Apologies yet again for a neglected blog. The last few weeks have been busy, chaotic and strange.
I sense a slight whiff of change in the freelance wind. After a desperately quiet summer, things picked up in the early autumn. It's not just me. Colleagues have also reported an uptick on the work front and there do seem to be more jobs being advertised after a lengthy period of falling axes.
In the midst of all this, I've attended several industry conferences - even teaching some social media stuff at one. And I also decided to apply for some proper training.
It's been a long time since I did training. There was the 2 1/2 years indentures when I started at the tender age of 16 and 3/4. It was supposed to be 3 years, but my bosses had the temerity to go bust and I spent the 6 months I should have enjoyed finishing my qualifications taking my kit off at the local art college instead to pay the bills and stave off starvation.
There have been a few spells of CPD since then, almost entirely 1-day courses with the exception of a couple that were 2 days.
So it was with some trepidation that I applied, almost on a whim, just a week ago for a 3-month placement. Yes - 12 whole weeks. I don't think I ever took the application seriously - I didn't really think the training on offer was for members of the Venerable Order of Knackered Old Hacks, but for the thrusting, bright young things snapping at my heels, which are very definitely not Louboutins.
Thus, it was a slight shock to be invited for interview. I was given 4 days' notice and asked to prepare a presentation on social media platforms for news. To show you just how seriously I took this challenge, I did nothing until 2 hours before the deadline to submit it. Then I flung it all together and emailed it with literally 1 minute to spare. (Not forgetting the computer crash I had at 30 minutes to go, with a struggle to reboot.) I wrote the notes to go with the slides while on the 40-minute train journey to the interview today.
Nothing like looming deadlines, eh?
On arrival, I was thrown straight into delivering my presentation - unrehearsed, naturally - and somehow managed not to swear, have a seizure or otherwise cock things up. But still I departed thinking, That'll teach me...
So I was delighted at 10.30pm tonight to get an email offering me a placement. I can't quite believe it. I shed a little tear, swore a lot, went totally nuts for 10 minutes and then reality kicked in.
From January to end March, I'll be doing paid upskilling training in a newsroom. Ignoring the fact that I've almost no proper newsroom experience, despite the 3 decades in the job, it's just hit me that my life is about to change completely.
No more loafing around in my dressing gown all day. I'm convinced my postie believes I'm an invalid, given the number of times I've answered the door in my pyjamas. It's been almost 6 years since I last actually "went out" to work. Almost 6 years since I last set the alarm clock for a pre-dawn commute to an office. I've forgotten what it's like, forgotten how to be on my best behaviour. Freelancing definitely deskills you in some respects, like how to get dressed at a sensible hour and how to maintain a wardrobe of suits. How to cope with colleagues for 8 or 9 hours a day. Perhaps this is what the training is for - to teach me how to handle a workplace again.
I jest, of course. I'm really looking forward to January and the opportunities that lie ahead, even while I'm wondering how I'll adjust to such a massive, if temporary life change.
I'm also wondering where I'll be placed. A newsroom for sure - I want that experience, after 31 years of feature writing. But there's a good chance it'll be at a radio station. So if you hear someone reading a bulletin oop north in giveaway soft southern jessie tones, there's a fair chance it'll be me...