1986 was a turning point in my life – I had a one year old son, had my 21st birthday and was getting a divorce. I also had no career prospects. Thanks to my father I received a gift for my 21st which I duly spent on a 10 week crash course at a private secretarial college and loved it (despite saying that I would never work in an office!). I learnt early on that you had to play to your strengths and so office bound I was on my search for work. It wasn’t easy to convince potential employers that a lone parent was a good risk but it was important to me that someone would give me a chance to prove myself. So in 1988 I joined the legal profession as an audio typist (do they still exist?). I didn’t have a balance between work and home life as work came first and thanks to the support of my parents I never did take a day off for a ‘sick child’, mainly because the only time he was sick was when he went on holiday with my parents!
I was lucky in that manual typewriters were being phased out and electric ones were now being used and there was a ‘word processor’ on the landing. No computers, no email, no world wide web. Every letter was individually typed with a carbon copy. It really doesn’t bear thinking about in comparison to today with full computerisation and paperless files. I barely even pick a phone up any more.
In 2000 I joined Berwins and haven’t looked back. I remember thinking at the time that this was a forwarded thinking firm, especially where technology was concerned and they haven’t let me down.
In 2006 my life changed again when I remarried and although I had lived in villages since the age of 9 nothing quite prepared me for country life as marrying a gamekeeper. To see nature at work in its own environment is very special indeed. Whereas coming to work every day some people may think every day is the same, hating Mondays and looking forward to Fridays and their annual getaways, my life is not like that. Our season starts at the beginning of February and goes through to the end of January and every day is a work day. There are no Mondays to hate or Fridays to look forward to as each day brings its own surprises and delights. From the laying of eggs to the incubation and to hatching, we do this artificially alongside the birds all around us watching them build their nests to lay their eggs, incubate and hatch them and then rear them until they fledge. We rear all our birds by hand on a small scale compared to some but still in the thousands and after they have been released to the woods it is quite a sight to see my husband standing in a field and calling them in for tea, some running and some flying waiting for the next handful of food to be scattered for them to find.
So I look forward to Monday morning with the week routine starting afresh, I enjoy going home to get changed and get out into the countryside and whereas I can plan my week at work to a reasonable extent I have learnt not to plan anything on evenings and weekends as when you deal with nature you have to follow its lead and cannot bend it to your will.
So thank you Berwins for helping me reach my potential at work and also for my work/life balance which is very rich and rewarding in completely contrasting ways.
If you ever need inspiration go out to the countryside at dawn, turn off your technology and listen as there is nothing more inspiring than the dawn chorus.
Written by Gayle Waring of Berwins Solicitors.