Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I love the concept of this diary! I should be writing my essay but I am still waiting for inspiration to hit, so perhaps this will help. But if not, I'm sure it won't be time wasted, since talking about the things I love in life can never be a bad thing.

In my last job I would be up early and in early so that I could get out early - 3.30/4pm and no later.  I felt that way that I had more of the day to spend on the things I enjoy, including going to the gym, seeing friends etc.
I turned up, did my work, escaped as soon as I could. Yet it wasn't the job itself I wasn't happy with but the organisation I worked for. It didn't value me, so I didn't value it.

Now in this job, I quite like to take it easy getting ready for work and I saunter in, by whichever mode I feel like using. I walk or cycle, or sometimes hop on a local train or a bendy bus and catch a different view, watch the people wandering by, stop at the fruit stall to stock up for the day.  I chat to whoever is in the office as I walk in, switch my computer on and see what's what for the day.  I don't mind that I leave at 5 or maybe 6. On occasion much later but I keep it to a minimum.

I use my flexi and I take my leave and I try to leave my work at work, even though it tempts me to take it home at times.

I love my job. I work with talented people who genuinely care about their work, who share their knowledge and expertise. I work with people across many different organisations, within the trade union movement and the equality movement, and within politics as well. One of my key strengths is my ability to think strategically and spot opportunities for joint working, for targetting gaps and needs and improving the capacity and knowledge of organisations in Wales.

I organise training and events, develop resources, run campaigns and do research, develop good practice - it's a hugely diverse job and suits me well since my boredom threshold is hideously low.  It caters to my love of working with different people, learning new things, making things happen, having a positive impact on people's lives, influencing national policy direction, promoting equality... being a social research and data anorak. I get to travel across this beautiful country and see the contrasts, always learning. I will never stop learning.

The stress occurs with the way that a whole load of stuff suddenly needs to happen at once. Usually coinciding with a whole load of stuff going on outside work. But it is usually very manageable, although there is nobody to cover for me if I am ill, since I manage the project I work on.

I had a previous job (an elected role that I held) which was 24/7. In the year of my term of office, I was off sick for 3 days, on holiday for 10 days and had no more than 3 work-free weekends. I rarely worked less than a 60 hour week. My job was my life and when I left, I felt as though I'd lost everything. I had nothing that I'd kept for myself, I'd given everything.  I have no idea how I survived the pressures of that year and much as I loved the job, I would never put myself through it again. I'm acutely aware of the importance of work-life balance now. I'm glad I learnt the lesson young.

So I decided to develop my interests and hobbies and have a life back again doing things I love.

So I started ice hockey, I picked up creative writing again, I started going to the gym, I got a bike again, I started volunteering with young people, I learnt how to do stencil art, became obsessed with graffiti, developed my photography skills, went out more with friends, made new friends and went out with them too, travelled more, started a social policy degree, continued procrastinating on my PhD and learnt to fill my life with things I love, my job being one but with plenty more outside of work so that I always have something to look forward to doing and someone to look forward to seeing.

I look back 10 years to when I left home and started Uni.  I didn't have a clue who I was or where I would go, I didn't think anyone would like me, I didn't think I would succeed with anything.  I'm glad life has taken me to rock bottom on more than one occasion because it has made me who I am today. I have unfaltering self-belief now.

I like who I am and I love my life.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 03:35:23 PM EST

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