Life Lately | Back in the Workplace

(not my office...but let's pretend)
My poor neglected blog - I have missed it so much! I've had a head full of content and no time to write so I'm hoping that a quieter couple of days this weekend will allow me to catch up a little bit. 
But I thought I should share a life lately post as it's been so long since I blogged. How is is December tomorrow? 

November ended up being a month where I prioritised a return to the workplace. I was offered a temporary contract until the end of the month to deliver an event for a local company. It meant that the couple of weeks leading up to the event last week were beyond hectic but it was also a couple of the most empowering weeks I've had in a long time. 

I've talked about returning to the workplace in previous blog posts. Thanks to blogging, I've written content and worked with brands throughout the past 8 years, so in theory I've been 'employed', keeping my social media and content skills fairly current. However, I always wanted to return to doing the kind of work I did before I became a full time mum (internal communications / employee engagement) but every time a role came up and I enquired, I was told my experience in that field wasn't current enough.

So it's fair to say that the company I've been working with took a leap of faith in one way by bringing me in to deliver this internal comms project but isn't it the reality with most jobs that it's all about people skills - more than technical skills. It was as if I'd never had that break - I was back into the groove within a few days. Because if you had the skills in the first place, it doesn't matter that you took 9 years out to have your kids. 

In a labour market that frequently struggles to get quality candidates for roles, why is this not appreciated? Why do the essential criteria in so many cases demand 'recent' experience or qualifications, sometimes in courses that weren't even invented 5 or 6 years ago. 
It instantly excludes men and women who take time out to be the main caregivers at home. Yet, we make pretty amazing employees - highly engaged, masses of life experience and resilience (we've had years of functioning on little or no sleep) and Olympic level multi-tasking skills. We have the very real fear of expensive teenagers and college fees and we're not ever (EVER!) going to take maternity leave again. In fact, work is where we want to be - to escape the hormones and endless food requirements of our children.

In a criteria driven recruitment space, attitude, ability, life skills and personality are pretty much disregarded. It's all in an effort to standardise the application process and ensure fairness but I think it does the opposite. You end up interviewing a ton of people with lots of the same easy to measure criteria and it's all about who answers the same set of questions using the words you are looking to hear as an interviewer. A skill in itself but not necessarily an indication of whether you'll be any good in the job.

I think it's why smaller companies and start ups are so agile and forward thinking - they're willing to look outside set criteria and tend to recruit for attitude, train for skill.

All told, I'm endlessly grateful that this local company took a punt on me and they must think I'm ok because they're keeping me on for another chunk of work. The feedback was really positive from the event I delivered and the associated work I've been doing on their strategy. I realised I have this - I CAN do this. I never couldn't - I was just fortunate enough to be able to take a childcare break.

And that's where I am in my Life Lately. I've (for the short term but hopefully for longer) achieved what I set out to do in my Blog Detox process - created a decent income outside of the blog space. An income I can feel proud of earning because it's not based entirely around encouraging consumerism and meeting brand guidelines in a brief. 

Will I keep on blogging? Yes - definitely.  My blog is like a child to me and I'm so proud of it. I love that it's a mix of my own content and brands that I love to work with - who don't force me to write what they want, who can't always pay me but that's ok because they're local or just amazing brands that I love. The important bit is that it's content that I want to write, written when I am able to write it and without prior approval from anyone! 

This has become a longer post than I intended...there's been more going on with me lately apart from work and more to come in the next few weeks but I'll be here all night if I keep typing. As always, I'm over on Instagram most days - watch out for a wee Christmas shopping day in Bangor on Monday with my blog husband Jeff from Belfast Times.

For now, I'll sign off and get back to my other posts I've got on the to do list. I've a couple of beauty posts and one about blogging FAQ's. I've also a M&S post in the pipeline and another non fashion one that many of you will relate too. I'll be back very soon...



  1. So glad the event went well - sure, you could have delivered it with your eyes closed! And maybe there's hope for me to re-enter the world of real work in 2019!! xx

  2. Great to hear life is busy but also rewarding Avril. You are 100% spot on about recruitment, everyone wants ‘specifics’ that don’t take into account any ‘real’ experience. Instead it’s all based on 20mins of questions, which if you don’t give what they think are the best examples can leave you feeling some serious self disappointment. It can be a real confidence knocker even though in many instances, given the opportunity, your skills could have been what they needed but they just didn’t realise it! Look forward to reading the next blog x


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