3 articles Tag working

Working from Home – 5 Things I Love

Working from homeBeing freelance can be a really scary prospect at times; the irregular pay, people taking forever to pay your invoices, lack of sick pay or holiday pay and the isolation are all things which weigh heavily on most people who work for themselves. However, there are some amazing upsides to it all as well (otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people who do it!) so I thought I’d make a list of all of my favourite things about working from home:

Lack of Other People

There are times, usually around Christmas, when I quite miss working in an office because of the lack of Christmas do and general excitement, but then I remember how much I’ve disliked certain colleagues in the past! Having to say a forced “hello” every morning to people I don’t like is something that I really do not miss, nor do I miss that march past the smoking shelter where, despite being a non-smoker, you end up stinking of smoke before you get to your desk. Having said that, if they were all to switch to vaping and use the best e-liquids of 2017, I probably wouldn’t mind it so much!

Flexibility

During the holidays, our routine is usually that we get up, Husband and I spend the morning doing a bit of work, we spend the day with the girls and then we both do some more work in the evening once they’re asleep if we have anything left to do. It means that we get to really dedicate time to the girls during the holidays and still get to carry on earning money. We can also work in other places if we need to; I’ve been known to sit on a park bench uploading work in the past!

Cost

When I met Husband, I was working as a payroll clerk in the NHS, and there were times when it felt like I was spending more money that I earned. Between the travel, needing to buy lunch, the daily scone and coffee run by another staff member, the birthdays that everyone had to chip in for, the expenses really totted up. Working from home means no travel expenses, no temptation for mid-morning pastry and the only birthday I celebrate is my own!

Variety

One thing that I love about freelance writing is the variety in my work, and I think this is actually the main reason that I’ve stuck as it for so long. I’m definitely a “variety is the spice of life” kinda girl, and I do get bored with a strict routine or structure, so this aspect of my work is a massive bonus. One day I can be writing about private education, another about a local shopping centre and the next I’ll be writing about high-end beauty products. It keeps my brain ticking and stops me ever getting bored.

Weather

When I worked in an office, the weather always had an impact on my mood. If it was cold or wet, I dreaded the commute and spent all day wishing I was at home, and on sunny days I’d spend the days wistfully looking out of the window dreaming of being outdoors. These days, I don’t have to leave the house (other than school runs) if the weather is rubbish and on lovely days, I can work from the garden if I want to.

Do you work from home? Are there things you love about it that I haven’t listed here? Leave me a comment below.

The Great Childcare Debate

childcareSomething which is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment is the issue of childcare, after the Government introduced free funding for 2 year olds from underprivileged families to receive 15 hours of nursery a week. The idea was to get parents back into work without having the expense of nursery hanging over them, but it’s a scheme which has been a bit of a sticking point for a lot of families. Until the age of three, working parents are expected to pay the full price for childcare and the prevailing attitude is that it seems unfair that familes who don’t appear to need free childcare are more entitled to it.

Let’s look at the brass tacks of it:

At the moment, Husband and I both work from home, which works for us and means we don’t need childcare. Now, let’s assume that I wanted to go back to work, full time, as a copywriter which is what I currently do from home. Let’s completely ignore Husband’s salary and assume that this is still going on things like rent and our bills, as it does at the moment.

The average salary for a copywriter is £23,047 per year before tax and National Insurance, so my take-home pay would be approximately £18,840, or £1570 per month. I’d probably have to travel to London to find this kind of work so I’d have to factor in £355.60 per month in season ticket fares. The nursery attached to Sausage’s school charges £4.50 per hour, plus £1.75 for a hot lunch, which would make my monthly nursery fees (assuming I’d need to drop her off at 7.30 am to get the train and not collect her again until 6.30pm) £1110.42. Of course, this also doesn’t factor in needing before and after school care for Sausage.

In travel fees and nursery fees alone, my monthly expenses JUST FOR GOING TO WORK would be £1466.02, leaving me approximately £103 which, as far as I’m concerned would make it absolutely POINTLESS going back to work.

I know that there are flexi options, sometimes family can help with childcare, or companies which allow a homeworking element during the week, but these figures are the exact reason that so many people are up in arms about the government’s scheme. Being a copywriter isn’t the loftiest career in the whole world but it sure as hell pays more than retail work or other minimum wage jobs, which means that even people with hopes of getting a mid-level job will struggle.

Obviously, this is all part of a MUCH bigger problem. The cost of living is too damn high in the UK, whilst wages are depressingly low. Family-friendly working is more-or-less non-existent and women are usually expected to bear the burden of this. I know that there’s a prevailing attitude that women SHOULD be the ones to bear the burden because they’re the ones who CHOOSE to have the babies (obviously the men have zero say in this and we’re all just sperm-harvesting lunatics…*sarcasm*) but this is a hugely outdated notion and many men also feel penalised because of their inability to contribute towards the childcare duties.

I don’t begrudge families who are on a low income the opportunity to have free childcare, I really don’t, but I also don’t think it’s a solution. It’s a really romantic notion, hoping to help people back into work, but let me ask you this: 1. how are they supposed to afford that childcare once the funding runs out and they’re on a low wage and 2. WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE JOBS THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FILLING?!

I think we can all agree that the Government has well and truly got its head up its arse on this issue and that more help needs to be given to ALL parents who want to go back to work, not least of all because we’ve probably got a massive pool if untapped talent in this country, desperate to get back into the workplace but unable to afford it. It’s all very well for the hate-mongers in the right wing press to be content with demonising benefit claimants but the Government has basically created this viscous loop of never being able to AFFORD to come off of benefits, for so many people, who are essentially tied to living in permanent poverty.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a Mum who’d love to go back to work but simply cannot afford to? Would you have a career if the childcare was cheaper or more affordable? Are you in receipt of two-year-old funding but still unable to find a job? Please leave me a comment below.

Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my ‘worth’ as a person lately and how that ties in with me being a mother. It’s been an eventful year, this 12 past the 2000, kicking off with me losing my job in April and Sausage starting school in September, two things which have contributed massively to my introspection. When I was working, I was a ‘working mum’ – I did a job and kept home and life ran to a schedule, Tuesday to Thursday at least. Then I lost my job and I became a ‘stay-at-home mum’, using my days to spend time with Sausage and do things together. But now she’s at school, am I still a stay-at-home mum, considering that between the hours of 8.55am and 3.20pm, I have no one to mother?

On a totally base level, since losing my job my contribution towards family life has been much less. Sure, I’ve been available for more housekeeping, but I’m not actually adding to the family coffers and I’m acutely aware that every time I spend money it’s usually been earned by someone else. I do have a small amount of income but that tends to get swallowed up as soon as it comes in on car insurance and my phone bill. I was able to do so much more before and it made me feel good.

My self-worth is obviously closely related to what I perceive as my use  to other people. I’m always offering to do things for people which are of no benefit to me, just to be the one who’s helped someone out, like I rack up ‘person points’ every time I offer help. I need to be needed. But I think I was like that before I ever became a parent.

As a mother, though, I know for a fact that I tend to put myself last in a lot of situations. Like mealtimes, for instance. If I’m cooking, Sausage gets her dinner first, then Husband and I tend to sit down rank last, after fetching drinks, condiments and all of the other mealtime accoutrements, with my meal being lukewarm more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, Husband often offers to do things, but I tend to insist he sits and eats while his food is hot and do the running around myself. So, does this mean that I put my worth at less than that of my family? Well, yes, I think I do. They deserve a nice meal, a hot meal, and if my is ruined well then so be it. It’s only me. 

My Nan does something similar, bowing and scraping even when there’s no need for her to do so, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way but with her, her martyrdom seems to be something that’s done so that she has a reason to moan. Her and my Grandad have a highly toxic relationship and it’s hard to know what came first; the bitterness or the hatred. Does she hate him and it’s made her bitter or has her bitterness morphed into a ball of hatred? Who knows, but either way, she’ll act like a timid servant (or did before she got too blind and disabled to do it all) and then loudly slag my Grandad off for not moving out of his chair.

I certainly don’t feel bitterness or hatred about my self-imposed lower worth, but then to be fair, I’m 28, not 78 so what’s to say I won’t be a walking hate-factory in 50 years time? Fortunately, the difference is that I have Husband who is NOTHING like my Grandad and I feel appreciated by him and Sausage on a daily basis, and I also have a modicum of reflection in my soul, which means I can see that way my life could go if I allow it. I’m not saying I’ll serve my dinner first or stop being ketchup-wallah, but I will try to consider myself a bit more at times when I feel like I don’t deserve any consideration.

Am I making even the slightest bit of sense? TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN!