Lots has changed around these parts since I last posted. I have a post in draft, grumbling about many of the barriers I was facing in my old job, and talking about how my manager was encouraging me to get out.
Then I blinked, skipped a few months and I’m out! So all my grumbles from the old place have gone, to be replaced with grumbles at the new place! One might say that this giraffe is never happy.
It’s been a big change. I hit the infamous glass ceiling in the last place; there was nowhere to go and no promotion prospects. Growing ever-disillusioned with the civil service, I looked at the possibility of leaving. Imagine that! Nearly 8 years of Civil Service life, and I was planning to step outside. The thought scared me immensely.
As I say, my manager was encouraging me to leave. I spoke to her at length, showed her applications and job specs, and she encouraged me with all her heart. I later found out that’s because she is looking to escape too. She knows that there is a finite time that one can spend in that particular Civil Service department, and her and I had reached our limit. She’s a lifer in the CS though, and it was interesting to listen to her thoughts on how people today shouldn’t spend their lives in the CS: it’s moved on from the institution that it was 15, 30 years ago. Nowadays people use it as a stepping stone, and move on.
So that’s what I did. I was quite nervous at leaving the Civil Service; I was used to the obvious flexible work/life benefits that it brought: I could start early and finish early, but when we needed to drop C off in the mornings, I could go in later without any penalty. I was based in the centre of Glasgow, not far from L, and we lift-shared in. It was lovely, quite frankly, and I don’t think I knew at the time just how good it was.
I went for a few interviews; all in the same area of work that I’m used to: no point rocking the boat too much! Some were just too inflexible for me: a rigid 9.30-5.30 and for someone who is used to working 8-4 (and has done for over 10 years), I’m not prepared to lose my evenings, thank you. Also: outside of the world of the Civil Service: holidays. Since when did people expect you to work on bank holidays, and when was 22 days an acceptable allowance for holidays? I almost stopped looking and went into teaching!
I was lucky in interview terms: I didn’t have that many. I was chased for one job that I later rejected: I’d got to the second interview but decided that losing nearly 2 weeks holidays in a year was a step too far for me. My second interview was the job I eventually took; I was the second person interviewed and 5pm that night on the way home I got a phone call to ask me if I’d accept the job. I was astounded. It took a bit of wrangling, and obtaining a few extra days’ holiday, but I eventually accepted, and started on the 1 September.
Of course, wherever you end up, compromises must be made, and I have. I work for a Local Government organisation now; my hours aren’t as flexible as they used to be, but that’s a small trade-off for the pension and pay that I’m getting. Flexible working seems to ‘exist’ but not be utilised here; so one of my challenges is to try and create a working environment that permits flexible working at each end of the day. No prizes for guessing which end of the day I will be working when I get that in place!
I’ve also moved to 4 weekly pay, which is odder than odd to me and has taken some getting used to. My first payday was 2 weeks into working here, which has threatened to rock my very tight financial ship with regard to paying all bills within the first three days of the month. With only 2 weeks’ pay to last me until the second week of October, I’ve had to borrow from my savings to ensure that the bills are paid in October. Only for a couple of weeks, and then I’m back on an even keel again. I have a convoluted system of bank accounts paying each other at different times of the month as a result.
One thing I will find difficult forever more is the commute. I’m up to a 45mins commute now, from the shared commute with L three days a week that took 20mins on average. Now me and my little car have to pootle off twice as far, for double the time, on our own. No longer can I whinge about rubbish drivers to L, or play the Yellow Car game. I miss that already. I think 45mins is about my personal limit. I detest finishing work and spending 45mins of my own time in the car, when I could be home in half that time… I think the answer is story CDs, starting with Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy… and to forget the quick commute that I used to have.
2.5 weeks in now, sometimes it feels like forever, and other times it feels like no time at all. I have a vast amount to learn, an even bigger amount to change and a new helpdesk to put in. I would be lying if I said I was bricking it, and I’m already questioning if I am the right person for the job. I’ve joined at possibly the busiest time of the year, ever, and am feeling quite under pressure at times, yet I have no autonomy to change anything; I’m just toeing the line until the ‘holy grail’ of the new software arrives, and then the pressure is on to deliver. I guess, as they all say, time will tell.