Sink or Swim in the Office

It occurs to me that a swimming pool is much like an office.  If you take a trip to a local pool you’ll see it full of the same type of people that you find in an office.

There are the serious swimmers, those that get in early, stay late.  Keeping their head down as they pound the lanes, knowing their goals lie in dedication and hard work for a successful career. Serious swimmers also know what has to be done to get the work done and are strategic about it.

Casual swimmers who just turn up because they know they should.  Often the pool for a casual swimmer is a place for social activity, meet their friends and if it happens get by with a bit of swimming until it’s time to clock off once they’ve put in their set ours

There’s even a CEO in the form of a life guard.  Surveying over the pool in an executive chair.  Making sure people aren’t getting into trouble, blowing the whistle on bad behavior and rescuing the swimmers who are sinking, sometimes even having to evict the trouble makers.

Swimming instructors, are the coaches and mentors found in offices, guiding and providing essential office skills.

Swimming pools are also akin to offices in that once you’ve learnt the strokes of how to swim, how business is done, there are all the different types of places to swim.  Some swimmers prefer larger pools, some like smaller ones, sea swimming compared to chlorine filled municipals.  It’s just the same in the office environment.

In conclusion it occurs to me that In a pool at any one time you’ll also find all the generations that you’ll find in an office. Swimming generations cohabiting together, all doing their bit, from children splashing and diving, to serene old ladies keeping their head above the water line.  Each getting something different out of the swimming pool experience.

From the archive

Some interesting pictures from a set of Design magazine from the 60’s, which I’ve posted on my Pinterest Boards Including this picture of a Tan Sad Chair.

The tag line is great – it seems to suggest that back ache will disappear in their chair, however with the advantage of hindsight I wouldn’t say it  matchs our 21st century view of ergonomics.    Think I would change it to “if she still complains, change your furniture supplier”


Do you need qualifications?

I have this year decided to get some additional qualifications and courses under my belt, ranging from short day courses, to longer accreditations. I’ve also decided that as FM is so all encompassing as a subject field these are going to be in a range of subject areas.

My questions is, why do I need to have that validation?  I’ve been working in the FM arena for a while now – ok there are some very experienced guys out there, but I feel that six years is a good starting point to my career.  So why do I still feel that need to prove to myself and others that I am valid and that my opinion counts.  Is it simply due to the complex subject area of FM that means you have to know so much about such a wide range of topics: leases, project management, utility management, waste, property schedules, legislation, workplace strategy etc?

I believe that so much of FM is about common sense and experience, that it is hard to get the balance right and that by having qualifications it at least show the world that your experience is backed up by knowledge, hence my approach to looking at courses on various topic areas.

So with that in mind, I’ve refreshed my IOSH managing safely certificate.  I’ve attended the DSE Assessor Training programme, and just finished my IEMA foundation certificate.  The DSE course was a great two day classroom course, where we worked with other FM’s learning about posture and some of the health risks associated with our daily interaction with technology.

The other course I completed – fresh of the press today –  was my IEMA Foundation Certificate.  I completed this through online learning with Workplace Law, and although I initially took the view that this course would be giving me  a complementary knowledge skill set to my FM work, what I actually I discovered was that I’ve become really quite interested it in environmental management – far more than my experience of day to day activities of waste management.  So much so, that when I finished the course assessments I was rather disappointed that the final assessment wasn’t to go and complete an IER…may just have to go and do one now anyway.

So what next – BIFM 4, or just the BCO office specification course.

Suggestions gratefully received.


Soul Trader

I am coming to the end of my first year of trading as a sole trader.  As mentioned in previous posts, it’s been a year of ups and downs.  I would say currently client project work is at a bit of a low ebb andI am worried about achieving my business goals for 2013.  However I am determined to stay focussed and succeed, but when the market is low, and you are trying to build your reputation outside of your old corporate identity it is somewhat had to pick yourself up, and see that there may be an opportunity staring back at you.

My strategy for beating this low is remembering just how good the feeling of a new client project is, and working hard to then find these clients and their elusive projects.  I’ve had to push my well polished  procrastination techniques out the window and instead dust off the assertive side to my personality which I found lurking at the back of a cupboard.  Clients won’t come to you.  They need to know about you and what you can do for them.  Therefore it’s  it’s about being hard on yourself, using your contacts to make other contacts, and getting the word out there through your network about your product and services to your chosen industry.  There is only you in this company remember.

However my other tip for beating the low ebb is that I’d also recommend asking for a helping hand.  Mine has come in the form of asking for help from a mentor and training coach to help me get through this stage of my business development.  I’ve found my mentor in Michael Heath (@1mheath).  Michael has started to give me the direction that normally would have come from inside a corporate organisation from managers, colleagues and training courses.  When you work on your own, you miss that link and don’t realise the support that these groups bring.  Michael has started to help me look at my personality, challenge my assumptions about myself and also work with me to look at my business strategies and is gently taking me down a more positive path of having to do it on my own.

I am recently found this quote, but it sums up my new working life:

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail Ralph Waldo Emerson


2012 End of Year Quiz

2012 End of Year Quiz

It seems traditional at the end of the year to have a yearly review and quiz.  My quiz only has one question.  Was I crazy to embark on being self employment in 2012?  I took advice and counsel from many people, and most all adopted the initial positive stance, of “go for it, but it will be tough” some said, “are you sure you can do it?, however it was primarily the group of self employed friends and colleagues who said – “life can be what you want it to be when you are self employed, it’s hard, hard work.  However it seems that the majority of self employed people wouldn’t want to go back into full time employment – why?  well that’s for another post.

I did take the leap, and it has been hard work and a constant onslaught on the nerves.  I never expected to find myself so in charge of my own career path.  That sounds wimpish, but I now no longer rely on others to help promote me or congratulate me.  I have to find the inner strength to do that myself.  It will continue to be so, because what you don’t really appreciate when you are planning to do something of this magnitude, is that it is about having confidence.  Not about having confidence in the markets, or the industry that you work in, but about confidence in yourself.  Confidence to keep that smile firmly fixed on your face every day of the week, even when you don’t know where the next client is or when the phone is going to ring.  Having the confidence and resilience to shake yourself down each day, and move on to the next opportunity.

So to give my ego a boost and the morning shake down I thought I’d review Venture Space’s first year ( to be updated in the projects section). I need for myself to consider the highlights to confirm to myself how far I’ve come, but I realised that at all contracts when you start out are highlights.    All the client contracts I’ve completed this year, have all made me excited, and made me come home to my husband with a smile on my face.  Why, because they’ve added confidence to my very fragile ego.  All my new contacts and clients have all given me extra mileage to keep going into 2013.  So be it counting chairs, fixing chairs or installing chairs, I’ve loved every minute of 2012.

 So to answer the question, was I crazy to embark on self employment in 2012?  Crazy no, where will 2013 take me, I have no idea, but bring on the adVENTURE.