Wife to 6 and mother to 590

photo by Fabian Mard

Name: Annette

Job title: Operations Manager

What exactly is that?

  • I run a large student halls in Bournemouth managing a team of 8 and looking out for 590 students most of who are 18.

How did you get there?

  • I spent years working in hospitality as I come from Bournemouth so tourism is big. Worked as a holiday rep for Saga holidays abroad which taught me how to organise large groups and communicate to people who didn’t speak my language and others from all walks of life. I then worked in a letting agents for many years and moved on to housing association work. This lead to me getting a job running student halls as i’m used to working in customer service and also know what the regulations are regarding housing.

Give us an example of a typical day in your life:

  • Well I don’t have breakfast as I’m not hungry first thing. I get to work (which is a 12 minute walk) at 07:45 and don’t leave until 18:00 most days. When I get in the team member who has worked the night shift usually likes a chat as he hasn’t spoken to any one in hours. I turn on my computer and wade through emails usually sent from HO. As my job has grown I have become more desk based. For a couple of years I didn’t have an assistant manager but in January 2016 I was treated to one and it made a huge difference to my working life. I am working with budgets where as before I would be running around the building carrying out kitchen inspections and mediating in student disputes. I rarely have a lunch break and i’m also on call out of hours. I don’t do enough exercise. Before when I was running around the residence my weight kept off and I didn’t need to exercise but now …………… When I get home I start cooking as I find it therapeutic and it takes my mind off work. I cook my own meals rather than ready meals. Then I potter around the flat or watch TV before going to bed any time between 10 and 11. I used to drink most night as I felt I needed a treat after being so stressed but in the last 12 months I put a stop to that.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

  • Student interaction. I like to be reminded what I was like at 18 as it was 30 years ago and it’s easy to loose sight of that. I enjoy problem solving and can also learn from my residents.

What’s the one thing you would change if you could?

  • We were tupe’d in September 2015 and I would change how HO communicates or miscommunicates to us on site. Budgets were new to me from September 2015. If you had asked me 6 months ago, that would have been what I would change but now I love learning and they aren’t so painful.

What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?

  • Teacher

Tell us about one thing you were insecure about at school:

  • I wasn’t very insecure at school as I was athletic, in the orchestra and all the school productions and had plenty of friends. I lived a long distance from my school so had different groups of friends in and out of school. However, I was called son or Mr until my late 20’s as I was a late bloomer and extraordinarily skinny. Some people assumed I had an eating disorder but I didn’t. It was good to fill out and look more feminine. Infact, I feel better about myself now that I carry a bit of weight.

What advice would you give yourself at 18 if you could?

  • Same as everyone would, these are the best days so make the most of them. Not everyone has to be your best friend. Don’t worry if you don’t know what your direction is in life, it will come to you.

What’s the title of the last book you read?

Share with us one beauty tip:

  • Never leave the house without mascara. I don’t really bother with makeup

And a money tip?

  • I have learnt to budget. It’s nice to have money for trips away rather than spending it all in one blow out. I’m not lead by brands which I think saves me money.

Please share with us a life lesson you have learned:

  • Not everyone you work with has to be your best friend and as you move up the ladder this becomes more apparent. Also you can work your arse off being loyal to a company but it isn’t always reciprocated, keep your work life balance.

Tell us about your favourite most recent purchase for £25 or under:

  • I’ve just come back from Goa, nothing cost more than a tenner. I bought 2 sets of earrings and a ring for £15


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