Work vs Fun: When Work and Fun Collide
Following my recent redundancy last month I have been actively looking at other opportunities. The redundancy came as a shock and surprise, and it wasn’t the first time it has happened to me. So like the seasoned redundancy pro that I am, I did not allow myself to wallow or feel sorry for myself in any way. Instead on the same day that the news was delivered to me I updated my CV, updated my LinkedIn profile, updated my Venture PR & Marketing website and sent my CV off to a bunch of recruitment agencies.
Picking Up The Pieces: My Next Steps
I created Venture PR & Marketing as a trading name/entity to allow me to undertake some close family commitments while also still working freelance with some clients, and once those commitments resolved themselves last year I took my full-time, permanent and remote working role at Corinium. It enabled me to continue my career, keep my skills updated and also continue earning some money while also undertaking my family commitments.
When I came to updating my Venture PR & Marketing website, I realised that over the years my skill set lies very much in content creation, social media content/management and website creation/management. Although Venture PR & Marketing had been through a few incarnations I gave it another facelift and it became Venture Content Marketing | PR | Digital.
I picked up a couple of clients just after my redundancy to work with while seeking my next permanent full-time opportunity – one of them is a digital blogger outreach agency who I work with to provide blogs and articles for their client base, and I also reach out to bloggers on their behalf to place suitable content for their clients on news websites, blogs and other appropriate websites, and the other is a B2B virtual sales company and I work on various telemarketing campaigns for them. This means picking up the phone to book meetings and demo’s on behalf of their clients, and while telesales is not a “natural” thing for me I do it well and working with this client helps me to bring in some additional money while I seek another full-time permanent position.
What Kind of Job do I Want?
I know that my ideal job, my “utopia” if you like, is one where I can utilise my strong writing skills and one where I can create content all day, every day for all kinds of different channels such as blogs, articles, white papers, reports, benchmarking reports, surveys, infographics, social media content and more. In addition, I would love to use my website development skills, SEO skills and marketing/digital marketing skills to add value and help to grow a business, raise brand awareness, contribute to sales and generate leads. I would like to remain as a Content Marketing Manager or something similar and continue producing first-class content for whatever company I work for.
I have also decided that ideally, I would like to continue to work remotely from my state of the art home office as a full-time permanent employee for a company that I can really make a positive difference to. I work far better from home, I am far more productive, and I can use the time in the mornings and evenings that I would be commuting/driving to do additional work. It is so easy today to connect to email, office apps, files and documents via the internet and VPN’s.
In the past I have worked productively while travelling on trains, in airports, while flying, in coffee shops, in my garden in good weather and many other places. Of course, security is a big consideration and I would never, ever take a Skype, Zoom or phone call that was important or with a client from anywhere other than my home office which is separate from the rest of the house and where it is quiet.
I am not adverse to travelling at all for meetings, events, trade shows, exhibitions or anything else where my presence is required in order for me to undertake my role. Face to face meetings do have their place and serve their purpose well, so even if a role is mainly a remote based one I am more than happy to travel for meetings or for anything else when it is required.
The Search for my Perfect Job
I decided very early on in my job seeking process that I would not rush into the first role that comes along. I am looking for longevity stability and a company that I will be with for many years. I’ve done the corporate world to death and I did not enjoy being a tiny cog in a vary large wheel when I was working for BT in telecommunications. My ideal company is a start-up or SME, one that will grow along with me. I want to make a positive contribution very quickly, to see growth at that company because of my content producing efforts and hit all my agreed targets and KPI’s quickly.
I have interviewed for a few positions since my redundancy but none of them felt “right”. I always interview every company I speak to as much as they interview me, and this time I am determined to get it right and find a company to work for long-term. I am aware however that there is no crystal ball in business, things happen, redundancies sand lay-offs must be made and businesses must do what they have to in order to grow, develop and in some cases, survive.
Then last Monday, while I was in London for an interview for a content marketing role for a web design agency, I was a bit early so I stopped in a nearby Starbucks and got my laptop out to do some work. I happened to spot a role on Indeed that on paper sounded like my perfect role and ticked all my boxes. It was for a content marketing manager for a Prop Tech company based in the USA but who were building a presence and team based in the UK. It was remote based, and I decided to apply for the role immediately as it ticked all my boxes and listed all the skills I am so desperate to utilise.
When I came out of the interview I checked my phone and I had a voicemail from the recruiter who was handling the role. To cut a long story short, I had a couple of conversations with the recruiter, he sent my CV and details to the company, and a 1st stage interview was set up on Skype with the company last Friday afternoon.
A “Food for Thought” Moment
I very much enjoyed the interview on Skype with the Director of Strategy and Business Operations when it took place. It was very much like a “chat” and I clicked with him and felt I had a good rapport with him very early into the conversation. We of course talked about my skill set for the role, the types of content I had produced previously, my website skills using WordPress, my skills with using Hootsuite and my SEO skills which are the fundamental parts of the role. However, this interview was unlike any I had had previously as the Director of Strategy and Business Operations had clearly done their “homework” on me, as I had on the company and what they do, and I was floored that he had taken time to look at my websites, find me on LinkedIn and also find my blogs – so he already had a good idea about me and the types of content I had produced previously. I was very impressed!
We spent an hour at least talking on Skype and at the end I asked him a handful of questions, with my last question being “Given we have talked for the last hour or so, do you have any particular concerns about me for the role that I might be able to address?” He was worried that as I do a lot of blogging and I have Venture Content Marketing | PR | Digital that I might be “too busy” with other things, but that could not be further from the truth.
Firstly, I have only gone back to Venture Content Writing | PR | Digital to earn a bit of money on a self-employed basis while I seek the right permanent, full-time job for me. After all, the bills still must be paid, and I hoped that the site could showcase what I am capable of for a potential employer. It is not something I want to do long-term.
Secondly, what I do for a living/for a job also happens to be what I do for fun. I love writing – I cannot get enough of it. As far back as I can remember I always happiest when I had paper and a pen to write with, and write I did. My mother says I didn’t want toys as a child, I only ever wanted paper, notebooks and pens and when I was little I loved writing stories, poems and other anecdotes. I wrote my first novel age 12 – it was fan fiction based on the TV series “Dynasty” because I had a crush on the actor John James who played Jeff Colby in the series, but hey – it was a novel! I wrote my second one a couple of years later when I imagined what life on the road would be like if I was married to Jon Bon Jovi, and although I haven’t written any novels since writing always has been and always will be a big part of who I am, both professionally and personally.
When Work and Fun Collide
My priority will always be to my work and my job – to provide a first-class service to the very best of my abilities within the hours that I am contracted to do it. However, in my spare time you will also find me writing and blogging, just as I am doing now with this blog. It is in my blood and as natural to me as breathing.
The Director of Strategy and Business Operations asked me at the end of the interview what I liked doing “for fun” and I replied, “Writing”, because it is true. I do it for work, and I do it for fun. This was a big lightbulb moment, a realisation that for me work and fun have collided and although they are still two separate areas, writing forms a very big part of both.
When I lost my much loved and much wanted son Francesco “Frankie” Enrico Ventura I started my blog “Frankie’s Legacy” and at the time it was ALL I wanted to do and all I wanted to write about. However, with the passage of time I came to accept the loss of Frankie and the new life and path I am on and writing entries for it became less important. Very occasionally something will happen, and I write about it for “Frankie’s Legacy”, but it served its purpose at the time and now it remains online to help others who have been through what I have been through. It is also a resource for early miscarriage, stillbirth and the condition of hyperfertility that I was diagnosed with after I lost Frankie and I hope it helps those who come across it.
Today, this blog is my hobby and interest, and just as we change as people and evolve with time, so do our hobbies and interests. Five years ago, “Frankie’s Legacy” was the right platform for me to blog on, but not today. I will never forget Frankie, he is in my heart always, but I have learnt to be happy and to live my life to the full despite losing him. Many others in my position never do.
A plus is that as I don’t have children or other commitments I can fit in whatever hours are required of me for a role. I can work in different time zones, I can even work nightshifts to fit in with a particular time zone if required. I’m lucky that I have my husband who can help with our dog, we are a strong team and work together to ensure that everything that needs to be done gets done. He is my rock.
What My Fun Time Consists Of
I do however have some other things I do for fun. I have my beautiful dog Poppy, and we go out for a walk 3 times a day without fail – morning, lunchtime and evening for approx. 20 – 30 minutes each time. It is those walks where I come up with many of my creative ideas (the idea for this blog came to me on this morning’s dog walk, for example), they keep me fit and they give me a chance to relax and process my thoughts and ideas. I am so lucky that I live next to the River Severn, so we often walk by Diglis Weir – I love the sound of the water there.
I love nothing more than to kick back on the sofa at the end of a work day and watch TV soaps from the 1980’s such as Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. My husband is also a huge fan of Dallas, so we are currently wading our way through our DVD box set of Dallas and we are currently approaching the end of season 7 – we’ve been watching these DVD’s since February on and off! I love spending time with my family, every Saturday morning I take my Dad out for a Costa Coffee and we put the world to rights. I love films, and I love going to the theatre from time to time, I love reading and I love Shakespeare. I go out sometimes to read my short stories and poems at spoken word events locally and I spend time with friends.
I am a homebody, and not keen on going away on holiday. I would much rather have “staycations” and spend time with my dog, husband and family instead. I don’t need expensive hobbies, days out, trips abroad or grand gestures.
My work and the things I do for fun have collided, but I couldn’t be happier about that. I can switch between work and outside time in an instant. The way I live my life is not for everyone, and that’s fine – we are all different – but it works for me.
I don’t know yet if I have made it through to the second stage in the interview process for the role of Content Marketing Manager that I interviewed for last Friday. They are interviewing other candidates, and rightly so, but I hope to hear something next week. I would love to be offered the role as I feel that it would be perfect for me, but whatever will be will be and if it is not meant to be, so be it. I have not named the company or the person who interviewed me, if I am lucky enough to actually be offered the role, I will reveal all at a later date.
I am however very grateful that the interview last Friday opened my eyes to how work and fun have collided for me. It works for me and fits me perfectly, and I just wonder how many others reading this can identify with what I have written. There is a quote that goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” For me, that quote is so true.
Join the Debate
Is your job and what you do for a living separate to the things you do for fun and your hobbies? Or does your work and what you do for fun combine to be one and the same? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.