Tag Archives: life lessons

Day 252 – 258

Day 252 – 258

First thing’s first, the Sunday of this week was the Man-shape’s birthday! I know it is late on the blog (it was on the 9th) but I can assure you, I definitely said it to him directly on the day:

“Happy birthday honey! I wish you a coming year that is everything you hope for and more. You deserve the good times now. I love you very much. x”

Week three into my new working life, new career and I can safely say working for myself has its pros & cons. The pro’s are mostly what I expected. I am working less hours. I am doing something I enjoy, I worked hard a long time to get here. I have a little bit of control about what I do (just now that includes doing almost every job offered to me when I am not already booked).

The cons I was expecting were, delays in payment, interpreting subjects I didn’t enjoy and potential boredom during practical work when I am basically put into “standby” mode. The delay in payment has been a problem. As I write this, nearly 3 weeks later, I still haven’t received payment for a single job I have done since my first meeting on 09Aug… It is rapidly becoming a massive problem. My job seekers allowance benefit has stopped. I have had to ask for help from other sources. It sucks. It is a strange feeling, I’m working away but I still feel like I can’t really do anything or let my hair down even a little because the money hasn’t come yet. More on this in a later post.

pay packet

Interpreting subjects I don’t enjoy hasn’t really been a problem. I have quite a high boredom threshold too which is lucky. In some of the practical subjects I can read on my phone or just watch what is going on around me and let my mind drift. They haven’t been cons at all.

There have been two cons I just didn’t see coming. The first is the nose dive my confidence has taken initially. One of my students decided to push me, test me a little, start correcting my signing. I was already struggling a little working with this student. He does the sign language equivalent of a mumble and often jumps topics with no warning (he has other issues in addition to his deafness). The first couple of weeks I was getting the general idea of what he was saying most of the time but if I had to actually do a translation back I’d have been lucky to get 30%. A few weeks on, getting to know him better I’d estimate I’m up to about 70% comprehension of him. That isn’t good enough, I am VERY sure of that. But I can say, hand on heart, we were never taught how to deal with this kind of signing either at university or any other course I have done. My mission by the end of his first year is to get to >95% of what he says. That is going to take trust on both sides, work from me and a big injection of confidence.

The confidence knock that not getting what that student was saying spilled over into other jobs, other students. I have been second guessing myself, not engaging in conversations with the Deaf students unless I had to. Slowly I am pushing myself out of that mindset, but it has been harder than I expected. If I don’t, it’ll never get better.

Sometimes interpreting is exciting, Sometimes it’s like watching paint dry!

The second of the cons I didn’t predict was how lonely this job can get sometimes. I am seeing more human beings and interacting with them most days now than in the weeks I was unemployed. In the college I spend most of my time (2.5 days per week) I am viewed as part of the Learner Services team. They greet my when I arrive, and we have chit chat when we can. They are a lovely bunch. The other colleges I work in I am not part of a team at all. I go in, do my job and leave. As great as that first learner services team are, my breaks happen when the student has his break, their breaks are when the students are in classes (because they need to be available for the students). Most days my break times and lunch times I am on my own, having something to eat, messaging someone, writing or exploring my surroundings.

I’m an only child. I am used to and enjoy my own company. It took me a few days (over 3 weeks) to figure out what was missing, why I didn’t feel right.

During the time I was unemployed and before, when I interacted with people it was for every day random chit chat. We talked about what was going on in our lives, things we’d seen in the news or on tv, random and varied stuff. Now I am either being the middle man in someone else’s conversation (ie. doing my job of being an interpreter) or I am talking to someone about the people or topic I have just been doing interpreting for. I was busier and still not receiving money so I wasn’t seeing friends or family as often. I was starved of everyday conversations. I felt lonely. I feel sorry for my mum and the Man-shape, they got the full force of me, desperately wanting to talk, regardless of if the timing was right for chit chat or not. I was a bit clingy and needy and, at first, I didn’t even realise I was doing it.

Once I identified that feeling for what it was I have started to calm down a bit (well, as much as I ever will, I’m not exactly shy and retiring normally). I am trying my best to get in touch with friends and make plans even if they aren’t happening right away. I need pennies to be able to do more. So friends and family, get ready for random phone calls, texts emails and more visits to be arranged. I do much better when I can play with other people a little more.

KT :-)

ps. I’m still an only child so alone time is important to me too. Balance is key. (but I reserve the right to retreat into my cave for a few hours here and there!)

Day 243 – 244

Day 243 – 244

The Man-shape has moved to a different flat. Thanks to weekday moving, we were on our own for most of this. I met him on Thursday when I finished work and we started filling up my wee car and working our way through boxes and bags of stuff moving everything from one place to the other. It was fun but also a little stressful. There was so much stuff! Neither of us really had any idea how much stuff he had gathered in his 31years I don’t think.

I made a decision during this process: I STILL want to own less stuff than I do. My dream of all my belongings fitting into my car (minus furniture) has been completely solidified.

In fact, my ‘minimalist’ dream has moved on thanks to the experience. I still want to move to America in the not too distant future (within the next 5 years at the outside). I have started going through my belongings again after the moving fun (no sarcasm here, it really was quite fun at times, we laughed a lot, especially in the beginning). So, I want my belongings to continue to be streamlined throughout the rest of this year, more on this later, part of me is now aiming more for everything I own to fit in a big rucksack. (never going to happen…)

As you know if you have been with me from the start, but a catch up for new readers, at the start of the year I had a big clear out of my walk in cupboard. I was getting rid of obvious rubbish, and things I knew easily I didn’t want. I’ve taken part in some swaps on Ravelry to swap things I don’t want for things that I can use. Ok, that one doesn’t always reduce what I have… and I have sold some things on ebay.

So, how am I streamlining now? I am looking at digitising first of all. Looking at things like my uni notes from my interpreting course first. My notes from my chemistry course all went at the start of the year when I made the decision to leave science, it was like the full stop on that chapter and even if I did change my mind again or started to miss chemistry, my uni notes from 2001-2006 would be so out of date as to be useless, I would have to do re-learning and fresh research into current techniques. I know that I need and want my interpreting notes just now but they are in rather a mess. I want to organise them, and digitise them to make them much easier to search through.

I will keep all paper copies just now but later on, when I decide to move I can ditch the paper copies and not lose any information. This is going to be a longish term project but I have started by going through my notes, binning any duplicates and organising by topic. Just doing that I got rid of a whole folder. I know I will have other things that I can digitise but I want to see how this project goes before making any grand plans.

One thing I am also sure I know I don’t want is to end up with a lifetimes worth of digital clutter where nothing is organised and nothing ever gets deleted. Digital clutter might be a focus for next years big project…

So, to get my number of belongings down and reduce potential stresses of any future moves things now have to pass a quick test before they can stay:

  1. Is it in working order?
  2. Do I really like it/love it?
  3. Is it useful?
  4. Would I want to take it to America with me?

If an item ticks at least 3 of those boxes then it is safe. Otherwise? I’m making no promises. I don’t really need so much, Right?!

KT :-)

Day 238 – 242

Day 238 – 242

First lesson I have learned that I can share with you all today: When trying to keep a blog of a year long self-development project, don’t decide that you really need to take a break and not write for a few weeks. What will happen is you will catch up to a point and then give yourself another break as a reward (well, you will if you are me…)

So, this break away and falling behind means that I am not sure of all the wee details and lessons I have learned on a daily basis. I know myself that those lessons would be much more solidified had I taken the time to write them down. I would have had the chance to share all the ways I have found to do something a hard way and hopefully anyone reading would feel comfortable enough to share their little life hints & tips.

Second lesson I have learned that I can share with you all today. Don’t dwell on what you haven’t done, or the ways in which you think you might have slipped but instead pick yourself up and carry on.

A great analogy I’ve heard on this topic is the “car tyre analogy”. I originally heard this via Jillian Michaels but on googling it I think it might have come from this blog http://christinekane.com/extreme-all-or-nothing-and-your-other-three-tires/ either way, this blog is worth a quick read.

In short, when you discover a flat tyre, do you: A. realise that 1 tyre is damaged and find a way to change that or B: Slash the other 3 tyres…

I think this applies to me here. I fell behind, I could decide the blog is ruined and never write again or I could pick my self up and find ways to make it even better from now.

Anyway! In spirit with doing that here is the update as far as I can recall, and how what I have been doing is in the spirit of “Creating Me”.

This week saw the beginning of my new career. I have really achieved one of the big goals set out at the beginning of the year. I have gone from job I hated to one I mostly love. It isn’t exactly what I set out to do. I set out to be a “Sign Language Interpreter”. Well, I am and I’m not. I am a registered trainee interpreter but the job I am doing most people would describe as Communication Support Work. The difference between these two terms (real and perceived) is a much longer post for a different day.

In my first week my first regular student had picked his subjects which included basic cookery, jewellery craft (metal working) and painting and decorating. He also has this term, sport and leisure and a more general portfolio class (life skills and self-knowledge). Week 1 of sport and leisure the class went bowling. I had a few moments that day where I stopped, drank in the moment and just thought “I love my job!”. One of those moments was when I looked around at the students and other members of staff, they were all laughing because my student had just gotten his third strike in a row and had just taken the lead. We were having fun, and in essence, I was being paid to go bowling!

This week I also received an email from another college, they wanted me 3 days per week but two of those days were days I am with the student mentioned above. I could do 1 of the days though so I now have another regular student studying brickwork (bricklaying) in a college in Edinburgh. I knew going in that those days would be earlier starts and a longer commute but I was up for it.

KT :-)


Day 207

Day 207

Mum and I had an interesting chat this evening. We were talking about the choices that people make and how you can often see the consequences before they even happen. You can see exactly what result they are about to get that is exactly what they don’t want. Jillian Michaels talks about this in her book Unlimited. She talks someone who has found themselves in rather a mess because of a sequences of events all sparked by choices.

This all got me talking about my choices, I want to understand exactly how I got here. This is not where I thought I’d be at this point. I am not doing the job I want, I don’t have the money I thought I might, my flat isn’t what I thought. But here is the really funny thing, we tracked back through my entire life, talking about the first time I remember consciously choosing things for myself. Were there things I could have done differently? Of course. But here is what I discovered.

I always thought that choosing chemistry as my degree on leaving school was a bit of a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the time… I wanted to do other things but they never really seemed like a real option. Tracking through from then until now here is why it wasn’t a mistake.

  1. I met one of my best friends on the very first day (I fell down the steps outside the building and landed on her – we’ve been friends ever since)
  2. I wouldn’t have had the chance to take a placement year and live in Edinburgh. That would have changed me into something different to what I am today.
  3. I would not have gone on to work where I did after, meeting people I am still friends with now. I also wouldn’t have been made redundant from there which paid my uni fees for my sign language interpreting course.
  4. The biggest one of all. I wouldn’t have met the man-shape. He was friends with my 3rd year lab partner.

That 5 year course went a long way to forming who I am today.

Thinking about my choices my mum did say she didn’t think I had made any real clunkers decision wise. Sure, we all make little decisions every day that shape us. Some of them are good decisions and some of them are total clunkers.

Where has this all come from? Well, I am at what I would call a pivot point. I could go a number of different ways right now. I have gotten through to the final interview stages for a job that is not what I want to do. I felt I had to take a couple of hours to understand my choices up until now to make sure that what choices I make now are the right ones for me right now. (There is no such thing as THE right choice I don’t believe, but there are

some that will make me happier) The closer I get to being offered this job the more I start to hear the little voice shouting in my head: “You’re going the wrong way…”


So, here is the plan. Go for this job, see it through to the end, have the option. Meanwhile, pursue what I really want with as much vigour as I can. My intention has been thrown out into the universe. Now I need to be ready and prepared to catch it when it appears.

And one last thing, going back through my choices both big and small, I can start trusting in my own judgement, because you know what? I’ve done not too bad making decisions for myself up until now. I can do the big ones, now to master the little every day decisions.

KT. :-)


Day 206

Day 206

I have a couple of thoughts for the day.

Families are weird, we will never understand them, perhaps it is best not to try but rather to just accept them as is.

I’m not a big religion or “God” person. I tend to feel that it’s an essence in all of us, I tend to say “power” or “universe” when other people say “God”. However this quote is particularly apt today for some people I have been talking to.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” : Woody Allen

Ok, I have a telephone interview tomorrow so I better go and get some sleep. Maybe I’ll be daft enough to try and make some plans before I drift off, see what crazy, unexpected things will happen if I do! (My lesson today, learn to adapt to whatever the next thing is)


Day 205

Day 205

Another day spent with a friend means another refreshing reset to the outlook. This particular friend is someone I admire very much, she goes for what she wants and what she wants is rarely conventional. She has a love of science and maths and that means the jobs she pursues often involve passing on that love to children through workshops, summer schools and other means. She has the kind of life that I would like to work towards, her income is on a “bit of this, bit of that” kind of basis. I would like to have that kind of variety in my future. It is not an easy road, she works very hard but she always looks happy to me and I think it might be because she always follows her truth and does what feels right for her rather than what others think she should do.

I enjoy her company very much (although I usually talk too much about random things such as sign language etymology or this time, linguistics…) I think I could learn a lot from her attitude to life and apply it in my own way to mine.


Day 201

Day 201

Today I had a lovely time with a mentor/friend. What made it nice for me is it didn’t degenerate into a mission to get me a job. When I see so many people in my chosen field at the moment any conversation turns into “Have you tried *insert person or place here* yet?” or “Why don’t you…?”. Well, in most cases I either have already tried the suggestion being made and not been successful or is something that I just do not want to pursue. Now, before you start thinking me to be a horrible person, I am aware that people only make suggestions to be helpful or because they care about my well being. I am grateful for that, however…. The conversation often stalls when I say something like “thanks for that suggestion but I’ve already tried it and been unsuccessful” or “I don’t think that would be for me”. It gets awkward, I feel like either a total failure when I get the sympathetic head-tilt or like I am being super picky when I get a stony silence.

I know you didn’t ask for it but here is my advice for all people reading this who have friends or loved ones currently between jobs or trying to change careers: ask them first if they would like to talk about the current change in career and then if they say yes, ask them what they have already tried, or who they have already spoken to first. It saves both time and accidental hurt feelings on both sides.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise that was the source of so many little niggles when I have been talking to some really nice people who just want to help until I was with someone in that field and it didn’t happen. My guard has gone up in those situations and I am sorry if I got snippy with anyone previously. I’m working on ways to gracefully change the subject in future.

The chat that I did have covered most of the “should not be talked about over coffee” topics, we covered death, religion, relationships. I think the only taboo topic not touched on was politics. But what made it great is that it was so comfortable. We didn’t have to agree on things to engage with the topics (although we often did). I hope everyone finds someone that they can talk to in that way, it is quite refreshing.


Day 117

Day 117

I have spent the evening working on my work laptop. I wanted to make sure I handed it back all nice and organised. I cleared out the drawers at my desk today too. I have been trying to make sure all my ducks are in a row. I don’t want things to be difficult for anyone else after I have left my post.

But the preparations for leaving have left me with a huge question…

What comes next?

At this point I have no idea. I have done what I can, I have sent out CVs with cover letters, and kept an eye out for any jobs that I can apply for. But now all that is left is leaving it up to the universe to decide what is next for me.

I have many things I would like to do. I have at least two businesses I would like to start, one craft based one and one in tv/film. I am going to get to work on both of these while looking for something based in what I have studied for years.

I am sure I will not end up with nothing. I work hard and I’m creative. I just really want what comes next to be a little more me if that makes any sense.

In a conversation with my mum yesterday (hi mum!) she mentioned the fact that I have changed since leaving chemistry. She mentioned two ways that I have changed, 1. I’m ‘softer’ and 2. My creative side has come back. I am not sure how much of that is linked to leaving chemistry and how much would have naturally happened anyway, but I am happy with those changes (for the most part) regardless of the cause.

I hope I sleep well tonight. Tomorrow another chapter closes ready for something else to open up for me. I want to be wide awake to face whatever it may be.

KT :-)

Day 109

Day 109

I’ve had a bad day. Work left me frustrated and upset (I actually hit my computer hard enough with my fist that it thought it had been dropped an shut down to protect itself… But it wasn’t the computers fault). Today it just felt like things kept coming at me and I had no control. I hate days like this. And I hate blogging about them. None of you want to hear about my bad day. I know when I am reading other people’s blogs I love to read successes, triumphs, funny anecdotes… I’m just not there at the moment.

My job finishes at the end of next week and for the first time in my life I don’t really have a back up plan. And for the first time, I’m kinda scared. So, to focus on other things I turned the heel on the second sock and thought about things I was 1. Sure of and 2. Grateful for. Here is what I came up with.

Even though we are both in some difficult times, the man-shape and I hold together well and can still (as proved tonight) make each other laugh. (ok, it was more him making me laugh but he was laughing too)

I have many different skills and abilities and I learn new things quickly, this makes me employable. I am telling myself that I am sure someone will spot this soon, I’m faking it till I make it in that.

I am loved.

I have many goals in sight and hardship and trials only make me more determined.

I don’t have hundreds of friends but the ones I have a true and very supportive.

I still have my health.

I can look out in the world and still see good in it.

I am loved. (ok, I know that is in there twice but it is worth repeating)

What are you grateful for today? I’d love to read some comments for inspiration.


Day 101

Day 101

This evening the man-shape and I went to the hospital to visit his gran again. She is doing a little better than either of us thought she would be at this time.

As for me? I realise something today. I didn’t have much time for projects and the like but I got myself lost in planning the bedroom. Project bedroom has completely taken over my thoughts. I have roughly budgeted the cost (~£150 not including the electrician, but I’m hoping to keep closer to £100), I have thought colours, prep work, additions to the design. I have planned and planned. But as I tweeted this evening, there comes a time when you need to force yourself to stop planning and start doing.

To start the doing part I dug out any DIY and decorating supplies/tools I have. I don’t have much but it is more than some and plenty enough to get me started. I supplemented with extra sandpaper while I was getting the paint testers for just over £1 yesterday. I have already planned. Now I need to start doing. I am the worlds best procrastinator, and planning is my best tool for that job.

The other thing I did this evening to beat procrastination was to get knitting on that second sock. I cast on yesterday but I hate the first couple of rounds so much that I put off doing it. Today I picked it up and forced myself to get over that hump. I have now done the first 8 rounds, aka the cuff, and I am onto the much more straightforward leg. It is now time to power through.

I put things off sometimes so I won’t fail at them. But I am only stopping myself from having the chance to succeed. Fear will not hold me back anymore. (well, until I’ve forgotten this lesson and need to re-learn it at least!)

I have already planned. Tomorrow I start doing.

KT :-)