Friday 8th January 2016
Happy New Year you lovely Londoners! Hope you’re loyally keeping to your resolutions, hitting the gym and buzzing from a week of healthy soups and salads after all that brandy butter, port and chocolate? No? Me neither. Because here we are again chaps – the gloomy depths of January, the very lowest ebb of the year, and that evening glass of wine, or lunchtime Snickers bar is not just a spontaneous little treat, it’s a vital coping mechanism! How can you punish yourself when the world is already punishing you so much??
As if we didn’t need another reason to plummet into the January blues, I heard in the news this morning that there is now no such thing as a safe level of alcohol consumption: drinking anything at all, even the teeniest sip of wine of an evening, can increase your risk of cancer. I mean there are still 2 live severe flood warnings in the UK people are dealing with, couldn’t they have kept this little jolly nugget of research back until Easter, at least?
As I see it though, January is here, it’s not going anywhere, and so you can only deal with it in one of two ways: yes you can sit sluggish, stuffed with turkey bemoaning the rain and the midnight black morning starts, but it will only make the short sunlit hours drag on for longer. Instead, you can inject some optimism into your day, share some smiles and spend your evenings researching summer holiday destinations just as an extra little carrot… Time goes faster when you’re having fun, right? So let’s have some fun! This is my new mantra and I have been doggedly forcing it on the rest of the team all week.
The office is divided into two camps: the aggressively jolly (headed up by Priscilla and I) vs the listless and gloomy. The battle is on.
Good old P and I arrive each morning in an array of brightly coloured knits and steadfastly broadcast our cheery ‘hellos’ all around the building like two patients on day release. We fear long periods of brooding silence, so announce coffee runs or ask leading questions if there is more than a 5 minute lull and we refuse to let any negative comment pass without finding a slither of hope to focus on:
Ben: ‘Oh god it’s dark already and it’s only half past three…’
Me: ‘So the kiddies will be fast asleep when you get home tonight, you’ll get some good quality time with your wife, how lovely!’
Flora: ‘I dread to think how much weight I’ve put on over Christmas, I just can’t fit into any of my clothes…’
Priscilla: ‘Treat yourself to some new ones Flora! They have some lovely pencil skirts in Zara, I always think one needs a hefty pair of hips to make the most of a pencil skirt, so they’ll suit you perfectly.’
Granted, Priscilla’s aim is sometimes slightly off target, but the intention is there nonetheless.
And what do you know, it’s Friday already! It works. Get your happy on and force some fun – let’s hit January head on.
Friday 15th January
Forget about resolutions, its results I’m after this New Year. Over Christmas I tasted my very first 'school reunion' experience – you know, that competitive one-upmanship between a group of former peers who haven’t seen each other for a while – and it has planted the fire for progression firmly in my belly.
It's always been a complete joy for me to see all my school friends, there's that instantly familiar easy patter that you never lose because these were people who were there to witness your misguided experiments with severe eyebrow plucking or extreme hair dye, the ones who saw you cry when Britney cheated on Justin, and understood your pain. I mean that's a bond not easily broken, so I was really looking forward to our annual Christmas Eve drinks in the Woolpack - a night I've always cherished when everyone returns from their far flung travels and distant universities and we all just hang out like old times.
But what I realised this year is that all of a sudden it's no longer a level playing field: we're no longer penniless students or penniless travellers, talking about the same lonely planet guides or festival line ups, complaining about dissertations and swapping tips on National Express buses. Those days seem long gone now that one of my school friends is on an incredibly competitive (and lucrative!) accountancy grad scheme, and one is getting into radio production and has been sighted out partying with Nick Grimshaw, and one is even a CEO!! Admittedly it’s only at his grimy (fake!) branded t-shirt business that he operates from his parents' attic, but still.
Even though I love my job, even though I've taken on PA duties and I'm so proud of how quickly I’ve progressed, I suddenly feel massively inadequate that I am just... a receptionist. It’s time to get progressing, but I’m not sure how to approach it. I feel as though I can definitely take on more so is it time to ask for an annual review and see what Priscilla’s plans are for me? I might drop her an email this afternoon, it’s time to take a step forward!
Friday 22nd January 2016
Yet again Bridget Jones, you have hit the nail on the head. We all know the quote:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces
Work is blooming brilliant – I am top of my game, itching for the next step, full of beans. My home life is great. Despite a minor disagreement revolving around Fran’s habit of discarding dirty pants onto the bathroom floor, we’re getting on fantastically well. But just when I am beginning to devote my energies to getting those feelers out on the promotion / job hunt, Charlie cheats on me.
At least I think he has. I’m not sure, but I’m so boiling with rage that I cannot even bring myself to talk to him right now to find out. How does anyone function at work when they’re undergoing seismic emotional devastation in their personal life?? I am completely useless today, I can’t hold a train of thought so writing emails, directing phone calls, processing expenses – it’s all just too much. I’m shaking all over and I feel physically sick.
To make matters worse he is calling me about four times an hour, so I can see my phone continually flashing in my bag. And why the hell did I change all my bloody passwords to ‘Charl1e’ like a love sick teenager – I can’t even log into my work computer, my email, my bank account without thinking about him.
It all started at 10 o’clock this morning when Fran’s regular Daily Mail Online round up popped into my inbox – like clockwork, she sends me a bulletin a day. Today though her message was palpably more sheepish than usual: ‘Lucy, I’ve just seen this, I don’t know what it means, but I think you need to see it. Ring me if you want to talk, I’m always here for you’.
I followed the link:
‘I’m living a fairytale’, Made in Chelsea star Milly Butler goes public with her handsome hedge fund boyfriend for the first time’
There they were, snaps of Milly and Charlie spilling out of a club together, laughing and tugging each other by the hand. I don't know if you remember, but this is the girl that caused me all that trouble back in August, back when I thought Charlie was dating both of us at the same time. He hasn’t even mentioned her since August, and I’ve met all his closest friends now – I mean I thought she was so far from my life now that I’d fully let my guard down and had completely forgotten she even existed! Looking at these pap shots though it seems like they know each other pretty damn well. I feel like a complete mug, I just don’t know what to do with myself.
I’ve asked Priscilla if we can put off the appraisal we had in the diary until next week – there’s no way I can cope with delivering my speech about being ready for promotion now. I can’t even feed myself or answer the phone anymore. It’s a wonder I’m still breathing.
Oh Charlie, what have you done to me?
Friday 29th January 2016
So Charlie assures me I have nothing to worry about with Milly. I don’t know what to think, but I guess from the photos they could be just friends?? I think some of my friends think I’m mad, but I don’t know, I really want to trust him. And I just don’t want to be thinking about it all the time, I’m tired and bored of it and I want to focus on my progression, focus on me.
Priscilla and I had our appraisal this week and I delivered my little speech about being ready for more. She took me so seriously, which I was over the moon about – she marched straight out of the meeting and told Ed she and I were hiring a new Receptionist for me to train up, and that I would step into Flora’s seat when she goes on maternity in two months’ time. I was knocked sideways by how quickly she acted, and enormously flattered, I mean she must really want to keep me! I’m incredibly nervous about training and managing someone though – the only thing I’ve ever done where I have had to remotely manage others was a complete disaster. It was my short-lived babysitting job as a teenager, where the little buggers ran rings around me because I denied them their second chocolate bourbon: wetting themselves in protest and laughing in my face! If that’s my track record it does not bode well for a shipshape reception area. Never mind, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Having got completely what I set out to get, however, I have found myself struck with a bit of a grass might be greener mentality… you see I do have that little niggle about going off to find something more creative… something more quirky, media-y or fun… I feel such loyalty to Priscilla and the business and I recognise how good they are to me, but this is the only proper job I’ve ever had. I can’t help but feel I might want to see what else is out there too, try out another industry, maybe something more associated with my Art History background.
Gosh this is so hard, am I being hugely disloyal if I start interviewing behind their backs? But then how can I tell them I’m definitely leaving if I’m not sure I want to? I’ve been checking LinkedIn and Secsandthecity this week for possible openings and may have seen a couple of things that have caught my eye… It can’t help to look right?