Wednesday, 15 July 2020

A Blessing and a Curse

I don't talk about work on here very often, and when I do I keep it brief. I work in the public sector and I do admin. That's as much as I'll disclose here. I do the best I can, given the circumstances (short term memory difficulties) but the team is supportive and aware it's not the most ideal job for me. Somehow, however, I've held it down- against all odds, and despite a few errors- for nearly 13 years.

A couple of years ago I identified Public Relations as a sector that I'd be well-suited to. It's a field that involves marketing, writing, advertising and journalism, but doesn't involve sales, a field I crashed and burned in twice in 2005. (In 6+1/2 years of studying media, I never once learned about PR.) I started looking around for opportunities in this field- be it being put on their books as a blogger, or volunteering in their office.

Go PR and Events have had me as a blogger on their books for a couple of years, and- before the lockdown- were inviting me to blogger dinners, product launches and bar openings. I'm looking forward to things picking up once it's safe to do so. I looked into PR as a field, and it seemed like a perfect fit- everything I'm already good at. I'd just need to learn procedures. I started asking around, and a friend gave me the heads-up about another PR company, in the city centre, called SKV Communications. I sent an email off- in the tail end of 2018- and met with the Manager. He explained more about the field, and the industry, and offered me 2 weeks work experience. I took him up on the offer, and enjoyed it. As a field, PR was just what I was looking for, and from then on, I had a plan. I was to be a Public Relations Officer.

That said, around that time, I bought a house. It's kind of a big shake-up, moving from a 1-bedroom council flat to a terraced house, and even a fairly well-kept house needs a TON of decorating. I did a huge splurge of decorating starting around April '19, lasting for a few months.

In May '19, I covered my time at SKV here. Over that next month, I grafted away at getting my foot in the PR door- to little avail. It was going to take more persistence.

Of course, once 2020 began, everything went tits up. COVID-19 found its way to UK shores, and within 7 months 40,000 people were dead. The country was, and still is, in lockdown. Thousands of businesses have gone under. Sadly, one of these was SKV.

They were a great team. I hope the freelance plan is working for the officers there- I'm not closely in touch with many of the team, bar the odd social media follow. As for myself, my public-sector role is an essential job, and I've been working the same number of hours during lockdown as I did before. So, as much as I'd like to have made a transition, I am in some ways glad I didn't. At the same time, though, how much more of my life should I spend doing something that, honestly, makes me quite unhappy?

A blessing and a curse, indeed.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Donated Beermats: 30

From The Prairie Schooner. Lots of Greenall Whitley tonight.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Goodbye, Nexus, NQ cafe

Manchester's Nexus Art Cafe has become the latest casualty in Manchester's fight against COVID-19. Meeting point for many a writers' group, the cafe was a great, cosy, quiet spot serving tasty toasties and rocky road. Most of the stories I got published were workshopped behind their walls.

The staff were always friendly and considerate, frequently donating 'The Nook,' their private room, for our sessions. I remember one time, after a 2-hour critiquing session pulling apart some strong stories and poems, I absent-mindedly left my wallet on one of their sofas- they hung on to it 'til I called in again later that night.

A great cafe. It'll be missed.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Donated Beermats: 29