I am a Graphic Designer by trade and have been doing this since I qualified (with a 1 year full-time stint at mum's nursery-school, working as a teacher). I worked part-time at the school during afternoons and school holidays for 4-5 years previous to that too.
So, when I was 21, I packed up, moved back to my birthplace, Cape Town (settled in Fish Hoek), and started my business, a design company, making recycled paper products. There is more about this in my a touch of natural link.
After 5 years of this, I closed it and we emigrated to London. Here I freelanced for a bit, working at places like HSBC, Goldman Sachs etc. and then landed a freelance job at F (publishing co). Was there a few months and then went to McDonald's HQ, where I was offered a 6 month contract. When this ended a full-time position was offered to me (was actually created for me) at F, so back I went.. and stayed there for 3 and a half years, till my post (along with others) was made redundant in April 2007. The company closed it's doors on 22 June 2007.
Such things happen in life, and the redundancy didnt phase me, but what was upsetting was the way in which it was done. And here I'll have my little whinge... Working with a confrontational, bullying person was not easy and only in retrospect have I realised what utter nonsense I put up with there. Anyway, bridge under the water, we live and learn! And, because I wanted to go back to my first love, children, plus it was advisable as I had tennis elbow (due to being overworked at said company!), I registered to become a Childminder!
Within 2 weeks of being registered all my vacancies (3 per day) were full. God certainly answers prayers! There has been so much to do, get a playroom and all equipment etc. arranged, insurances, registering with various bodies etc. I do this 4 days a week and on Fridays I keep free for freelance work. I have an ongoing freelance relationship with a fabulous company outside Windsor. What a pleasure to work with a manager that isnt in a bad mood most of the time and who actually cares about the staff! He is a light hearted, warm and hard working boss. What a pleasure to work with!
I always treated my staff well when I had my own company, and was shocked how staff were treated at said company. Not even caring how everyone was on 7 July 2005, when the bombs went off. I was 3 tubes behind the Piccadilly one actually, and some staff were visibly upset... and there was no care forthcoming at all. Money, money, money, that's all that mattered. But I am a firm believer that if you are a good boss and care about your staff, they will care about you and be more loyal to the company, and work even harder... the wheel turns! I was far too loyal to a company that didn't deserve it. I was so very silly and wonder still why I didn't get out earlier.
So, all in all, the work situation has changed for the better in every way. Better working environment, doing different things (both which I love), earning more money (and being paid for overtime!), and working from home too for most of the week. This will be super for when I have my own child to look after.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Always treat people with respect.
Life is GOOD.