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Writing Workshop 3

October 28, 2009

I have really struggled this week with the topics for the Writing Workshop. I started writing one and just got stuck. I didn’t want to write it, what I was writing was crap & I was ready for deleting this whole thing because it was so annoying. Josie told me to find something else, it wasn’t supposed to be stressful. She’s so right! I’ve had fun with this blog and fun with writing. So, back to the drawing board. I picked ‘What did you want to be when you grew up’ and thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I did this in about 10 minutes because it was fun! Apologies for any missed words/bad grammar/bad punctuation.

And thanks again Josie. x


When I was little the most important thing in the world to me was reading. I adored books. I had a big cupboard above my bed, a cupboard above my dressing table, a bookcase, and two large cupboards under my bed all filled with books. There were hundreds. Many of them I still have, in the vain hope Sam may also like the Mallory Towers and the Wishing Chair series. Yes, the vast majority of them were Enid Blyton. I consumed her books with a passion. Although I enjoyed learning I hated to go to school as it meant time away from my books. If I went shopping with my mum she used to leave me by the door of the shop with a book and get me on the way out. This wasn’t cruelty but what I had demanded after repeatedly walking into shoppers with my nose in a book. If she didn’t leave me somewhere she’d end up losing me. She always knew where to find me though, in the shoe department reading my book, combining two of my biggest loves! I thought back then that I wanted to be an author. I’ve still got notebooks with childish scribbles in them, shamelessly plagiarising Enid Blyton’s work, and later on Judy Blume. The truth was, I just wasn’t very good at writing. Especially creative writing. I do have one piece of creative writing that I did when I was about 9. We had read the book ‘Flat Stanley’ Iin school and had to write our own version. ‘Flat Em’ was a hit with a straight ‘A’. Then I realised the only was I could write was by being prompted, or writing about me. Thinking that a bit narcissistic I gave up that dream. Years on and here I am now being narcissistic, talking about myself and being prompted! Who’d have thought it!

I changed my future career to teaching. A fine, solid job that could earn me respect and money. As I grew up though I realised that it wasn’t a 9-3.30pm job with 6 weeks off in the summer. You actually had to do work, lesson plans, marking, reports. This put me off quickly, along with another realisation – I really didn’t like school children.

I chose my degree in a rather whimsical fashion – what hadn’t I done that I wanted to do. Randomly I did get a conditional offer from Oxford to read Archaeology & Anthropology. I wasn’t quite sure what it was though (just sounded good on the UCAS form) so I turned it down. I scraped through my A levels and took my place at Keele University doing Ancient History & Philosophy. I did a foundation year first (a little bit of everything) to see if something else piqued my interest. And it did! Geology. I love the module we did on Palaeontology and decided to go for that instead of Philosophy. I couldn’t not get my head around that. All the ‘if a tree fell in the woods would it make a sound’ and ‘Fate predetermines everything’ just messed with my head. I couldn’t leave it in the lecture theatre but would still be up thinking about it at stupid o’clock in the morning. I’d have had a nervous breakdown if I’d done Philosophy as my degree. I also changed Ancient History to Classical Studies as it seemed a really, really good idea to learn Ancient Greek. It wasn’t. My enthusiasm for the subject never quite made up for my lack of skill.

During my 2nd year of uni I had an epiphany. I would be a tornado chaser!! Now don’t laugh, this was entirely reasonable at the point. I had always been fascinated by natural disasters, especially by tornados. A boyfriend had proposed to me whist watching Twister at the cinema as it was my favourite film (this was 1996). I had thoroughly enjoyed my Natural Disaster module for Geology & got my highest ever mark at uni – 89% for my presentation on Tornados. So, the plan of action was simple. Get degree, get masters degree, get PhD, and get a job. I found the most fantastic masters degree, right in the middle of Tornado Alley in America. In Meteorology it would have let me specialise in tornados in the final year. That would have led me nicely into a PhD and tornado chasing heaven. One little problem. It was £11,000 per semester. For 4 semesters. Not including accommodation and money to live on. Unsurprisingly, given my parents had funded my private education since I was 11 they refused. Gutted. Back to the career drawing board….

And that’s where I was 2 years later when I graduated. No idea what to do next. That’s when I went to China. Full of bravado and convinced that teaching English as a foreign language would be my great career. Ah no, I didn’t like it much. I wasn’t very good at lesson planning. In fact, one day when I’d run out of material for a 2 hour lecture on sports in the Western world and their impact on culture (I taught university students) I ended up doing The Haka. That’s how desperate I was to fill the time. The Haka. Maybe that was my most embarrassing moment actually? The looks of sheer amazement and horror on 30 students faces as I stamped my feet, screamed unintelligibly at them and them stuck my tongue out and growled.

Back home aged 24 I still didn’t know what I wanted to be, what I did know what that I needed money and now. My lucky break came just a fortnight after returning to the UK when I was offered a temporary job in Finance at The Company Who Cannot be Named. Almost 6 years later I’m still there. I was given the opportunity after a year to work part time in HR as they needed an assistant. One manager left, another one started. She asked if I fancied moving into HR full time? Hell yes! Did I want to undertake some professional qualifications? Hell yes!

Finally aged 29 I finally know what I want to do when I grow up. I want to work in HR. And I do! So that’s ok.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2009 10:23 pm

    Do you know what? We have so much in common. I was that girl with her nose always in a book, dreaming of Mallory Towers and of being an author. And I had a stop-and-start time of trying to decide on a path only to change my mind or for something to get in the way. I’ve only just found what I think it is I’m supposed to be doing.

    I loved that you weren’t afraid to follow your dreams. And I am only SLIGHTLY disappointed that you didn’t make it as a Tornado chaser.

    Fab post – loved it.

    P.S. One day, can we get really drunk and you show me your Haka dance? Please?!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      October 29, 2009 9:27 am

      I’d love to show you my Haka dance. It bears very little resemblance to the original but I think it’s much more amusing! xx

  2. Aly permalink
    October 28, 2009 11:02 pm

    What a varied career!Did you have the face paint on too?

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      October 29, 2009 9:28 am

      No face paint, thank goodness. I think that would have tipped them (and me) over the edge! They already looked confused enough!

  3. October 30, 2009 2:25 pm

    I loved reading too when I was growing up. I think I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series in a weekend!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      October 30, 2009 3:26 pm

      I never read those! It was Enid Blyton or nothing for me back in the day!

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