A Brave New World

Mar 27, 2022 | News and Updates

9th March, 2022. My last day at Blackpool Council, the place that had been my work-home for the previous 12 years, 7 months and 6 days. That was before I departed for a new chapter of self-employment. A day that, up until recent times, had worried me to the point of sleeplessness, cranking my irrational anxiety through the roof.

Better the devil you know?

You see, for years and years, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without my employer. Or, how I would manage to pay my bills without the monthly salary parachuting into my bank account every 4 or 5 weeks. And when austerity cuts tightened their grip, the threat of redundancy was heightened. In turn, I developed this complete and utter mental dependency on the faux security that my job provided.

But, as the years went by, I grew. In more ways than one. Knowledge, experience. But also the confidence and conviction regarding my skill set. I also developed a rather sizeable belly – aptly named the Dad-Bod, but let’s skip over that part of growth.

As I’ve spoken about on many occasions, and will probably delve deeper into within other blogs, my induction into the world of literacy – stories, books, poetry and songs – generated a new, more refined and expressive identity. Shortlists for Lancashire Book of the Year helped my validity, and performance poetry provided the kudos. All of a sudden, I was a wanted man.


And so, the fear of losing my job, was replaced by intrigue and curiosity as to whether I might be able to leave my job, to create my own income.

The appetite for a positive male figure working on literacy amongst schools and community groups across the north west was quickly apparent. So, I set the wheels in motion and handed my notice in. I took the remaining weeks to say goodbye to good friends and reflect on a really positive and impactful era in my life. With Blackpool Council, I gained qualification after qualification, experiences and opportunities perhaps beyond my years and a varied list of job roles that have put me in a really strong position to spring forward into life as my own boss.

My own boss.

A brave new world awaited. My diary was full, at least for now. I also now had website. Some of my lesser known administrative skills were being sharpened by the day, like a lumberjack with his favourite axe.

2 weeks into self-employment and I’m absolutely shattered – and loving it. Work has been full-on and hard, both in terms of intensity as well as volume. But boy has it been rewarding. Bookings have taken me to Skelmesdale, Barnsley, Fleetwood and all over Blackpool to schools and colleges for varying literacy workshops.

I’ve also had 3 gigs. By the Metre, a hometown event at Bootleg Social, that myself and good friend, Rob have created. Mic at the Mill, a poetry gig in Leigh, as well a performance at the book launch of my good friend, Tom Stocks (AKA The Chubby Northerner), for his collection, Lovely Chubbly.

In between all of this, I’ve also continued my literacy and storytelling work with Streetlife, whilst joining them on their #BigSleepOut2022 on Friday 25th March. This is an event where a group of people spend the night sleeping rough, to raise funds for their invaluable shelter.

Not out the woods yet.

I’m still panicking about people paying invoices in time to ensure my bills are covered. However, I’m sure the cash flow situation will sort itself out in time. Besides, a bit of fire in the belly never hurt anybody, did it? Strangely, for me anyway, I’m quietly confident that this is going to work.

The first couple of weeks have been liberating and interesting, with some unbelievable feedback to add to the positive hysteria that I’m experiencing. My diary is slammed between now and summer, I just need to make sure I keep an eye on the months ahead and I think I’ll be ok.

After 12+ years of relative security, predictability, but ultimately doing as I was told. It feels beyond cool to be floating around in the big, wide world, just doing my thing.

Plenty of love,

Nathan x