On November 2nd I celebrated (sort of) a year in my job. I know it probably isn't much, but it felt like a massive milestone for me. Since then I have really enjoyed being able to say "this time last year it was like this" and having this sense of achievement and pride.
One of the scariest things when I separated from my husband was returning to work. I had been a housewife for 6 and a half years.
It scared me having to juggle motherhood with a job. Adult interaction which I had lost out on for those last years. How on earth would I talk to people about anything other than my children?!
What would people think of me?
I've always been the type of person who worries about what others think of her and at this point it was worse than ever.
I was on this transition from a married housewife to a single woman, with two children, who didn't really have a clue who I was, who I was becoming or how I should be.
I applied for a few jobs. I wasn't incredibly excited about this one but went anyway. I knew the store from shopping in there when we converted our garage and had worked in retail before so it couldn't be that bad surely?!
I turned up to the interview late. The manager had already decided I didn't have the job. In fact the positions had already been filled and there was no job for me anyway.
But we got on really well. We spend 50 minutes of the 55 minute interview laughing and joking and not taking anything at all seriously. If anything, I was grateful for that time and happy to have had a chance to smile and be myself whether or not I got the job.
Then two days later, a phone call came explaining that there was no job however, because he liked me so much and wanted to work with me he had created a job for me.
I was late for my first day, I was late for my second day. He saw my ugly cry face on the second day, but he still gave me a chance.
After a week or two my role changed and I became a showroom assistant and I fell in love with my job.
Adult interaction was my main role and oh how I embraced it.
There have been ups and downs. But I wouldn't change it.
I look back on this scared woman I was last year and am so grateful someone saw the good in me, enough to create a job that didn't exist to give me a chance.
The friendships I've made are a massive bonus.
People I didn't expect to be friends with have now become my best friends. People I think I am too good for ask me out for a drink and it overwhelms me.
We had our works Christmas night out the week before Christmas. As we were on the minibus I looked around and said to the colleague behind me..."Look at how happy we all are. We are such an amazing bunch".
And the whole night, we were all happy. We all hugged, had kisses and enjoyed each others company.
Not one person was left out. Not one person didn't belong.
And I love that. I am proud of that.
I am proud to work somewhere like that and to feel part of a team like that.
I can be myself around them all. At first it was a shock to some and didn't go down so well, but after a week of being quiet they wanted "The old Lauren back" and I'd like to think I bring something to the team.
If I am having a bad day and need to talk I know that when I go to work there will be someone who listens.
If I need a hug there is always someone around.
They've been there for me through a tough year. Probably know way too much about me and my boundaries are non existent but I wouldn't have it any other way.
A year at work...a year I was dreading but a year that made my life so much easier.