Next week, I start my new job.
For the first time in 7 years I will be ‘going out to work’ every week day.
I’ll be in an office environment. There will be people in the same room as me who are professionals at being grown up and I will not have any children to hide behind.
Now, a key piece of information I should give you at this point is this:
Before I had my own children I worked for many years as a private Nanny. So the last 7 years have been a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’ but with a stronger emotional pull and much less sleep. Therefore my step back in to the working world (and by that I mean, one that involves actual pay slips) is utterly terrifying for three reasons.
- I have not been an ‘employee’ for nearly a decade. Save for my two chieftains, I haven’t had a boss who doesn’t spend all day in a onesie, for over 7 years. This will take some adjusting to.
- When I did go out to work all those years ago, it was in a house, with small children. It involved, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, school runs, nursery runs, bath time, bedtime, breakfast, lunch and dinner, play-doh, parks, swimming and art and craft.. and so on. Do you see?
- I have no idea what office protocol involves. I’m terrified that I will make myself look like a prize plonker by overstepping boundaries or just simply not knowing what the flip to do. Where do I sit? Can I make tea? Do I eat my lunch at my desk? Or under it? It’s likely that I’ll be so unsure, I’ll opt for scoffing my sandwich crouched in a toilet cubicle. Can I go to the toilet whenever I need to or do I have to put my hand up and ask? What if I panic and forget how to turn a computer on?
When I was preparing my daughter for starting school last week, I told her that it was ok and perfectly normal to feel nervous because it was going to be a new experience and there are lots of ‘unknowns’. I now have even more pride and respect for her as she tackled those unknowns with a skip and a hop and a flap of her empty book bag. She took it all in her stride.
I would like, if possible, to channel her courage and spirit and therefore, I’ve decided to eradicate some of the ‘unknowns’ by doing lots of research which I now would like to share with you.
If I’m honest it’s been a bit of an eye opener.
Apparently, when in the office;
- It is not okay to burst in to song at any given moment
- Farting as freely and as often as one likes is heavily frowned upon (this will take some training on my part)
- It is not commonplace to ‘shake the sillies out’ when things get fraught
- Garlic bread for lunch is no longer an option
- A Barbie lunchbox is not appropriate
- I must remember not to concern myself with my co-workers consumption of fruit/veg/sweets/chocolate. If Jackie from accounts wants to eat her mousse before her bagel I need to let it go.
- Brushing my hair in the morning will be mandatory, as will getting dressed
- Jeggings can now only be enjoyed as a weekend treat
- Scatological humour is rarely applauded in the work place
- It is considered bad practise to spontaneously lift up your co-worker’s top and blow a raspberry on their tummy
- Enthusiasm for getting the paints and glitter out will be fairly low key
- A very high proportion of people in the building will be capable of wiping their own bottom. Asking if anyone needs my help with this will probably result in a disciplinary.
- Most people won’t enjoy being chased around the building by a cackling ‘tickle monster’
- A surprising number of people will not have heard of Julia Donaldson’s work and will feel awkward if I recite my favourites in their face. Even those who do know JD, are unlikely to join in.
- Team bonding exercises probably won’t involve beanbags, cuddles and 3 episodes of paw patrol.
But it’s not all doom and gloom!
I also learnt that;
- My colleagues are not allowed to demand I make them snacks every 30 minutes.
- It is rare for co-workers to wipe their sticky/ jammy/ yoghurty/ gluey/ wet hands on each others clothes.
- It’s unlikely that anyone will think it’s hilarious to try and lick my face
- I will be permitted to drink whole mugs of hot tea
- The finishing of tasks is actively encouraged and supported
- It’s possible that someone might even say ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’ for doing them
- I will be expected to use the other bit of my brain – assuming it hasn’t shrivelled up in to something which resembles a dry bogey.
So now I have a really good idea of how it all works, the boundaries I must adhere to and what I can expect from my working day.
My next challenge is WHAT TO WEAR!?
Denim skirts, jeans, vests, jeggings, leggings and pyjamas are all totes inappropes apparently. So that leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I asked some friends who go to work every day what kind of thing would be suitable. They advised me to go in strong and confident. They said I needed to look powerful and important and to do that I would need to invest in some large shoulder pads. (Thank goodness for friends eh!?)
Well, I’ve been doing some online shopping and I’m happy to say I now have my work outfit SORTED. V exciting.
If there are any mums out there who are considering going back to work, I do hope this post will prove useful in helping you to prepare for what can only be described as an utterly terrifying transition.