April 01, 2016

What's Your Day Job? Meet Jessica!

Jessica - Babiafi

I love meeting people and finding out about their day jobs and this series so far has introduced me to teachers, pub managers, PR agents and so many more! You can catch up with past interviews here.

This time round, I am handing over to the lovely Jessica who blogs over at Babiafi and her day job is definitely a new one on me! Read on to find out more...

Name: Jess Powell

Age:  27

A few facts about you:

I'm mum to Marianna, a toddler with a temper, and partner to Anthony, Dr Who geek extraordinaire. We live in South Wales where I spend my spare time blogging, writing, and collecting dolls and miniatures. I have a fear of chalk (seriously!), and an addiction to Jaffa Cakes.

What's your job? 

I'm an elected councillor for Torfaen County Borough Council.

How long have you been doing it? 

Almost four years now. I was elected in 2012, and the next Welsh local government elections will be in 2017. I'm still umming and ahhing over whether or not to stand again.

What do you like best about it? 

It's not a standard 9 - 5. There are some things you have to be at, like committee meetings and panel work, but a lot of it is flexible which means I can fit it around Marianna. It's also great to be involved in decision making, rather than just complaining about it.

I love that I'm always learning something too. Over the last few years I've had a crash course in licensing law, planning regulation, corporate finance, education policy, health and social care legislation, and more. I've recently been put on the Gwent Police and Crime Panel so have been getting into crime figures and police funding!

What is the worst thing about it? 

Everyone else complaining about your decisions! It sounds flippant, but it is quite hard when people want to blame you personally for their problems. People can be so abusive, especially on social media - they'll call you all sorts of things and there's nothing you can do about it.

It's just this perception people have of politicians: fat cats living on expenses, out of touch with the real world... I kind of wish it was true; I get £13k a year and once claimed for a train ticket to a meeting in Caernarfon.

Would you recommend it? 

It depends how my day has gone! Speaking seriously, I would. It's interesting, it's challenging, and you have the opportunity to make your patch a better place to live. If you are interested in politics, or community activism, it's so much more rewarding than just being a 'keyboard warrior'.

Plus, there is such a big need for fresh blood. 73% of local councillors in Wales are men, and the average age is 60. Even at 27 I'm still one of the youngest in the country.

Any funny stories?

Sometimes it's a bit like living in a sitcom. Not long after I was elected somebody contacted me and asked if I'd put a motion to council about street names. There was a campaign in Italy to try and get more streets named after women, and they basically wanted Torfaen to sign up to it. It sounded fine to me; you often get little motions like this where you back one cause or another for people, just to get it a bit of press.

Anyway, for whatever reason, it didn't get a little bit of press coverage. It got a lot of press coverage. I went on BBC Radio Wales, and every paper from the Daily Star to The Times wrote about it. I was made out to be this militant feminist, wasting time and money on some mad liberal idea. (In reality the motion was passed in about three minutes, and about half hour was spent drawing up a list of notable local women who could be put forward as suggestions to developers working on future projects.)

And the person who asked me to put the motion forward? He was a really lovely guy! :)

What's your dream job? 

I'd love to write for a living. Children's stories, or true crime. Or some way of melding the two without scarring readers forever...

Would you carry on if you won the lottery?

No way, you wouldn't see me for dust! (Harsh but true.)

Thanks so much to Jessica for sharing a little about her life and work. It's a job I can honestly say I knew nothing about and I have loved finding out more, though I would be truly hopeless at something like this! It's always good when you enjoy your job too and it really sounds like Jess does. The dream job question made me laugh as it sounds just like something I'd say!

You can find Jessica over on her blog, on her Facebook page as well as Twitter and Instagram to follow her journey in life and work.

If you'd like to share your own day job, however big or small! Please email me for more details.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for having me, lovely! And, yes, the dream job would either spawn a whole new genre, or a restraining order... Lol. x