Recap: Q1 2021

I left my last full-time role at the end of December, and I’m starting a new full-time role next week, towards the end of March. Here’s what I’ve been up to between then and now.

Freelancing

Earnings: £9,895 in the 2020-21 tax year (pre-tax).

When I decided to leave my last role with nothing lined up, I was super burnt out and wasn’t ready for a new full time role. Instead, I’ve been freelancing “full time” from the end of December to now.

I say “full time” because I was probably working at about 60% of capacity. I needed to rest, but I also knew that if I fully switched off, that would be terrible for my mental health too, so I deliberately tried to create a balance for myself that would give me enough work to keep occupied (and paid!), and get the rest I needed.

I was very lucky to spot this tweet from Help Scout’s Jessica Greene towards the end of November, shortly after I’d handed in my notice at SaaStock:

I’ve been reading Help Scout’s content since my first job in SaaS, so I applied and did a test post for them in December. Luckily they loved it and I became a regular contributor, writing a few posts a month. On top of this, I’ve ghost-written a few articles for my former employer, ebook copy for another client, and a handful of other smaller projects.

Here’s one of my favourite pieces I did for Help Scout (that they’ve published so far).

I really wanted to hit the £10k mark for no reason other than it would’ve been a cool milestone. I’d never freelanced before this tax year and only dabbled with a couple of pieces before December, so while it may not seem a huge amount over a year, I’m really proud of it 💪

Interviewing

10 companies; 4 projects completed; 3 final-stage interviews; 1 job offer.

I was very picky with the companies I applied to, but all the same, the applying-and-interviewing process took up a LOT of my time. For most roles, there would be an initial screening chat (either phone or video), a first interview, a task (unpaid on all but one occasion), a second interview, sometimes a third…

I got to final-stage interviews with (I think) three different companies, not including the one I’ve had an offer from. I also dropped out of a couple of processes: one after the initial screening call, when the company rep was very pushy wanting to find out my previous salary, while being unable to share a salary range for the role. 🚩 And another that sounded amazing but I was actually super intimidated by (the scope of the role, not the people or the company).

But I’ve been fortunate enough to receive an offer from a company I’ve admired for a few years, and I’ll be joining them next week! 🎉

Reading

10 books so far in 2020.

I’m a big fiction reader, and used to read a lot on my morning commute. Since 2020 happened, I’ve found myself reading a lot less, for lots of reasons. It’s harder to find the time, my concentration span was gone, I didn’t have the emotional capacity to process the story, I couldn’t choose a book…

So it’s been nice to have more time to pick up a book – a nice way to keep occupied when my husband’s working in the day, or to keep my brain distracted when the news is an anxiety-inducing heap of 💩

I’m currently enjoying the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers, which the internet tells me is a ‘space opera’, and which I would describe as sci-fi but chill.

On the non-fiction side, I recently read Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates, which was far less chill but very important.

Fun

It’s been lockdown here in the UK, so these three months have been spent at home. But there have been plenty of fun small things that are easy to forget about. 

I’ve been enjoying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Switch, and I’ve got hooked on a stupid Solitaire game on my phone, which needs just the right amount of concentration to distract and calm me when my brain gets anxious.

I’ve been on lots of walks. In my last full time role I felt like I needed to be online all the time, and found it incredibly difficult to switch off. So I’ve been prioritising getting out for walks almost every day, which has been lovely.

We’ve been growing herbs, and while it’s always nice to be able to chuck some fresh herbs in our cooking, a definite highlight has been finally having enough to make mojitos with our home-grown mint 🙌

I went to my friend Emma’s online baby shower, which we all managed to keep a surprise for her until the day.

And I spent a LOT of time hanging out with my cats.

Thank yous

Finally, I want to end with a few thank yous for people who have supported, inspired, or otherwise helped me out in the last few months. It’s not exhaustive, just a few that stand out in my head.

My husband, Ollie – Thanks for the ever-present emotional support and being the voice of reason every time I had a ‘what if I’m never going to find another job’ wobble.

My friend and former colleague Ryan – Thank you for being so generous with your time and advice, always but especially now. I’m so excited to work with you again soon.

My former Akkroo-mates including Chris, Mike and Dan – Thank you all for taking time to catch up and suggest ways you and my old team could help me out, and for generously offering introductions to folks in your network.

My point of contact and editor, Jessica – Thank you for being a joy to work with and giving me the chance to write for a company I admire so much. You’ve been the perfect freelance client and I really appreciate that!

My friend and former colleague Sarah – Thank you for cheering me on from afar and reminding me that I’m good at my job whenever I was full of self-doubt (which was often).

And everyone else who took the time to send me job postings, introduce me to people, or hire me as a freelancer. I know this is getting kind of mushy, but honestly I appreciate every one of you.

❤️