Ever since I turned old enough to do a paper round all those years ago my parents taught me it was important to earn your money. I often joke and say I was never richer than when I was at sixth form, I had 3 jobs no outgoings and earnt £100+ a week. Straight from finishing sixth form I went into full time employment at the leisure centre I’d been working part time at. I was trained as a qualified circuits instructor and football coach and was entered at 18 on to a Harpers Fast Trak to management programme. At 19 I managed the Fitness Club (a health gym to you and me) and here I met several very good friends. Some people who I am still in contact with today, many I still miss today, and I had some really fun times working there. Late night drinks, Harpers social events, personal achievements, fitness challenges, children’s party entertainer, football coach you name it and I came into contact with so many different people. I learnt never to judge a book by it’s cover, I trained a paralympic record holder, I worked out for a living and I loved every minute of my time there.I still have good friends from my time here Andy, Ben, Steve G, Jezza, Lila, Sally, Mel, Lyndsey, Lisa and Neal to name a few!
Three years in and I wanted more though, I changed career and went to work in the finance industry for Virgin One Account. Here I encountered an entirely different company ethos, yes we were all about the customer but more than that we were valued as employees. There was always challenges with prizes such as weekend trips to Paris – I have to say to all the team managers that went with me I loved that weekend from the minute 3 card brag drinking games started on the train at about 8am through to collapsing back at home a couple of days later. I learnt that you could achieve more by recognising the talents people had than lambasting them for the ones they don’t. The millennium morning shift of people you were a special bonding moment, there was no millennium bug, there were very few calls, there was triple time plus a £500 bonus and most of all there was millennium schlennium bug fleece 🙂 Each new venture saw gifts, mobile phones, aftershave, wine, parties at RB’s house. Free food, table football and quiz machines for breaks and a real culture of work hard play hard. We set up an 11 a side football team with full company backing, and I enjoyed going to work almost every day I was there. The post-it note game was a highlight Wellard! Working on the hpones and getting in words or phrases was always a challenge – Dunx’s “don’t worry little lady I’ll fix your wagon” was without doubt the best phrase ever. I made some mistakes in my younger party years here, I have a few regrets and some gaps in memory but most of all I had some of the most fun times of my life with great people and at a company that taught me how to put the customer first and increase productivity by putting staff first. My biggest group of work colleagues I am still in contact with comes from here and I will not name you all for fear of missing someone out and offending you. A few years in and I with hindsight stupidly gave up a good gig in pursuit of skirt – cardinal rules folks don’t sh!t on your own doorstep, or probably more aptly don’t keep doing it!
I continued with insurance doing car, travel, personal injury (ironically enough) and then had my car accident. Suddenly I was back at my parents reliant on others and this took some adjusting too. I hit rock bottom and from there, there is only one way and that is up. With the help of all the friends named above I was dragged kicking and screaming out of pityville – it’s a cr@p place to live, I lost the hippie haircut and met my now wife. I then challenged DWP to let me back to work – something that back in 2006 was not easy, now I could be nearly headless Nick from Harry Potter and deemed capable of work by ATOS despite being a ghost, back then despite still being signed off medically unfit I wanted, no I needed to challenge myself and my pain and get back to work. Here was my first moment of panic though I’d done all this managerial work, had vast experience and excellent people skills but had been out of work for four years. I was broke and didn’t even have the money for a suit for interviews.
Fortunately Liz and Richard saw beyond that when I went for my interview at City College Norwich and before I’d got home on the bus I had a job offer working in the registry department at the college. A fresh challenge but one that I could bring all my skills to. I worked hard enjoying being back at work, everyone thinks being at home and not working must be great and to this I will always answer yes it is if financially you do not need to and you are not living in chronic pain, if however the latter is the case I promise you it is no fun what so ever. Things clicked for me at college, I met great colleagues, worked in a variety of roles and enjoyed the contact I had between staff and students. I did specialised data control posts, worked with and completed 3 NVQ’s myself. Finally I found my ideal role as a mentor to full time students, and I knew this was the environment for me, despite all the friends and fun in previous companies I’d never lasted more than 3 years without getting itchy feet and this year was my 10th at the college. In addition to working with amazing individuals and teams across college I’d finally found a role I was good at mixing my people skills and my project management skills working closely with the Business Department and their full time students helping them to successfully pass their courses whilst planning for their futures be it university, work or another course. I’ve made no secret about loving the post and the people and have been hugely disappointed at having to leave it. At the college I worked with so many different people in the various departments and I want to take this opportunity to thank them all, I have been struggling putting an email together to have sent out as it has been so difficult to start let alone end, today I got a letter from college from the two main people I worked for Jerry White (Deputy Principal) and Julia Buckland (Head of School 2) – Now I’m sure most people who leave their posts get some sort of thank you letter but having been wracked with guilt about letting so many people down having to leave it really was a lovely letter to receive and reduced me to tears, it read;
We are writing to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the College over many years and in varied roles as you now formally leave us. This is obviously a letter that we hoped we’d never have to write (or at least not for a few years!) but circumstances have meant that you move forward into a new phase of your life and we wanted to wish you well.
From the support and guidance you provided both Jerry in A4 in those early days of his time at City College Norwich to the great passion and commitment you showed to our students in School 2 as Tutorial Supervisor, you have always given the college your full energy and shared your skills and expertise with us. You will be sorely missed by colleagues and students alike and on both a personal and professional level, we wish you the very best for the future.
At this point in my life I feel stood at a crossroads where each direction is pitch black and I do not know what the future holds, I do know I will miss work incredibly, I will miss the people across the college who have known me over the years and especially the Business department who made me so welcome in my last post, the NVQ assessors and Employer Responsive Department, the HE Team, those in HR and Finance who know me so well, the Team of Tutorial Supervisors across the college and the department we liaised with on a regular basis the Wellbeing Zone, Information Store and Student Support and assessment teams in A2, through to all the people I met in A4 who know work across the college in a variety of roles and those who have moved on to other things. I will miss seeing you all and hope as many of you as possible will keep in touch with me. When my pain is under control little more and I’m not the emotional wreck I am at the moment whenever College is mentioned I will come and see you for a proper goodbye. Until then know that I will be forever thankful for everything that you did for me whilst I worked with you all.