For our final corornavirus catch up, we're sharing the story of our Finance Manager Holly, who is also currently working as a key worker. On Wednesday evening, whilst curled up on her bed with a large vodka and tonic, Juliet nattered with Holly, single mother to three daughters, to find out how she is juggling everything in lockdown.
Open to opportunities
Whilst the rest of the world feels like it has been either furloughed, made redundant or had their salary slashed, Holly has never been busier. Blessed with being a “blimin’ good generalist” she is never happier than when she is busy working. Holly takes care of the finances for a few clients including 2to3days, and manages a small property portfolio as well as staging properties for sale. All while making sure she is always there for her three girls. When COVID-19 struck, the demands on her time from some of her clients eased off so when one of her clients asked her to be involved with opening test centres for large companies, she grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Absolutely shattered but loving it!
I’m putting in 9 to 10 hour days, five days a week, and taking care of 2to3days in the evenings and weekends. Right from the start Juliet was completely cool with it, which meant a lot to me. That is the wonderful thing about being trusted to deliver great work on time but not being micromanaged to have to do it in the traditional 9-5 day. One of my other clients, who ordinarily manages large security teams on huge commercial ships, pivoted their focus to help the UK by setting up private test centres so that staff can be tested and enabled to get back to work. It is important that as a country we build up and manage herd immunity and these test centres are providing invaluable data for this.
I am one of the project managers and my role is to recruit the staff and oversee the admin, as well as the procurement of the practical kit that each test centre needs, like shelters, signage, cones etc. I’ve never done a job like this before but it’s one that plays to my strengths and experience. I think it’s really important, for both hiring managers and the women applying for roles, to look at the broad skills that needed for the job, not just the role itself. That way you get access to new talent, perhaps better talent, that ordinarily would have been overlooked.
Juggling the juggling
The dad to my two youngest daughters has been furloughed so I drop them off with him each day, and he does the home schooling which I am very grateful to him for. And I’m not going to lie, there’s also a hidden cheeky skip in my step at the thought of him doing the home schooling and not me! My eldest daughter is a teenager and like most teens is pretty nocturnal and likes to do her own thing on her terms, so apart from having to take a very deep breath and let the daily mess of the kitchen glide effortlessly over my head, I leave her to get on with it. I have to say she is doing really well and I am very proud of her.
I also do tactical trips to the supermarket. I haven’t got time to queue and even though I get key worker status to shop early, I am either catching up on much needed kip or on my way to work, so I have sussed out that the best time for me to shop is 8:30-9pm. It’s a breeze - I am in and out very quickly, but it does make it for a long day. In the evenings I am zonked but if I do get a bit of me time I am really enjoying watching ‘Our Girl’ on BBC iPlayer. It’s all about a woman medic working on the front line in Afghanistan, so a completely different world but very much a man’s world and it is really interesting to see how she makes it work!
But in truth I am shattered. I haven’t worked full-time for a number of years now and it is tough going.
It’s not all work and no play. We go on walks in the local woods, and bike rides, and have made a lovely fairy garden, plus we did visit a local beach that's pretty remote - there was no-one else there. But it’s hard. I am working all week, and then all weekend I am a single mum doing all the housework and doing the mum stuff too, and gosh how I am missing the gym. I mean, I am really missing the gym. This was my escape, my sanity – three or four times a week I could slip off whilst the children were at school or in the evening leaving my eldest to babysit whilst I got those endorphins pumping in a spin class!
I am blessed with being a glass half-full person. My COVID-19 moment lasted for about five minutes. I looked around and saw how lucky I was compared to others and told myself to crack on and be thankful for my lot. I also have strong self-belief that given the opportunity I can turn myself to most things and if I can’t, I will tell you. I am not scared to be completely honest and up front and as a result I have been able to try new jobs and gain lots of transferrable skills.
Craving being part-time (again) and a McDonalds
Working full-time and being a mother, even though my ex husband is helping, is full on and frankly too much. I’m shattered, so ironically the gift coming out of lockdown, for me, will be being able to work part-time again, and get back some me time. And my children are craving their weekend treat to McDonalds!