Tag Archives: work

72/365 – Taking the lead 

I’m not a natural leader. I get tongue-tied in the spotlight as I’m a much better written communicator. This hasn’t been helped by the myasthenia gravis as when my symptoms are flaring I feel extremely self conscious. I am still traumatised by the speech issues MG causes and, when speaking to a group, I tend to get so paranoid my words will start slurring that my delivery isn’t great. 

However, my personality is a big part driver, (read more about different personality types here), I’m hardworking and I’m ambitious. These attributes, along with being in the right place at the right time, have led me to manage a team and today I had to lead a discussion with the communications department on the future of digital. 

At previous times in my life, this spotlight would have filled me with dread, but today I enjoyed it. Although I know it shouldn’t matter, as mentioned in my post regarding vanity, it made a big difference that my symptoms were virtually non existent (I could pass for a normal). With around 15 pairs of eyes on me, I managed to mix up my words once or twice and couldn’t shake the fear of my voice going (particularly as I’m  reducing the steroids). Still, I think it was a useful discussion and hopefully it gave my colleagues some food for thought. 

While it may be another thing I can add to the list of things that are easier to do when my MG symptoms are reduced, I’m proud of myself. So today’s photo is me shining bright.

29/365 – Last post about work for a while

As a follow on from yesterday’s ‘false start’, today was my first in the DCLG building. Tonight I’m exhausted but that will not stop me from writing this. I feel like I did on my first Friday after starting my post-uni, full-time, job…when I fell asleep on a pub table with a big smile on my face.

Part of the fatigue comes from throwing myself into the new role by trying to tick as much off the to-do list as possible. Having had a few weeks to plan what I’d like to achieve in the role, I felt a sense of urgency to make a start on as many fronts as possible. With this in mind, I’ve also slept terribly the last couple of nights and would have injected caffeine into my eyeballs, if I could have, come 3pm.

Other than being shattered, my first day in the office was really enjoyable. I got to see the work my team does on a day-to-day basis, arranged a million and one coffees to meet key people across the department and beyond, and I started thinking about ways to develop what the content team does. I was given a warm welcome by the director and didn’t get lost once (quite a feat in such a sprawling building).

Here I am in professional mode in yet another toilet shot.


On a personal level, I also checked out what the building’s beauty salon has to offer and booked myself an appointment to sign up to the fitness centre early next week. Best of all, as a Scot, I was programmed from birth to appreciate a bargain and the canteen’s lunch did not disappoint. My £2 lunch included a large bowl of tasty Broccoli soup and a potent coffee (pictured below) that stopped me from yawning my way through the afternoon. Just a tad more affordable than Canary Wharf’s cafés.


Once the working day was done, some of the wider team met for Friday evening drinks in the local pub and I felt it would have been rude not to accept the invitation.
But after a well deserved glass of Shiraz Viognier, or two, I could feel my eyes starting to droop and my body protesting that it was time to go home. So…I listened to it (taking today’s photo on the way back to the tube).

Now I’m all tucked up in bed reflecting on my first real day ‘in office’. One thing I will aim to keep in mind, when beginning my first full week on Monday, is that I should see my new role as a marathon not a sprint. There’s plenty of time to do all the things I want and more, but it’s important not to burn myself out. So when I’m putting together my schedule for next week, it must include relaxation time…perhaps even a facial at the beauty parlour.

27/365 – Last day off

Tomorrow I begin my new career – the delay is over and I can’t wait to get started. No more daytime exploration of places like Somerset House (pictured above).

I’ve held off discussing my new role until now as I was waiting for security clearance. From tomorrow, I will be a civil servant working for the government department dearest to my heart, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

DCLG covers many of the issues I’m passionate about including housing and homelessness. I’ll be leading the digital content team for the department at a very interesting time – with less than 100 days until the general election.

Before starting my training tomorrow, there are a few important tasks to take care of today.

As it’s my last day of free time, I’ve just been to get my third blood tests in two weeks – having MG makes you feel like a pin cushion at times. This set is for my GP to see whether the chest infection has cleared or whether I need more antibiotics. After taking it relatively easy for nearly two weeks, I hope that I can get back to my normal routine. As much as I’ve enjoyed walking and resting, I’m yearning to put my running shoes on and pound the pavements again.

As you can see below – getting these tests done is never quick. Receiving a ticket with number 23 when the board says 9 is enough to make anyone’s heart sink.


As part of the 10,000 steps challenge, I walked to the hospital in rain and hail to get the tests done. However, I still have around 5,000 steps to do today so it looks like I’ll be pounding the pavements slowly home.

The rest of my day will be spent writing up case studies for Rare Disease Day (more about that over the next few days), preparing for tomorrow and resting up. A big challenge for me over the next few weeks will be to continue the daily blogs and the healthy diet. I’m feeling great for doing both and will try my best to keep them going – if you feel I’m slacking please feel free to point it out.

Going back to work five days a week for the first time since September is both exciting and scary, but I’m ready to give it my best shot. First things first though – it’s time to enjoy the stroll home now that the clouds have parted.


19/365 – Goodbye press deadlines

Today I spent the morning in my new workplace meeting my manager, some
of my workmates and a couple of my team. I’m keeping news about my new role quiet until I start, but the morning was enough to know that I’m going to be very satisfied (and busy) in the role.

After working part-time since September, and finishing that up the first week of January, the last few months have been the first break I’ve had from working full time since I left university six and a half years ago.

I was concerned that with it being winter’s bleakest month, my funds being limited and due to the indefinite start date of my next role, the break might not be the best for my state of mind. However, I’ve used it in many useful ways which have put me in a fantastic place for starting my new role. One of the things I’ve been up to is volunteering some time with Myaware Continue reading 19/365 – Goodbye press deadlines

8/365 – Goodbye office in the sky

After a year and a half, I left my Canary Wharf office (the mysterious looking one lurking in the background of this pic) for the last time today. Work, and the fact that I have felt challenged by it, has continued to be extremely important for me since I was diagnosed in September 2013.

Ever since I found writing a news-style task in primary school frustratingly difficult, journalism intrigued me. When I realised that my desire to go to art school because I liked to draw and paint was shortsighted, I knew I would become a journalist (nobody warned me about the pay).

Working my way up from writing for our school newsletter to university newspaper contributor, from trainee features writer to senior reporter, I’ve learnt an incredible amount in the last 6 and a half years. The trying parts of the job have always been more than compensated by the more rewarding aspects – not least getting to speak to people from all walks of life and getting to write creatively. Ok, and I’ve had a few decent press trips too.

When I found out about my MG, I’m not ashamed to admit that being fit to do my job was one of my first concerns.

I remember the first conversation I had with my editor of the time about the condition vividly. I was terrified about the consequences of admitting it – feeling guilty that I’d let him, and everyone else, down. And I felt embarrassed. Like I was admitting some kind of defeat.

Thankfully, I found myself working with a rather lovely bunch of people. They were quietly supportive without ever making it an issue and, best of all, they helped me make light of it. Flexible working was encouraged anyway, but, I’m glad to say, it hasn’t stopped me from doing my job. In fact, the last year has been one of my best career-wise – my confidence has flourished due to the support of my team and my drive to continually improve.

People have told me I’m a workaholic and my job shouldn’t be a priority any more. To them I say: having myasthenia doesn’t change the fact that I’m ambitious and I intend to have a fulfilling career. There may be some who would say that I’ve been lucky to be able to continue working, but I’ve done as much as I can to keep myself as mentally and physically fit as I can. With the winning combination of a bit of luck and a lot of determination, I hope to look back on my career and feel satisfied that I never stopped trying to be better.