Life

Back to the books?

I’m job hunting at the moment. I have been for quite a while, but part of the reason I moved home from London was to make the job hunt easier. Since moving and settling back into country life my job hunt has stepped up. It’s going slowly, I think it’s a process that invariably does. One thing I’ve noticed however is that no matter how qualified you might be, there are always going to be plenty of roles out there that want you to have more or different qualifications.

I like studying and learning. I’ve been reminded lately how much I enjoy them thanks to my daily Timehop being filled with comments about my past studies. I’ve always intended to continue studying at some point. There are so many things that I haven’t had the opportunity to learn, mainly because of the way you have to narrow your academic interests at every stage through the education process first making GCSE option choices before narrowing down to only 3 or 4  A Levels and then potentially one single subject degree. At the very least there are a couple of A Levels I would love to go back and complete, subject areas that were high interest to me but of low desirability for my already chosen higher education direction.

Now though I’m wondering whether further vocational type study might be my next step (those A Levels will be mine one day). There are a couple of sideways moves I could make from my existing work type that would require some further study and then open up all sorts of new opportunities. They’d be the sort of thing I could pursue independently alongside working (I can’t currently imagine stepping back out of the world of work for full time study) and could be a really interesting move long term.

There’s lots of thinking to be done first. Just because they seem like they’d be positive moves now doesn’t mean that by the time I was done they still would be (starting a Library focused degree just before spending cuts started closing libraries and removing qualified librarian posts has taught me a lot about being cautious about the future). I know I have a great talent for enthusiasm, but I also have a generally cautious streak so I’m happy to do yet more research and make sure I’m sure about whatever conclusion I come to. If nothing more thinking about this before I sleep certainly beats counting sheep!

Life

The value of an opinion.

I’ve been thinking about research today, mainly about how I go about it and the sort of information I value most. It’s come to mind because a chance encounter today has led me to start thinking seriously about a purchase I’ve been thinking casually about for a while.

I’m really not that great at big purchases. I’m okay at little purchases – books, Lego, treats for my friends’ boys – but bigger stuff, higher value stuff? That I’m not good at at all. I’m the sort of person who will research a purchase endlessly, seek as much information as I can, finally make an informed decision about what’s best to buy and then decide after all to not make the purchase because I might not be making the best choice. Eventually I’ll talk myself into it, I’ve never been disappointed yet, but the process is a slow one.

I’m at the stage at the moment of reading as much as I can. I’m drawing up a list of the things I need to know before I can make a decision, and starting to answer the questions. No matter how much I might read though, and thanks to my library degree my research skills are solid, I still find myself wanting to hear the opinions of actual people who I know and trust. No matter how much I might see something in black and white I still like to hear it from a living, breathing source. This feels pretty illogical to me, I know that the facts I can find are more reliable than personal opinions so why the latter means so much I’m not quite sure. In the short term I guess I’d better find some people to chat to while I’m trawling the Internet for facts so I can make a purchase decision this side of Christmas. 

Life

Re-evaluating.

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about starting some research about craft fairs. I’ve now been to two and I’m at that stage of research where I need to stop, re-evaluate and come up with a revised plan.

Both of the craft fairs that I’ve been to have been hosted in village halls (I live in the countryside, you can’t go many miles without reaching another village hall). They’ve both had a small range of stalls where people are selling their crafts. They’ve also had stalls set up by people selling the things you can have parties at your house to sell – candles, commercially produced cards, books etc which don’t really fit with the whole handmade thing in any case. 

There was a significant overlap in stalls, today’s fair was slightly larger so had all of the stalls from last week’s and a few extras. Size wise I managed to look at everything and be on my way back to my car in about 10 minutes on both trips, and found I was sharing the hall with only one or two other browsers.

This has all made me question just how viable these craft fairs would be as a way to sell my crafts. The sheer lack of visitors alone makes them feel like they aren’t going to be successful for me. I’m going to stop my visits at this point and go back to the drawing board. I need a new plan so it’s time to get thinking and researching again.

Craft · Life

Back in the research saddle.

I’m off on a research trip tomorrow. If things go the way I’ve planned it should be the first of four, all taking places over the next few Saturdays. The destination? A local craft fair.

I’ve decided I’m ready to move on with my crafting and start turning into a side venture, a way of making a little extra money and of sharing what I’m making with more people. Having a stall at craft fairs feels like it might be the right first step for me, and so my planning is underway. 

It’ll come as no surprise that research and planning is something I actively enjoy, I like to know as much about everything as I possibly can and I always prefer to have a thought out, methodical approach to everything. I’ve set up a notebook specifically to capture all my thoughts and plans and discoveries, and I’ve finally started reading (albeit slowly) Craft a Creative Business. 

I want to go and visit some local craft fairs and actually see them for myself. I’ve come up with a few things I want to learn:

  • Who’s selling at these fairs?
  • Who’s buying at these fairs?
  • What’s selling?
  • How many of those who are selling are turning up at all of them?

I’ve got a set of crafts planned out as the ones I would intend to sell but I definitely feel like I need to go and answer these questions (and any more that come to mind over these trips) before I can think about starting to make things and do all of the many other steps needed to be ready to start selling.
Exciting, creative times ahead!

Life

Changing Time

Like so many in the UK today I’ve been so tired all day thanks to yesterday’s clock change. Yesterday I found at times I was super sleepy for a short while and then fine whereas today I’ve just been consistently tired. 

I’ve been thinking about the nature of the change though. Most of Europe is one hour different time wise to the UK and coming back from holidays in GMT +1 has never felt like this much of an issue. I know that’s the opposite change to the Spring change but I struggle my way through the Autumn change just the same. So if I cope fine with a one hour change when it’s a timezone change, why is the shift to and from daylight savings an issue?

I remember when I got back off holiday last year from San Francisco which is 8 hours different to the UK that someone advised me that as a rule of thumb it takes one day per hour time difference that you have to adjust to. I don’t know how accurate that is, but if it is then again the clock change seems to work differently because it takes way more than one day to adjust.

I think I’m going to add it to my little list of things to find out about, I’ve got a couple of vaguely considered hypotheses already. I’m not really entirely sure where to start but that can be half the fun of trying to learn about something completely new. Who knows, by the time we reach the autumn change I may have conquered it and will sail through it unscathed! It’s nice to have a little hope at least.