Tag Archives: work

Too old to tattoo ?

One thing that I keep hearing is ‘thing you shouldn’t do when you are XXXXX….’ you are always, too old, to big, to small, too talk, too male.. too female.

On my way into work this morning, I was thinking about a tattoo that I have wanted to get done for the longest time. I can’t afford it. I can’t justify it. I just. Can’t. It is a lot of money, not saying that it isn’t worth it, and I would want to get it done well.

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However, I then realised that to a degree, tattoos, and a lot of body modification has a sell by date, a best before date. Getting them done after a certain age, is … well… a midlife crisis I guess? 

We all see the ‘we will be awesome as grandparents’ memes. We are positive saying, hey you know that permanent modification to your body? It will still look amazing when you are in your 70’s. Own that shit. Work it girl. 

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But again, we are being positive about things done while younger. When it comes to being in your thirties, or older, there are still social expectations. You should be responsible. Have a house, married, 2.4 children. a good job. Responsible. And responsible people don’t get a full back tattoo. Or a sleeve. Or anything…. that may be seen to be against the norm. Because to a degree, as normalised tattoos and other body modification is, it is still seen to a degree as rebellion. Although what exactly you are rebelling against is up for debate. 

I am debating this, because it went through my head and I honestly don’t know the answer. While tattoos are becoming more accepted, it still comes with a degree of, you did it while you were younger, you have since changed and grown up. Or you are very much still living an ‘alternative’ life and there really doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.

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Is it also, the point when you hit a certain age, the relationships will have been formed, generally speaking. So doing something like getting a massive thigh tattoo might be considered out of character rather than just a good investment. Or something you now have a disposable income for… because you know, house, kids etc. 

So I guess there really is no answer to this, if you want to get covered head to toe for you 45th because you have the means to do it…. go for it. Want to try out body mods? Why not. It isn’t that you have suddenly have a personality transplant. It is more, that you have finally been able to justify it.

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You’re so pretty when you smile….

So, I have… for reasons known only to journal keepers, been keeping my mental health journey updated here on my blog. I always feel strange whenever I do this because, it is not something I am particularly open about in most other forums.

So, I quit my, not badly paying, relatively speaking, I was comfortable, job working for the NHS which had security and a basic salary… to well.. what exactly. That is indeed the question.

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Now I am working part time in a salon and have had a lot of fun changing up my hair – going through various pink hues, and most recently a blue.

So, to anyone looking on, it looks like I have given up on being an adult, adulting in general, and decided in typical millennial fashion, to be selfish. Because we can’t all run away with the circus as much as we may want to. We have to suck it up, keep trucking, whatever else is thrown at us to keep us going.

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But you see, the world has and is changing, there is no ‘job for life’, it is rare to be able to stay in the same town, or even county of birth, that your family is within walking distance. That you don’t work 40+ hours a week with little, no or negative financial compensation. And that we are looked upon as craven when we suggest that we might want some sort of compensation for working long, unsocial hours. When we turn to social media for support and companionship, but have to remember to be careful what to share because social media is as often as not a screening tool for employers, the degrees of separation are now narrower so you never really know how is able to keep tabs on you.

Now, this blog has the potential to run away from me, so I won’t dig any further, the previous paragraph should give you a taste. It might seem silly that something like social media has such ‘power’ but it is what it is.

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So yes, after a lot of fighting, soul searching, realisations, and reflection, I quit a job in the NHS. There was a lot behind it, a lot of upheaval, stress, bullying – and I realised that as much as I want to be a people pleaser, not to let people down, pride and vanity didn’t allow me to make a bad job or just walk away… But I did. I walked away. And what is something that people almost immediately said ?

You seem so much happier, you are smiling. You look more relaxed.

Such a seemingly simple thing. That thing that people often bandy about, that people shout in anger, that people suggest in frustration. Just quit your job, we are often told when complaining about a bad day. Then you have the worry about what your partner, your family, your friends will say. Will they be judgemental, will they look down at you, laugh at you, will they understand? Or will they just see it as yet another symptom of being a millennial, without the skill set to cope with real life?

Remember. Your. Smile.

Because it is far too easy these days, in an effort to keep up, do everything, remember to eat, to work out, to finish that project, to try out that new restaurant, watch that film, hang out with people that you haven’t seen in a while. It is easy to let things just, slip by.

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Speaking now, it has been a year since I threw all the paper work up in the air and shouted ‘FUCK IT ALL’ while strolling out of the NHS. Well not quite what happened but it is certainly how I would like to remember it.

I really won’t lie, it is hard, so hard. I am working less, earning less, working in a completely alien environment that I also love. I love my work. It is rewarding, I love the people I work for. Of course, I could get another job or 2. But then I would end up in the same place I was this time last year. Juggling jobs, not getting a moment to stop, pause, enjoy life.

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So I guess, I sound like one of those pesky millennial snow flakes, not able to handle being a grownup, running away with responsibilities. But screw it. I want to be happy. I still see people I have worked with, and they still tell me I am happier. I see people I worked with, who just don’t seem happy at all. I honestly understand that not everyone is in a position to change things up on a whim (and trust me I didn’t do it on a whim) but on the other hand, only you can change your circumstances.

Learn by watching

So this week on the show we are looking at You Tube and of course I look at makeup tutorials for inspiration and direction from time to time. But what actually prompted this blog was a ‘light bulb’ moment. I am going to be doing a blog on eye brow products – mostly inspired by my own mother. And then I realised, there has been a monumental shift in how we learn about makeup.

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Years ago, really people of my generation and above, will say that they remember how their mother applied their lipstick, watching her getting ready for work, or to go out in the evening. Often our first makeup was ‘borrowing’ our mothers products. So our first, hesitant steps into the work of face paint would be whatever our female relatives have at hand. Obviously if you were lucky enough to have an older sister it would broaden your experience.

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We would learn what products are ‘normal’ to use, and probably be guided in colours by our mother. When we first go out into the world to pick up makeup, we would go with what is safe. Although shopping with girlfriends would involve glitter EVERYTHING and hair mascara.

Recently I was at an Urban Decay event (which I am going to be writing up) and we had 3 different age groups, and it was funny that the uni student commenting on how on point the school leavers are, and they in turn saying that the year 7’s are even more on point with makeup. Year 7’s in makeup? I am not even sure how to process it. But you will have to forgive me, I grew up in the Eighties, so that was not exactly a great decade for makeup inspiration… nor were the Nineties if we are going to be honest. However, things really have changed.

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Are we not all guilty of utilising You Tube to learn new skills? I don’t know about you but I spend plenty of time on You Tube researching makeup, seeing new ideas, learning new skills. So really the only difference is that girls first learning about makeup are using the tools available to them, no different from anyone else. It is just that when they are first experimenting with makeup they are being exposed to trends, and brands and their expectation is different. And let’s be honest, the make up market has exploded in recent years. There is a lot more choice, both drug store level, high end but many more independent brands to choose from.

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You Tube gives people, of all ages, background, ability a platform – a platform free of big advertising and marketing budgets. It is honest, it is personal. There are so many things that you can find on You Tube. I spend as much time looking at makeup as I do listening to music. You Tube is my tool for procrastination. Because you have so many awesome suggestions to go check out. And often (in my experience) it doesn’t matter what you started off looking for … you end up looking at entirely unrelated videos – just ask Robb who in last weeks show explained that while he might start off looking at workout videos… somehow he finds cat videos.

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And it offers skills, for me, there are numerous videos showing different makeup techniques, hints, tricks, dupes, a fabulous resource that will help you nail the look you are trying to polish. And what is really great about these videos is that you will find one that clicks. You will watch countless that while very well done, and easy to follow… it doesn’t quite gel. Now for tomorrows show, I am going to be following a video uploaded by Moth Queen Makeup (go find her on You Tube and Facebook – tell her I sent you!) for the radio show. To make things interesting, I will not be doing a trial run, and will try and cobble together a video myself. I have followed MQM for a while and find her videos really easy to follow and she uses a mix of products often finding products that are a lot kinder on the wallet. So… I will see how that goes and do a write up following the show!

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You Tube is a fantastic resource, you will find help for almost anything. But please, please sure a little common sense when copying anything you have learnt. If it feels wrong, makes you uncomfortable, or you just aren’t sure… don’t do it. Keep looking and see if there is another video that might offer a better solution. And one more thing – while I may be older than a lot of people watching makeup videos, and am learning tips, and tricks that many a 14 yr old will do without thinking – do not for a moment think you are too old. I see so many comments on various makeup themed groups asking if people are too old for a certain look (always discouraging when the person asking is younger!). What I love about makeup is that like any other art, it is constantly evolving and changing and we have access to so many tutorials now be it You Tube, Facebook, or any other number of social media platforms. We are no longer beholden to the makeup of our mothers, we are able to make choices, find new brands, new ways of using the makeup we already own, different looks, the possibilities are endless, and best of all – you can do it all in the comfort of your own home! 

Jumping Blind

Backstory, always with the back story! As ways there is a reason for this, I have many times countered the comments and suggestion that being ‘two-faced’ is a bad thing. It isn’t, it keeps you sane. When I am at work, no matter which job, I am going to have a positive outlook at attitude. When I am at home, that is where I allow the shadows to creep up on me. So it might look to an outsider that I have my shit together, that I am always happy. That I might swear a little but it is all good, vent and done.

As I previously discussed, things had gotten pretty bad last year, to a point I really was struggling. And it was my main job that was a big cause of all of this. I have held off putting this down as I needed some distance and I needed time. It wasn’t the job as such, you see, I worked for the NHS for several years, 4 jobs over 2 trusts. And I don’t know that it would be fair to put the blame entirely at the feet of the NHS. There are many contributing factors at play. for example, it was my first proper job when I first moved here. I have no big support network, no close friends. I struggled when I first moved here with people I met, I just wanted to have friends. And most of my life, I have had male friends so the idea of female friends, and the social interaction was new to me. There were losses, and they have been hard no matter how I might suggest otherwise if asked. I was at my wits end when I left my first job and started my next. I was within the same trust, and there were teething problems, like my former manager signing me off from the trust. A slight oversight which I found (find) implausible as I had asked her to drop off my Occupational Health forms. And that meant I didn’t get paid my first months wages. (In my first job for the NHS I didn’t get paid for 3 months). The job wasn’t what I expected, and I have to be honest, it wasn’t made any easier by the environment.

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During this time, if you have caught my other blogs, you will know that I injured myself. I will just side bar a moment. One thing that my first job for the NHS did, was give me the opportunity to dance, I went Salsa dancing and Belly dancing – both of which I really enjoyed and it helped me lose weight. I was going to the gym, I lost weight, I was happy – exercise makes you happy! It does, dancing especially so. But I also managed to in injure both feet (separately) which has meant that dancing isn’t the best idea. Of course this has had a knock on effect, finding that people I would spend a lot of time drifting out of my life, not going out as much.. I won’t go on, you get the picture. But this is why blaming just my employer, job, place of work, isn’t justified.

Now back onto the job situation, I, as I am sure many, find looking for a new job difficult, when you can’t get out of work easily, and in my case don’t drive. This causes additional problems in time management. So when I found another job within the same hospital albeit another trust, I jumped at the chance. I have to be honest, shortest time in a job for a long time, I started just over a year ago, and was role switched at Christmas. I was bits by December, tears were shed at home, at work. It wasn’t pretty. So I started 2016 in a new role, new department, smaller. I thought it would be better, that it would be more comfortable. Small enough that you get to know everyone, not so small you spend your days dodging bullets. But no, it was a nasty place, in so many little ways that it took a long time to fully understand.

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BUT! STOP THE PRESS!

I DID THE THING! 

I left my job (the main, day job, paying one) and honestly… as terrifying as it was… it is done and as it was a couple of months ago, I can’t begin to properly explain what a difference it is. It is a massive adjustment and of course, money is tight. I was always wary when people would say, if you don’t like something, just change it. I always laughed it off as something that people with money could say. That giving up your job, when you have responsibilities is not something you should just do. That part of being an adult is dealing with things head on and not just running away. But I can say, a couple of months later, that it was the best decision that I have made. I took ownership at a time when I felt I was drowning. You see, we all work to live, that is a simple statement of fact. But we shouldn’t live to work. The moment that you realise that you are just your job, and nothing else, that you become a shadow of your former self, that your mental and or physical health is effected? That is when you need to take a moment to evaluate. 

I don’t want to be one of those people, who have a cushion to fall back on, and gasp at how easy taking a career break it, or finding a new direction. It isn’t. It isn’t easy and if you are starting over you may end up starting at the bottom again. You may have less money. You may need to rethink what you can afford. But really, your health genuinely is more important. You may even find that you aren’t needing to spend money on things to help you feel better. And having spoken to a couple of people, this is not isolated, and my leaping into oblivion is not all that unusual as much as I might have been met with shocked glances on giving my notice in at work. It is important to take a step back occasionally to evaluate where you are, what you are doing and if you are happy. And if needed, make a change. Remember, it is your life, and you need to make sure that within reason, you are able to be happy in it.

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The experience of work

So on the show recently, we discussed business, and different aspects there in, and I wanted to look at unpaid work, and whether it is something you should seriously consider/does it actually help. We looked at volunteering on an earlier show, and I am no stranger to the concept of volunteering. I have done it in one form or another over most of my life.

But there is a difference between volunteering and interning – something which has been in the news for a while. In a job market where there are plenty of graduates and people with a lot more experience, it really does seem to be an employers market. But there is a difference between what is expected from a volunteer and an intern.

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Interning is more or less the same as the work experience weeks you will have done while at school and may have been part of your course at college or university. It is a chance for your to shadow people, to get an idea of what the job actually entails, experience the business environment. You gain valuable insight to the company, as well as training that can stand you in good stead for seeking a job. But internships should not be long term. They are an excellent way of getting your foot in the door, of giving the employer a chance to see if you would be a good fit for the company.

Now not to sound too negative, getting work experience is a great idea, it gives you a chance to learn new skills, a chance to network and figure out if the job is right for you. But you need to make sure that you are not being used. An internship should be a week, 2 at the most. It needs enough time for you and your potential employer to figure out if it is a good fit. However, having an internship does not imply there is a job at the end of tit, It is equally likely that the company has a busy time ahead and needs some extra hands.

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Remember you don’t have workers rights as an intern – this is why they are very short term arrangements. The moment there is a sign of a contract or agreement for full time hours and or responsibilities – you need to ensure that you are being paid, at the very least the minimum wage. No matter how much you want a job, don’t allow the employer to push you into a situation you can’t afford to be in.

But there is another angle you might want to think about – giving your time for free, because is something you love. It doesn’t need to be big, is a friend might be setting up a new business and you can help them with advice or an extra pair of hands. Or maybe you can help at an event, there are many different roles that need to be filled at fetes, runs, festivals. Could you run a stall, or a work shop, even be a steward? You can look at this as an opportunity to network, maybe get paid next time. If you don’t have strong enough skills or confidence to want to charge to your time, doing things for free can give you a boost and change to practise your skills.

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If you are starting, or running a small business, you will not have enough money to pay staff, don’t be afraid to ask your friends, put a shout out, discuss your business with people. You never know who might be able to give you a hand, often people will be able to give at least a little of their time for free. Just make sure you don’t push too hard or you might end up with people being resentful.But, and this will sound more like me, the self titled Social Media queen that I am (I love social media… its amazing!) – reach out. You never know what skills or connections people have. Often people forget as well and need a nudge.

What I would say, don’t jump into something feet first. You are going to need to have an income for at least the first 2 years, so take your time and gather skills and knowledge as well as the savings to help you on your way. If you are serious, make sure you are doing something you love, but not at the risk of ruining what you love. Don’t pick something you enjoy to unwind relax, or take a time out as a new career. Unless you have something else to do in the same situation, you will not only hating something you previously loved but potentially burnt out.

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Well to round up as I have covered a little ground here – if you are looking to change your career path, see if you can get a little work experience, shadowing. You can do this within the company you already work at. It is often encouraged and will help you make decisions about whether it is right for you. It will mean losing out on free time in the short term but will have long term benefits. Even if you realise it wasn’t for you, at least you know!

Next, offering your time for free – do you have a skill, a hobby, knowledge that you can pass on? There are so many places to do this, charities, local communities, schools, church groups often rely on the help of volunteers. It is important to make sure you are CRB/DRB checked if working with children. It is also worth making sure you know who is covering insurance, for example if you are going to help out at a local Family Fun Day by doing a workshop – are you already insured? Will the organisers cover you? Yes, it is boring but better safe than sorry! Even if you don’t feel you have a skill or knowledge to offer, ask around and see if there are any ways you can help out! It is a great way of getting to know new people, feel like you are part of the local community and do a little net working!

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Lastly starting a business – this is a biggie! It isn’t something i have every done, and therefore not the best person to ask. I have an earlier blog post covering help and advice from some very talented friends of mine. Remember, never be afraid to ask for help, you never know how might be able to help! Networking is fun, don’t overload people though. Make sure that you are making time for yourself and still have time outside your new business venture to unwind – starting your own business takes a lot of guts, it is ultimately rewarding though! Never be afraid to ask for help and advice though!

Have fun, remember, this is not the employers market, don’t let that attitude make you undervalue yourself! Don’t be afraid to try something new, it may not work out but equally you might find a new love! Have fun, enjoy yourself! 

Click Here to listen to the radio show on Mix Cloud 🙂

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