Posts Tagged ‘work’

The Christmas that was

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

A friend just asked me what my New Year resolutions are and I told him that I didn’t have any. I think this might be a slight lie. I always set resolutions, well aware that I won’t stick to them. But I need something to work towards and challenge myself with. I’m not entirely sure what they are yet (although reducing my sugar intake from its current excessive heights is definitely up there) but I know I want to return to writing more on my blog. I have been neglecting it lately and now that I have two large essays to write I find myself drawn back to the safety of my own personal writing. So much easier than scary academia.

December has been a crazy month – I spent a lot of it laughing/crying hysterically and pulling on my hair whenever someone asked me how I was. A lot of people had to put up with a manic Jess as I went a little bit nuts working on a group exhibition for uni. Thirty five people attempting to organise one exhibition does not make for relaxed times but the end result was surprisingly great. I will write about this in a separate post a little later.

exhibition

Proof that I am learning stuff.

I also had a written group assignment to put together, plus two other large essays looming. They’re still looming. Really. Need. To. Write. Them.

Plus paid writing work has been flowing in steadily which has kept me fed and housed. It has been lovely that so many of my clients have been willing to stick with me as I country hopped over the last few months. Being able to juggle university and paid writing work has been life saving. I don’t think I could handle a ‘real job’ at the moment.

And then there was Christmas. Once again, Jess McScrooge came out and I managed to avoid the Christmas markets until the final day when I stocked up on my favourite dutch almond slice. I am exceptionally lucky to have some exceptionally welcoming family members in this country and was invited to spend Christmas with them. It was a small and relaxed gathering (well, relaxed for me because I didn’t have to do anything!) with plenty of delicious food and a mulled wine or two.

On Boxing Day we went for a windy walk up Bosley Cloud, somehow managing to avoid the rain. We ate fruit mince pies at the top, a feat that required two hands in order to stop the wind from steal our pastry crumbs.

mince pie at Bosley Cloud

Pie and a view.

I had another large family gathering yesterday at another cousin’s house and it has reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such a great family around. Sure, they may all be a bunch of oddballs, but who isn’t? Much laughter was had. They’re a good bunch.

Now New Years approaches. I’m quite excited to see what 2016 brings – I already know it will be challenging as a dissertation awaits. If anyone has any thoughts on what I should write about, please let me know because I currently have no idea. Thanks.

I’m still here

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

I have realised that my blogging frequency has dropped significantly in the last few months. My apologies if this has affected anyone, although I suspect it hasn’t caused any great distress. I thought I would provide a brief overview of why I have become slack on the writing front.

Work.

I am up to Job #7 at the Subiaco Council and Job #6 required significantly more concentration and effort than jobs 1 through 5. I really enjoyed Job #6. But now I’m moving on. It is amazing how attached to a company you can become – I will now passionately defend the Subiaco town centre and argue against any negative comments that are made about it and its parklets. THERE IS PLENTY OF PARKING. Now stop complaining.

I have made lots of great friends at work which has been a massive bonus, and for some reason people seem to think that I know stuff about writing and whatnot. Strange but lovely. I’m going to miss these folk. Once again, I find myself in the position of having gained the friendship of such fantastic people and having to say goodbye. At least most of them say they’ll come and visit me, but I don’t think any have actually googled Manchester and looked at the weather forecast.

Visas.

My flight to Manchester leaves in 35 days. I am still uncertain as to whether or not I will be on it. Having finally received an application number from the University of Manchester, I was able to start my online application for my student visa. What I had expected to be a fairly straight forward process turned out to be a ridiculously complicated application. Why I thought it would be easy, I’m not sure as visa applications never, ever are.

There are always two or three questions that make absolutely no sense, have no explanation or require you to search through a 100-page document that is briefly mentioned in another form in order to find some sort of answer for it. If someone asked you “Do you have an existing presence in the UK?” what would you answer? Exactly. Thanks to an exceptionally helpful person in the visa office at the university, I think I have managed to complete the application correctly.

However I then needed to attend an ‘interview’ at a dodgy office on St George’s Terrace where I sat in a room full of swivel chairs waiting to hand over precious documents such as my passport. Every time I have been in this situation, I have left feeling like I won’t get the visa and that I have committed some sort of fatal error. People who work in visa application centres must have hours of training in the art of making people doubt themselves. Have I supplied all of the correct documents? Have I forgotten something? Is that an original or a photocopy? Is that really how I spell my name? Nothing is certain.

And so we wait.

Life.

The rest of my time has been filled with meeting up with friends, celebrating my Grandma’s 93rd birthday, spending as much time as possible with my family and giving guide-dog Eva lots of pats.

I’ve also started training for the City to Surf marathon. I thought that completing another marathon before I’m 30 would potentially be a good idea. The more I train for it, the more I question this logic. I ran 30 kilometres last Saturday and by kilometre ten I was ready to go home. However my plan of running a marathon in the morning of 30 August, having birthday drinks with my friends in the afternoon, turning 30 on the 1 September and then flying to Manchester two days later to start Jess’s Socially Irresponsible Adventure #328 is quite pleasing.

And that’s the crux of it.

I’m Still Here

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

This last weekend was made up of four glorious days of non-work. I have come to appreciate my weekends so much more now that I have a 9 to 5 job and I’m not my own very relaxed, ‘yeah sure you can have a really long lunch’ boss. Weekends don’t come fast enough and then they disappear before you know it. Cruel, cruel world.

Work has evolved once again and I am currently working four days a week filling roles in the Community Engagement, Communications, Cultural Services, Administration and Communications (again) departments at the Subiaco Council. I am waiting to be asked to act as Mayor for the day. I spend my fifth day and most of my evenings writing for my clients in the UK. It is definitely appealing to my scatty brain to be working in so many different areas at one time.

Today was the first time in two months that I wasn’t able to eat my lunch outside in the sunshine in a park next to the council. The Easter rain arrived a few days late and it completely ruined my lunch time Vitamin-D ritual. It is still a novelty for me to be able to go outside and be 1. warm and 2. not wet. Alas, winter is on its way.

Blue skies over the Swan River

Blue skies over the Swan River

Good news – the Easter Bunny came. Perhaps thanks to the fact that I am one of the oldest children still living at home with their parents in the world, that chocolate-producing rabbit still managed to find me and leave a trail of… well… poop to a delicious dark chocolate Lindt bunny. Cheers, mate.

Follow the trail!

Follow the trail!

My cousin, Sophie, got married on Sunday so it was a weekend of kitchen teas, dresses, and tears of joy. It was lovely to be able to spend a lot of time with my family, especially the few hours that I spent with my close girl cousins, helping Sophie get ready. It was nice to be in the same country and be part of a family celebration for once, as the last few years I have usually been on the other side of the world.

Apart from that, my adventures in Perth have come to a standstill and largely involve my house, work and my grandma’s house. I am looking forward to two weeks of showing Sir Pubert where I went to primary school, which spiders are actually dangerous and which supermarket I like to go to. I bet he’s excited, too.

Movebubble and Shaker

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

As Friday evening draws closer and my working week comes to an end, I thought I would clear up the misconception that some people seem to have that I don’t actually do any work. I have some how managed to create the illusion of being a lazy unemployed bum, but sadly this is not the case. I am quite lazy, I am unemployed (self-employed technically) but I am not a bum.

Over the past few months I have managed to build up a lovely group of clients and have worked on some interesting projects. One of the best things about my job is that I have to learn about a very random range of subjects – this week I wrote about data protection, recycling, infectious diseases, security systems, and community gardening.

One of my most regular writing projects is for a start-up company called Movebubble. They have created an online platform for homeowners to list their houses for people to view and rent. You can set up an online profile with previous rental history and referees and connect with homeowners looking to rent. It’s BRILLIANT. Especially the blog that features some fantastic posts written by various genius writers, including yours truly.

So should you feel like moving to London any time soon and you want to learn more about Islington, landlord insurance or what handmade gifts to give this Christmas, check out the Movebubble blog.

Team Library

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

I have failed to mention that I have been kicked out of The Classroom. I didn’t plagiarise my exams or call the Principal rude names – the agency running The Classroom clearly felt that it wasn’t making the big turnovers it was after and therefore my fellow freelancers and I were asked to leave. The worst part about this wasn’t the loss of the space but the potential of not working around my fellow Classroomers. There was a great bunch of people working there and it would be sad for us to all split up.

We had a month and a bit to find ourselves some new working quarters and so as one big team of hot-desk searchers, we tweeted, Facebooked, and physically visited various office spaces across Manchester. Some were fancy and even offered the potential of comfortable seats, but most were far out of our price range. Then we discovered MadLab, a communal office and workshop space in the Northern Quarter that was undergoing renovations. They have offered us an amazing deal and are looking after us as if we are their children. While the renovations continue, a group of us are working from an office space above Terrace, one of the Northern Quarter’s most hipsterish bars. We are being given this space for free which is just music to the ears of poor freelance writers. Big thumbs up and high fives to the folks at MadLab and Terrace for being so accommodating. Everyone drink beer at Terrace and do tech workshops with MadLab. DO IT.

The only downside to working above a bar is that the space is occasionally used for meetings, classes and other ‘stuff’, plus it doesn’t open until 11am. As a result, some of us have migrated to the Manchester Central Library reading room where silence and the sound of intelligence prevail. My co-workers and I somewhat ruin that vibe with occasional giggling and over zealous ‘shhh!’s but I am particularly enjoying my new leather and wood work surface.

library desk

Smart desks.

I like to imagine that hundreds of very intelligent people have sat at these library desks, studying, learning and becoming generally smarter and that some of that is rubbing off on to me. I can’t say I feel any more intelligent. The domed roof is beautiful, too, and the shape of the room means sounds bounce off walls so I can eavesdrop on what people are talking about on the other side of the room. Fun times.

Reading room

Giant dome.

Neighbours.

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Since moving apartments I have missed watching the daily activities of my neighbours across the road. I no longer look straight into other apartments so I can’t spy on people as easily. My balcony does allow for a bit of snooping if you lean over the edge and look across courtyards. Night time allows for easier viewing when lights turn highlighting what is going on inside. The other night, Sir Pubert Gladstone and I were chillin’ on my balcony when we spotted an unusual sight in an office on the ground floor of another apartment block. From a distance it appeared that someone had fallen asleep or potentially died while typing away at their desk. We were slightly concerned for this person’s health and thanks to the impressive digital zoom on my camera we were able to make a closer inspection. 

Hard worker.

Hard worker.

Turns out, they weren’t dead or asleep. It was a blow-up doll with impressive assets. She is still working away in the office and I suspect is a valued employee. I might get a blow-up co-worker for my work – every office needs one.

Happy Classroomiversary to Me!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

You know I love celebrating anniversaries. Any excuse to potentially eat cake. So here’s another one! Today is one year since I started working in The Classroom office space in the Northern Quarter. A lot has happened in that time – I have done some work, spent a lot of time checking email and being distracted by the internet, and I have met some interesting (and weird) people. The atmosphere in the office has changed over the year as different personalities have come and gone and it has grown into a fun, vibrant and friendly place to be. I really enjoy coming to work – it is far more entertaining that checking Facebook at home alone on my couch. I would have brought in cake to celebrate, however it is Friday, which means there’s hardly anyone in here because who does work on a Friday? Ah, the joy of freelance.

Working hard in the classroom

Working hard in the classroom

Goodbye, Co-Op.

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

The past few weeks have been… interesting, to say the least. If you had asked me to describe how I felt about my world a week and a half ago, ‘interesting’ would not have been the adjective. My grandmother reads my blog so I can’t use the words that were really whirling through my head. I was not a happy bunny. However, fear not, this will not be a whinge, a whine or a whimper. I have now had time to breathe through things and see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s flickering a bit, but it’s there.

Basically, I lost my job. Now many people have lost their jobs at some point in their life and I realise that I am not the first person to have this misfortune. However, I LOST MY JOB! Oh woe, poor me. I was really enjoying life at the Co-Op. It was comfortable, it was easy and my work mates were ace. I would spend the majority of my time talking to nice old people on the phone, guiding them through the confusing world of IT, explaining how to turn their computers off and on again. My customers loved me because I would reset their passwords and they could continue working. It was like having a hundred surrogate grandparents who were proud of me.

But then the Co-Op started experiencing economic issues and had to save a large amount of money. It has been sad watching the Co-Op IT department deal with these cuts backs as it has asked a large number of its employees to leave and started reshuffling staff without thinking of the long term affects. Staff are now concerned about their futures within the company and are uncertain about whether or not they will have a job next month. Up until now I have been very fortunate to have avoided being directly affected by the economic struggles the world has been going through over the past few years. Seeing it up close and feeling its effects has been eye opening.

I was sad to say goodbye to my IT crowd colleagues and I even miss wearing a stupid headset. However it is time to move onwards and upwards and get this writing thing that I say I do into action again. More adventures and opportunities await. Who knows what will happen next in the Crazy Life of Jessica Davies?

Feeling the love.

Feeling the love.

This window wins the Best Window At Work award.

This window wins the Best Window At Work award.

Characters of The Classroom – Meet Shaan

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Everyone, meet Shaan. Shaan is one of the intriguing folk that I interact with while working in the shared office space, the Classroom. Today Shaan hasn’t been in a working mood and has spent most of the afternoon purposefully distracting other people who are trying to get things done. He has just spent the last 15 minutes asking me to have a photograph with him and he has challenged me to write a blog post about him. So here it is.

Shaan’s work days usually start at 2pm as he wanders into the Classroom with a Caffe Nero coffee in one hand and a lever arch folder under his other arm. His headphones never leave his ears even while he attempts to engage other Classroom members in drawn out conversations that usually involve him telling them that they are wrong at some point. These headphones also come in handy for his loud and over-animated phone calls with clients where he talks about the weather and engages in idle chit-chat.

Shaan drinks protein shakes and some sort of concoction involving raw eggs and milk. Today he announced that he has been photographing the development of his arm muscle growth and that I wouldn’t believe how many selfies he has on his phone. I told him that I was fairly certain I would believe it.

Shaan likes wearing hats and today he is wearing a furry eared number that he offered to give me if I called one of his clients and pretended to be him. I declined the offer and Shaan donned the fur and made the phone call himself, announcing that it wasn’t so bad after all.

Shaan is planning on getting his ear pieced on his birthday and asked for my opinion. I don’t think he liked my answer.

Meet Shaan.

Meet Shaan.

She Heard About My Jigsaw

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Through an amazing series of events and what I can only presume is pure FATE, Queen Elizabeth and young Philip are going to visit me at work next week. Her main point of business is officially opening the Co-Op’s new building but I have a sneaky feeling that she just wants to see the jigsaw puzzle that I did of her. I will bring it, just in case.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

Jigsaw puzzles – bringing together royalty and IT Service Desk analysts since 2013.

She is apparently taking a tour of the building however I suspect she will be kept far away from the IT department. Only an IT Crowd style mess up could possibly result in her shaking my hand. I shall do my best.