"The Sun Always Shines in Welwyn Garden City"
A friend from Hitchin once remarked this to me as we sat in a stuffy, London meeting. I completely understood what he meant as this phenomenon was one of the reasons that we had moved there in the first place! As well as the superb shopping, impressive schools, bustling restaurants and the fact that there is a roller disco, cinema, theatre and soft play all in the same building.
Within a few months of moving to Welwyn Garden City, we realised that we actually didn’t feel the need to go into London all the time to socialise and wondered whether we could perhaps find good jobs to match our skill sets in the Welwyn Garden City area too? The commute into London was expensive, getting more crowded and stressful by the day and we no longer wanted to stay out drinking in pricey bars until the early hours anyway. Our lives were changing and our jobs needed to change too.
So, around 5 years ago, we started looking at what kind of opportunities were available in Welwyn Garden City for a Marketing Professional and Digital Sales Manager. I am pleased to report that we were spoilt for choice! For a town of over 100,000 people, there is a real plethora of opportunities in the area whether you are a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker.
I had been told at a training course once that a job close to home was worth at least £10,000 in the value it would add to my work/life balance. We were also going to save a tonne in train fares, lunches and drinks after work, but would I have to sacrifice that much in my salary?
I actually ended up negotiating a raise and found a job that meant I could to go into London to meet clients when I hankered for the big city or wanted to meet a friend for dinner. I then spent the rest of the time in the local office, just a short bike ride from my house. I even went home for lunch! Working in a smaller office also meant that I made more local friends and progressed quickly through the company. Ironically, there were also more opportunities to work from home which was a real treat.
London has become somewhere we now go for recreation rather than work which has made it the exciting city of fun it used to be in my mind, and I love that. I used to think that I could only get the big bucks and the challenges I needed at work by sacrificing my precious time waiting for trains or, even worse, sacrificing my personal space squashed against a door in the Underground.
With an open mind and a bit of smart research from the local recruitment firm, I brainstormed my ideal job requirements and ended up with sociable hours, lunches at home and enjoyable work in a relaxed and sociable team with great prospects.
Maybe there is such a thing as a Happily Ever After if you look in the right places and are willing to make a change.