worries or are in debt.
- Part-time. I’ll be working 16 hours a week, so it fits with all my other commitments.
- Remote-working. Although I’ll spend one day a week visiting centres or head office, I can work remotely and in the comfort of my own home! Yay!
- Flexible. As long as I get the work done, I can move my days around or work in the evenings, etc.
- It compliments my existing role. As I work at a CMA debt advice centre, the two roles feed into each other and compliment each other. I can take what I learn from my CMA job and use it in my voluntary debt advice work and vice versa.
- I can use my existing skills. The social media skills I learned as a blogger and the experience I have from my voluntary debt advice role will help in my new job. Even the skills I gained in my pharmacy career (training, equipping, etc) aren’t wasted.
- I can continue my role as a Voluntary Debt Adviser one day a week. I love my voluntary job, so I’m delighted to find a job which means I can keep working as a volunteer.
- I can keep blogging! I may not be posting as often, but having a flexible, part-time job means I can keep on writing.
How do I feel about going back to work?
So how am I feeling? Mostly excited, but also a little bit daunted and nervous. I’m on 3 months probation after all! There’s so much to learn, too.
My new role may be super-flexible, but it will still demand a bit of organising and coordinating to make sure I can be there for the kids and that I can juggle my other responsibilities too.
However, although I recognise I’ve got lots to learn, I can’t wait to get stuck in! After all, how many people have the chance to start over in their careers? I feel privileged that I’ve got the opportunity to move into a completely different area of work.
Preparing to return to work.
Let’s be clear. Although I keep talking about ‘returning to work’, I’m talking about returning to work in the traditional sense, because, in the last 16 months, I’ve worked my socks off! In fact, I’ve worked harder in the last year than I have in my entire life. I’m not even joking. As I’ve said before and as other bloggers will know from experience, I’ve worked crazy hours trying to get my blog off the ground. I’m not grumbling because I’ve loved it. I’ve learned lots of new skills along the way, from buying a domain name to setting up a self-hosted website. I’ve designed headers, logos and themes and I’ve set up all my social media accounts. That’s before I even pressed publish on my first post!
So how have I prepared for my new job?
- Childcare. Although my kids are school age, I still need to coordinate (with military precision) the after school care and lifts to and from school for our girls. No wonder mums find it hard to re-enter the workplace! I forgot what a juggling act it can be when you’re trying to make sure the kids are sorted.
- Work clothes. I’ve lived in jeans and plimsolls for most of the last 16 months! What can I say: I like to be comfy! When I found out I’d been offered the job, I finally had to turn my attention to the section of my wardrobe that fell into disuse…The work clothes section. Was I expected to wear a suit? Was smart-casual acceptable? I dressed smart casual for my interview and I was offered the job, so I’m assuming I didn’t commit a dress-code faux pas! Thankfully, I have plenty of smart casual clothes from my last job and picked up a few things for my interview.
- New pens and pencils. Is it just me who likes to have a new set of pens and pencils (or at least fill a new pencil case with favourite pens and pencils) when I start a new job? I think it’s a hangover from school days when mum bought me and my sister a new pencil case and pens at the start of the school year. I only needed to buy some pen refills this time, as Mr T bought me a lovely Caroline Gardner pencil case last year and I’ve already got some nice pens!
- Notepads. I absolutely adore stationary and have a particular weakness for notebooks. Obviously, I needed to buy a few new notebooks for my job. It’d be rude not too. I found some fab lay flat notebooks in Asda. They’re a revelation! They really do lay flat so you can write all the way up to the edge of the page without the spine getting in the way and making it hard to write neatly.
- Sat-Nav. I’ve borrowed my mother-in-law’s sat nav and popped the all CMA centre addresses into the favourites. I do have a sat nav in my car, but she (female sat nav) is moody and unpredictable. She likes to ‘almost’ get us to our destination before she decides to give up completely – usually at the most inopportune moment. As I’ll be travelling a lot and often to places I’ve never visited, I’ll need a reliable sat-nav.
- Homework/Research. I’ve done a lot of reading in preparation for my role. I’ve checked out the CMA’s social media accounts and website, I’ve looked through the details and websites of the centres I’ll be helping etc.
- Scheduled posts. Of course, I’ve made sure I’ve got a few blog posts scheduled in my absence. I’d like to say I have ten drafts ready to go, but I’ve only got this one and one for Friday! Ahem! Hopefully, I’ll get some more done soon!
- New workbag….Of course, I need a new work bag! New job, new bag! I’ll tell you all about it in Friday’s blog post.
So what about Maflingo?
Maflingo is here to stay! My blog has certainly been a labour of love: I can say that now because I’ve just done my end of year tax return and so I can confirm I’ve done it for love, not money! I look back on the almost 200 posts I’ve written and it seems hard to believe I’ve come this far. I can’t help feeling a little bit proud of the fact I’ve gone from writing a few short stories to setting up and writing a proper blog. I want to keep it up. Realistically, my two day a week posting schedule may drop even further, but Maflingo is my baby. In fact, baby is a good analogy because it’s been a complicated and painful labour from the start but worth it!
So please stick with me in my little corner of the internet – it means so much to have you along for the ride and to read my ramblings. If my schedule slips in the coming weeks as I juggle my new role, my voluntary job, my blog and my family – hang in there!
So today marks the beginning of something new for me. A new stage of my life. Perhaps this time, when my pharmacy registration renewal notice arrives, I’ll have the courage to let my registration lapse, closing the door on my old career once and for all.
Remarkably, even as I commence this new phase of my career, none of my past experiences has been wasted. This time, instead of helping GPs manage their budgets, I’ll be helping CMA debt advice centres help their clients manage their budgets. Even the social media skills I’ve acquired from blogging will be put to good use.
So, as my new job begins, I feel thankful. I feel peaceful. I look forward to this brand new start because it’s an answer to prayer.
Over to you.
Have you had a career change or are you preparing to return to work? If you have children, are you going back part-time or full-time and how do you feel about returning to work? As always, I’d love to hear from you.