For the first time in my life, I’m on the Naughty List

Throughout my life I have always tried to do the right thing.

I have always tried to arrive on time at school, work and functions.  I’ve never taken a sick day when I wasn’t really sick.  If anything, I would go into work even though I was feeling very ordinary.   I have always met deadlines and continued working until the job was done, regardless of whether I was being paid. My previous employers would all describe me as being very hardworking, loyal and reliable. One of my previous Manager’s would consistently tell me not to work so late, because it wasn’t worth it.  Somewhere along the way this year, I wandered off my straight and narrow track and have found myself on the Naughty List.

Maybe it was when I took time off work because I was bored and went and contracted for another company for a week.  Or maybe it was because I went into work one day and told my Team Leader that I was enrolled in fulltime study and my availability for work was very limited. Or maybe it was because a week later I went back to my Team Leader and advised I was now studying part time and I could work pretty much whenever.

I have seen my colleagues that I started work with back in April excel.  Receiving increased hours, opportunities for training and advancement.  My hours have seriously declined over the last 6 weeks.  There was a time when I was working almost fulltime hours even though I was a casual, but that has all changed now. I am being consistently rostered for 30 hours a fortnight.  The job I have found to be really boring has become even more dull.

The other week I received a call from a temp agency wanting me to do an assignment working 2 days a week for a 4 week period.  I politely declined because I thought that I should be a bit more loyal to my current employer.  I was really annoyed at my self when I went back into work and found yet again, I had only been rostered for 2 days a week.  I should have taken the temp job, clearly I had the availability.

I have asked my Team Leader a couple of times about my hours.  I thought that my changes in availability would affect my roster initially, but I had hoped it would settle down.  I have had consistent attendance and availability for the last 5 weeks and my hours haven’t change.  I approached my Team Leader about the Naughty List but apparently it doesn’t exist. I was told that if my performance was truly an issue I would be taken to a small office down the back ‘for a chat’.

There may not be an official Naughty List, but I feel there is a mark against my name.  I know that I have brought this on myself, but maybe this has all happened because I applied for a job that I was never destined to enjoy.  It was never going to be exciting or busy enough. I have far too much energy to sit around waiting for a customer to call.  Most people would enjoy the quiet time at work, but it drives me nuts.

This is my year of discovery and I have discovered that quiet office jobs are not for me.


Am I the only one without an end plan?

Starting a patisserie course has sparked many questions from the gallery.  Everyone wants to know what I am going to do when I finish my course.  Most people are not satisfied with my response when I say that I don’t know.

Questions like ‘You must have some idea?’ or ‘Why are you doing it then?’ have been thrown my way.

I am beginning to wonder whether most people have an end plan.  Do most people plan their lives, get jobs, and enrol in courses knowing exactly where they are headed?  Am I in the minority by not having an end plan?

My reluctance to plan out my life has brought me to this year, my year of discovery. It is likely that my go with the flow attitude will mean that at the end of my year, I may still not have an end plan and maybe I never will.

My lack of planning is intentional.  I want to leave myself open to experience everything that life has to offer and take advantage of opportunities that come my way.  I’m not sitting on the couch all day receiving an unemployment benefit, I’m keeping busy.

I work 4 days a week. I do yoga, boxing and running. I have one midweek class and an all day Saturday class.  I’m also trying to finish my agents representative course, keep up to date on social media and trying stay in touch with friends and family.  I’m also in the process of looking for a new job, because my current job is not challenging enough and I’m bored.  Sometimes I feel like I’m doing everything and nothing.

It’s possible that I will work in the hospitality industry when I finish my course, but then again I might run away and join the circus.  Anything is possible.

I guess when I think about it, my end plan is to survive and to get to the end of my life having lived the best possible life I could.


Creating a sweet life

This year my career journey has been a rollercoaster and has included thoughts of real estate, volunteering abroad, horticulture and property development. Only to end up back at the original idea I had more than 15 years ago.  My latest thought is to be a Pastry Chef.

I have always loved food. I love to eat and I love to cook, particularly sweet things.  I have been inspired during my life by the amazing women in my family who could captivate a room with their cooking ability.

My Nonna was a whiz in the kitchen. I experienced wonderful home grown, homemade Italian food.  We didn’t really do dessert; some biscotti, crostoli, zeppole and cannoli that was about it, but that was enough. I have inherited from my nonna the art of being quick in life and in the kitchen.  I’m always in a hurry to get things done so I can move on to the next task. I can still hear her sometimes in her own creative English language Quicka! Quicka!

My Australian grandma was the queen of sponge cakes, powder puffs and potent trifles, a treasure of the local Country Women’s Association.  She passed over 20 years ago, but people still speak of her glorious cakes and desserts today.  I still recall her afternoon teas and suppers with a smile.  The development of my sweet tooth started at her house.

And then there is my mum, she is perfection in the kitchen.  Everything has to be made precisely and cooked and presented beautifully.  Everything is made with love and care.  I wish I had some of her patience.

Recently I wrote about An interview that could change my life.  I heard back and I was accepted.  I start my Hospitality Patisserie Course next week. I have enrolled fulltime, but I’m trying to be a little smart about it and have enquired about part time, so I can work a bit more on the side. Living on love will not pay the bills or any upcoming travel adventures.

It’s a little scary how things can happen so quickly. I think I am on the right track with Patisserie. Although I haven’t decided whether this is something I am doing to feed my passions or whether I will make a career out of it one day. I have been asked by many people what I will do when I finish the course, I honestly don’t know and I’m okay with that.

Life is an adventure and I’m just rolling with it.

What is the smart thing to do

To recap my adventure so far: I left my career as an Environmental Health Officer (health inspector) because it was no longer enough. I had changed, the industry had changed, but in reality I never really enjoyed what I did for more than 8 hours a day 5 days a week. 2013 is about discovering myself and what I want to be when I grow up, if I ever grow up.

I’m currently passing the time working casually as an inbound customer service agent. People call me and I give them general information. It’s boring. What I have come to realise about myself is that I like to be entertained. I like to be busy, I like action and I like diversity and change. Everything that my current job is not, so I went looking for some action.

I found a temporary position advertised for an Environmental Health Officer. The position was for only a week and I thought maybe that’s what I needed to put some excitement back into my work life. Clearly absence makes the heart grow fonder, because there was a time when I was sure I was never going back.

Once I enquired about the position, things happened quickly and within no time I had advised my current employer not to roster me for a week and I was back inspecting.

The first half day was pretty tough. I could not believe I had gone back to a career I didn’t like, particularly after it had taken so much strength to leave. Had I sold myself out? What would become of my adult gap year? I was a little angry with myself.

Once I relaxed, I soon realised that I was enjoying myself. It was one week out of my life. I hadn’t changed my mind about a new career path. It was just nice to be back in a job where I knew what I was doing and I felt I was using my skills. Time flew. The job I was doing was easy and why wouldn’t it be easy, I had done it for nearly 10 years. Best of all at the end of the week, I could hand the files back and drive off into the sunset.

So back to the customer service job I went. When I was first offered the job, I thought it would be great for my adult gap year because it was casual and it would give me some money and I would have the time to follow my passions. But now I am working fulltime hours in a job that I don’t enjoy, I am being paid not much more than minimum wage and I have very little time to dedicate to my journey.

I find myself being drawn towards contract Environmental Health Officer positions. It’s not something I really want to do, but I’m wondering whether it is the smart thing to do. Being a specialist role, the money would be good and I could work half the amount of time I am now, allowing me to up skill in other areas to transition to a new career.

My week returning to Environmental Health has made me realise that I don’t have a desire to work in the field again permanently. However I could do it on a short term basis if I have too.

The journey continues

So following on from the unlocking of the vault, I am continuing with much trepidation. For now, I probably just need to get over myself and everyone else. What has been done is done. I can’t change it.  That being said, my lips are now sealed. There will be no more spilling, from me anyway.

It’s not that I want to live a secret life. It’s just really hard to find your own path, when so many people want to tell you what they think you should be doing.  Ideas can get blurred and things get confusing and you end up agreeing just so people will stop talking. I have also found myself being defensive and argumentative in situations where my life decisions have been questioned. This makes me really annoyed at myself because that kind of reaction doesn’t suit me and is not my usual style.

I’m a big believer of not sweating the small things and that I can only be responsible for my own actions. I sometimes have to remind myself of these beliefs because I can get carried away and don’t put them into practice.

So, I’ve decided to take a deep breath (or maybe a few) and say goodbye to the bad vibes and move on.

After surviving recruitment boot camp, I have started a new job.  It’s not my ‘It’ job and I don’t think I will stay forever, but it’s keeping me entertained for now. My official title is ‘Inbound Customer Service Agent’, which pretty much means people call me and I give them information. I’m casual, which I love.  It gives me good flexibility to follow my passions and make the most out of my gap year.

My journey continues….


In the Vault

Once upon a time I looked in the mirror and realised that I didn’t know the person reflecting back at me. I started my year of discovery as a way of salvaging myself.

I started this blog for myself. I wanted to keep a record of my adventures and connect with like minded people along the way and follow their journeys. I wanted to remain anonymous. I had no plan and I just wanted to be free. I knew that I would have some crazy adventures and make mistakes. I didn’t want to be the topic of gossip or have to explain myself to people that I know. I had locked my adventures away in the secret world of My Adult Gap Year. But I made a mistake. In a moment of weakness I unlocked the vault.

This has worried me for a while, but I was hoping it would blow over. But when someone asked me at a party when my next post would be because they wanted to stay up to date on all of the gossip, I knew I had created a problem. I’m really not sure where to go from here. I have sabotaged something that I had created only for myself. I have considered deleting my blog, but I just don’t know. Thanks for the follow, I appreciate all of your likes and comments but this might be my last post.

Just a name on an application, another face in the crowd

I have been wondering, how many job applications are enough to make a job seeking week worthwhile? How many is too many?  Is there too many?  I wonder if I apply for a ridiculous amount of jobs will my applications become generic and fail to be appealing.

Sometimes I think that finding employment is like a children’s school yard game.  The cool kids, hopefully the ones with the most talent and experience get picked as the team Captains, or Managers if you like.  Then there is everyone else, standing on the sidelines jumping up and down yelling pick me, pick me.

Some people may have noticed my post ‘Totally Awesome Person for Hire.’ This was my attempt at finding a job through social media.  I linked this to twitter and it was retweeted a couple of times to no avail.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect to find a job this way. It was just a bit of fun and I wanted to see what would happen.  Nothing happened.

So far I haven’t applied for a ridiculous amount of jobs, although my search is still young.  I have tried a few different approaches: recruitment companies, online applications, responding to newspaper advertisements, cold calling and door knocking.

I have come to realise that I’m capable of writing a decent job application.  That being said, I am not prone to embellishing.  I would call my style ‘tell it like it is.’  When I get a job, I want an employer to know what they are getting, the areas I am qualified in and the areas I may need some up skilling. I don’t believe in pretending or faking it until you make it.

I received a phone call the other day about a job I had applied for.  The caller asked whether I had a moment to talk about the position.  I agreed, which was a rookie mistake in hindsight.  As the call progressed, I realised that it was a telephone interview.  I wasn’t prepared at all.  The position hadn’t even entered my mind since I had applied.  I must have done something right as I made it through to what I was told was an ‘information session.’  I was advised that the session would go for an hour. I would learn more about the position and could decide whether I was still interested. I was told that someone would also assess my ability to navigate a website.  If I was successful, I would then be invited to a face to face interview.

The information session did not go entirely as described.  The Information component of the session went for 10 minutes.  Then there were four pre-employment tests: a short answer test, a typing test, a spelling and then a grammar tests.  When we were being briefed for all of this, I was sitting there freaking out.  Do I really want to go through all of this? What if I try and fail? My internal dialogue then turned arrogant, “I have tertiary qualifications and they want me to do a spelling test” (my internal dialogue can be a little biatch sometimes).

Very quickly I had a light bulb moment and reality set in. I had left my former career. No one here knows who I am, my reputation doesn’t precede me and my University qualifications don’t matter.  I knew that this time may come, that if I wanted a new career it was likely I would have to start again.  Here I was at the bottom. My competitive streak kicked in and I was off.  I decided that if I had to do these tests, I may as well be the quickest and most efficient.

Some of the others crumbled under the pressure, a couple of minutes after the timer was started they were out the door.  The room was crammed; I was sitting shoulder to shoulder with the other applicants.  I realised something that I had forgotten since I had stopped working.  When I am focussed and in the zone, I like to hum.  It only occurred to me after I received rather strange sideward glances.  It’s pretty funny really.  Apparently I also like to whistle, which is equally annoying to others. My husband told me that I also whistle and hum when I am happy.  Maybe pressure situations make me happy……..

I made it to round four, the face to face interview.  It was a cognitive interview.  It was gruelling. The questions were complex and required me to give specific examples using my life and previous work history. I think I did okay.

I would like to think I would be offered a position, part of me thinks that they should be happy to have me (arrogant I know) and the other part thinks that I put myself out there and put in a lot of effort, so it would be disappointing to unsuccessful. I guess someone needs to be unsuccessful, but I’m not about to prepare for the worst.

Today is a new day, there are things to do, adventures to be had and perhaps a little waiting for the phone to ring.