Let’s admit our ambitions

When I was in my early thirties and working for BBC News, I wanted to be a newsreader on the radio. I know that you know what that is, but for the sake of total clarity, it’s the person who sits in the studio every hour on the hour and reads a short news bulletin. If you are a bit funny you might have banter with the show’s presenter. And if you are really good at it you could graduate to present a real news programme one day. I used to get the opportunity to do it from time to time, but it wasn’t my full-time role. I would only stand in when someone was ill or on holiday, or carry out news reading duties at the weekend. It was really enjoyable, like a little performance, and it gave me a buzz. I wanted to do it all the time. But no one would have known, because I never ever told anyone. I didn’t even really admit it to myself. Helen, this is the bit you enjoy the most, focus on making the news reading happen.

Why didn’t I just ask?

I don’t know why I couldn’t just go for it, embarrassment certainly played a part.  I felt that it was vain to want to be on the radio every day. How shallow, to seek the adrenalin rush and the recognition.  No, I decided it was noble and respectable be fulfilled by the other aspects of the job. So I went reporting on stories, carrying out interviews, planning and researching news programmes….

I thought that if it was meant to be then my bosses would spot my inner talents and pluck me from the reporter’s pool to do the job I really wanted. Which of course they did not. Regretfully, none of my senior colleagues were mind readers.

Also, I suppose there was a powerful urge to play it safe. How embarrassing would it be to say ‘that’s the job I want’ and then not be good enough to make it?

There were people around me who didn’t get hung up about on this. They put their hands up and were dead clear about what they wanted, to become presenters on the radio or more often TV. They dressed the part and pursued career stepping stones that would lead them there. And guess what? That’s what many of them still now do for a living.

A long baby break later…

Sofa and footstool photographed from above, coffee and digital radio resting on the foot stool
My home office

A very very very extended period of maternity leave (around 8 years in the end) has given me time to reflect on how I would navigate work differently if I went back. One thing I have promised myself is that I will never again be backwards in coming forwards about my ambitions.

But before you can state what you want, you have to understand it for yourself. This can be difficult, even awkward.

Read about how coaching got me back to work

What I want now

So, trying to be as honest as possible. Here are my ambitions for this blog.

I would love it to become a small business. My priority so far has been building up content and a readership for my little corner of the internet. There is still such a long way to go on both fronts. But alongside this, I also need to try and understand how to generate income from it. In a way that I am comfortable with.

It’s never been my goal with this project to have a load of free blogger swag landing on the doorstep. Or to spend my time on Instagram flogging things that people don’t need. It really isn’t.

Jeans and blue faux fur coat pictured from above
Is there a future in photographing my feet and faux fur?

It’s been magic for me a have a creative outlet again. I love writing and taking photographs. But in all honesty, I think that there will come a point where I would like to see some financial return from it. Perhaps I will be able to get paid to write? Or work on decent collaborations? Or (wisely) use advertising or other marketing on the site.

I would like the opportunity to meet interesting and creative people, and to work on commercial projects with them. A podcast seems like a good fit too.

And do you know what I would really love?  To appear on Women’s Hour on Radio 4. I know that’s a daft ambition, but I thought I’d put it in for fun. It would literally be the culmination of all my dreams!! I am trying to be honest here.

Quite possibly, none of this will happen. Writing these posts may merely end up being a stepping stone to something else. That’s fine too. I’m treating 2018 as a bit of a re-training exercise. Like a self-certified postgraduate diploma in blogging and social media studies!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Be in no doubt, I feel a fool writing all of this down. If I don’t manage to meet any or all of these ambitions, then my failure is now forever committed to the internet. But who really cares about that other than me?

Things change, when I understand more about the blogging business, perhaps my expectations will have to shift and become more realistic.

This is my blog, and I reserve the right to change my plans for it at a later date! I’ll be sure to update you if I do.

Please share your ambitions. What do you really want from your job? Aim high, write it down here and perhaps that’ll make it a little bit more likely to happen. Helen x

About Not About the Kids


    • Hi Mackenzie, thanks for popping over for a read. I’ve gone and written it now, better try and make it happen.Hx

  • I’d like to get back into writing with my blog as an outlet for that. I’ve always loved to write and my pregnancies were a real catalyst to do so but then life and my other career sidelined me…but my lack of writing is a forever niggle for me so I’m really going to try to do more this year. Whether anyone will read it or whether it will fall into the great abyss is another story! As you suggest, you have to work at engagement. Think it’s great you have some goals and are going for it! And I’d love to do a podcast too 🙂

    • The great abyss!!! It does feel a bit like that, especially in these early days. You know, it doesn’t really matter too much if no one reads it does it? At least you’ll have written what you want to, and who knows where that might lead! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, have a read and leave a comment, it means the world to me. Let me know if you post something new 😉

  • Yes! You’re a step ahead of me here (you already have your blog and I only have a broken iPad) but much of this rings true. I am currently on maternity leave and I find myself reflecting on my job, how happy it makes (made) me, how I will feel returning with a child, and knowing there must be a better way to use my talents but I’m just not sure what that is yet. I’ll let you know if I find out!

    • Hi Rebekah, I’ve always been grateful for my maternity leave as an opportunity to step back and get a bit of perspective on work. Of course, what to do next is the 5 billion dollar question!! It’s taken me years to get back on track, I hope you find your way sooner. Thanks so much for stopping by for a read, I really do appreciate it. Come back and let me know what happens 🙂 Helen xxx

  • So honest and brave! I love it!! I can totally relate to it all. I keep putting off starting a blog for the same reasons you gave for not doing the radio news in your earlier career – I just don’t feel brave enough to stick my neck out and do it in case I fail!! But the only failure staring me in the face is not doing it at all!! I commend your honesty and the difficulty in navigating exactly what you want – and as you say the shape of everything may not be 100% clear until you’re actually doing it, but I think your exploits into social media have definitely set you on the right track. I love your blog and your IG pics and I share your interests – so there’s one reader/listener/consumer for whatever you choose to do already!!!!! I very much look forward to watching you grow and develop on this journey – wishing you a very successful 2018 indeed!

    • Hi Juliana, what a lovely comment, it makes me feel a bit less of a wally for writing this that’s for sure! You are such a supportive IG friend, thank you. I want to say, ‘come on, start the blog!!!’ But I also know from my own experience that you need to do things when the time is right for you. Let’s keep talking about it. Hxxxx

  • I can totally relate to this. I was stuck in corporate banking for 12 years and I never ever liked it. It was paying the bills and it allowed me to buy clothes and go travelling but shortly after my second (and last) maternity leave I realised that it was time for me to try and do what I really wanted to do, fashion. I think that when you are really passionate about what you do, people perceive it and you are more likely to be successful. I’m only at the beginning, still a long way to go for me but I will get there as I am sure you will too. Xxx

    • The beginning is the only place to start Elena, right? I can’t wait to see what direction you take it in. Thanks so much for visiting the blog. I think we’re all at a similar time in life, the second act!! Helen xxx

  • What a great blog post and how this also resonates with me! I’m sure I’ve done myself many a disservice over the years by not putting myself forward for, or speaking up about, opportunities, thinking I wouldn’t be good enough. However, I’ve recently forced myself into trying for a new work opportunity and guess what….people around me have been nothing but supportive. I’m out of my keeping-my-head -down comfort zone but it’s got to be done 😊

    • Hi Lou, I also know that you are a bit out of your comfort zone leaving a comment on my blog, so – thank you – it is much appreciated 🙂 I wonder where are Second Act careers will take us? Lots of love xxxx

  • This is a great post, very well written and it really resonates with me. You are so right about admitting your ambitions and doing so out loud rather that in your head like most of us do. When I was working as a researcher for a TV company making wildlife documentaries, I had got there off the back of my zoology degree but I what I really wanted was to get into presenting. Not once did I ever mention this to the producers, even after standing in as a body double (in full wet suit) to do some underwater ‘presenting’ when the real presenter was a tad scared of the proposal. I had loved it and had thought that they would just say if they thought I’d be any good (which they never did). It’s taken me this long to realise that there’s only one person who is going to make it happen for you and that is you. You write brilliantly, have interesting things to say and encourage people to converse and comment. Good luck, I might just do the same as you when I have nailed it in my own head!

    • Hi Melissa, I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who has taken a few years to understand this stuff! I wonder how many of us have been shouting ‘pick me’ in our heads for far too long? No more!! I hope that we can have a chat one day about your ambitions. Thank you for popping by for a read, it really means a lot. Helen xxx

    • Hello Victoria, thank you for reading my post I’m glad and that you were able to relate to my ramblings. I’m touched that your biggest hope is for your daughter. I hope that she can quit her job one day too! The very very best of luck with it. Helen xx

  • Very interesting blog post – I can definitely relate to it. It would be nice to make some money from blogging as it is such hard work but I am sure you’ll find collaborations that will work for you in the future. You create great content, always enjoy reading your posts 🙂

    • Thanks Miriam, it is hard work….I can see now why people say ‘you need to love it’!! I wonder whether it won’t be the blog that ever generates any income, but rather other opportunities will arise because of it? Either way, I’ll plug away for the next year or so and see where it takes me. Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by, always appreciated. Love your work too, and wonder when I’m reading it whether I should have gone into travel and food blogging. Delicious!! Helen xxxx

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