00:00:03 My name is Louisa J. I work for Royal Mail as the business manager for South London. My job really involves looking after the AGM (the Area General Manager) in terms of his admin support, liaising with the area leadership team members, the delivery sector managers, so all areas of the business, collections and the mail centre. It’s enabling him to strategically manage the area, basically, and I assist him in doing that.
00:00:29 My parents came to England back in the fifties and they both worked in the cotton mills in Huddersfield. When those closed down, my mum did a cleaning job. I always aspired to do a little bit better than my mum because she always struggled and so that is what sort of inspires me really to do better and it inspires me to do that for my children as well.
00:00:54 When I did my A levels, I did fashion, and I did art and design, so I was interested in being a fashion designer. I went to the local university in Huddersfield and I did art and design there. It was a whole sort of culture shock for me. At school you have the teachers telling you what to do, you had to be in a certain room at a certain time, whereas when I got to uni obviously it was about managing your own time, studying for projects and assessments in your own time, and making sure the work is done, etc. So it did take a little time to get into the whole culture of being at university and being independent, but then once you got used to that and got yourself organised I really enjoyed it.
00:01:33 I came to a point in my life when I wanted to earn money. I was doing a Saturday job and the money that I got I would just spend it on materials for college, or, you know, clothes and stuff like that, so I never felt that I had enough money to, you know, to really enjoy my life at college, and so I decided that I’d had enough of studying and decided to go and find a job, and so I moved down to London.
00:01:58 I was, you know, very determined and strong minded, so my mum said ‘Okay, go down there and see what you can do for yourself. Just look after yourself.’
00:02:09 For the first six months I sort of didn’t do an awful lot. I just looked around the shops, spent money, and then realised that I hadn’t done anything that I said I was going to do, so I then worked for a fashion house as a model and a receptionist for a while, so I got back into the fashion industry but through a different way and it was really enjoyable. But I found there was something about the industry that I didn’t like. It was the people were very unreal. You would have clients come in and people would, you know, do the kiss on the cheek, or rather in the air, ‘Darling, sweetie,’ and all this. It’s just like on the TV. To me it didn’t fit with my values.
00:02:51 Honesty and integrity is one of my values. I didn’t enjoy telling people fibs, and it was what was required in the job, and so I made the decision to resign without finding another job, and that was very difficult, and it had an impact on my family as well because I was the only person who was looking after the kids and my other half at the time. I had a goal that, you know, six months would be the longest time that I would be out of work, and if it came to six months and I didn’t find something that I really wanted to do then, you know, if it meant starting up from the bottom again, I made a decision that I would do that.
00:03:28 Sometimes I worry that I don’t spend enough time with the kids in terms of helping them with their schoolwork, but I’ve been lucky that my daughter did really well with her O levels. She got all A’s and I was really proud of her. With my ten-year-old, though, it’s a slightly different story. He doesn’t like school. He likes sport. He likes playing out. I suppose one of my goals over the next couple of years is to spend more time now that he’s going to secondary school, so, yes.