Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Preparing to Re-enter the World of Work

It may have come as a bit of surprise to many of you, to hear that I've been offered a part-time temporary paid job for the charity that I've been volunteering for during the past 15 months and I can't quite believe it myself, as it happened so fast. As I've already mentioned, I'm both nervous and excited about this new challenge, not wanting to let anyone down is my main concern. I just want to do my best, and that is what I told the current managers at the interview.

I'm not sure when I start, but I do need to go in and see the area manager at lunchtime today, to complete some paperwork, so that I can start as soon as possible. The situation is that the permanent shop manager is being seconded to another post temporarily for three months, to cover the absence of another staff member. The current deputy manager is stepping up to cover his post and I am being employed to cover the deputy manager's post until the permanent manager returns in September.

It's going to be a big learning curve for me and although I am apprehensive, I want to do a good job and help keep the shop running as smoothly as possible. It's a larger shop though, with a lot more throughput of donations and space to display them and it's definitely going to be a challenge, but one I'm looking forward to.

The temporary nature of the job is great for me, as it will allow me to find out if I'm really cut out for working in this field or not, with no longstanding obligation. Who knows how it will turn out. I hope well, but one never knows. I'm trying to keep a level head and approach the job in a sensible, practical fashion, mainly so I don't get too overwhelmed, but what it will be like when I actually get in there is anybody's guess.

My current manager has been very supportive, putting me forward for the job, allowing me to leave at such short notice and generally encouraging me to give it a go and see what happens.  He seems to have every faith that I'm capable of the job, which is very reassuring and helps to give me confidence and is also offering me ongoing support which is much appreciated. I have learned a lot from him since he came to the shop.  He has a completely different approach from that of the original manager and I have come to appreciate his calmness and level headed approach to the work, which has been a big influence on my approach to the job. Yes, sometimes it gets stressful and pressurised, but I'm hoping it doesn't always have to be like that and it is possible to keep things running pretty smoothly. We'll see what happens.

I  have also gained valuable experience working with the original manager of my current shop, who had some very nice qualities and a very strong work ethic, which has taught me to try to work as efficiently as possible, whilst paying attention to detail and following company protocols and maintaining a sense of humour. I'll be taking the knowledge that I gained from her with me too, to help me in the new job. I feel very lucky to have had two very different, but very accomplished mentors over the past year or so, and experience that can hopefully help guide me through some of the pitfalls.

Travelling, to a completely different part of London is going to be interesting.  I was starting to feel a bit fed up of the commute to my volunteer job, but there are various ways I could journey to the new job, including multiple combinations of bus, rail, underground, bike, etc.  I could even try a different one every week if I wanted to, until I find one that suits me, but it is likely that the underground will be travelled for at least part of the route, so I've got to get used to that change, as I understand that it is very hot and crowded in the summer months. I'm hoping to minimise this mode of travel as much as I possibly can, to just a few short stops on one line.

I'm still intending to take my lunch with me daily and try to spend very little money whilst at work. I've been informed that there are some very nice small public gardens not far from the shop, should I need to get away from the shop environment on my breaks.  This might be very useful for helping me to reboot during my longer working hours. 

In addition, I will, of course, have to pay for my travel expenses once I'm a paid employee, so trying to use less expensive travel options might factor into my journeys, time allowing. The bus, although cheaper, takes a long time, so I'm not sure it is an option on it's own, but perhaps combined with cycling part of the way it may be. There are some pretty good cycle routes that take me completely off the roads for quite a big part of the way, and I'll be trying these out in the first few weeks. I really enjoy the freedom of cycling at least part of the way, which wasn't so much of an option in the past, but is now, which is good. It'll be good exercise too.

The shop itself being bigger, will also be a challenge. I am given to understand that it is very physically demanding, because of it's layout and the fact that there will be a lot of going up and down stairs with bags of donations/recycling, etc.  The fact that I'll be working for the same organisation is reassuring though, as it will make the transition easier than if I were moving to a different charity, with different protocols and rules.

I'll let you know how everything progresses, but I must warn you that I may not be able to post quite so often as I have been doing lately, although I will definitely continue blogging.


  1. Exciting news ! As you know this is exactly what happened to me after five years of volunteering I became a co- manager for three years.
    Do you like the deputy manager who will now be the manager ?
    You will do a great job and being temporary will give you a chance to see if you like it. Well done xx

    1. Yes, he seems a really nice guy and a very good manager. I've only worked one afternoon, but I've really enjoyed it.

      It is crazy busy though, but at least time passes really quickly.

  2. Ohhh - exciting times!

  3. I am sure you will do well. So exciting.

    God bless.

  4. Oooh, adding in stairs really does up the muscle building properties of an already physical job! I was so fit at my previous shop as I only worked processing the stock and was up and down the stairs all the time. Much easier here now I'm on the flat!

    Good luck.

    1. Yes, I'm finding it very physically demanding, which is good. I enjoy getting on a bus at the end of the day so I can have a sit down for a while.