Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 - What A Year!!

My dearest fellow human beings,

Here we are on the cusp of another new year and, as appears inevitable at this time, this is a time for both reflection, and projection; we look back at the year that has been, and look forward to the coming year.

Personally, 2014 has been an amazing year for me; in February I took a massive risk, and changed jobs. I had been with my at the time employer for 8 years - I started 2 weeks after I moved to Dorset (the previous major upheaval in my life) - and although they had been very good to me in some respects, like flexibility if I needed to leave early or come in late, and a very generous approach to time off over Christmas, they weren't so good in other areas like making me feel valued. I also began to feel less and less comfortable with the way certain things were managed. So, in the end I took a job that paid £5k less and involved more travelling. My concerns about the company I was leaving were borne out when, on the day I left, I didn't even get a "thank you" for my eight years service. Now, it's possible that my eight year's work was so terrible, that my boss couldn't bring himself to say thank you. Even so, wouldn't common courtesy come into play? I said thank you to him, even though I had been unhappy for some time.
I guess it's just a matter of what each of thinks is right.

So, on 3rd February 2014 I started my new job - as Administrator for Agincare Live-In-Care services. And on the same day, I moved in with Adrienne, my girlfriend. Am I too old (43 - I don't look it) to still call Adrienne my "girlfriend"? should I refer to her in another way - my partner? my significant other? If there is a correct term, I'm not sure of it - which is why I'm probably not using it!

New job, new home, new start. And what a new start!! After three weeks in my new job, I was promoted to Care Co-Ordinator. This was a huge step outside my comfort zone, and an incredibly steep learning curve - in the previous two years, the company had gone through about twenty Care Co-Ordinators, so it wasn't a job for the faint hearted. I stuck at it, and after about three months it clicked. The stress levels reduced somewhat, but the fast paced nature of the job continued.

The months rolled on, and in August I completed my probationary period and through company relocation found myself with almost an entirely new set of work colleagues. From the Registered manager down to the Administrator, there were new faces everywhere. But very soon it became apparent that there was also a new ethos, a new team spirit and again, the whole feeling of working together came through. There was a period of transition which proved to be very testing - and I returned from my holiday at the end of August, things were hard at work. I was asked to take the lead for my team of co-ordinators and help them to get organised. They were already working incredibly hard, but had got into something of a mindset where reacting to emergencies seemed the chosen way of working. I worked with my team and we turned things around.

October came, and it was announced that new 'Team Leader' positions were to be created, and staff were invited to register their interest.  I registered mine, and was successful in being promoted, I was still a Care Co-Ordinator, but with a few added responsibilities. The team I have with me is a joy to work with; we all gel really well, we get on, we help each other out, and we work really hard. This year we had the best Christmas in terms of minimum disruption that Agincare Live In Care has ever had, and that is purely down to the hard work of the great people I work with.

And that is where I am now - my team-leadership is up for review next week, and if that review goes well I will get another pay increase, and would have clawed back the £5K I dropped to take this role. That in itself is an achievement I am very proud of.

It's amazing to look back and see how far I have come this year. From feeling like I was in a dead end job, to being recognised and rewarded for my efforts by my new employer.

It is a cliche, but it's true - you never know what the future holds. And yes, it won't always be recognition and reward - it may be hurt, pain, and upset, but the thing is that you shouldn't ever accept that the situation you are currently in is always going to be the same. You might meet someone one day in the street, or in the queue at Costa (other coffee franchises are available), or at the supermarket, or through a friend, and that chance meeting could lead to a whole new chapter. And it might not be meeting someone, it might be reading something that inspires you, or hearing something on the radio. I guess what I am saying is that you should never say 'never' in terms of whether your life will change.

I hope 2014 has been a good year for you. And I hope that 2015 will be even better. For me, I will try to make next year even better than this one. I'm going to grow my beard more for a start - we're not talking ZZ top here, but just a bit more than I currently have.

Whatever happens, much love, joy and peace to you and those dearest to you.

Happy New Year everyone!!

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