Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Cheeky Little Smile and a Work Life Balance - Day 8

Day 8 (Friday 8th December 2017)
Eight reindeer pull Father Christmas' sleigh, according to the
1823 poem, Clement C. Moore "A Visit from St. Nicholas"(also known as"Twas the Night
Before Christmas". Their names are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder
(variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
Reindeer can run at speeds of up to 48 mph (Usain Bolt ran at 27 mph).
Illustration by 
Scott Gustafson

Wow that first week has passed swiftly. We are having our team Christmas lunch today (yes I know it's a bit early, but some of the team are going away for a few weeks and so it makes sense to meet up now, while we are all still around). I wonder what Secret Santa will bring me. I love this time of year: the sparkle, surprises, smiles and generosity (more of spirit than of gifts).

Today's piece should raise a smile. It is always a joy to read about personal transformation based on values and who doesn't love a happy ending? It is written by Craig Kaye, who works as an L&D specialist for the charity Addaction, one of the largest Public Health Services across Substance Misuse, Mental Health, Young Persons, Safeguarding and Criminal Justice SectorsHe studied Criminal Psychology at university. He is active on social media (his Twitter handle is @TheCraigKaye ) and occasionally he adds pieces to his fine blog, also called theCraigKaye. Craig, as you will see from below, is a keen football player. He is also interested in Science, Politics, global affairs and things that make the world (and the people within it) tick.

NB All the colour illustrations were selected by Craig.


As I sit on the 8 hour train journey from St. Helens, Merseyside to Truro, Cornwall I thought I would use this time to make a contribution to Kate Griffiths-Lambeth’s (@KateGL's) Advent Blog Series. With the title of Darkness and Dawn I had the intention to write about: Trumpism, then Brexit and give an anthropological, objective view of why society has decided to take these long lasting political decisions. I'm very, very passionate about decision making processes and behaviouralism, so this initially appeared a really interesting opportunity to air my observations - but would I class this as being in a personal category of darkness and dawn .......... 

The answer is ‘no’ - I want this blog to have more internal, meaningful resonance!! 

So, as I depart Birmingham New Street, my thoughts instantly turn to being a father to our two year only little monkey Oscar Kaye - and the contrast between the person sitting on the train writing this blog and the one of three years ago - this sounds deep. 

Three years ago, I would class myself as first and foremost a loyal husband, however what came next where two personal obsessions of mine: ‘work’ and ‘football.’ 

Firstly, ‘Work’ - prior to joining, in my personal opinion, one of the best Learning and Development Departments money can buy for quality, enthusiasm and professional insight, I was a Manager involved in a service working directly with ‘Vulnerable Adults and their Families.’ When I wasn't working in the office, I was working at home, when I was on annual leave I'd always have my work phone accessible - just in case someone needed my professional guidance or a decision which needed to be made. Yes, I'm putting my hand up - not only was I a careerist but also identified with the term Presenteeism. I didn't wish to take annual leave, just in case a decision was made in my absence and didn't wish to take a day off poorly in case this affected my chances of a promotion. 

Then ‘Football’ - The above amount of work needed its own avenue of stress release, I had been playing football since I can remember and three years ago was easily playing up to five times per week with various teams, friends and work colleagues. If a match at the weekend was called off I'd have a little sulk to myself, if something else occurred, e.g. being injured or feeling poorly, this didn't not matter one inch, my football boots were still going on my feet, eager in anticipation to walk on to the green turf.

Then on the 19th November 2015, a cheeky little monkey, weighing in at only 5lbs was placed in my arms. I still vividly remember his little baby-blue Winnie The Pooh Cotton Hat and Gloves and he made no more than a tiny squeak whenever he wanted a few mls of ready-made milk formula.

What followed, due to complications very much not spoken about in pregnancy, meant remaining in the hospital for an additional four weeks due to his amazing mum's health. You don't really see it in the soaps, I assumed prior to then that we would be in and out with enough time to catch the end of the match and the start of the new series of ‘I'm a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here.’ - we weren't!

A vast number of people told the Craig of three years ago, that having a baby is the biggest life-changing moment in your life, I gave the usual smile and nod without paying it too much notice.

‘What do they know?’ I thought to myself. ‘I manage my time brilliantly, it won't change my beliefs, views or attitudes that much’ I reflected at the time - it does!

I started my new role in Learning and Development in January 2016, based from home. Some can struggle with not working in close proximity with colleagues and no office politics or banter. I very much do not, I have someone working next to me with a cheeky little smile and day by day watching him develop into a confident and happy little toddler who loves nothing more than to get his hands on Penguin Chocolate Cake Bars and to play Hide and Seek behind Daddy's Office Door.

What happened to me in November 2015 was that, before any thought process I had, I weighed up what Oscar needed first. Seeing him and his Mother smile became my primary goal, not work, not football but both their health and happiness and seeing the slightest progress in his emotional or physical development filled me with more joy than a promotion or scoring any goal could.

What's more is that my new role placed a strong emphasis on a healthy work / life balance, personal and professional development through expert coaching and internal opportunities as well as a team who all have such strong specialisms it can only make you even better at what you do when in their presence.

As I reflect over the last year or two and losing my careerism and presenteeism where I would beat myself up if I wasn't the best at everything I did either in work or on the football pitch, I have become a far more skilled, empathic and resilient professional than I ever was pre-2015 and my goal scoring record is actually better too!

I'm incredibly thankful to my Wife and Son for helping me become the incredibly happy person writing this blog, my Manager and Team in Learning and Development who help me become a stronger, more confident professional and my friends and family who regularly listen to my rants about such topics as: Politics, Science, Football Results and Social Injustice.

And a massive thank you for spending the time reading the above!!!!


1 comment:

  1. Children are a gift in so many ways. They show us that life is life and not hopefully to be lived through the prism of work. It's not always that way but I'm so glad Craig that you precious son (and wife) has caused you to reflect on your life and what's really important. Blessings Julian