The truth about my pregnancy…

I have been fairly absent from my blog recently. But I have my writing mojo back a little bit. The reason being is I have been busy creating a new little person, who is still cooking for, hopefully, another 3 months!

When I say I have been ‘busy’ what I mean is busy with all the below, this is the frank truth about my pregnancy for the last 6 months, enjoy ;o)

  • Sickness – So, for the first 18 weeks of the pregnancy I had my head down the toilet at most times and felt nausea like I didn’t know was possible!  Yes, I obviously knew you can get hit with ‘morning sickness’ but jeez, this was on a whole other level. It was hardly ever just morning sickness, it was all day and evening sickness. It was ‘as soon as I have eaten breakfast and then attempted dinner I had to run to the toilet’ sickness. The nausea, I am not going to lie, is beyond horrendous, I never realised I could feel so rotten, especially when all I wanted to do was jump for joy that I was pregnant, instead I would moan at my other half every night that this nausea was worth killing myself over (yes, I can be slightly dramatic) but, until you suffer you unfortunately/fortunately won’t understand. It is evil and if I hadn’t been pregnant I may have driven myself to beachy head, but because I knew the reasons behind it, I dealt with it and bang, at 18 weeks, it disappeared, I may have celebrated this fact by having KFC or something disgusting like that! But I finally thought ‘Hurrah, I can finally enjoy this pregnancy’ erm…
  • SPD – Or another name for this is ‘Pelvic girdle pain’ Sounds lovely doesn’t it? This is something that not all pregnant women get and I hope you don’t as it is bloody painful. I luckily I only have it mildly, but this basically stops you from getting up from bed/chair etc… without looking like a doddery 80/90 year old with a dodgy hips and a walking stick. The pain I can only describe as feeling like someone is stretching and twisting your insides as you try and straighten up and walk. Physio and a good yoga ball helps with this thankfully but it could mean I can only give birth on all fours (delete any mental image right now please!!) but due to the pain this is the easiest way they say, how dignified is that? But let’s be honest here, there is nothing dignified about giving birth anyway and I am sure I will not give two hoots when the time comes!
  • Sleep – Well this just goes out the window when you get to about 4 months pregnant, due to a number of things:           1: Needing to get up to go for a wee at least once or twice a night. 2: Not being able to get comfortable due to back or hips, knees hurting. 3. Baby brain overload – This is where you wake up in the night and then all you can think about is things like: What you will call the baby, how the birth will be, then you worry about baby’s movements and then become paranoid that you end up getting up and then can’t get to sleep until at least 5am when you have no choice as you’re exhausted. (This could be just me though by the way) I over-think/ worry at the best of times. But hey 3/4 hours sleep a night is great preparation for when little one comes ;o)
  • Bump opinion/ touching – This just happens, people just randomly touch your bump, especially at work, now I don;t mind friends and family doing this, but random colleagues that I don’t know well enough, well, it pisses me off slightly. Just because it is sticking out and is obvious doesn’t mean you automatically have to rub or touch it! Oh then you get the even more annoying people that then have to comment on how big your bump actually is for how many weeks/months you are, mostly I get ‘Oh your bump is so small’ ‘Shouldn’t you be bigger by now’ But this is mainly because I am slim, I haven’t used the pregnancy to gauge on 20 donuts a day so, no I am not fat, I just have a bump, which is pure baby and fluid of course, but I feel like I almost need to apologise that I am not really fat! Grrr!! Now where is a donut when you need one, all this ranting makes me want to comfort eat!
  • Maternity clothes – I think I need to start a new business as since becoming pregnant because the options for pregnant women are in a word, CRAP! Honestly, the only half decent shop I have found is H&M but I think the fashion world think as soon as you become pregnant you want to turn into this old fashioned dowdy person as I have really struggled, unless you want to spend a fortune at the designer places like Serpahine and Isabella Oliver, but what is the point when you wear these clothes for about 5 months really? So the retail world seriously needs to create a maternity clothes shop as it would do serious business…. how would it ever go out of business?? If someone wants to invest in me I will open one as it has frustrated me so much!!
  • Moods – Up down, up down, up down, need I say more…? hormones all over the place. Some days I am like a care bear on acid, then other days I am like Eeyore that forgot to take his prozac and then other days I just want to cry at anything and everything. I cried at location, location TV show the other night, for no other reason than Kirsty was being nice to the home buyers?! My other half just looks at me like ‘Oh here we go again, get the tissues’ So yes, emotions are very all over the place, more erratic than I ever thought and there have been anger bursts and then me being hyper and singing non stop, so it will be nice when the hormones start to calm down but for now,I think my other half and work colleagues wonder what Claire they will see from day to day. As since being pregnant I have a low tolerance threshold, I speak before I think and if someone annoys me I just tell them and I don’t care about the consequences at the time, it is like I have no control over my mouth! Entertaining to watch though, especially the time when I asked the guy on the train if he paid for my sit also, as he might as well have been sitting on my seat! The whole train carriage looked up and I didn’t care, his response was to tell me to ‘shut up’ How I didn’t hit him with my handbag I do not know!
  • Bladder control – I know, such a lady-like subject but honestly this goes out the window when you’re pregnant, unless you have been a good person and done your pelvic floor exercises all your life! I now am wishing I had done this, as let’s just say this… sneezing is not good, neither is uncontrollable laughter… you get the gist don’t you? But this one took me by surprise I have to say and I was slightly mortified, so now I am trying to do these pelvic floor things every day, but not sure if it is too little too late now… but worth a try as trying to run to the loo every time you feel a sneeze coming on isn’t fun!
  • The worry – This is fairly obvious, if you are a worrier anyway, you won’t know anything like it until you become pregnant, you worry about every little thing, from baby’s movements, to other people banging into you, to if what you are eating and drinking is right etc… I am sure it only gets worse when they arrive too! But I didn’t realise quite how protective I would be of this little person growing inside me, but jeez I am so protective and when commuting in London I am the worst, I have to have so much personal space and I wish I had a neon sign flashing telling people to stay away from me, as from the back and with a coat on, you can’t tell I am pregnant really and you know what London is like, everyone rushing about with no care for anyone else, so I almost wish I could wrap myself in bubble wrap when I go out as I feel very delicate since being pregnant.
  • Food & drink – This is just a minefield… you shouldn’t drink this, you should have this etc… It has driven me nuts to be honest, I like green tea, and had countless of (ignorant/thick) people tell me not drink it, but the midwife said it was fine after 3 months and considering I don’t have milk it is the only hot drink I fancy I will drink it. I just think people go a bit nuts with the food and drink thing when pregnant and go to extremes, such as, don’t have any red meat throughout the whole pregnancy or they have zero caffeine or no runny eggs? I think everything in moderation, no not alcohol of course but everything else, as long as you aren’t going nuts then a little bit of what you fancy is great in my book and I will carry on eating my soft eggs and my 2 cups of tea day!

Don’t get me wrong, there are amazing bits too, which make it all worthwhile, such as the scans, seeing your baby on the screen is beyond emotional and then once they start wriggling and kicking you… well that, I just adore and makes me smile every time… then seeing my other half’s face when he feels him kick too, is priceless and makes me want to cry, so this is why we go through it, as it is worth it in the end 🙂

Plus, I am sure most of you know it isn’t fun and games anyway but the ultimate joy at the end of it all, outweighs all of the above 100%. But yes, it has been a tough 6 months, I am not going to lie, I didn’t actually realise I would feel so rubbish, but guess what…? I wouldn’t change it for the world, as I know what the end result is and I probably would do it all over again too, even if I go through exactly the same as the above… at least I know what to expect next time.

But… maybe ask me that same question in July once I have gone through labour…! Not thinking about it, not thinking about it…!!

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Employers…Please don’t put people in boxes!

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I felt the need to blog about this as it frustrates the life out of me.

What am I talking about you’re wondering? Well, I will tell you and try not ‘rant’ (But i might)

So, what is frustrating me is this; Recruiters, employers, that don’t hire people based on ‘age’ or for not having certain ‘qualifications’ I am sure they end up shutting out a lot of great potential candidates because of this.

I have seen it so many times in recruitment ad’s ‘A bachelors degree essential’ errr.. why? or ‘Degree preferred’ again, why? Especially in the PA roles, this seems to me ridiculous. Employ someone on their merit and experience, don’t put them in a box of a job advert and then not look at any CV’s that haven’t got that certain qualification.

I’m not just talking about PA jobs either, I have also seen this for people I know that work in finance. They are looking for a new job, they have been a good solid finance job for over 8 years, has over 10 years worth of finance experience, but can’t get a new job due to that fact that he is not ‘ACCA’ or ‘CIMA’ qualified, they don’t care about his great experience, they just dismiss CV or if he is lucky enough to get an interview, because the job spec says the certain qualification is ‘desirable’ he might as well have not bothered as he always gets to the 2nd stage of the interview and then hears he has been unsuccessful because…. ‘They really want someone qualified’ !!!!!! and…. breathe!!! But this is what frustrates me. Why can’t some people look beyond qualifications sometimes. Yes, I know they are needed in some professions but when the job spec is identical to the job you are doing now or very similar and they don’t give you a chance because of those 4 letters above?! It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

The other box is ‘age’ I wish more employers would give over 50’s a chance. There are quite a few out there looking for work, not through choice but they can’t retire due to money issues, or they lost their job just before retirement and need to carry on working. It is such a struggle for them. I have told some older friends that are looking, to take their age off their CV’s as unfortunately it does them no favours. I just wish people wouldn’t look at age and the person that is in front of them or the experience on the CV, before they dismiss them completely just because they think they’re ‘too old’ Makes me cross!

So recruiters/employers out there…Please please please don’t people in boxes and give people a chance. Give someone the precious break they might need so desperately… Look beyond qualifications and age. Hire the ‘right’ people not people that just tick boxes on your job advertisement.

Rant…. over! Told you it would turn into a bit of a rant.

Don’t dumb us down!

Yes, I am talking about us ‘PA’s, admin, secretary peeps. Or maybe we are sometimes known as ‘Dogsbodies’ or ‘Minions’ i.e. non important to some. The some that obviously do not have a clue what we actually do in our job.

I had to write this post as some comments I have heard recently has made me so angry, I had to pen to paper and get it off my chest.

As most of you know, I have been a PA now for over 12 years (yep that makes me feel OLD) so, I basically know what I am talking about on this topic, I have been there done it, had awful bosses, had great bosses, had awful dull jobs, had fabulous, amazing jobs. It all varies when you are a PA, but why do some people feel the need to ‘dumb us down’ they might as well pat us on the head and saw ‘aw, never mind, you are just a little PA’ They automatically think we are thick, with no ambition and not career orientated. I got this the other day when the head of Operations at my work came up to me and basically said the following… ‘ So hadn’t you better get on with having kids soon? It isn’t as if you have a career to hold down?’  erm…….. to say I was angry and flabbergasted by this, is an understatement, I handled it by just laughing, otherwise I may have punched him. How dare he think, just because I am a ‘PA’ that I don’t care about my job and that I have no value to the work place. 

I am sure I am not the only one that has had this happen to them either. I just find it amusing through his own ignorance, he has just decided that my job any monkey could do. Not correct. Yes some of my job can get mundane, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t that the same with anyone’s jobs not just a ‘PA’ ? Yes, i admit expenses can be boring, but it has to be done. Other parts of my job is full on, no day is the same, I can go from compiling weekly reports on Excel for the boss, to, going to look at venues for press or company events, to taking minutes for management meetings, to organising major complex travel itineraries, to diary management nightmares. I would really like to see Mr Ignorant deal with all of that at one time. 

All I know, is, I love my job and it annoys me that some people think that you have to be a bimbo and thick to do it. What I think you need to do a good PA job is;   A bucket load of common sense, a good sense of humour (vital), Be able to keep calm in a crisis and not take things personally and most importantly, intelligence, yes, you definitely have to be intelligent otherwise you will not last five minutes in a  busy, full on PA role. 

So, please don’t ever think us PA’s are worthless, I actually think we are the most valuable asset to any company and we have a very important and vital role. 

So my advice to any PA’s out there that ever get similar comments to the one above from Mr Ignorant? Ignore them and laugh as I did, as they aren’t even worth a reply, because, if they want to dumb us down, then it just goes to show that they are the thick ones, not us.

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Feel the love people!

Just felt the need to write a bit of a random post this evening…so I apologise now for wittering on!

But.. I feel like as a nation and yes I am talking about you UK… need to be a little kinder, nicer, a bit more lovable!

Since I have worked in London for the last 8 months, I have noticed rude after rude people everywhere!! Oh and SO miserable too.. especially on the tube, oh my goodness, if looks could kill, we would have all snuffed it by now, I am sure of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, the London Underground doesn’t exactly feel me with joy either, but it is what it is, I just want people to smile a little bit more? Is that so hard do you think? I’m not talking smile like a crazy person, as that is just plain weird and people will look at you oddly, I am sure. But just stop with the dirty looks, the looks up and down like I could possibly be a bit of poo on your shoe. This is mainly women I am talking about, yes. But you men can also be bloody miserable sods too you know & as I am on the subject of men, you need to to start being a bit more gentlemanly too… The amount of old women and men, oh and heavily pregnant women I see on the tube that get totally ignored and not offered a seat. Yes, I am talking to you people, the ones that hide behind a newspaper or book and pretend you haven’t seen them. Get your lazy arses off the chair and offer your seat! It is good karma don’t you know?!

Then there are the people walking from the tubes to work… the ones that don’t hold the door open for you and the VERY miserable taxi drivers that would happily run you over as you run for your life across the road!! Why is everyone so bloody miserable? It does you no favours to be like this. If you hold a door open for someone, you usually get a smile and a thanks.. this then in turn, makes you feel good and might make you feel happy.. even if it is just for a 20 seconds.. that’s better than being a miserable sod! Like attracts like, happy attracts happy. Miserable just attracts no one.. FACT!

I also want to reach out to those happy shop assistants in London too… oh my goodness.. if you don’t like working behind that shop counter… please please please DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! Yes, I am talking to you miserable woman in Superdrug and you miserable woman in Starbucks. They can barely even manage to look at me let alone smile.. or, even worse, they don’t even acknowledge you at all and carry on talking to their other miserable colleague, moaning about something or other. I don’t get a please, or thank you or bye! Charming isn’t it?

So people of London, please can we just cheer up a bit. I’m not asking people to skip down the road singing (although, I would love that!!) but, just be a little kinder and a bit more thoughtful and smile a bit more… I promise it helps, you and others. & yes, I know some days are just a bit crap and we can’t be happy all the time, this I know very well, some days, I just want to stay hidden under my duvet quite frankly, but I make an effort I get up and drag myself to work and put (force) a smile on my face, so it would also help greatly, if others did the same. It’s the little things remember: Hold a door for someone, don’t judge anyone on appearance, if someone smiles at you, smile back! Say thank you, say please, it really is not that difficult and it can make SUCH a difference to someone’s day I promise you! So next time you feel like scowling at someone or judging, please remember the below and repeat and repeat… & then….. smile :o)

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WWW… Eek!

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So… hands up who thought I was blogging about the internet?? Well nope, I’m not i’m afraid and sorry if you were looking forward to that! Instead, I am talking about ‘Working with Women’ Now, I know I have blogged about this before but I am blogging about it again, because I still need to get a few things off my chest, so here goes…

Where to start? OK, I for one, prefer to work in an office full of men. I feel more at ease, more comfortable, less judged and I have more fun if I am totally honest with you. I am not a girls girl, maybe this is why, but I also have had a lot of awful experiences with women in the past, which you can read about (if you want to) in an earlier blog post.

I don’t know about you, but I just find a lot of women so competitive with other women… WHY people why?!! It drives me nuts, we are all individuals, don’t sniff me out like a dog and see who is the top one, we are just human’s that both want an easy life/day at work, we don’t need to feel like we are being looked up and down, sneered at, talked about. There is no need for it,  but unfortunately, from talking to other girlfriends/colleagues, it seems to happen a lot and I am not alone, boooo.

I will give you a little example of current ‘woman at work’ issue. This is classic behaviour that I have come across time and time again;

I currently sit in an office with 9 other men, (lucky me!), but sometimes not so much, look at previous blog post on pervs!  Anyway, a new young girl has started in another department downstairs & I went down to introduce myself and say hi and BOOM….instantly I felt the frostiness from her, I was just being my normal smiley, friendly self, but I got a look up and down & a not so friendly hello back?! Erm… What the hell is that about?  I then had to go down there again with a guy work colleague last week and it was quite entertaining, as she was super friendly & smiley to him, but still could barely say two words to me?  <—— This, is what I am talking about people.  Come on women, please stop this pathetic ridiculous silliness? I don’t know if it is a jealousy thing… an insecurity thing on their part, but I have now learnt to not take it personally, if I did I would be a crying mess, luckily I have learnt to have a thick skin over the years and have come to the conclusion that some women just have issues and see other women as a threat, for what reason I do not know,  But this is the sort of stupid worries I have at work. Not if I am going to get a promotion, pay rise or bonus. I worry about another ‘woman’ joining the team. This, of course will eventually happen, but I just hope and pray that she is one without claws and issues… yeah OK, we all have some issues, so I just ask for her to be ‘nice’ Is that too much to ask do you think? 

Now for the positive bit… as I don’t want to sound like a whinger and there are some positives that come out of ‘working with women’ (woo hoo) & that is, I have also met some lovely, great women friends from work, who I now count as close friends, so I know they aren’t all bad, but from past experience, I still think they are few and far between and I hope one day this changes, as there is just no need for it. 

At the end of the day (I hate that phrase but hey, I am using it) we are all striving for the same things aren’t we? ‘HAPPINESS’, doesn’t every single one of us want to be happy? So, other women out there… remember the next time you meet another woman at work, on the train, shops etc…please be nice, don’t instantly judge. We are all fighting our own inner demons in one way or another, so if we were just all a bit nicer to each other, it would make every day a bit happier and a lot less ‘rahhhh’ and ‘grrrr’ & I for one know what kind of day I would prefer!

Warning: Cheesy quote below! I can’t help myself!

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Confessions of a very untraditional PA!

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OK, so confession time… I have been a PA / EA now for around 12 years now which makes me feel a bit old but i’m not too old… 33 actually in case you wanted to know. Anyway, I digress. I have worked in many different industries and for men and woman (men are far easier to work with in my opinion) & I have never had any real complaints about my work and PA skills. But, sometimes, well a lot of the time, I do feel like a bit of charlatan… the reasons why are below, WARNING: if you are a very ‘Traditional’ by the book, prim and proper career PA, then please do not read on, as you are likely to have a panic attack! You have been warned.

So, this is how I work as a PA:

  • I don’t file anything… Not a thing, I don’t file paperwork or e-mails. I currently have 5,914 e-mails in my inbox and that is where they will stay, until I got forced into archiving, but I find it easier to work this way, I can find things much easier. If I file, I would forget where and what folder it was in etc… This works for me.
  • My desk is a total mess… paper piled up, not in any order, bosses old expenses in an envelope in that pile along with invoices that I need to sort, contracts that I have signed, it all just sits there, because I know that, that messy pile has everything I need and I just pick it up and go through it when I need to find something. I have post it notes dotted about all over, reminding me of things to do also, they are in pretty colours by the way, pink, purple etc.. not dull yellow!
  • I never write ‘To do Lists’ I can’t think of anything more dull than writing down all the things you need to do., I prefer to use my memory and just get on and do them one by one. Yes I set reminders in my outlook calendar sometimes if I think there is a bit too much to remember but I luckily have a great memory and so I don’t forget much. A To-Do list would stress me out by just looking at it.
  • The way I work with my e-mails on Outlook is this —> I have about 20 e-mails all open at the bottom of my outlook and then I close them once I have finished with that task, this then reminds me of what I need to do, so I suppose that is my to do list! (Any PA’s freaking out yet?!) 
  • I don’t make tea or coffee for my boss, bad PA I know… but he can make it himself, he never makes me tea or coffee so why should I. I am his PA not his minion! & yes of course I make it for his customer meetings, but I wouldn’t offer if he is sitting at his desk, unless I was making it for everyone.
  • I have never and will never suck up to my boss, or act any differently to who I am, to please him.My motto is always: Stay true to yourself, you can’t go wrong with this in my opinion.
  • I can never just do one job at a time and focus on it. I usually am doing about 4 different things at once, I know that is probably standard for a lot of PA’s but it is how I prefer to work. I get easily distracted.
  • I don’t colour code my calendar or do follow up flags on my e-mails either.
  • I talk a lot and laugh loudly and I swear…I would not be suited to very quiet corporate offices, but luckily I have always worked in fun laid back environments.
  • I don’t deal with structure and authority very well at all. I like flexibility and I have been fortunate enough to never have strict hours at work, so I can come and go when I please (within reason of course!) and work from home once or twice a week or when is needed, which is perfect for me. I don’t like to be chained to a desk and to be bossed about. Again, I am lucky to have a boss who says ‘sorry’, before asking me to do anything’ which I find quite funny! Maybe he is scared of me… ? Just to note: I am not scary at all!!

But…. having said all of the above, I think I am a great PA (you have to blow your own trumpet!) and… I have never been told otherwise & have always had great jobs and feedback from my bosses, so I say, whatever works for you. I know some would freak out with my way of working, but this is what helps me and I doubt I will change my ways now, well I know I won’t, I enjoy being in my organised chaos. I will never be a neat and tidy, prim and proper PA and I don’t think that is a bad thing, it has worked for me so far just fine and as the saying goes,  ‘If it ain’t broke…’

Oh and If my boss happens to be reading this… don’t panic, I know where your expenses are and they will be done on time…honest ;o) 

Working with Men… a little rant!

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So, from this picture, you can probably guess the kind of men I am talking about? If you need some reminding… read on!

Now, I have worked in an office environment now for about 15 years now and it doesn’t matter where I have worked I have always come across these… what shall we call them? Perverts? Undersexed male annoyances? Either of them will do.  They tend to usually work in Sales or Recruitment and they always have a gold or silver band round their 4th finger on their left hand too… Oh yes I am talking about  ‘those types’. I don’t understand them and neither do I ever want to either!

I suppose I have just become accustomed to their ways and I am not the type to run to HR as soon as I hear a sexist comment.. I usually just laugh it off but to be honest, deep down it really does piss me off. The sort of things you can expect to hear on a daily basis in my office is ‘Look at the tits on that’  ‘great arse’ ‘ ‘She so fit’  ‘can we do it naked’ … & the list goes on and some of things I can’t even begin to type as they are far too inappropriate, but I just wonder what they think gives them the right to say stuff like this all the time? Especially when they all have wives at home, I am sure they would be mortified if they knew how their men were behaving at work. It’s like they are children that have been let out on a free reign for the day, ‘while the wife’s away… I will act like a complete inappropriate twat!’ 

I know I can’t and won’t tar all men with the same brush,  but I for one am fed up of rolling my eyes to their every comment every day, it is quite sad and pathetic that they can’t go a day without saying something sexual or offensive. But maybe I just need to get in the real world and this is the male of the species and I need to deal with/get over it.  But I love a gentleman and I know that there are some lovely gentleman out there too, but I think the ‘annoying pervs’ outweigh the gentleman, in London anyway from what I have seen! Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love men greatly, but the one’s that I have described above, have issues and I wish they would just disappear onto ‘pervert island’ with no access to women ever again…mwwwawaahahaha!!

Oh & don’t get me started on the pervs on the train and tube… Oh no, that is another subject for another day!

Rant over… as you were ;o)