When I was in paid employment one of the things that ran through our year was that of Continuous Professional Development, usually thought of as ‘oh my God I’ve got to do some supervised hours/go to a conference/lie about going to a conference/ignore the whole CPD thing and pretend I didn’t get the memo.’ Then there was the Appraisal which was referred to in hushed tones by senior management as if it were the holy grail of education. It was really an hour out of an already busy day making excuses as to why you might not have achieved a target that had been plucked out of the air/making excuses as to why your job couldn’t be regraded.
Now that I’m going back to the UK I’ve been giving some thought to what I might actually do when I get there; what I can actually do given that I’m not going to be able to go back to what I did before. It’s taken a long time but I no longer feel defined by my job now and I realise what I’ve achieved in the eleven years that I’ve been away. Recently I applied for a local job with the Embassy and I had to put a CV together. By the time I’d finished embellishing it I was pretty pleased with it and felt that I’d definitely want to interview someone like me. (Sadly the Embassy didn’t share my view but I knew that there was already the hoofprint of an Embassy spouse on the job so I wasn’t surprised.)
*I’ve worked in a number of roles as a volunteer and I did many of those using a second language. Some of those roles were less than glamorous, involving washing dishes, picking my way through rotting vegetables and stacking shelves. Some were slightly more glam and didn’t require me to wear rubber gloves – hospital visiting, for instance. This demonstrates an ability to learn, shows flexibility and that I’m able to work at a variety of levels.
*I’ve written a lot. I even finished a novel and ignoring the fact that it’s not actually that good, I did do it. It must demonstrate something? Like being a self-starter or whatever that buzz word has become.
*I have lived in three different countries and worked with people from a broad range of cultures and backgrounds. (there has to be something that allows me to use the skills of not snorting with laughter when a rich trailing spouse tells me, in all seriousness, that things have got really bad because Armani has shut.)
*I achieved fluency in German and can manage day-to-day transactions in Greek. (Surely there’s a nice little job where my ability to ask, in Greek, for a glass of wine and some grilled octopus would come in useful)
*taught myself to crochet
*knitted a blanket
*can make a souffle
*can make fantastic baklava muffins
*made some brilliant friends
*kept some brilliant friends
*became a nicer person
People ask me what I shall do when I go back to the UK and I really have no idea. But the important thing is that I really don’t mind that I have no idea. Well, I do have some ideas but they don’t involve work. For one thing I’m going to buy a new bike and cycle much more. I’m going to do some voluntary work and in the new year I shall look around the employment agencies and see what’s what.