Monday, 23 February 2015

Job #2 Reporter

Without wanting to sound too unicorns and rainbows (a phrase I learnt this week, that quite frankly I just love!), today was another brilliant day and I loved every second!

I think it’s important that we acknowledge the fact that I am someone who has always loved work, and am coming from quite an unusual perspective that I have been out of the rat race for a year and a half so am looking at these jobs with fresh eyes. That being said, I always look logically and try to see both the pros and cons of all the jobs I am trying – after all we do spend more time at work than anything else, so it had better be something we enjoy!

So some stats for today:
Company: Gravesend Messenger
Shift: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Number of tasks completed: 11
Approximate pay: 15k going up to 18k after 3 month probation

This morning I had absolutely no idea what I was going to be doing, but I knew it was going to be interesting. It certainly lived up to and exceeded my expectations. I was very surprised to see that it was a small team of just 9 people (5 reporters & 4 selling advertising), to keep the paper running every week!

The senior news editor Nikki was lovely, and showed me some the process’ that she has to go through as editor, piecing together stories and advertising slots to get the perfect combinations. This is made trickier by the fact that advertising can be sold pretty much right until the deadline for going to print – which I can imagine gets a bit hairy sometimes!

The reporters have a pretty crazy job too, it’s certainly not a job for those of us that aren’t good at multi-tasking…as you can imagine news won’t wait while you just quickly finish what you were doing! We had 2 incidents today alone where we had to drop everything and go check it out! They also get to do some pretty fun stuff too (or for some it may be their worst nightmare!) getting involved in a pancake race or speed dating for example.

I couldn’t believe just how much the reporters have to do: in some cases they have to find the stories if it’s a quiet day for news, do the interview and write the story. Once it’s been approved they then have to upload the story and images to a special programme. On top of that they have to keep Facebook, twitter and their website constantly updated. Plus looking after people on work experience like me, and directing photographers to where they need to be and what photos they need to be taking. All in all I have come to the conclusion that reporters would also be good at the plate spinning act in the circus, it’s amazing how much they have going on. Staying cool under pressure is certainly a must for this job, and good people skills goes without saying!

On the one hand your day is never dull, and I love variety so the fact that you never know what you’ll be covering is pretty exciting. Today I wrote a story about a dancing chef whose video had gone viral, a man taking part in a wacky rally and about the Labour Counsellor in Dartford…quite an eclectic mix!

I also got to wander around Gravesend town centre and ask people what their dream job would be if they could do anything (what else would I ask when I’m doing the 100 job challenge!), you’ll have to get Thursday’s issue of the paper to find out their answers – but they were very interesting! Learning about other peoples jobs is so fascinating once you’re open to it. We spend so much of our time working, so why should it be dull? We all have different skills that suit different jobs, so in theory everyone should be able to have a job that they love whilst still making the world go round!

The other side to the job that I didn’t enjoy so much was the fact that you also have to report on not so unicorn and rainbow things; such as today we thought there had been a car accident and had to go and get the story. Or if there’s a death you’d have to get in touch with grieving families, I just don’t think I could do it. That’s the nature of news unfortunately, if people didn’t want to know this stuff then we wouldn’t be reporting on it in the first place.

So as I said today I have: written 3 stories, booked a photographer to attend 4 local events this weekend, Spoken to people in the town centre for the ‘big debate’ section of the paper, visited 2 incidents to get a story, had an overview of the editors role, posted an article online, had my photo taken (hopefully I’ll get more photogenic the more photos I have for this challenge…does it work like that?!) and finally interviewed someone for their story. So when I say the days are varied, now you can see what I mean! I did break a record for speaking to 3 people and photographing them in 11 minutes for the big debate! Woo hoo!

The bit I have found most exciting by far about the job is that you get to speak to people from all walks of life, I have a real fascination with people and learning about them, I think everyone has an interesting story to tell if you take the time to listen.

Obviously Jamie knows the job far better than I do, so I have asked him a few questions to get the inside scoop! (See what I did there ;-))

How long have you worked at the Gravesend Messenger?

‘I’ve worked here for more than four years but in two different stints. I joined as a trainee in July 2010 and stayed for two years until I moved to Canterbury. I was there for two years, then moved back to Gravesend to become the Chief reporter’

How did you get into the job?

‘I decided to get into journalism when I realised I couldn’t become a professional sportsman. I love playing football and cricket and just assumed I could do that until I retired…problem was there’s thousands out there better than me. Writing about sport was the next best thing so I took a course at uni.’

What is the best thing about the job?

‘Learning about different people is definitely the most interesting part of the job for me. You deal with such a wide spectrum of people with alternative views and outlooks from different backgrounds as well. I’ve always been fascinated by people so speaking to them in person is the best bit for me.’

What is the worst thing about a job?

‘Journalism doesn’t pay well sadly and there is a lot of pressure with not many staff’

What stress rating would you give this job out of 5? (1 being relaxed and 5 being super stressful)

‘It varies from week to week but some can be a 5 – I’d say I haven’t had a week below 3 since I’ve been back.’ So we’ll go in the middle and give it a:

To top cap it all off, I have thoroughly enjoyed my day as a reporter – it feels more like a farewell than a goodbye to the Gravesend messenger… I will definitely return in the future if they’ll have me! It must be a pretty great place to work as out of 3 people that I asked how long they had been there Nikki was 20 years, Jacky 12 years and Jamie 4 years!

Thank you so much for having me J

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Job #1 Takeaway Delivery Driver

Woo hoo, so job #1 is officially complete!

Here are a few stats from the evening to kick us off:

Company: New Ash Green Tandoori
Shift: 5.30pm – 9.45pm
Number of Deliveries: 8
Pay: £25 - £30 per shift + tips
Money Raised: £75.40 (Thank you so much Lindsay & Ali for your super generous donations)

I have to say I couldn’t think of a better job to start my challenge…I absolutely loved it!
So a typical shift – wrapping up warm is essential in the winter, you can be walking around in the cold for a while if you can’t find the house! I love how sociable this job is, whilst waiting for the brilliant chefs to cook the meals for us to deliver (each meal is cooked from scratch by the way!) we can all have a chat, which is great fun! The orders are always delegated by which driver is in the door first, it works that way for the whole night. Once your turn comes around, you are given directions to where you are going, and the exact change to give the customer if they don’t have the exact money (I thought this was amazing, as maths really isn’t my forte!). You then pop your bag in the cool box and you’re off! Sometimes you’re given more than one order at once if they are in the same area, which is slightly more tricky remembering which ones which! Ring on the doorbell, ‘New Ash Green Tandoori’, get the money, hand over the curry and you’re done! It really is so fun having the challenge of using your navigation skills plus the buzz of knowing you have to do it as quickly as possible!

I thought it would be quite a sociable job, getting to speak to loads of different people – but it turns out all people really want is for you to give them their dinner and go!. Understandable I guess as it would defeat the purpose of me delivering it as quickly as possible if they then stood there chatting and let it get cold! The banter and laughs in the shop more than make up for that, there’s such an amazing team atmosphere! I think it could also suit those of us that don’t like talking to people, as you can be as sociable or unsociable as you choose! If you don’t have a car, this probably isn’t the job for you…unless perhaps you have a racing push bike with a trailer!

It’s great for getting fit whilst working (I took 4,136 steps), and being in the great outdoors. It’s also quite cool to get to know the local area, those of you that know New Ash Green will understand that’s quite a feat! One driver even takes his wife with him, how many jobs can you say that you can do that…some may not see that as a positive of course!

The main thing that I learned from the evening is how many people don’t have door numbers/names. As much as it adds an element of mystery to the evening, I urge people to please spare a thought for their local delivery drivers and display your door number with pride! This certainly adds an extra element of stress to the precedings.

Overall it is definitely a job that I thoroughly enjoyed and would do again. With regards to my condition, it isn’t ideal as you are thinking about a lot of things as once, with the added difficulty of doing it all in the dark. I found it really interesting that something you would consider a fairly laid back job, actually made me feel pretty rough!

So I asked Lindsay a few questions, as she knows the job far better than I do - here’s what she had to say…(Lindsay incredibly donated her wages for the evening to the charity fund, Thank you so much - it never ceases to amaze me how kind people can be)
How long have you worked at New Ash Green Tandoori?
‘I started October 2014, although it’s a job that I have done before I had my children’

How did you get into the job?
‘I wanted something to boost my income, but also a job that I look forward to going to. Driving gives you a sense of freedom, and thinking time, but also job satisfaction knowing you are delivering good food.’

What is the best thing about the job?
‘The best part is regular customers and happy staff so that 1. I know where I am going and 2. If staff are happy, then customers are happy which = a stress-free job.’

What is the worst part about the job?
‘When it gets really busy, and orders come in late, as it becomes stressful trying to meet deadlines and apologise to not so happy customers’

What stress rating would you give this job out of 5? (1 being relaxed and 5 being super stressful)


Thank you soooooo much for having me New Ash Green Tandoori, I loved every second! If you would like to try one of their super duper curry's order online and you get a 20% discount! ;-)

Sunday, 8 February 2015

My challenge is out in the big wide world

Hi again!

Well that was a lot scarier than I thought it would be! I finally published the link to my website yesterday, and reluctantly hit send with a swarm of butterflies in my stomach!
Considering how long I've been ill I've actually managed to keep it pretty quiet (except for publishing it in the national newspapers!), so it was a really scary thought that everyone was about to know that I have been unwell.

It was actually a really great experience, I think its good to allow yourself to be completely vulnerable every now and then!...all too often we have our guard up, so why not try something different. There's a quote that I love by Albert Einstein that says 'If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got'. Couldn't have said it better myself!  

I was pleasantly surprised by peoples response to my challenge, I have had nothing but lovely comments and support. I've already got over 30 people who have liked my page on Facebook which is super exciting - thank you everyone! I have also had a fantastic lady who has offered to donate her evenings wages to the charity if I work a night where she works as a take away delivery driver...people never cease to amaze me with their kindness! Of course I have taken her up on her offer, so if you are ordering a takeaway from New Ash Green Tandori this Friday you could be greeting me at the door! Stay tuned if you would like to find out how it went!

So today has been a day of finding my first few jobs - one of the many lessons that I have learnt from this illness is that you never know where life will take you but there's always a reason and a lesson to be learnt! So I am going to go with flow for this challenge, rather than rigidly plan - I would like it to evolve! That's one of the reasons why I only have 80 jobs on the list at the moment, who knows what great opportunities will arise!

Anyway I think that's enough for today! Hope you've all had a great weekend

Thank you so much for your support

Bobbie :)