Week 3: What do you want (part II)

Do you have interests that you need to make time for?
Oh yes. Lots. I really enjoy my creative hobbies (sewing, knitting, photography), choral singing and live music. However, I don’t have time for much of those now, so things might even improve if I was working.

What about fitness and health – how will you make time for regular exercise?
Again, I struggle to get any exercise that doesn’t involve work at the moment. Cleaning, running up and down stairs with stock for the bar, and carrying luggage are about it. Scampering down the road to the Co-Op for bread is as exciting as it gets.

We do have a gym and swimming pool in the town, and I’d love to get there more often. I definitely need to work on making time for me: one of the truisms of being self-employed is that if you’re in the building, you’re at work.

Apart from those dependent on you for care, how much time do you want to have available for your family and friendships? How might your social life be affected when you return to work?
It will very probably improve beyond all recognition. I don’t have a social life at the moment! DH and I are lucky to spend more than 30 minutes together in a day, and that’s usually as we’re falling asleep.

Are you involved in any groups or activities in your local community? If so, how much time do you need to set aside to maintain these?

Not any more. I was realistic about the time I was likely to have when we took the hotel on, and didn’t volunteer for anything. I used to help run a cub scout pack in Glasgow, and enjoyed that a lot, but I don’t think I’ll have time for something like that any time soon.

Do you envisage that your return to work will involve extra learning and studying? Particularly if you are returning to a scientific or technical job, you may need to build in time to develop your skills and expertise and keep up with new developments.
Almost certainly. I’ve been out of the lab for over three years, and I know how fast things change in science. I’m also very aware that my mental library isn’t as easily accessible as it once was, and I’m going to need to do a lot of reading and thinking to bring myself back up to the level that is expected of a PhD.

How will it feel to go back to work?

Apart from practical considerations, there are emotional issues that you will need to think about in returning to work. If you live with other people, what do they think about your plan to go back to work? How will it affect them? Will they have to take on more responsibility for housework and cooking? How do they feel about this? How do you think you will feel? What will others in your extended family think?

Seeing as I’m already at work (see above) this whole topic just makes me annoyed.

My DH is fully supportive of my need to find a job that is fulfilling and has never been the kind who regards housework as women’s work. About the only thing I do better than him is ironing. We both know that it will be hard if I’m away through the week, but probably not a lot worse than when he was doing night-shift and I was studying.

My extended family can’t believe I’ve stuck it out at the hotel for as long as I have, and are cheering me on as I start the hunt for a new job. Even if I had children, I know the family would be fully supportive. I don’t know of anyone in the family who has young children who isn’t working.

Have a think about what your priorities are and which things you would be prepared to give up. What can you delegate to others, or what can you let go of completely or leave until you have more time?
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

We have both pared everything but the absolute essentials from our life in order to take on the challenge of bringing “Scotland’s oldest continually-licensed hotel” back to life. Knowing that the to-do list will never be done, and that you will always feel that you could have done better, are just part and parcel of our situation.

One thing that isn’t negotiable is each other. We have always said that if our relationship started to suffer because of the business, we would sell up no matter what the financial cost. That’s at least partly why DH is encouraging me to find work away from the hotel. This is the wrong place for me, and although I’m apparently doing a good job, the job isn’t good for me.


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