May 20th, 2012
Two weeks ago today I was in Edinburgh having got married the previous day! That’s just insane!! We enjoyed those two days without any children as it was blissfully quiet and yet we missed them terribly. Since then we have returned to normality with a massive crash which is only to be expected. I have started my new career which is probably going to mean less time than I’d like with the family but sacrifices have to be made by everybody right…!
Well we have been discussing the opposite. The last few years of our lives have been all about sacrifice, it’s been a tough period for us financially which has definitely put other strains on the family but we’ve managed to pull through ok. Now we have decided that we need a little time to ourselves as well as time together away from the kids. We of course adore them and love spending time with them but other than our honeymoon I can’t remember the last time we went for a meal together just the two of us. we have vowed to start having date nights (that’s what grandparents are for right) even if it’s only once a month.
As for the time to ourselves thing I have started running again, something I enjoy and will help shed a few pounds. Yesterday was my 3rd run since I stopped over a year ago and I was well impressed to be running week 4 of the running program i use and keeping a 10 minute mile pace consistently over the running sections of the splits. I’ve started slow and am building up but if I carry on as I started I should be less flabby and less short of breath fairly soon.
April 3rd, 2012
Recently my domain was due to expire, I decided to change registrar and in a lot of ways wished I’d never bothered. The site was down for around 10 days but as I haven’t posted since August 2011 I doubt anybody noticed. This whole experience has, once more, brought me to think I should start blogging again. I’d like to pick a direction for the blog but don’t really know where to go with it so for now it would be a meandering wander through my brain (business as usual). However when deciding what my first post in nearly 9 months should be, it was a real no brainer.
In less than 5 weeks I will be getting married. Breaking forth into this undiscovered territory with my future bride is one of a multitude of ‘first’ experiences that I am glad to be doing with her. I had never truly 100% lived with a woman before, I had never had children with anybody before, I had never had a joint bank account with anybody before and I had definitely never, in my entire experience of relationships, thought I would spend the rest of my life with somebody before. At least not to the extent that I would buy them jewellery symbolising it, then have a massive expensive party in order to receive a document that states this as my intention. For numerous reasons the last 4-5 years of my life have been the most interesting, challenging, ever changing period of time I can recall, and I have loved every minute of it.
Weddings are stressful, that’s right you heard me right, all these people claiming that weddings are dead easy, stress free and don’t cause any conflict between family members are all lying to you. I always wanted a simple wedding, no fancy dancy bells and whistles, just us declaring our love for each other in front of friends and family. I say always, that’s a bit of a lie. What I always wanted was a massive ridiculous theme wedding where I got married in a kilt and chain mail holding a custom made axe with my long hair flowing in the Scottish breeze outside a castle with a plait in my beard. I began to realise not only the financial constraints of this plan but also that this might not be what my prospective bride wanted, it was at this point I began to want something simple. Weddings in the UK in this day and age however have advanced from simple affairs into the mass complex staged performances that would have seemed fanciful and ridiculous 20 years ago, thanks to the money machine behind weddings driving budgets into the stratosphere and beyond. I have no need for seat covers. Pieces of material that add no further practical advantages to the chair itself are pointless people pleasers. If a guest has their nose put out of joint because they have to sit on an uncovered seat, I will offer them recompense in the form a free realignment. Thinking this sort of stuff matters baffles me, it is fluff, window dressing a façade if you will.
I am pleased to say I think we have managed a balance somewhere in the middle and I am really looking forward to wearing my wedding ring, my wife wearing hers and not having to stand in front of a twinkly LED lit back drop. We don’t need all that, because we love each other, it’s that simple.
July 13th, 2011
Last night during a conversation with Jen it was sort of decided that I need to get a social Work job regardless. I have taken steps to put my family before my career recently in that I soon start a job I don’t really want in order to ensure my family don’t suffer. I find this fact a little depressing as anyone would and Jen doesn’t want that for me.
My amazingly supportive wifel (which as everybody knows is a woman’s title in the year before she gets married, a man is wusband), who put up with me not having any money while at Uni and then continued doing so after I graduated, suggested that I start looking further afield for jobs.
This could mean one of three things as far as I can tell.
1/ big ass commute – Some of the jobs I’m looking at would involve a very large commute by my reckoning around a 150-200 mile round trip. I would more than likely need a car while at work Which means unless I leave my car somewhere in the area I’ll be working (an insurance nightmare) I cannot use public transport. Doesn’t sound very appealing to me as I will surely be tired and cranky all the time as a result of prolonged hours on the road. Not to mention the ridiculously early mornings combined with not getting home till kids are in bed. The petrol cost isn’t really factoring on this decision as I would rather earn call centre wages after travelling costs doing something I’m passionate about, enjoy doing and spent 4 years getting qualified to do than work in a call centre. I am not doing down call centre workers, I’ve done it myself. It’s more the wasted qualification aspect I’m getting at.
2/ live away from home through the week – reeeeeeally hate the idea of this prospect. I do not want to be away from my family and as I’ve pointed out my family come first for me. However Jen says that we would cope, she is prepared to essentially become a single parent in order for me to do the job I want to do (I am ridiculously lucky to have this woman in my life). I would hate being away from the kids and I would hate knowing that Jen was on her own looking after them and that I could do little to help her. The cost aspect of this would depend heavily on where I got a job but again I refer you back to my comments on cost regarding transportation in option 1.
3/ The whole family moves – this solves the issues in 1 & 2 but creates a whole bag of its own issues. We have only just moved into a house that was essentially built for us (not quite but almost) and as a result are in a stupidly fortunate position due to not having a mortgage. To move would change this plus we would be moving out of our beautiful new house into rented accommodation before possibly looking to buy in the area we move to. Then there’s Ruby, she’s about to start school in September so it could mean uprooting her out of school shortly after starting. We would still have to come back home at weekends so Ruby could see her dad meaning traveling a lot at weekends effectively making our weekends shorter and way less enjoyable.
It’s a great big sloppy mess potentially which is why I haven’t looked previously but it may be my only way forward in My chosen profession. Of course this may all be redundant as job opportunities are liable to be as scarce and have as many people applying for them as they do locally, but I have to try.
July 12th, 2011
Yesterday I wrote a blog post, actually that’s generous. Yesterday I wrote an enormous angry rant. The angry rant was then accidentally deleted. That is what actually happened, it was written on my iPhone and I didn’t save it before restarting my phone and this was probably for the best.
I was angry because I had been put in a dangerous position at work and luckily with assistance handled the situation. Actually I wasn’t angry about this at all, the thing I was angry about what happened the following day when I mentioned it to the agency I did the work for. I was informed by the agency that I was in the wrong! Apparently what I should have done is remove myself from the situation. I’m not entirely certain how you can remove yourself from a situation where you have been attacked without provocation so I asked for clarification. The following conversation was a back and forth of them reciting company policy and me getting angrier as I asked how that was possible in the situation I was in to which I never got a satisfactory response.
After getting commended for my actions by my peers and thanked for the help I gave them to then be told I was in the wrong was frustrating as hell. I had reassured my colleagues that in a situation such as that I had their backs only to find out that the agency didn’t have mine. I am a passionate and sometimes impulsive twit and it took everything in me not to tell them to stick any further shifts somewhere uncomfortable as I have done in a few jobs in the past. I held on to the thought that I would not be working for them much longer and need the money, it was all I had and appears to be all they offer. Now I’ve calmed down I can see the irony in the fact that they were giving me little support in my role as a support worker.
April 13th, 2011
The saga continues, in my Last post I spoke of how I probably wasn’t entitled to jobseekers and this has turned out to be the case however this is the least of my worries.
My not being entitled to Jobseekers was quite frankly a punch in the face, more due to the fact that my lack of entitlement seemed to be based on the fact that I went to university to try and better myself rather than the fact they wouldn’t give me any money. The reason for this is that Jen works and as a result we are entitled to working family tax credits. This tops up whatever income is coming in meaning regardless of whether I got jobseekers or not we should still get approximately the same amount of cash coming in. That is of course if they get everything to do with our claim correct, I mean they won’t screw that up will they…?!?!?
Yeah they did!
The friendly helpful guys at working family tax credits decided way back in February when I told them I was no longer employed that they would not bother altering my income. So they had me working zero hours a week but still earning a full time wage, the result of course is that we are getting a lot less cash than we should. Now this story would be pretty dull if it ended there so let me continue. The start of the new tax year means that all information is frozen as they are sending out annual renewals, I will receive my renewal anytime between now and June. They cannot send my renewal out any quicker, tell me when it’s coming out or change any details until we get it meaning we could well be receiving several hundred pounds less than we should until possibly June.
I’m not entirely certain how they expect us to feed our kids and apparently they don’t care. There are people who resign their entire lives to not working, play the system to their advantage and rake in a decent sum of cash being work shy gits, I want to work and have fallen on hard times and get squat.
Oh and a little added bonus, there is such a thing as a crisis loan which can be obtained. It’s an interest free loan from the social fund to be used, as the name suggests, in a crisis. I would say barely having enough cash to cover the bills would constitute something in or around a crisis, the question is would they? Well we won’t find out because the very fact that we get payments from working families means that we are not even eligible for a crisis loan.
Life gets more fun by the day
March 2nd, 2011
I’m sat in a house that we are due to move into in 2 days and it looks like a before picture rather than an after.
To say Jen and I are doing to much is an understatement of the highest order. Neither of us has had a day where we haven’t been at either work or the new house trying to get it fit to live in since January 4th and the stress levels are teetering over the edge of epic and plummeting into biblical. This is not our only stress of course because the local supermarket a 3 for 2 offer on stress and Jen can’t resist a bargain. A baby on the way and a wedding a year in may (don’t worry there will be no more rhymes, it was an accident) and throw into the mix that I’m recently unemployed and it’s all a bit messy but it got messier still when I went for my ‘work focused interview’ at Job centre +, I think the plus is that they have a working bog.
Quite depressed about the prospect of claiming dole already I arrived to find the experience was very different to my last dole experience approximately a decade ago. On this occasion I saw nobody that I thought was going to try to sell me drugs, beat me up or ask me for business. A harsh sentiment from a qualified social worker you may think but ten years ago I found the whole dole experience rather intimidating and frightening, I’ve grown up now I am no longer that person so perhaps this is why my thoughts were different, either that or it was only 11.30 so they were all still in bed. When my number was called (or when it was up which is a scarily accurate analogy) I was informed of something that made me want to punch somebody in he face, not the guy delivering the information as I am aware of his lack of control in this situation. He informed me that I MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR JOBSEEKERS.
WTF how can I not be? Basically because I went to university. Jobseekers eligibility is decided bass on the amount of tax paid in the last two full financial years so in my case April 2008-April 2010, when I was at uni!!!! The guy sat there and told me I may not get a penny. The fact that I worked solid from 1994 to 2007 with only 2 months of unemployment in that time means absolutely nothing. I was incensed (which is an awesome word if nothing else) and may have sworded at the nice man who’s fault it was not. I did work in that time period but not a lot so the chances are I’m gonna be shafted. The hideous bit is if I’d become unemployed after April I’d have been judged on 2009-2011 in which period ive worked a ton more. Life, kicks you in the nuts before feeding them into a wood chipper while laughing maniacally.
February 24th, 2011
Today is my last day at work, as of tomorrow I’m officially unemployed and I am not looking forward to it. However I have managed to mentally turn my negative into a positive.
When I first got The news that I was being given the boot I was devastated for reasons you can read about in my last post. However I know it’s not the end of the world and yes it’s gonna be tough but I’m managing to be upbeat about it. Since getting the news I’ve applied for more jobs than I have in the last year, having this way in to social work through a back door in a way had made me complacent. Now I’ve actually got to work for it, I’m not going to know the interviewers and I’ll have to get the job on my interviewing skill. I actually really like interviews and not having to try in an interview sounds really dull to me.
Challenge set and I’m ready to rock it. Looking forward to the future not getting down about stuff out of my control.
February 15th, 2011
I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been busy recently what with my new job, getting ready to move house, baby on the way and a wedding in the offing. While I am not working in the profession I spent 4 years studying for I am working within those circles and was heading towards becoming a social worker. That was until today.
I’ve only been doing this job for a month, I took a risk quitting a full time job to do an agency job on a short term contract in order to work in a social services department. I was seeing it as my foot in the door and so was my new manager, everything falling into place I’d be a social worker within months hurrah. Unfortunately something happened that was out of mine and my managers control, foot still firmly in the door and a council big wig slammed it on me.
Cuts, they are happening everywhere and are affecting a lot more people than me. The decision was made in the higher echelons of local government that a good way of saving money would be to stop paying agencies the exorbitant amounts they charge for staff, get rid of the agency workers and we will save money. It’s not exactly a rocket science move on their part, it’s true that agency workers cost more than regular workers I get why they made that decision but as they have made a blanket decision without even knowing what that will affect they haven’t got the full picture.
Rather oddly my job saves the council money even though I’m agency staff. Getting rid of me and my colleague leaves a gap in services, I’m sure we are not unique in this of course. Without my job existing (which it won’t at all in any shape or form) makes social workers jobs harder and it means that the work I do will have to be contracted out to specialist agencies, agencies that cost a hell of a lot more than employing me costs.
Sour grapes and wot not aside I’m applying for every job going but due to a need to provide for my family in anyway I’m going to have to go on the dole because the scraps the agency are saying they can throw me just won’t cut it.
Life, don’t talk to me about life
January 21st, 2011
I’ve just completed the last 48 hours worth of work at my now old job and unlike most jobs those 48 hours were back to back. Working at the children’s home had it’s ups and downs but their were an awful lot of ups than I usually remember as the downs tend to stick.
However I don’t think I’ll ever forget this shift as a definite up. A young person I work with has in the last 3-4 months attacked me physically twice, threatened to kill me uncountable times, spat at me, thrown a chair at me and told me that they do not like me in general. However in the last 48 hours they have made me cups of tea, laughed and joked with me, shared sweets with me bought with their own pocket money, told me they will miss me and made me a t shirt. None of this happened overnight and it has been gradual process with set backs but it’s times like this I know I’m in the right line of work. Not only for the rewarding feeling I get from this but to know that I have in some way affected that persons life in a positive way and as much as it didn’t seem like it at the time the negative behaviours towards me were an indicator that I was doing something right.
In the words of Jack Black in school of Rock “I have been touched by your kids… and I’m pretty sure that I’ve touched them.”
January 20th, 2011
Life and blogging, the eternal dichotomy. When i have time to blog it’s because i haven’t done anything and therefore have little to nothing to blog about. However when i am busy busy busy i have plenty to blog about and yet no time to write about it, whats a guy to do? Well i feel the answer is to try and catch up whenever possible and this point is one such time.
Of the many things that has been happening in my life lately one major occurrence is that i didn’t apply for a new job and yet somehow got one. I was informed of a job opportunity which had many plus points when compared to my current job, it did however have a few draw backs and so in my eternal wisdom i did not get back to the agency which offered me the job. The agency put me forward anyway as they felt i was a perfect candidate and low and behold they were apparently right. The agency had done the leg work and got me the interview so it would only be common courtesy to go to it.
The reason i didnt get back to the agency is that i viewed it as very much a sideways move rather than a step forward. Having said this i feel i may have made that decision on a mainly if not completely financial basis. The money is no better than my current role, however i will be working within Social Services and alongside social workers. This means i will be gaining incredibly relevant job experience in my chosen field and i will have and inside glance into the kind of department i want to work in. All this on top of the fact that i will hear about jobs before they are advertised and can therefore prep for the applications and potential interviews tips the scales. The biggest bonus of all is that i will get to come home every night and not have to sleep at work. Putting the kids to bed at night is a joy that i cant begin to explain, i love reading a story and having final cuddles before tucking in and this means i will be able to do this every night.
So Monday i start my new job, i need to make a great impression and be stellar at the job in order for them to see my potential which will lead to bigger and better things. I might just be bricking it a bit.