Good news

In keeping with the theme of travelling around places to treat myself, I spent last night in Winchester. I had never been there before and became interested in going about a year ago, when I read a book about Anglo Saxon history and learned it was one of the major English cities back then. I booked this short trip a couple of weeks ago to take advantage of the free time I have at the moment, and to meet the recent need that’s developed for seeing new places. Scientifically speaking, new places and experiences are thought to enrich our minds and keep our brains alive for longer, so I thought why not. Winchester is a lovely place – small and quaint, everything you’d want in an English country town really. I’d booked myself into a nice hotel, and was able to enjoy a day of sightseeing around the famous cathedral and the little high street with its gables and mock tudor houses. The cathedral had a special draw thanks to one of the gravestones outside, well known in AA circles as the grave that Bill Wilson stopped to look at when he was stationed here in the first world war. According to the story, although he was just a lad at the time the words on the gravestone, dedicated to an eighteenth century soldier who died of drinking, stuck in his mind and planted the seed that would later germinate into AA.

Given that this story is recounted on the first page of the Big Book I thought it made visiting the grave a fairly important thing to do. When I got there I was impressed by how well looked after it is: so much paler and shinier than all the surrounding graves. Clearly a few of my fellows have helped with its upkeep over the years. It was nice to see it, just to be in a place where history took place. Although I might have been able to take it a bit more seriously if I didn’t have the 60’s novelty hit ‘Winchester Cathedral’ stuck in my head at the time.

Unfortunately in the afternoon the heavens decided to open and I had to return to the hotel much earlier than I would have liked. But that was fine as I got to lay back on the comfy bed and watch several hours of TV, something I wouldn’t normally have the time to do now. Autumn is definitely here now. I can’t say I’m a fan of autumn. It’s probably my least favourite season, thanks to how rainy it gets in England every year. Also it reminds me of school as it’s the time of year when I used to go back after the long summer holidays.

It’s been nice having some time off work again. What’s really nice is not feeling like I have to rush around all the time. Since last week I’ve managed to fit in loads of reading, writing and French practise, as well as a few AA meetings and the trip to Winchester. My latest career break will be coming to an end soon as I start work at the British Red Cross in a few weeks. I had an interview at their office in South London the other day for an office admin position, and it went remarkably well. I immediately liked the office when I saw it, which helped me to feel at ease. I think I must be getting pretty good at interviews now. I talked eloquently about my experience and why I want to work for the charity, and I hardly felt any nerves at all. My instincts were telling me I’d like working there, and I tried hard to convince them. Compared to the bank I used to work for, the Red Cross office is tiny, with just twenty or so people in it. Staff can wear their own clothes (yay!) and it has windows (double yay!)

The two managers that interviewed me were clearly genuine people whose work made a difference in the community. I didn’t detect any corporate bullshit in the time that I was there. God, how thankful I was for escaping the bank. I never thought I would find a place like it, at least not so easily. A few hours after the interview, they called me back to offer me the job. I immediately accepted, even though it’s not going to be the hours or the pay that I wanted. I’ll be on a basic living wage, and once I’ve finished the counselling course in December they’ll want me working full time. I didn’t know the job was meant to be full time when I applied for it. They seemed impressed that I’m taking a counselling course, as it could help with the sort of work they do, and are willing to let me have Fridays off while I’m studying. Although I only set out to do part time hours on a permanent basis, I’m accepting full time hours here because I don’t think it’s the sort of job I can turn down. I know I thought that before I started at the bank in April, but this time it’s different. There aren’t that many places like the Red Cross around, it’s a prestigious name, and if I can work there for a few years it will certainly look good when I’m going for counselling positions later down the line. As for the money issue, I guess I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it for my well being. It’s a job that will actually mean something. I already know I’m going to enjoy it.

I can make full time hours work again, if I’m willing to make some sacrifices. I intend to keep going with the counselling training at evenings and weekends next year, so if that means less time on Netflix and Facebook, so be it. I always feel as if I’m spending too much time on them anyway. My HP has obviously put this job in front of me for a reason. Compared to how hard it was to get the job at the bank, this one’s been a piece of cake. And I don’t think the HP makes things easy if they’re not meant to happen. Back in February and March I had to apply for over fifty customer service jobs and go to five interviews before I was offered a position at the bank. This time round I’ve only applied for seven jobs. The best thing is, I never have to do customer service again. Woohoo!

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