Thursday, 14 August 2008

A Sense of Humour Required

I wrote last week about my new job and now I would like to put that post into perspective.

I gave up work to look after MasterM and MissM and I never regretted a moment of the time spent with them as they grew up but one day, after 13 years, I went shopping and I was surrounded by retired people. I realised that if I stayed at home any longer I would become isolated and unhappy.

It could have been very hard to make the step over the threshold but on that day, the only occasion I have ever read the employment section in the local paper, I saw an advert which said:

Must enjoy the company of young people.
A sense of humour required.


After 13 years at home these were the only things that I knew I could offer an employer. It was just as well that it didn't ask for experience working with computers because I didn't have any. I didn't even know how to switch a computer on.

The job was Receptionist in the Medical Centre of a local University and it was perfect - part time, close to home and low skill. Through it I regained my self confidence and that was important because living at home with small children can change your perception of yourself. I also learned how to switch on computers.

I was a Medical Receptionist for 18 months. I don't think I could have stayed a moment longer because I started to get bored. It didn't matter - I had a reference and skills that I could transfer to a more challenging role.

My experience has been that it is possible to step over the threshold into a different world when you feel the time is right. You don't need to take a huge leap. Everyone has special qualities to offer - even if they are as basic as A Sense of Humour - and you will quickly learn new skills.

Don't ever, ever underestimate your potential.

19 comments:

Lynn said...

And never, ever lose your sense of humor. Although mine has gone missing for lengthy periods coinciding with portions of my children's infancy and toddlerhood... (Thanks for being so dear, Alice. I will take your reminder to heart.)

blackbird said...

Of course you know how apropos this is for me. You could not have said it better.

bluemountainsmary said...

I kept thinking of blackbird all through this.

I have no doubt it gave her a boost.

MrM said...

Fortunately both MrM and MrsM share the same sense of humour which appears to have been transmitted to both MasterM and MissM, although I fear that they do not quite share my appreciation of a good pun. MrsM has a very well developed go forward button where she always tries to look for the positive interpretation of events. This is where the sense of humour comes into play again.

Fairlie said...

A sense of humour should probably be the top requirement of most job descriptions.

trashalou said...

Dear Mr M, please note that your 'punny' sense of humour is a specialised aspect of parenthood developed through natural selection. Colloquially it is known as 'Dad Jokes' and appeals mostly to the under 7 age bracket.

Sadly most dads are not aware their time as 'funniest person alive' is limited and should be utilised to the maximum during its viability. This is a realisation slow in dawning up here on the hill. Its presence can be recognised by voluble exhalation and copious eye rolling.

sincerely, trash

kristina said...

Thank you so much for this. It's just what I needed. Since giving up my career and moving to the UK, I seem to have lost all my self-confidence. Feeling very stuck, but too scared and uncertain to make a change. I'll try to remember what you've said and keep my spirits up :) K

peppermintpatcher said...

That first step is a leap of faith.

Frankofile said...

The world needs good people of humour and energy, more than anything else, doesn't it? Other stuff can be learned, as you say.

carrie said...

It doesn't matter how old or where you are in life, it can change - your dreams can change and I learned from my own mother that you can follow them no matter what.

There is no greater gift. You gave it to your kids too.

French Knots said...

I have been at home for 18 months after working for 18 years and I can already sense the difference in myself.More relaxed but certainly less confident than I used to be. I notice the different way that people perceive me,I feel invisible some days.

pebbledash said...

Thanks Alice...I think this post has given most of us here a boost today. I think a sense of humour is a requirement whatever you're doing. Also, sometimes baby steps as opposed to giant leaps will get you going in the right direction. Hope you're enjoying your new job and settling in.

Sarah S. said...

Before I was diagnosed Little E asked me one day right before she started K if I was going to get a job. :) Now I am concentrating on being well. The time will come though when I make the jump.

Joleo said...

Thank you. Sometimes I need reminding that my choices don't necessarily mean that all doors are shut off to me forever...

Gina said...

Beautifully put Alice. I think you have obviously struck a chord with many women who have chosen motherhood as a career path. I too was out of paid employment for fifteen years whilst I concentrated on being a mumand know how big that first small step can feel. Hope your new job works out well for you.

Becca said...

I have just read through every post on your opening page and can not begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed my break today!

Ali said...

It's so helpful to hear someone come clean about the reality of returning to work after being at home with children.

Funny how just the right thing often comes along when you need it.

And from little acorns...

Lina said...

Great post Alice. Having just returned to work after what felt like a lifetime (only 5 years) it is great to regain my career confidence and realise that I have still have a lot to offer!

Curlew Country said...

Hello Alice
Wonderful as ever and thank you so much becasue I started my new job yesterday. I'm veering between enjoying the challenging new material and complete and utter panic, having to fight the urge to run for the hills very fast! Luckily for me my new colleagues seem a good bunch and we've shared some laughs already so I'll keep your words close my heart Alice - thanks again for the inspiration. Hope your job is going well.
Stephx - p.s how strange, I visited the very same medical centre a couple of times 12-13 years ago, I wonder if we met?