Exactly one week ago, I found myself close to tears in an interview.… and I was the one interviewing!
Yep…. . that’s’ me, that strong accountant who has to deal with challenging discussions every day but a sad story on Facebook or X Factor and I’m in tears. In this case, I was part of a team interviewing for the 2016 intake of the NHS Graduate Mangement Trainee Scheme and, at least, two candidates clearly articulated the values of the NHS. Why the tears? Well they were so passionate about the NHS, explaining our core values at the heart of Britain’s society that I couldn’t’ help feel an immense sense of pride. It was a sharp reminder of exactly why I do work for an organisation that is focused on caring and improving lives – how many organisations can truly say they do that?
Jekyll and Hyde or Ying and Yang?
So what does this have to do with Millie’s Beach Huts, you ask? Well, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find myself thinking about whether I have a clear ‘identity’ and purpose – does my day job really work with the beach huts? Do they have any commonality? To help explain – A typical day for me can feel like Jekyll and Hyde – I go from analysis and reports, month ends, year ends and planning (that will be the left side of the brain) to spending my evening designing beach hut interiors, social media and now even writing blogs (traditionally thought of as the right side of the brain).
When you think of an accountant, you think about some key characteristics and in a lot of ways, I can conform to them (less the grey suit). You just need to ask my friend Sue about my famous 3 and 5-year plans (I love a good plan .. even if it changes) and 2016 has become my year of multiple lists – taking organised to a whole new level. Having spent several years at university and subsequently training as an accountant, you can imagine that I naturally lean to logic and it would be impossible for me to do my ‘day job’ without being logically and thorough.
At the other extreme, I’m also known for being very spontaneous. I won’t go into details about a Saxophone purchase on a whim though would point out a hangover was involved and this isn’t a one-off occurrence. I love taking photographs and my laptop albums are brimming with them and having now set up Millie’s Beach Huts, my interest in design, handmade gifts and now even marketing has really grown. Which would make you wonder if there is a right side of the brain, artistic and creative person trying to get out and I’ve been suppressing my real passion all along!?!?!?
I can therefore forgive those who have met me from either of the above routes to be quite surprised when they learn about the other. If you know me through work, then you tend to think I have a little ‘hobby’ in beach hut hire. As the beach huts are not my sole source of income and being an accountant is so different in terms of stereotypes – it tends to be the first conclusion people make. However if you scratch a litle beneath the surface, you’ll see the effort and love that I’ve put into the huts and maybe even get a glimpse of what I’m trying to achieve – if just a passing hobby then it would be much easier to have followed others and not made them the unique day out and general all round experience I think we now offer.
Sitting in those interviews, I had a sudden breakthrough re why all those thoughts whirled around my brain and on the train home, I had a breakthrough re the fact that underneath it all, both roles are trying to achieve the same outcomes:
Improving Lives and Creating Memories – A Common Purpose
I enjoy making people happy. It’s fairly simple really. The beach huts are all about making beach huts affordable to everyone and I don’t thin I need to repeat what the core purpose of the NHS is to do.
– I truly believe I can create a beach hut hire experience that can create or recreate those family memories that are remembered for years to come. Maybe that one downtime day for someone stressed out from work to spend with their family, a family who may love the beach but can’t justify a holiday abroad that year, a few young mums looking to get together to enjoy a cup of tea or glass of Pimms and even that one person just looking to sit, read and gaze out to sea with their trusted four-legged friend. These are the memories that stay with us.
– I also believe that finance have a huge role to play in improving the NHS and can help clinicians navigate their way through the challenges we have ahead of us. My day job allows me to add value and in some small way, any little small thing I can do to help is worthwhile. Too many of us have had to reach out to the NHS to help family and friends and we need to protect and improve the NHS so that it survives for when we may need a little bit of help.
I Can Be Both
So I’m afraid I’m going to stay confused……. I’m going to keep learning and making Millie’s Beach Huts bigger and better for you all to enjoy whilst keeping my feet firmly in finance in Healthcare. These last few months have shown that each of my roles continue to help me do the other – things Im learning about through the beach huts, I’m now using in my day job (look out for finance mad easy delivered through podcasting and videos!!) and the huts wouldn’t be where they are without organisation and structure and logic! I get so much energy from both – that they have become co-dependent.
I have of course never quite liked being the norm… unique will have to work for me ;0)
So I’ll re-introduce myself…. I’m Vicky and I work in NHS finance and I’m really proud to work in the NHS. I also run an amazing Beach Hut Hire business called Millie’s Beach Huts … let me show you some pictures. Did I mention we’re having an official launch of our Boutique soon?