Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Social media

What I learned on paternity leave

My paternity leave was amazing, almost 4 weeks of just being a family, doing normal everyday things. Walking the dog, having breakfast together, watching in fascination as Matilda crawled and giggled and investigated and explored. Sure it was tiring, exhausting even, but that’s a given.

Not only was it fabulous to have that family time it was also good physically for me. My back problems have been well documented and taken almost a year to recover from. But 4 weeks of no sitting at a desk, of being on the move for most of the day, of very little driving and it’s incredible the improvement. Sure it still needs work and looking after but if I feel this much better after 4 weeks imagine what it would be like if this was the normal way of life.

I’ve been back at work a week now and already I feel different. Already I feel detached from family life, I’ve even had a day when I didn’t see Matilda in the morning or evening. A shock to the system after 4 weeks of being with her 24/7. And I feel it in my back, the aches are returning both from sitting all day at a desk or in the car and also the stress. I can feel the knots at the top of my back longing for some good crunching at the Chiropractor.

So what does this mean? Do I just accept that this is how life must be? Never ending monotonous days at work punctuated by small fabulous periods of time with the family? I enjoy my job but I wouldn’t say it inspires me. But short of winning the lottery increasing the time with the family is tough. But maybe, just maybe there is a glimmer of hope? Could a career in social media/blogging/writing give me an opportunity to work from home for the majority of time?

I thoroughly enjoy writing which honestly surprises me a lot, I’ve never really thought of myself as that sort of person. Plus getting an award at the BIB’s this week has given a boost to my confidence and perhaps a window of opportunity to build my profile and get some new contacts?

But does it pay enough? Realistically how much can you earn from these types of activities? What other careers would get me more active and outside which ultimately is my passion?

Answers on a postcard please.

There’s a revolution happening and the women are in charge

Blogdom

In the admittedly short time that i have been exploring Blogdom (that is the kingdom of blogs) one thing has become apparent; this is a kingdom ruled by women! While I don’t profess to have a scientifically selected population for this process, it is certainly clear that there are an awful lot of enterprising, entrepreneurial, motivated, hard working and interesting women blogging and running businesses via the internet.

This for me is very exciting and also inspiring, its great discovering a new site selling a unique, well crafted product or a blogger who writes with honesty and passion giving an insight into their lives. These are people who are often juggling a ‘normal’ working life and running a small business. Most have children and some are single parents. How they find the time I really don’t know but I salute them.

Something in the genes?

So what is it that makes women better at this, or at the very least more prone to do it? There has been a dramatic shift in the users of technology over the past few years; the success of the Nintendo DS with female users is evidence of that. This has of course led to the ‘pink it and shrink it’ craze for selling to women, not sure how successful this really is, but women have been embracing technology and have become a key demographic for all technology companies. Some might argue (when their wives aren’t listening at least) that women talk to much anyway so it’s inevitable therefore that they find twitter and blogging an obvious extension of this. My personal view is that women are less constrained by the traditional view of a career and so have taken the opportunity to be in control of their own working life.

The source of all knowledge

Twitter has been an amazing source of information for finding these sites, which has actually surprised me quite a bit. It doesn’t match my initial expectations of using Twitter, but in a good way of course. I often take the time to look at who other people are following, seeing whether any could be interesting or provide some new product or service. If you can ignore the large multinationals who are trying to find some way to ‘use that social media thing’, then just by following a trail through Twitter you can quickly add 5 or 10 people.

The list so far

So who are these wonderful people, well in no particular order….. I would recommend you check out the following bloggers/businesses;

No sexism here

Now don’t get me wrong, there are of course great guy bloggers etc out, but I can count on one hand the ones that have so far kept my interest. So if you have a suggestion, then please leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Now all I need to do is to encourage the current lady of the manor to get in on the act so she can start paying for some of the expensive handmade curtains she seems to insist on buying. Hang on, maybe hand made curtains is the idea….

The first post – AKA sticking my neck above the parapet

So, the first blog post. Something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, but never quite plucking up the courage. Over the past few months I’ve become an active user of twitter; building networks, finding new and exciting small businesses (often one person businesses run by enterprising stay at home mums), reading blogs and in general embracing social media. While I may not be the next Stephen Fry destined for literary success influencing millions through my ramblings, I do feel the ‘urge’ to share my thoughts, experiences and feelings through the wonderful media that is blogging. A few gentle nudges by Suzanne (sphysick.wordpress.com), an old school friend and fellow twitter addick has finally motivated me to do it.

As I write this I am sitting at 35,000 feet on BA287 en route to San Francisco for a week of work and networking. Sounds exotic I know, but the reality is something different. Up at 5am, email/work for 2 hours, breakfast then travel to the office for an 8am start. Presentations and training until 5pm, then an evening activity until 9 or 10pm. Back to the hotel for a few more emails, then straight to bed. Not that I’m complaining, I love my job (more of that at a later date), its great meeting colleagues from around the world and hearing from the ‘big guys’ of our corporation. But definitely not the jolly that some people would think.

But, having just watched Shrek ever after (accompanied by a couple of glasses of wine), I can’t help feeling a little emotional, or at the very least sentimental. Yes I know it’s a kids movie and I’m a big tough guys but it’s a very clever movie *scrabbles around for justification*. You see I have left behind my beautiful wife who is 16 weeks pregnant and our amazing little pup Bracken who is an 8 month old English Springer Spaniel. I don’t think of myself as a particularly soppy or emotional person, but I hate leaving them at home. I hate not being there to perform my role as the rock of the family, I’m the one who tells people ‘it’ll be alright’, and I’m the one who takes care of things so that my wife can get some rest. I get up early on her days off so that she can sleep in. I love doing these things, being the provider, no matter if that makes me sound like a caveman.

Englsih springer spaniel puppy

There is nothing I enjoy more than coming home to them, some people work late, or go for drinks after work, not me, I’m gone. From what I remember of my studies this is a common characteristic of my generation, the so called generation Y. No jobs for life for us, work life balance is the key, yes we want success and to climb the corporate ladder but not at the expense of a social and family life. I can’t wait until our little bean is born and I can come home to a waggling dog, a happy wife and a little bundle of joy!

Ok, now I’m waffling a little, maybe it’s a dangerous thing uncorking this pent up blogging desire. Now I don’t have a grand plan for this blog, it doesn’t have a theme or even a regular update schedule. Perhaps in time that will come, until then you can expect some rambling, occasional moaning, my hopefully humorous take on the world and maybe even a few feelings thrown in for good measure.

So there you have it, blog 1 done. I welcome, crave even, your comments and thoughts. But please be gentle.