At the start of the year, mum of three and freelance writer Lucy Mason was full of enthusiasm and ideas for the year ahead. Now, less than two months in she’s lost her mojo. Luckily The Work & Family Show was perfectly timed to revive her ambition and passion.
I find it very difficult to maintain enthusiasm and motivation for anything, and it’s no different when it comes to finding work. My New Year determination has plateaued into a vague can’t-be-bothered-to-do-anything feeling, and I’ve found myself finding excuses to get out of everything even slightly related to work.
I have a classic case of procrastination – suddenly it really bothers me that the house is a mess, that the pen jar in the kitchen is full of broken pencils that need sharpening. The cutlery drawer in the kitchen really needs a good clear out, and I’ve been meaning to paint the bathroom walls for ages.
So The Work & Family Show at ExCeL London came at a perfect time for me. I’d offered to help out on the Talented Ladies Club stand (which looked brilliant – you can see some pictures on Facebook) and also thought it would be a great opportunity to listen to some of the talks and visit other stands for ideas.
It was a fantastic experience, mainly because I got to meet so many other people who are in the same situation as me – women who are looking for a way to fit work around their family life. On the Talented Ladies Club stand we asked people what had brought them to the show, and most gave similar reasons – they had high-pressured, full time jobs and wanted to find something more flexible; they were on maternity leave and didn’t want to go back to full time work; they wanted to set up their own business and were looking for ideas and support.
Or in the case of one woman, they just hated their job and wanted something different. I found it very empowering to meet so many other people with the same goals as me, and to find out what they were doing about it.
The talks were really interesting too. Erica Buist, is the brilliant writer of the How to be Jobless blog, and she gave some fantastic ideas for writing and promoting a blog. Mainly to always write something that’s useful, interesting and funny, which she makes look very easy, but isn’t.
Talented Ladies Club co-founder Hannah Martin gave a great talk on how to make the most of social media, which I didn’t know much about before, but do now. I also had a personal coaching session with one of the Sky career team which was very helpful. We talked about what I want from my career, what I’ve been doing, and which direction I want to go in. This was really useful because it’s made me realise I need to focus on a direction, make the most of my old work contacts – which previously I’ve been unsure about how to approach – and keep busy on LinkedIn, as it’s a better career tool than I’d previously given it credit for.
So thank you The Work & Family Show for all your ideas and help, and for giving me some of my motivation back (although I’ll probably still go and sharpen those pencils after writing this). I’ll definitely go along again next year.