13 Feb 2013

Achieving one's potential

I've been trying to find the words to say how I am feeling about my work at the moment, but they are not forthcoming.

I have worked at Caffe Nero for more than six years now. I first got the job when I decided to leave university before completing my nursing degree. Not becoming a nurse was something I never regret, I knew I was not good at the job, I found the human biology interesting but that was about all. When I got the job it was meant to be an interim, whilst I figured out what I did want to do.

I found I was great at my job, unashamedly, although it just came to me so easily it just seemed common sense to me (this does cause problems for me when other people struggle with the job, I can't understand their difficulty). I was running my own shop a little more than a year after I started.

Management did not come so easily. I cared too much about what people thought of me, did everything I could to keep my staff happy and didn't really care for the numbers. Yet as is inevitable, at times my staff hated me, as a manager you shoulder the blame for everything they dislike about the job and I couldn't deal with it. When I became pregnant I was thrilled, not just because we were having a baby, but because I was more than ready to leave. I hoped I wouldn't have to return but there was no way we could afford that!

Maternity leave was good for me though. I was ready to go back and when I did I was actually pleased to have some days off from being a mummy. I now work as an assistant manager in a really busy shop. I am a much better number two, although I have realised I was a much better manager than I gave myself credit for at the time. My new boss is great we get on so well, think so alike but also have different priorities, I do the people side, he does the numbers! I can't say how much I enjoy working with him, I now love my job again.

I just have one issue, the pay. I get £7 an hour. To try and describe everything I have to do in one shift it would last pages. Customers often treat us like we are stupid because of the job we do, but I think few people could do it well. You need to be able to do about 100 things at once. We always run on minimum staff so my time is divided between loads of tasks whilst making sure everything I can't do is being done by someone else! It's all second nature to me now though, my colleagues think I'm a genius problem solver but I've just had everything happen before! I know I deserve more pay but I'm being unrealistic.

I would love to be able to move on, do a job that challenges me more. I dream of being an event planner, I'm not sure what; live music, weddings, conferences, fundraising..... and I know I would be good at the job and have many transferable skills, but how many people would look at my CV and think that? How can I leave a job that is so flexible with my hours so I can do what is best for our family? I would probably have to travel meaning that in an entry level job I would probably have less take home. Would it be better to do a degree to have a chance of a higher level job?

I can't answer these questions at the moment and I don't feel ready to leave Nero, but that may just be fear of the unknown. If anyone would like to hire me freelance to plan a party I wouldn't say no though!


6 Feb 2013

My Heart's Desires

Noah enjoying a walk around town

Right now there are two things I want with all my heart and neither seem to be happening.
I go through days when I don't mind so much and I feel better, but then other days it just hits me and I feel frustrated and angry, upset and disappointed. I feel stupid for feeling like this when I have so much to be thankful for, but I just don't seem to be able to get over them!

Firstly I would like a car! It is the worst thing being able to drive and not having anything to drive. When it's a lovely bright sunny day on a relaxed week I love walking around Ashford. I feel lucky that I can walk to the music groups and swimming lessons, that they are almost on my doorstep. On a rainy day, or in a busy week when I have lots to get done I get so frustrated. Swimming is a 40 minute walk away, not so nice when it's wet. Also that makes 1 hour 20 mins walking for a 30 minute lesson! There are buses, which supposedly run 'every 15 minutes' but more often that not you can wait half an hour before one comes, I would rather be walking and keeping warm! I have also been told I can't get on a bus with the buggy or I have to fold it up, which of course the bus driver wont help with! The last time this happened I actual had to give Noah to a regular customer from my old shop who had stopped to say hello because there was no way I could do it alone! So that was pretty much the last time I attempted the bus! We have no money for a car, not a penny spare really, I wish we could find a way but with Noah starting nursery there's no way!

Secondly, I would like another baby. My body seems to have other ideas about that, maybe it's seen our bank balance.....

2 Feb 2013

Oyster and Chop House, Herne Bay

Mallard with wild rice and fennel, ginger and rhubarb sauce
Last night we went out for a meal for Thomas' Grandad's 70th birthday. It's safe to say that we like to eat out, A LOT. However, we would rather go out less and have great food than more often and it not be so good. Recently we ate at a beefeater and the food was way too much and fairly average, the service was slow and they didn't listen to my request for Noah's food to come out as soon as physically possible, instead it came out after ours! I felt disappointed that it still wasn't exactly cheap but it really wasn't worth the visit!

Last night most certainly was not a disappointment. The Oyster and Chop House in Herne Bay was way better than I was expecting. All the food they served was sourced within 18 miles of the restaurant, it was all fairtrade and organic where possible and it was ALL beautifully presented and delicious, and I didn't feel stuffed just perfectly comfortable and satisfied. The coffee was great too.

Most definitely worth a drive! Go try it.