Before joining North London Cares I had been self-employed for six months. I’d always seen self-employment as the ideal job, technically I should have been living the dream! When my friends or family asked about work I’d say it was great and how much I was loving it, but really something didn’t feel right and I wasn’t enjoying my new found freedom as much as I thought.
I decided to make a list of all the things I enjoyed about previous jobs to see what was missing in the hope that I'd be able to fix something. As I was flying through the memories, what struck me was how easy it is to forget about what you love about old jobs and places. I went all the way back to my first job as a shy 15 year old on a picture framing stall on Roman Road market. I'd lived just up the road from the market my whole life but barely knew anyone - that all changed very quickly! I spent every Saturday meeting people who I’d been neighbours with for years and getting to know the other stallholders. I listened to amazing stories about life “down the Roman”, got tips on where to get the best bacon sandwich and watched in awe as the women at the nail stall worked their magic. There was something about a group of people coming together, big or small, sharing experiences and ideas that I loved.
I needed to get that sense of community back and pop the little bubble I was in – joining the team at North London Cares feels like the pin I needed to do that! Although I didn’t understand it at the time, that first job on a market stall taught me the importance of stories, we all have them and I think in many ways they shape our lives, our identities and the way we connect with others. I’m so happy to now be part of a charity that values those experiences in the same way and I’m excited to get stuck into my new job, meeting older and younger neighbours and listening to all the stories they have.
Posted by Roxi Rustem on Wednesday 12th July 2017
Roxi is North London Care's Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator